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: Getting Rolling- by Guitar Ted
In the world of bicycles, perhaps no subject involving the equipment of the sport is more hotly debated than that of tire choices. Gravel riders are no different in this area, and tires are often debated with an almost religious fervor at times. As the gravel scene grows, so have the tires appropriate for such adventures. This is where we introduce to you another new design from Soma Fab dubbed the Cazadero.
What It Is: Soma introduced the Cazadero as an all arounder tire and it is offered in a 650B X 42mm and 700 X 42mm size range. Let’s see what Soma says about the tire from their website:
- A mixed terrain tire for a new era of riding. Gravel, dirt, asphalt. Yes please. The Caz features a raised center for fast rolling on asphalt, with specially designed (knobs) that corner well on dirt and maintain traction on the street.
Okay, so here are your options on the Cazedero. You can get the 650B in the 42mm size or the 700mm in the 42mm size in skinwall or blackwall. Folding bead, and MSRP is $69.99USD. Manufactured by Panasonic in Japan. (Panaracer is owned by Panasonic.) Soma designed the tread to be a fast rolling, rounded profile casing tire with some low, grippy knobs to grab mixed terrain surfaces and fit better under fenders. (More on that in a bit.)
As seen here, the Cazedero was mounted on the stock wheel set for a Raleigh Tamland Two which sport rims with a 24mm outer. At a pressure of 40psi, (my stock, baseline pressure for gravel roads here in Iowa), the Cazedero measured up at 41.5mm at the widest point on the casing and 41mm at the widest point across the tread. Given that the suggested pressure range is 50psi-75psi, I am going to say this tire does measure up.
The Soma blog mentions that they took cues from the Panaracer Fire CX tire, but designed a center strip for fast rolling and the lowered the side knobs. I don’t think it looks anything like the Fire CX anymore, but the tread pattern does have features that look smart for the gravel/dirt road cyclist. The Cazadero may have these influences but to my eyes it has a closer relation to the Bruce Gordon Rock & Road tire in terms of shape and width, and along with those knobs, it would seem to put the Cazadero into the same family as that iconic predecessor.
About The First Rides: The first rides on these tires were done in pretty chilly temperatures albeit one was done at above freezing temps by a stroke of luck. So, the roads have been mostly frozen, and the rocks have varied from deep and loose to almost plain dirt with super smooth sailing. Of course, I did some traversing to and fro on paved roads as well.
I tried mounting some fenders over these big tires and found that the Cazadero was at the maximum size and volume for me to fit fenders to the Tamland Two. In fact, the front had to be abbreviated so I could at least get clearance and coverage on the back side of the front wheel. It works, but be aware that the volume and width of this tire will not allow for fenders on many cross or road bike-like designs, if you can even fit the tires at all.
The ride was very nice. First off, the center smooth section of the Cazadero’s tread is very effective at allowing the wheels to roll freely. In fact, on pavement the sound is of a wider, slick tire as you cruise along. Out on gravel, the supple casing has enough damping to allow for a more calm experience at the handle bars and saddle, much like other good, supple casings do on tires like the 120TPI Clement MSO or the Challenge Tire Gravel Grinder. There was a bit of a tendency for the Cazadero to twitch and get loose in deeper, chunky gravel, but that is expected on a rounder casing. This is something I will be paying closer attention to on upcoming rides with this tire.
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 roads and the center raised tread section does what it is advertised to do. 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 Checkpoint 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 tires on the tire thread on the Riding Gravel Forum.