Goodyear County Tires: At The Finish – by Guitar Ted
The Goodyear County tires are in what I like to call the “Minimalist Tread” category of tires. These tires are typified by their smooth, or file tread central tread with shoulders made up of larger, blockier knobs. Sometimes we see some intermediate smaller knobs stuffed in between those two aforementioned tread characteristics. Because the County tires fall into this category of gravel ties, I do not expect them to be very good at some things, but I do expect them to excel at others. This is a ‘specialist’ tire, and if it fails to shine in its specialty, then it falls a bit short of the mark, in my opinion.
In my last update on this review, I mentioned that the County wasn’t particularly shining brightly for me in any one area. So, since that review, I have swapped over the County tires to a different wheel set. I used the previously reviewed Spinergy GXX wheels. These wheels have an inner rim width of 24mm versus the previous wheel set’s inner rim measurement of 23mm. One millimeter difference. Would that affect the tires at all? Could one even notice that?
Well, the difference was measurable, at least. My calipers told me that now the County tires were about 42.5mm in width. I’m sure we can assume that the tires may have stretched a tiny bit more than they had since the last update, but a millimeter plus some is probably more the result of a different, slightly wider rim. In the end, its the riding that matters, so on to that bit….
Ride Performance: The County tires were tested on several surfaces. Ranging from pure paved smoothness, broken, bumpy asphalt and concrete, to dirt paths, smooth, deteriorated gravel, and all the way to the worst chunky crushed rock Iowa can offer. That’s a wide range of surfaces. So, where does the County work well, and where doesn’t it?
Again, I refer back to my previous update, and I will reiterate that these tires do fantastically well on any surface that is hard, not loose at all, nor covered in sand, dust, or heavy crushed rock. I still think this is the all-around paved road tire choice and you might say it has the side benefit of doing okay when the pavement ends.
Loose, chunky gravel was slightly better on the Spinergy wheels, but I still found that the tires wanted to hunt for a line and fast descents on loose gravel were not a comfortable experience. But when the gravel roads were smoother, less rock infested, and hard? These tires flew over that with a nice damped feel.
At The Finish: The Goodyear County tires are really slanted toward the paved side of ‘allroad’. The looser, chunkier, and more challenging the road gets, the less secure the ride feel is with this tire. The County has a slight ‘peak’ to its tread, it is not a flattened crown, and I find that when tires have a casing shaped like the County’s, the result is usually what I have experienced with this tire.
Goodyear does make a more treaded gravel tire called the Connector. However, it appears to be built with a similarly crowned casing, so my guess is that despite the tread blocks, it too wouldn’t do well in deeper grounds and the rolling resistance would likely be higher as well. But I am definitely speculating there. Still, at 70 bucks a pop, you cannot afford to experiment too much! I’d say the star of the range here is this County tire, but bearing in mind that it is a specialist at smoother surfaces. Gritty, smoother gravel and hard packed dirt roads would be another great place for the County. But I wouldn’t suggest it for fast fire roads, looser chunky gravel, or anywhere that traction is needed above speed. Places that have deeper sand, mud, or lots of moon dust/kitty litter on the trails would not suit this tire.
The County is the tire one should look to for mostly paved riding or where the unpaved roads are typically harder, smoother, and not covered in deep crushed rock. It isn’t an exceptional tire even then, but it isn’t a bad choice where it shines best.
For more on these and other Goodyear bicycle tires see their website here: https://www.goodyearbike.com/
Note: Riding Gravel sourced these Goodyear County tires on the retail market and we were not paid, nor bribed by Goodyear or anyone else for this review. We always strive to give our honest thoughts and views throughout.