Grand Bois tyres have high TPI casings made by Panaracer. They are low weight tyres and incredibly supple, so they roll smoothly and are very comfortable – you can inflate these less than a tyre of a similar width without them feeling squirmy and slow. They measure pretty close to their claimed width, which a lot of tyres don’t, so make sure you have room in your frame for the actual claimed width. Their focus is on performance and comfort, not on puncture resistance, so if you like really tough puncture-resistant tyres like Randonneurs and Marathons these might not suit you, but if you like really smooth fast tyres in larger sizes, they are one of the best choices out there.
The first Grand Bois tyre I tried was the 650x32b Cypres. It was an amazing tyre. Very comfortable, but still fast and precise-feeling. The main reason for our first Grand Bois order was a 650b Porteur bike we were building using a Velo Orange Polyvalent frame. The tyre for this bike had to be Grand Bois’s most-raved-about tyre, the Hetre. It’s 42mm wide, has red/orange horizontally ribbed tread and Jan Heine raves about in Bicycle Quarterly on a regular basis. They were perfect for the bike we built and we were so impressed that both Scott and I wound up building bikes around them. Here’s a picture of a pair we sold to one of our customers.
I have put about 4000km on a pair of Red Hetres and about half that a pair of Cerf Green Labels. The back Hetre is getting a little worn and has had a couple of punctures recently, but I got none in the first 3000km. Both varieties feel fast and comfortable and the Hetres were perfect for the Gravel Grinders I’ve ridden on them without being slow on the road.
We now stock their whole range and try to keep at least 2 pairs of most of them in stock at any given time.
- 700C x 23 mm – “Col de la Madeleine”
- 700C x 26 mm – “Cerf, Blue Label”
- 700C x 29 mm – “Cerf, Green Label”
- 700C x 32 mm – “Cyprès 700”
- 650B x 32 mm – “Cyprès 650”
- 650B x 38 mm – “Lierre”
- 650B x 42 mm – “Hetre” (red, white, black)
The Col de la Madeleine, the Cypres 700 and the black Hetre are all available in an extra-lightweight version called the Extra Leger or EL.