Editor’s Note: With this being the first “Riding Gravel Rolling Review”, we are introducing some new terminology with the tried and true “long format” review process I have employed since 2005. The first post- the “Getting Rolling” post- will be an introduction and “first impressions” post. Stick around for the follow ups: Checkpoint- a “mid-term” update that will tell you how the product is holding up after several rides/many miles, and then “At The Finish”- a “final review” where I will wrap up everything in a “final conclusions/verdict” type way. Long term posts on any product will be listed as “Post Ride Refreshments”- a follow up on a product that may be kept for extra-long testing/test mule purposes.
Soma Fab’s Cazadero 42mm Tires: Checkpoint- by Guitar Ted
If you have not already seen the first installment of this review, go check out the “Getting Rolling” post here. That will get you up to speed on some of the details on these 42mm tires from Soma Fab. Now let’s see how these all arounder tires are doing on my Raleigh Tamland.
I was using lower pressures at first, (40-ish psi), but decided to try out something a bit higher to see where I might lose that nice, damped feel with the Cazaderos. I went up to around 50 psi, then closer to 60psi and I feel that for the current conditions, (Winter, cold temperatures), and my weight, (230lbs), I have an answer. In my opinion, the ride becomes noticeably more harsh at close to 60psi. I might feel differently about that if the temperatures were warmer though. However; for now I would probably run 60 psi if the course was smoother and/or mostly paved. I feel a loss of stability and grip on looser surfaces and especially on gravel at those higher pressures, so I would push that pressure back down into the 50’s psi for that. I felt the best balance of speed/grip/comfort in that range for pressures on gravel. Keep in mind I am running these tires tubed. Tubeless usage is not recommended by Soma, but if you are an intrepid type, you’ll have to probably bump up those pressures a bit to compensate for lack of a tube.
Now as for the Cazadero on other surfaces than gravel roads, I have found the tire to be an exceptionally fun tire. On the one hand, you have that centralized smooth sector of the tread, which acts like a narrower tire when you are just cruising along, but the tire has volume that no “skinny” road tire has, and with the quality of the Panasonic casing, the road faults become less of an issue for sure. Now, mind you, it is a heavier tire, so don’t think you can have your cake and eat it, but for loaded touring where an occasional reroute may find you off pavement, this may be an ideal tire. That said, we aren’t doing any bagged touring here, so I’ll move along now!
So Far….. I give Soma high marks for hitting the weight and width specs for the tire with these samples. The casings work nicely over the gravel roads and the center raised tread section does what it is advertised to do. On pavement the theme continues and this makes for a versatile tire if it fits your bike. NOTE: These are not tubeless ready rated, so I won’t be testing them that way. However; I do know that the Panaracer made Bruce Gordon tires have been successfully used in that manner, so… More coming on these in my “At The Finish” follow-up in time.
Note: These tires were sent over by Soma at no charge to Riding Gravel.com for test and review. We are not being paid, nor bribed for this review and strive to always give our honest thoughts and opinions throughout.
Discuss and share your questions or thoughts about gravel events, bikes, and anything else on the Riding Gravel Forum