Last year at Interbike, our eagle eyes found an unmarked tire in the Panaracer / Panasonic booth at Interbike which we immediately recognized as a unique gravel tire. Panaracer calls it the Comet Hard Pack, and it is a nice high-volume gravel tire that also looks great for hard pack on high-clearance cyclocross bikes.
Marked at 38c, but with an ETRTO mark of 40, the tire should offer a fast-rolling ride over your next rough road adventure. It comes in two versions, with a wire bead and folding Aramid bead. The most attractive feature might be the price, with the folding version coming in at $35, and the wire at $20.
The wire bead version uses the company’s 30 tpi casing, while the folding version features the 60 tpi casing.
The tires are not designed to be tubeless, although we’ve had excellent luck converting Panaracer tires in the past, and we expect these, partially due to their width, to be good tubeless candidates on NoTubes and American Classic rims.
Like this tread for gravel, and want a matching model for your mountain bike? You’re in luck. The tire is a downsized version of Panaracer’s mountain bike tire and comes in 12 other versions, with six distinct sizes for 26” (1.9”, 2.1” and 2.2” widths), 27.5” (2.0” and 2.2” widths), and 29” (2.1” width) mountain bikes. These models have the same casing and bead pairings as found on 700c version.
Want something narrower? There’s also the Panaracer Gravel King tire, which comes in narrower widths as skinny as 28c.
Panaracer Comet Hard Pack Gravel / Cyclocross Tire Specs:
MSRP: $20 (wire), $35 (folding)
Weight: 472g (tested weight, Aramid bead)
Width: 38c (622-40 ETRTO)
Beads: Aramid (folding),Wire
Casings: 60 tpi (folding) & 30 tpi (wire bead)
Country of Origin: Japan
More info: panaracer.com