29 April, 2015
Starting out I knew I wanted a tire with a good puncture guard, in the range of 30-33c, with a smooth tread for mostly road riding but also a tire that could take on some gravel. I’m a sucker for the gum wall look and with great reviews this far I went with the Jack Browns. Made by Panaracer in Japan, Rivendell offers a Green and Blue version of the Jack Browns. Essentially they are the same tire, but they add a Kevlar belt, thicker tread and an extra strong casing. Rivendell recommends the Blue version for trails, commuting, tandems or for all around riding.
Reading the reviews on these tires made the purchase of these tires a no brainer. The Jack Brown has highly regarded notes on the puncture guard and is also known for lasting 3,000 plus miles, I was sure I would get my moneys worth. The only complaint that I heard was that they were a bit difficult to get onto the rim. I put the Jack Brown’s onto a set of Bontrager XXX carbon rims, and they went on without any tire levers or any struggle. Once I got the bead on and inflated, I was ready to try them out. Label width on the tires says 33.3, on the narrow carbon rims the tires came out to measure 32.8 mm. Lastly, recommended psi is from 51-87; I started out at 65 psi, which I read was a good starting place for multiple terrains.
The first ride I got 70 miles on the tires and I was very pleased with how they performed. Within those 70 miles I was able to ride smooth road, rough roads, wet road, gravel and dirt. The Jack Brown’s allowed for a subtle, smooth rolling with great traction in all conditions. The 65 psi felt great for the terrains, but if you plan on just riding smooth roads I would recommend riding at 70 – 75 psi. After the first ride, I put another 200 miles on the tires with the same performance with no flats, wear, or issues of concerns. The kelvar-folding bead is also a big plus for touring or traveling, and saves weight as well. With the Blue version weighing in at 430g and the Greens come in at 295g, which is a impressive light weight tire for the width and gives the tire some flex to enhance and out perform most other tires in this category. With the wider width of 33.3mm, I didn’t notice any drag from the tires, but actually beat my overall times with these tires compared to the 28c tires I was riding before. Overall I am very satisfied with the Rivendell Jack Brown tires thus far and look for a follow up review once I get a couple thousand miles on the tires.