Terrene Tires Elwood: At The Finish

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Terrene Tires Elwood: At The Finish- by Guitar Ted

The Terrene Elwood review has been a split piece for us since we got the 650B X 47mm version and the 700c X 40mm version to test out. Our contributor, MG, weighed in on the 40mm version with his thoughts which you can go back and read by clicking this link- HERE. Since then, MG went ahead and forwarded the 40’s for me to try out and now it is time to give the final verdict on both types of Elwoods. My previous thoughts on the 650B X 47mm versions can be seen by clicking the links- HERE and HERE.

The Terrene Tires Elwood model in the 700c X 40mm size.

Thoughts On The 700c X 40mm Elwood: Since I had not ridden the 40mm Elwood in the 700c diameter, I figured I would spend a little time giving my impressions on these tires versus the other tires in this class that I have ridden. The 40mm Elwoods were mounted to the Velocity A-23 rimmed wheel set I use on my Black Mountain Cycles bike. The tendency for tires previously used tubeless is for the bead to see a little stretching, so it was no surprise when I had to remove the valve core on my valve stems and hit the Elwoods with a shot from my small air compressor to set the tires up tubeless. Once the beads were set all else went smoothly. Now it was off to do some rides.

The Elwood is fast and has a supple ride on gravel.

Much of what MG said in his take on these tires holds true for me as well. Once again, the quality of the casing was very apparent. The weight for these claimed 40mm tires, (430 grams), which really are 43 plus millimeters wide, is very impressive. The fast rolling feel and the cornering traits were all things I agree on 100% with MG. What I noticed as well were the similarities to tires like the Clement MSO, Panaracer’s Gravel King SK 40mm, and the Arisun Gravel Plus. The biggest difference here with Terrene’s offering, in my opinion, is that whatever Terrene is doing with their 120TPI casing is far smoother than the others in its class. The damping characteristics in rough gravel are another level above the others. Combine that big 43+ mm casing with the lighter weight than its competitors have in 40mm tires, and this tire seems to beat anything else available today in its class.

Downsides? Well, I think the casing profile and size and shape of the side knobs are tending to make the Elwood in the 700c size a bit more of a handful in terms of handling. I felt that I had to pay a bit more attention to the handlebar, as the Elwood felt quick to steer off center than many tires I have tried. Also, as mentioned before, MG and I are in agreement that this tire is a “on-off” tire in terms of grip in aggressive styled cornering.

Thoughts On The 650B Elwood: In terms of what is available for the 650B wheeled gravel rider, there isn’t much to recommend beyond the rando-inspired designs or full on, mountain bike styled treads. The Elwood represents what is most likely the best tread design for gravel yet released in 650B. In that sense, there is no rival to this tire.

Elwoods on snow are not a recommended combination!

The 650B Elwood that I tried had the “Tough” casing, which refers to the puncture protection the tire has. The 700c version we tested has the “Light” casing, which does not have puncture protection. I think had the 650B version I rode had the “Light” casing, it would have been so ridiculously smooth it would have handily out-classed the WTB Horizon I tested last year. As it was, the “Tough” casing was on par with the Horizon. With the added stability of the tread design which the Terrene tire has, it is definitely a better choice for the rider who will be doing mostly gravel rides. I also found that the Elwood had great smooth rolling characteristics on paved roads as well.

At The Finish: Taking the Terrene Tires Elwood out on gravel is a delight. There isn’t much to dissuade a rider from choosing this tire in either the 650B version, which is one of only a few “gravel specific” tires in its class, or in the 700c X 40mm size, except for that either version may not fit the frame you have in mind. Tubeless performance is great, the tire is fast and smooth, and the ride quality of the “Light” casing is phenomenal. Only aggressive cornering will bring out the worst in this tire on gravel. Keep it calm in corners and you won’t experience a sudden dump.

Now if we could only get Terrene to make this tire in a 700c X 50mm size for bikes like the Fargo, we’d be really pleased! Seriously though, this is a fantastic first effort from Terrene, and they have a tire which is tops in its class for speed, weight, and ride quality. You could do a lot worse in a 700c or 650B sized tire for gravel riding.

Terrene Tires website: http://terrenetires.com/

Note: The Terrene Tires Elwood models were sent to Riding Gravel by Terrene tires for test/review at no charge. We are not being bribed, nor paid, for this review and 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.

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18 thoughts on “Terrene Tires Elwood: At The Finish

  1. Wow! I was impressed by the specs of this tire when it was first revealed and I was wondering if it were too good to be true. It sounds like this tire has lived up to expectations. I am about to try out the WTB Horizon but based on this review I am very tempted to buy the Light 650b version of the Elwood.
    Quick question for GT: I am hesitant to try an early batch tire from a previously unknown brand. Just to double check since you essentially said as much in your conclusion, is it safe to say that the folks at Terrene got the rubber compounds, casing, tread, etc right on their first attempt at a gravel tire?

  2. @scott- I see no reason to doubt the integrity or quality of their tires at this point. Nor do I see anyone complaining about Terrene tires at this point, so I think they have that side dialed.

  3. GT, I’m looking for 650B tires for the DK200. What do you think about the Elwood vs a 650Bx2.1 MTB tire? Any advise would be greatly appreciated.

    1. @George MacNabb- The DK200 was won on 650B X 40 something tires last year, so the size is something that will work, obviously. I also noted some other riders using 650B tires last year as well on my 6 hour vigil observing at the finish line.

      So, the size works. Would the Terrene Elwood work? I think the Tough casing version, which is what I tested, would be great. I also ran a WTB Trailblazer 650B X 2.8″ tire at the DK200 in 2015. It was a stellar choice for that muddy year’s version.

      So, there are many ways one could approach the DK200. In my estimation, going tubeless with a tire that has some sort of puncture protection is the best route to trouble free riding down there. Use lower rather than higher pressures, but still carry a couple of tubes, a patch kit, and an inflation system.

      Good Luck! If you see me down there, don’t hesitate to say hello. I should be there barring some emergency situation.

  4. Maybe this is a weird way to state this question, but since I ride so much pavement with my gravel bike right now (probably about 75% of mileage), I am curious about something: if I were to rate the WTB Horizons an 8-9 (or 8.5) out of 10 for low rolling resistance and a 6 for off-pavement grip, where would you rate the 650b version of the Terrene Elwood? Would you rate the 700c version differently? I’m curious because I still have the stock 700c wheelset from my Renegade and I’ve been trying to decide if I’d rather mount the set of WTB Nano 40c that I have laying around on there, or if I want to try something else. The thing I’m concerned with is trying to eke out more off-pavement grip (compared to the Horizons) for single track riding, but I don’t want to increase rolling resistance excessively on pavement. I haven’t had a chance to try the Nanos yet, but I wonder if there’s anything similar in size that rolls faster on pavement, while still gripping better than the Horizons off of pavement.


    1. @Ed Ng- Intrestingly enough, I just swapped off the WTB Nano 40’s and went with the Terrene Elwood 700 X 40 to get to the conclusion of this review. So, I think I can answer your question with some pertinent points.

      The Nano tires have a lot more vibrations and do not roll as efficiently or freely on harder surfaces and pavement. You really have to get them on crushed rock, dirt, or softer grounds to get them to “come to life”, as it were. So, the Elwood rolls much freer and with much less effort. I found that in softer gravel that it could propel me along better than a slick and in corners I had much more confidence than I would with a slick tire. Just don’t try to “rail” the Elwoods aggressively into corners or they will let go.

      So, if you want to run a 650B with a little better grip than the Horizon, I would highly recommend the Elwood to you.

      1. Thanks so much, Ted; that was exactly the information I was looking for.

        Now the question is: should I get the 40C version and put them on the stock wheels, or outright wait for my Horizons to wear out, and then just replace them with the 47B Elwoods instead.

        It’s great to have options!


  5. Seems to be a great gravel-centric upgrade to the Horizons. Thanks for the thorough review. What are you’re feelings on the longevity of the ‘Tough’ model?

    I’m considering these for an Eastern Oregon to Pacific Coast tour that will see 500 miles of dirt and pavement each.

    1. @N.H. Brown- Tire wear for myself has been normal. Keep in mind that tire wear for you, or anyone else out there, can be affected by air pressure, riding style, loads, and type of terrain ridden. This can be a factor to such a degree that tire wear is perhaps going to look completely different for you and your planned trip than it did for me in this review.

      That said, I did not see anything unusual in this test that would cause me alarm in comparison to all the tires I have tried.

  6. I guess my question is how bad are these tires when cornering, and does the poor cornering traction persist on the road as well? As it stands now these are the only gravel/all-road tires in a 650bx47 and I want a tire that won’t be as bad as the Horizons in wet/loose terrain but won’t be as bad as a MTB knobby on the road (or as big). If the cornering is as bad as you say then it might be a deal breaker for me…. 🙁

    1. @Kris- I’d answer your question with another- How aggressive are you when cornering? High lean angle, fast approach? Loose over hard or dirt? .

      What MG told me was that the breakaway, (when the tire lets loose of the gravelly terrain and begins to slip), in hard, aggressive corners was too abrupt for his liking. He prefers a more progressive breakaway, which allows him to back off and control the slide more. Think “drifting” and you’ll begin to see where he is coming from.

      So, if you just don’t see yourself as being one who would describe themselves as “attacking the corners”, then I wouldn’t worry about the comments about cornering. I do not use MG’s style of cornering, so I haven’t gone down like he has on these tires pushing the limits as he is wont to do.

      1. My riding is essentially 60/20/20 pavement/hardpack/soft-dirt. I tend to have a more aggressive cornering angle ~45 degrees or less relative to me when I use my slicks. When I run my Knards I am more apt to toning it back, but since the spacing between the knobs aren’t that extreme I can generally run a pretty aggressive corner (on pavement). I ran the Specialized Borough tires last year and the spacing between the side knobs were similar to that of the Elwoods, and in cornering I found the back especially breaking loose when going over a bump in the corner which I never had as a problem before.

  7. I know this review is almost a year old, but what are your thoughts on how well the Elwood Light’s roll on pavement/smooth gravel in comparison to a smoother tire like the Schwalbe G One Allround 38’s? I don’t need a lot of center tread, but would like a little more than a true slick. I really like the ride quality/roll of the G One’s set up tubeless, but I keep having blow offs with them using an American Classic Race wheelset.

    1. Henry- I still really like these tires. I was running the 700c version on another bike until about a week ago when I had to switch out for a recent new test set of tires. So independently of reviewing those Elwoods, I find them to be a great mix of lightweight, toughness, and ride quality.

      The blow-offs could be chalked up to a bad mating of components or it could be the tires. (I have heard of G-Ones doing this from another source), so I can’t really say for certain what your results might be if you switched tires.

      Elwoods are really great, but my all time favorite tire so far is the WTB Resolute. They just edge out the Elwood’s fine ride quality and speed, but only just.

  8. I have run gravel since 2009 and the 650b setup with the Terrene is the most fun I have had yet across sketchy spring roads.

  9. I did not love these tires, at least in our terrain (get it?!) here in the San Francisco Bay Area. We have a lot of steep hardpack and loose-over-hardpack here and the Terrenes have a hard time on that particular mix, at least as I’ve experienced them. If you run them low pressure (~27psi) they are super fantastically sticky even on technical descents. But then they also have a super high amount of rolling resistance, as the big side knobs are hitting the dirt all the way around. It’s not really practical if you’re doing much pavement. If you put them up to 35 or 40, they roll a little faster, but become hard to control. The center strip slides like ice on grass and the lack of much traction immediately around the center strip means if you have to lean it over a bit and hit the brakes you get an immediate lockup. Or if you’re on something slightly canted, you’ll get a disconcerting feeling like the tire is about to totally wash out, which it does sometimes. I’ll take a tire like the Maxxis Ramblers for their consistency any day.

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