If you’re an avid gravel rider, you’re probably familiar with Panaracer’s Gravelking line of tires. Within that line, the Gravelking SS and Gravelking SS Plus are two of the most popular options. But what sets these two tires apart, and which one is the best choice for your rides? In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the construction, tread pattern, rolling resistance, puncture protection, and price of each tire to help you make an informed decision.
The Gravelking SS and SS Plus share many similarities in construction. Both tires feature Panaracer’s ZSG Natural Compound, which strikes a balance between grip, durability, and rolling resistance. They also both come in a range of sizes, from 700x23c up to 700x50c, to accommodate a variety of bikes and riding styles.
However, the main difference between the two tires lies in their casing. The Gravelking SS features a 126 TPI (threads per inch) casing, while the Gravelking SS Plus has a denser 120 TPI casing. This means that the SS Plus is slightly heavier than the SS, but also offers more stability and durability.
Overall, the Gravelking SS is a great option for riders who prioritize weight and speed, while the Gravelking SS Plus is better suited for those who want added durability and flat protection.
The tread pattern is another key factor to consider when choosing between the Gravelking SS and SS Plus. The Gravelking SS features a file tread pattern with small, closely spaced knobs. This design offers low rolling resistance and excellent grip on hardpack and gravel roads.
The Gravelking SS Plus, on the other hand, has a more aggressive tread pattern with larger knobs and wider spacing. This design provides better traction and stability on loose or soft terrain, making it a good choice for riders who encounter a wider range of surfaces.
That being said, both tires are versatile enough to handle a variety of gravel conditions, and the choice ultimately comes down to personal preference and the specific types of surfaces you’ll be riding on.
Rolling resistance is a critical consideration for any tire, and the Gravelking SS and SS Plus are no exception. Generally speaking, the Gravelking SS has lower rolling resistance than the SS Plus, thanks to its smoother tread pattern and lighter casing. This means that the SS is better suited for riders who prioritize speed and efficiency.
That being said, the difference in rolling resistance is relatively minor, and both tires are still quite fast compared to other gravel tires on the market. So unless you’re a serious racer or weight weenie, the rolling resistance shouldn’t be the deciding factor in your choice between the two tires.
One area where the Gravelking SS Plus excels is puncture protection. Thanks to its thicker, more densely woven casing, the SS Plus is more resistant to punctures than the Gravelking SS. This makes it a good choice for riders who want added peace of mind on long, remote rides where flat tires could be a major inconvenience.
That being said, the Gravelking SS still offers decent flat protection, and many riders have had success using it on rough gravel roads without issue. So if you’re not overly concerned about punctures, the Gravelking SS should still be a viable option for you.
Finally, price is always a consideration when choosing between two products. In general, the Gravelking SS is slightly cheaper than the SS Plus, thanks to its lighter casing and simpler tread pattern. This makes it a good option for riders who want a high-performance tire at a more affordable price point.
However, the price difference between the two tires is relatively minor, and both tires are still priced competitively compared to other high-end gravel tires. So ultimately, your choice should come down to which tire best meets your specific needs and preferences, rather than price alone.
Overall, the Gravelking SS and SS Plus are both excellent options for gravel riders. The Gravelking SS is a lighter, faster tire with a smoother tread pattern, making it a great choice for riders who prioritize speed and efficiency. Meanwhile, the Gravelking SS Plus has a thicker, more durable casing and more aggressive tread pattern, making it a better option for riders who want added puncture protection and stability on loose terrain.
Ultimately, the choice between the two tires comes down to your specific needs and riding style. If you’re a serious racer or weight weenie, the Gravelking SS might be the better option for you. But if you frequently encounter rough or loose terrain, the Gravelking SS Plus is likely the better choice.
Regardless of which tire you choose, the Gravelking line of tires from Panaracer is a reliable and versatile option for any gravel adventure.