Arisun Gravel Plus Tires: Checkpoint

<Back to News Home |

Arisun Gravel Plus Tires: Checkpoint- by MG and Guitar Ted

Arisun is a new tire brand on the scene that has proffered up two new treads for gravel/back road/adventure bikes. We have a post detailing the two models we have on test which can be seen here. In this post we will present our opinions on how these tires are working out on gravel roads in the Mid-Wset. Since we have two distinctly different treads, we took the opportunity to bring in MG, who just finished up this post on the 45mm Riddlers, to ride one version, while I rode the other. First up will be MG and his opinions on the “38mm Gravel Plus” tire.


MG found the 38mm Gravel Plus was really a “plus” sized tire. More like 43mm, to be exact.

Gravel Plus 38: The Arisun Gravel Plus 38mm tire is the more aggressively treaded version of the Gravel Plus tires and is also, as we reported earlier, not really a 38mm wide tire. This is important to point out because of tire clearance issues, as MG found out. he states, “First, these are by far the largest “38c” tires I’ve seen. While I don’t have a caliper, my tape measure shows them at a 42c at least today. They’ve grown a bit since the initial installation, which caused some issues in the chain stays of the Singular Kite I mounted them on. 48 hours after I mounted the tires, the rear tire had grown enough that the cornering knobs lightly buzzed the inside of the stays. As a result, I conducted the rest of my testing using a 40c Nano on the rear, with the Gravel Plus mounted up front. For comparison, a WTB Nano 40c tire is about the same diameter as the Gravel Plus, but is about 3-4mm narrower at the widest point (which on the Nano is the casing width).”

Tread and width comparison; (L-R) WTB Nano 40, Clement MSO, 40, Arisun Gravel Plus 38

MG found that the tubeless set up is easy and air retention is very good with the Gravel Plus tires saying, “Tubeless setup was super easy on my Stan’s Alpha 340 rims, and air retention has been excellent.” For the rest of MG’s thoughts on the Gravel Plus 38’s, read on…..

The Gravel Plus seems to like a bit less pressure than other 38-42c tires I’ve ridden recently. For my 165 pound riding weight, I found the tires felt and rolled the best on gravel surfaces at 28-32psi. For most 38c tires, I’d typically be more in the 40psi range, and on the other end, I’d typically run about 35psi in 43c Bruce Gordon Rock ‘n Roads.
I’m not sure if this is an industry trend or not, but looking back on my review of the WTB Riddler 45c tires, they were tires I tended to run lower pressure in than normal as well. Perhaps it’s the reinforcement that’s being added to the casings these days? I’m not sure exactly, but it’s curious that the latest two gravel tires I’ve tested (these and the Riddlers) have felt way better at lower pressures than I’ve typically run in the past with other similarly sized tires.
On the road, the Gravel Plus, as you’d expect from looking at it, is fast. What might surprise you however, is the way the tires corner. As you lean into a corner and transition off the center tread “strip”, you engage the transition, and eventually cornering knobs. The relatively rounded casing shape works well with the cornering knobs, which are all the same height, to give the Gravel Plus a direct, positive feel in corners.
That same rounded shape might not float quite as well over soft gravel as a tire like the 45c Riddler (which has a flatter profile across the crown), but on firm gravel, I’d bet it’s the faster tire of the two. In this respect, it’s nice to have both tires in my quiver… No two days are the same, and in their respective environments, both tires are winners.
The Gravel Plus may not fit in many so called “adventure bikes”. Best to check clearances before popping for these “true 43mm” tires.

The Gravel Plus will fit in more current gravel bikes than a 45c Riddler will, but that said, if your bike will only fit a “true” 38c tire, it’s likely you won’t have room. As mentioned earlier, it’s a good 3-4mm wider than a WTB Nano 40c, so make sure your bike is ready before you pull the trigger.  However, I’m a fan of the extra size for the gravel we ride. I don’t typically aspire to ride tires under 40c, so the Gravel Plus being a bit bigger than its labeled size isn’t a problem for me.

As you might have guessed, these aren’t mud tires. The one time I did venture into the soft stuff, I still had mud clinging to the tires 20 miles later when I pulled into my driveway. Here, I suspect, the rounded casing profile and consistent 2mm (or so) transition/cornering knobs provide shelter for mud to hang out and not fling off so quickly.
I also noticed the tires liked to pick up and fling gravel a bit more than average, but I suspect this is a phenomenon that will lessen with time. A little wear on the knobs should reduce their tendency to lock onto gravel stones. We’ll see how that theory works out for me…
Overall, the Gravel Plus is a very good tire for many conditions, especially ones that tilt to the firmer side of the spectrum. Speed, cornering and casing performance are all excellent, provided you take the time to dial-in your pressure settings to your weight and riding conditions. In fact, cornering is good enough that I’d even consider these tires for a ‘cross race on a dry day. Tubeless performance is top-notch, even at very low (sub 20psi) pressures. I was able to install the tires by hand inflate/bead the tires up with my Silca floor pump. All good stuff…
Like the 38’s, the 40mm Gravel Plus is a voluminous, true 43mm tire.

Gravel Plus 40: MG had the “treaded” version of these tires while I had the “40mm Gravel Plus” with a faster, lower tread pattern. The only real difference between these two models is the tread pattern, as far as we can tell. The casings are identical, so widths, volume, and tubeless performance has been a mirror image of what MG found with the Gravel Plus 38’s. With that aside, I will focus on the ride performance of the 40’s, which are really 43mm tires, so again- be careful with regard to what your frame can handle before pulling the trigger on getting these. These are far bigger tires than stated by Arisun.

The Gravel Plus 40’s ride smoothly yet are fast rollers with that lowered knob tread design.

Riding gravel roads varying from smooth, packed in “hero gravel” to chunky, loose, and deep gravel strewn across the roadway, the Gravel Plus 38 showed its volume and supple casing with a damped feel and decent stability despite not having much tread. Like MG, I found that lowering the pressures I used was beneficial for the ride feel and performance of the Gravel Plus 40’s. I was running a full 10psi less than I would typically and I may even try going lower than that on my upcoming rides. These tires seem to respond positively to lowered pressures than others I’ve tried much like with the Riddler in the 45mm size and the Gravel King SK 40. These bigger, voluminous tires are seemingly good at this.

While MG enjoyed excellent cornering traits with the 38’s, the 40’s don’t have this characteristic. That’s something fairly obvious when you look at the tread pattern on the 40’s, which do not have any side lugs for lateral stability to speak of. This tire is about speed and lowered rolling resistance. In fact, I would recommend this version over the one MG is riding especially for those of you who have a high pavement to gravel/dirt ratio in terms of your mileage. This is a great “getting to the gravel” tire, and once you get there, it does a decent job of smoothing out the chatter. Just don’t expect a lot of lateral stability support or to have any bite in gravel or dirt corners. That said, this tire is wide enough that if your mtb chops are good, you could probably get away with a lot more than this tread should allow you to. The casing width is just going to allow for some of you to push this tire to do things that skinnier ones with similar tread patterns just won’t support.

The Gravel Plus 40’s minimal tread is fast, but not as good as the 38’s for cornering and lateral stability.

Wear has been minimal so far, even with the extended pavement excursions I have done to test out the tires for longer paved rides. The Gravel Plus tires have excellent casings which impart a smoother ride feel wherever you take them, as long as you do not inflate them to higher pressures. Even the lower pressures do not adversely affect rolling resistance here, as is the case with many other tires.

So Far…… The new Arisun Gravel Plus tires are actually on the bigger end of the spectrum for gravel/back road tires, verging on “monster cross”/29″er territory. We are measuring them out at 43mm or so on varying rim widths, so be advised that these voluminous tires may not fit many bicycles classed as gravel/all road. The so called 38 is a great tire for its cornering abilities and fast rolling characteristics on harder packed gravel. The “40′ is the faster tread pattern of the two and also has the same very nice, damped feel to the casing as the 38. The 40 does not corner as well, nor does it have the lateral stability that the 38 does, but it isn’t bad in this regard. The 40 is probably the better of the two for those who have a lot of pavement to cover along with gravel and dirt.

Tubeless performance and air retention on both models is top notch. Wear has been minimal on both tires. Again, the ride feel is very good on both tires and these tires handle lowered pressures well. Stay tuned for our final verdict in the “At The Finish” post which should come in a few weeks or so.

NOTE: Arisun sent over the Gravel Plus 38 and 40 tires at no charge to for test and review. We are not being paid, nor bribed, for this review. We will strive to give our honest thoughts and opinions throughout.

Discuss and share your questions or thoughts about gravel bikes, gear, events and anything else on the Riding Gravel Forum.


Author: Guitar Ted

Guitar Ted hails from Iowa. Home of over 70,000 miles of gravel and back roads. An inaugural member of the Gravel Cycling Hall of Fame and Co-creator of Trans Iowa in late 2004- Guitar Ted has been at the forefront of the growth of gravel events and riding since then. Creator of Gravel Grinder News in 2008, he produced the premier calendar of gravel and back road events. GT joined forces with Riding Gravel in late 2014.

Related Articles

1 thought on “Arisun Gravel Plus Tires: Checkpoint

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.