Review: New Panaracer Romero

Introduction

Established in 1952 the Japanese brand began making tyres for a variety of applications before a shift to focus exclusively on bicycles some 50 years ago. They are the last bicycle tyre manufacturer still producing in Japan and have an extensive product line covering road, gravel, touring, urban, mountain biking and more. I don’t think many would argue with me when I say back in the 90’s the Panaracer Smoke and Dart were hands down the best mountain bike tyres in the business. The Romero is an aggressive trail, enduro and DH tyre for all conditions.

Features and options available

The Romero triple rubber compound consists of a base layer, a super soft layer for the center knobs and then extremely soft edge or shoulder knobs. An ‘anti-flat plus’ casing from bead to bead offers protection from flats, pinches, and cuts. The beading also has an ‘armor’ for added protection at lower pressure.

Available in a 2.4 or 2.6 width in both 27.5”and 29” wheel sizes in a 60 TPI the weight ranges from 1060grams to 1300grams. The tread pattern is very similar to the iconic Maxxis Minion DHF and the original Specialized Butcher. The channel between shoulder knobs and center knobs is ever so slightly more pronounced than on the Maxxis Minion DHF. When fitted to a 30mm ID rim the profile is a little more square than the DHF.

How does it ride?

I rode the tyre for around about six weeks across hard pack, loose over hard and some mildly damp conditions on a 20kg E-Bike. Running around 20psi upfront and 30psi rear I never flatted, pinched or cut the tyre at all. It’s a big meat tyre built for aggressive riding and that’s exactly what I did on it.

The rolling speed is above average, about the same as a Minion DHF but noticeably faster than the Maxxis Assegai. The braking traction is great, naturally not as good as the Assegai is, but it does bite in nicely. The Romero needs rider commitment into a turn with the correct weight on the front end of the bike to compress the shoulder knobs in for grip – once on the edge knobs, it does bite and cut into the ground very well providing a rail to turn on. Every shoulder knob is siped and I think this helps the tyre cut into the trail on turns. As the terrain softens up this split second of vagueness before the shoulder knobs bite, is less noticeable.

What applications and conditions is it suited to?

I think Panaracer have nailed it terms of versatility. The compound and casing is super compliant which boost traction in hardpack and the shoulder knobs are incredibly hungry and bite deeply into softer terrain. For riders looking for a less aggressive option, Panaracer are offering a 120 TPI compound which is a lighter version for milder trails and tamer bikes.

If you are going to run the Romero upfront and are an aggressive rider on gnarly trails then I think the 2.6″ width will be a better version, providing your rim ID is 30mm or more that is. On the rear it’s an excellent option which I really like —  the channel helps settle the rear into a gentle drift through turns and its certainly robust enough to handle big square edges.

Verdict

Local availability is scheduled for early winter. DH riders, E-Bike riders, enduro and trail riders are going to love this tyre. It does do everything well.


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