A Long Term Review of the Panaracer Gravel King SS
The Panaracer Gravel King SS Plus is potentially one of the best gravel tires on the market. This Gravel King SS review will give you a long-term look at their performance. How long? The pair in the picture above has seen well over 2,000+ miles and is still going strong, even after a go at Unbound Gravel. Like all reviews we do, we paid for these tires and have no affiliation with the brands to prevent any conflict of interest.
Panaracer Gravel King SS Plus 700x38
- Incredibly Durable
- Fast Rolling
- Shockingly Good Traction
- Not as Supple as Others
- Need Some Time to Gain Confidence
The Panaracer Gravel King SS Plus tires are shockingly lacking any knobs, unlike most other gravel tires, making you immediately question the control and durability. Once removed from the packaging, the tires are easily mounted up to most rims without breaking a sweat. Setting them up tubeless was a piece of cake and we have used them with almost every sealant that exists at this point with no issues. For the last 6 months, we have been using Orange Seal with no problems.
Once mounted up you can see the “smooth” center of the tire actually has a texture to it to help with grip. Much like many gravel tires on the market, they will measure close to, if not larger than the labeled width. A common occurrence with wider rims becoming the norm, even on entry-level gravel bikes. On a 25mm internal width rim the 38mm mm tires measured 39.2mm at the widest point. And for those weight-conscious riders out there, they came in under the claimed weight of 450 grams at 444 grams.
Ride and Testing
If you have been on any higher-end tires, Rene Herse or Challenge, you will notice the Gravel Kings are not as soft and supple. However, that should not come as a surprise, considering the lower thread count and increased protection layers. A worthy trade-off, in our opinion, specifically for events like Unbound Gravel, and we would know being based in the Flint Hills of Kansas.
Keeping the SS plus tires planted on the gravel is no issue. Climbing the tires keep excellent traction, even when standing. We never experienced any slipping of the tire that wouldn’t happen with any other tire. Our athletes who ride them agree. Adam G says, “They have amazing rolling speed and still corner and climb just as well as any tire I have used.”
Where the Gravel King SS Plus tires genuinely shine is their longevity and bombproof reliability. Locals all stick to these tires for that exact reason. Are there faster tires? Yeah, like the Challenge Strada Bianca but they have such a high chance of flats compared to these; they aren’t worth the risk.
Panaracer and Gravel
The Gravel Kings have been around in the gravel world for some time and that early adaptation shows. Other brands are coming to the gravel scene relatively late and playing catch-up now. If you want a fast, reliable tire that will put you in a position to beat the sun at Unbound Gravel, then the Panaracer Gravel King SS Plus is the tire for you.