- August 6, 2021
Summary: 4 / 5 OKs
Variations: Available in a wide range of sizes/widths and two types of construction (Light & Supple and Durable).
Price: Great value; a below-average price with above-average performance.
Set-up: Initial tubeless set-up was easy with an air compressor, though the tires leaked sealant for the first 2-3 rides until the system sealed up.
Riding: Excellent cornering on pavement, good traction on both loose & hard-packed gravel, but falling a little short on the roughest terrain and in wet/muddy conditions. Mid-ride pressure adjustment will be needed for the best performance when transitioning from pavement to gravel.
Durability: Beware of sidewall cuts on the Light & Supple variation of this tire, but their durability is impressive given the soft & grippy compound.
With its rounded profile the 38mm tire has been ideal for both gravel and pavement riding. And you have lots of sizing choices if you’re looking to ride them on other terrain and/or bicycles:
- 47mm, and
- 650B 40mm & 47mm sizes
… and a choice between…
- Durable for improved puncture resistance & longer life-span, or
- Light & Supple for improved ride-feel & better grip.
And perhaps most importantly, all variations are available in both tan-wall and black colorways.
The price (~$65 CAD) is below-average for this type of tire yet offers above-average performance. Tubeless set-up was easy: the bead snapped right into place with an air-compressor, but it took a few rides to stop leaking pressure over night.
Overall, the Cannonball 38mm with Light & Supple construction is ideal for mixed-surface rides: it excels on hard packed and smooth surfaces, but falls a little short on the roughest, light-mountain-bike type terrain.
However, the tires did suffer from slow leaks during their first week after being mounted. Even with a couple short rides on the day of installation, cleaning the rim and installing new rim tape before installation did not assist in forming the necessary seal (spraying the inflated tire with soap & water showed bubbles rising from the sidewall of the tire). However, these small leaks in the sidewall all sealed up after a few rides and the tires were reliable at holding pressure after settling in (but not without leaving me near-flat after my second ride on them, a ~75km gravel route).
Gravel: At 30-35psi with a 155lb rider, grip on gravel roads is fantastic, with some rim strikes on very rough & rocky descents. The tires tend to grab rocks and squirm in corners below 30psi, while the tires would react harshly and bounce off large rocks at higher pressures (~40-45psi). The tread profile packs up with mud in wet conditions; while not unridable, the Cannonball is not your best tire choice for fall/spring gravel riding.
Pavement: Riding at 40-50psi on pavement resulted in a grippy & confident ride. Testing the limits of the tire, riding below 30 PSI is doable, but the tire squirms while cornering and the bike bounce while pedalling, especially when standing (a compromise if riding a mixed surface route). The smooth centre tread, along with the rounded profile of the tires, makes for predictable cornering when you lean the bike. This is unlike more aggressively treaded gravel tires with large side lugs, where you can feel the transition between the tread pattern when leaning the bike, like on the WTB Raddler. Overall, pavement performance is fantastic. The light-supple casing tested made for a compliant and confident ride.
After ~1000km of riding, OKRoutes has had zero issues with the durability of these tires. Some rim strikes cause tire burps and small losses of pressure. Stick with the Durable construction if you worry about side-wall cuts on the roughest terrain. And be sure to periodically swap the rear and front tires to prolong their life span, as the soft compound will wear out on your rear wheel after prolonged pavement riding.