Soma Fab’s Cazadero 42mm Tires: Checkpoint

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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

This stretch of testing included some broken up pavement sections.

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.

The Cazadero is a really good gravel road tire.

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 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


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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13 thoughts on “Soma Fab’s Cazadero 42mm Tires: Checkpoint

  1. I’ve had the 650B Cazadero’s for a few months (I estimate 400 miles of mixed surface 60/40 gravel/road) myself and I am a huge fan. As comparison I have previously run the super supple and lightweight Kirk Pacenti Pari-Moto (also manufactured by Panaracer). The Pari-Moto’s are a 300 gram 38ish mm wide tire with a very thin file tread. The Cazadero’s at 420 grams and with a substantial amount of tread are performing on par with the Pari-Motos.
    A further note about running tubeless. I have the Cazadero’s mounted tubeless on Pacenti SL23 650B rims. These are tubeless compatible/capable rims and I have have had zero issues with the Caz’s running them as low as 32 psi front 45 psi rear. At this pressure the ride over chunky gravel is very smooth and relaxed. If I add a load as for example an overnight camping trip I raise the pressures 10 to 12 psi. If the ride is exclusively paved I will up the pressures about 7 psi all around.

  2. Ditto on tubeless. I have been running Pari Moto and Soma B Line tires (tubeless) on gravel with great results, but I was excited to have this tire for when the roads and trails get more demanding and treacherous. To me, so far, they feel very quick and comfortable on paved road, and stable and capable on gravel and off road.

    We are in deep freeze now, but I look forward to more riding and testing when things start to thaw.

  3. @Jayme Frye, @b sloma: The tubeless thing I was fairly confident about, but being that this is not how the tire is marketed, I have to play by those rules to be honest about the intentions for the tire. That said, I know that Panaracer/Panasonic manufactured tires have a good reputation set up as converted tubeless tires on many rims. I am not at all surprised by your results.

    b sloma- I am at an impasse with the weather now as well. (-3°F as I type this with bitter NW winds) I will be anxious to put the Cazaderos to more tests on gravel later whenever the weather allows me to. Hopefully sooner than later!

  4. Hey Ted, Nice as always to read your comments. I have been feverishly testing various tires in my stable including Grand Bois Cypres at 32mm wide. I have noticed “feel” that changes with pressure where lower, being cushy, also feels slower. But my test ramp which has a 4 metre drop over 50 metres then levelling to flat, shows little difference in free rolling difference. Higher pressure at 80psi feels fast but the difference rolled is maybe 4 metres over a 330 metre difference.
    Have you noticed this with wider tires yourself?

  5. @Rick H: Over the years of testing various tires over rougher surfaces, I have noticed that lower air pressures can be helpful and that a rider must be alert to terrain differences so he/she can make appropriate choices. Sometimes that “sluggish” feeling goes away and the tire comes alive on a rough track versus how it might feel on a smoother surface.

    I find most tires have a range where they will perform their best for a certain rider/weight load. Lower for rougher tracks, higher for smoother, but then you might find a point where a certain tire’s performance starts to fall off. It is tough to say that a definitive range is what is best for anyone, but in my reviews, I try to demonstrate what works for me and I encourage others to try and find their own results best suited to their needs.

    Specific to gravel roads, I find higher pressures, (typically anything above 50psi, but not always), is too high for gravel roads here. Tires get uncomfortable, but more importantly, harder to control and that taps into energy a rider doesn’t have to expend on lower pressure tires. Rolling resistance and rider comfort are generally enhanced by using lower pressures with wider tires, but casing construction, overall weight, and tread design also will affect this.

  6. Another quick note on the Caz’s. My riding buddy has been riding R&R 700c’s for two seasons now. The two observations I have of R&R’s are the wear rate and noise on pavement. Don’t know yet how fast the Caz’s will wear, I’m hoping for better than the R&R. On the noise I can say the Caz’s are super quite when compared to the R&R which sound like a ATV rolling up on you from behind :-D.

  7. Has anyone had trouble mounting the 700c Cazadero’s?

    I was working on my bike last night and damn if these aren’t some tight tires. After mounting them with tubes I aired them up and heard that nice satisfying “pop” on the rim. The difficulty in mounting them leads me to believe they’re a fine candidate for tubeless.

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