Panaracer Gravel King SK+ 650B Tires: At The Finish – by Guitar Ted
The time has come to render my final verdict on the 650B versions of Panaracer’s Gravel King SK+ tires. The previous mid-term post can be read here which also has a link back to the introduction. In this final post in the three-part review, I will give my over-all take on the tires and who I think these might best be suited for.
Ride Performance: As with my mid-term findings, the last word on the Gravel King SK+ tires remains consistent and I found no change over the last miles I rode with these tires. Somewhat stiff feeling, not as fast as you might think, and tough in terms of resistance to cuts and punctures. That’s this SK+ in a nutshell.
One more note- That stretching width seems to have finally stabilized at close to 51mm overall. Not quite 51, but considering that the tires are listed as 48.62mm (equivalent of 1.90″ which is what the sidewall says) that’s about 2mm of clearance taken up by tire stretch here. The takeaway is that if 48mm is cutting it close on your bike for a 650B tire, this may not be a great choice for that bike. On the other hand, you might think that getting a bit more than a 50mm tire out of this SK+ is a great side benefit.
At The Finish: So, who is this tire best suited for? I believe that the way Panaracer has made this tire and the way that they market it as the “strongest version of the GravelKing SK…..”speaks to a cyclist who craves a reliable tire with volume for rougher surfaces and/or heavy loads. Got an itch for some speedier bikepacking? This could be the perfect tire. The SK+ will be tough enough to ward off most any nasties you come across on paved or unpaved roads and the tread is pretty versatile from a traction standpoint. The volume will lend itself to stability and comfort under a load. Tubeless air retention is excellent with the SK+, by the way, so you wouldn’t have to baby-sit that aspect of these tires through a long, self-supported tour. Wear characteristics seem normal, so this does not strike me as a fast wearing tire either.
I would not recommend the SK+ version as a tire for general purpose riding if you are craving speed and ultimate ride feel. There are a lot better tires for those characteristics out there, both from Panaracer and elsewhere. I did enjoy the tire’s profile and width as a way to stabilize my bike over loose, deep gravel, but otherwise I would opt for something a bit less stiff and a bit faster for myself and where I ride.
So, in the end, a bit of a mixed bag with this particular member of Panaracer’s vast Gravel King range. Is it a great tire for certain applications? Absolutely. Just know what to expect from this particular version of the Gravel King and you won’t be misled.
For more on the Panaracer 650B Gravel King SK+ tires, see their webpage here.
Note: The Gravel King SK+ 650B X 48mm tires were purchased by Riding Gravel for test and review. We are not being paid, nor bribed for this review. Panaracer USA has no affiliation with this review. We always strive to give our honest thoughts and views throughout whether or not we are provided with product or if we source it ourselves.