The Rene Herse Humptulips Ridge tires are the most expensive tires I’ve ever bought in my entire life. So what exactly drove me towards deciding this tire over its competitors? That’s what you’re going to find out in this article.
The reason I was looking for a new set of tires was fairly straightforward. I bought a 1991 Koga Miyata Skyrunner Carbolite who’d been sitting in someone’s garage for years.
Since the tires it came with had probably been exposed to the sun, they had completely disintegrated, which is a common issue with skinwall tires.
Since the bike had almost all original components and I’m kind of a purist when it comes to restoring a bike, I looked up what type of tires were factory installed. They turned out to be Specialized Extreme 1.95 tires. Extremely rare, and extremely expensive.
Because I knew I would go for a replacement I did some research into 26 inch tan-wall MTB tires. There aren’t all that many but the one that stood out, mainly because of the price tag, was the Humptulips Ridge tire.
Humptulips Ridge tire intended use
The Humptulips Ridge tire is decidedly a 26″ gravel tire. The company that made it is known for making premium-quality tires for bikepacking, all-road and gravel tires.
Since older rigid mountain bikes make for excellent gravel bikes because of their geometry, it made sense for a company well-known for making solid gravel tires, to also make them in a 26″ format.
Although Rene Herse claims that the “dual-purpose knobbies excel in loose and slippery conditions”, I found the opposite to be true. Since all of the knobbies are the same and the tire does not have purpose-built ones for cornering I found the front tire breaking out as soon as I hit any loose sand.
If you compare the Humptulips Ridge to the Panaracer Dart, which is a dedicated front XC tire, it’s self-evident why the Panaracer provides heaps more confidence while cornering.
The Humptulips Ridge tire comes in four different packages. Besides the standard package there’s an extralight, endurance, and endurance plus version. It’s self-explanatory what they offer.
I opted for the extralight version which came in a more accentuated light skinwall version. The very round profile of the tire in combination with the lightweight extralight casing of a mere 490 grams for a 26×2.3″ tire, means you run very fast tires for gravel conditions, that’ll smooth over small imperfections.
To put that weight into perspective. The previously mentioned Panaracer Dart is 130 grams heavier sitting at 620 and is less wide at 2.1″.
Not only are these some of the most gorgeous skinwall tires money can buy, riding them in the conditions they are meant for is an absolute joy. Whether that’s out on hardpack or on cobblestones of old city centers, the Humptulips Ridge tires are very fast rolling tires.
Price is always a difficult subject, because value is in the eye of the beholder. That being said $96 for the extralight version is definitely a lot of money for a single tire. Since I’m from Europe, I had to pay over $107 (€92) per tire to obtain them.
I do not regret that decision, because the tires are a perfect addition to my very rare rigid vintage mountain bike, which I use predominantly for gravel riding.
But, yeah, at the end of the day they are more than twice the price I’ve paid for any other tire.
Good-looking and fast-rolling, the pricey offering from Rene Herse will have you flying across gravel-type roads and trails. But beware of hard-cornering in loose conditions, or you’ll be biting the dust before you know it.
Gorgeous true skinwall tire
Your wallet will cry a river
Zero grip in loose conditions
Very fast for gravel conditions
Noise-canceling knobbies is nonsense
Supple casing soaks up road irregularities
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