The most honest and in-depth reviews of outdoor sports equipment on the planet.

2011 Panaracer CG XC; CG SC AM; CG AC AM; CG 4X AM

[Editor’s Note: We posted this review by Marshal Olson last fall, and if you missed it back then, you don’t want to miss it now.]

Products:

• Panaracer CG XC 2.1, 26″ (645g, true 2.1″ width) and CG XC 2.25, 29″ (755g, true 2.25″ width)

• Panaracer CG SoftCondition AM 2.1, 26″ (655g, 2.1″ true width) and CG SoftCondition 2.25, 26″ (760g, 2.25″ true width)

• Panaracer CG AllCondition AM 2.35, 26″ (794g, 2.35″ true width)

• Panaracer CG 4X AM 2.35, 26″ (850g, 2.3″ actual width)

Bikes: Giant Reign X trail bike (30lbs) and Canfield Nimble 9 29er (23lbs)

Rider: 6’2”, 205 lbs.

Test Locations: Colorado Front Range

Conditions: Dry, wet, loose, rocky, muddy, hard, and everything in between.

Marshal Olson, Watrous Gulch, Bakerville, Colorado.

Cedric Gracia is a bit of a mad man, and if you are unfamiliar with his antics, you should type his name into Google or YouTube.

But in addition to the craziness, he is also a bike rider who absolutely shreds, be it Four Cross, Mountain Cross, Downhill World Cups or Red Bull freeride contests.

I was intrigued to see that he designed a range of tires using a unique rubber compound with Panaracer, so let’s take a look.

 

Compound:

The Panaracer tires use a unique dual-density compound for their tires, which Panaracer has dubbed “Combo Compound.” Unlike most dual compound tires that use a hard rubber as the base or center line and soft rubber as the outer layer or cornering knobs, Panaracer actually flips the equation, using a firmer durometer outer layer and a soft base layer.

This concept really provides a great improvement by reducing knob deformation caused by the soft base layer, but extending wear and diminishing rolling resistance thanks to the firm outer layer.

I am really impressed with the Combo Compound. It rolls fast and wears well, but offers incrementally better grip than if a firm compound were being used all the way through the knob.

 

Casing:

The Panaracer tires are not rated as “tubeless ready.” However, I was easily able to get them to seat up tubeless, mostly thanks to the reinforced (ASB – Anti-Snake Bite) bead that Panaracer debuted 10-plus years ago on their Fire XC Pro. I did, however, think that the sidewalls were a little thin for me (at 205 lbs.) to ride in the Colorado front range, where there are a lot of sharp and jagged rocks all over the place. Personally, I need an 850-900g tire with a thick sidewall to get more than a few rides out of a tire when set up tubeless, so that was not tested. But I am sure that those riders rolling tubeless with Schwalbe and Maxxis standard casing trail tires would be fine running the Panaracer CG tires tubeless.

I did have great success with these tires run with tubes, not a single flat when coupled with ultra-light, 100g tubes at 32psi (my normal pressure is 32-34psi for trail bikes). The tires are neither very heavy nor light. They are adequately reinforced at the bead and under the tread, and there were no issues at all. Given that I tested a total of six tires and got at least 20 days per tire (i.e., more than 100 total rides and at least 1000 total miles), this is a ringing endorsement.

All of the Panaracer tires measure just about true to size, more in line with a Schwalbe or Kenda sizing scheme, and will be notably bigger at a given size than a Maxxis or Hutchinson. (Generally speaking, a 2.1 Panaracer is comparable to a 2.3 Maxxis or Hutchinson, and a 2.35 Panaracer is comparable to a 2.5 Maxxis or Hutchinson.)

OK, on to the specific tires…

8 Comments

  1. Paolo July 11, 2012 Reply

    I use th CG AC in front, and I have to say I am loving it!

  2. Large Prof September 3, 2012 Reply

    Can you compare to the Hans Dampf in 29″? Looking to make a switch from my 2.4 Ardent in front, as the release of traction is quite unpredicable when it goes.

  3. Author
    marshal September 4, 2012 Reply

    the hans dampf is much more square than the CG XC. the hans damf is very similar to a nevegal. The CG XC is more like a much more aggressive Maxxis Crossmark.

    hope that helps?

  4. Yoshi September 27, 2012 Reply

    Do you know the weight of the UST version of the AC AM 2.35? Panaracer havent published a weight on their site. Claimed weight for non-UST is 750gm.

  5. Author
    marshal October 1, 2012 Reply

    hi yoshi,

    I know the claimed CG AC weight was 750 and came in right on target. The UST tire is 800g claimed, but i have not seen a pair personally to verify.

    thanks!

  6. Trail lover August 28, 2013 Reply

    In my country hard to find Kenda Nevagal so. Panaracer CG AM and XC are my choice
    I put 2.35 AC AM as front and XC 2.1 for rear on my KHS XCT 556 trail bike
    It great feeling 👍

  7. Michael August 29, 2013 Reply

    Any word on whether there are plans to expand the wheel size options in this line? I’m totally loving my CG XC on my Yelli Screamy and would try an AC AM next if it were an option. Just got my wife onto a RM Altitude and am pretty much stuck with Nobby Nic on her ride. Too bad Panaracer hasn’t brought any of this line into the 650b realm yet.

    • Author
      marshal August 30, 2013 Reply

      hey michael! glad you are digging the tires.

      as far as i know, panaracer has yet to enter the 650b realm. I really look forward to the AM tread being offered myself. thus far the WTB beeline/vigilante or hutchinson toro have been my go-to 650b tires.

      cheers man!

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