For me (MarkC), gravel riding is an extension of mountain biking. Gravel equipment has allowed my rigid bikepacking mountain bike to work surprisingly well year round at linking road sections with gravel and non technical trails. Dare I say it, gravel equipment has even allowed dedicated winter road riding when conditions off-road are apocalyptic. Though when I say ‘gravel equipment’, I really mean a pair of tyres – the 29×2.2 Teravail Rutland.
In the bike tyre industry, Teravail is a newcomer; founded in 2019 it produces gravel, mountain and fat tyres and is a Certified B Corporation, which shows some attention to environmental, social and governance (ESG) – good for any company, but particularly so for an outdoor brand perhaps.
The Teravail Rutland tyre is available in 29″, 27.5″ and three widths of 700C, with or without the tan tyre wall and depending on your nostalgia for the 80s and 90s.
Teravail describes the tyre as having “ramped, tightly spaced centre lugs” which “reduce rolling resistance while larger, more spaced-out shoulder and transition lugs provide grip in loose conditions”. I have been gravel riding a pair of Teravail Rutland tyres on my Genesis Fortitude since January 2022, and yes, I did hark back to my long-lost youth and go for the tan wall option.
Teravail Rutland on tarmac
My journey to buying the Teravail Rutland was via a pair of very cheap Michelin XC race MTB tyres. I’m sure the Michelins are an excellent MTB tyre on the Cote d’Azur, but on the trails of the North Downs, they lacked the grip needed to keep an average-in-skills rider sunny-side-up. They did, however, come in handy during a very wet winter as a road tyre on the Genesis.
The thought of riding a skinny road bike on the austerity-ruined roads of the North Downs terrifies me, but with gravel tyres, or even those Michelin tyres, winter road riding soon became gravel riding, and I was getting the distance into my legs.
So I knew I liked gravel riding and that a rigid mountain bike was a more than capable gravel bike.
On the road, the Rutland tyres roll well; they are confident in corners, especially the regularly chalk-strewn hairpins of the Zig Zag Road on Box Hill. Most importantly I would argue for a gravel tyre, is how they handle the transition from road to off-road, and here the Teravail team have succeeded.
Gone are those nervous moments as you belt off a bridleway onto the road and just bloody hope the tyre holds. The walls are strong but supple enough to cope with the change, and the tread pattern is clearly well thought out and feels happy and confident on all surfaces.
The Rutland has been exactly what I wanted from this type of tyre even if I keep wondering why a USA headquartered firm chose a reservoir in the Midlands as a name?
It’s a very competent tyre off-road that’s fast and flowing on non-technical trails, but with the kind of grip – and many of the quick direction change traits – that are familiar to those of us who grew up riding narrow MTB tyres on the North Downs. If you’ve ridden with XC race tyres in the past, there is much you’ll find familiar with the Teravail Rutlands.
As a 29er, there is some give for small drop-offs and root crossings, and the grip on damp and greasy roots is good; but remember this is a gravel tyre, so don’t push it too hard on the roots and chalk of Ranmore after a winter deluge.
On dry gravel trails, the Teravail Rutlands are in their element. On the Moles day trip to the New Forest in the wondrous summer of 2022, they easily soaked up the myriad cinder trails.
Final thoughts then; a good investment that looks great, but more importantly, performs well in the mixed environments that gravel riding is all about.