Saturday, December 26, 2009

Grand Bois Cypres - follow up to the follow up

The initial experiences were wonderful, even with one puncture. I get goatheads ALL the times, so that wasn't a big deal, and even made me happy to find that was the culprit.

A while after that, and not so many more miles (my All-Rounder gets 75% of my miles) I found some "squiggles" on the rear tire. Looked like the tread was shifted instead of going straight. No biggy, must be a slight imperfection I never noticed.

I kept riding it, but then actually started to notice a hop in the rear wheel. I'm not that sensitive to squeaks, creaks and such, so it was kinda' a big deal. I get home and what do I see:
Grand Bois Cypres failure

Yikes! What the hell is that cancerous looking lump doing on my tire! Looks like it was going to pop any second and glad it didn't during the ride! The tire was distended maybe 3mm at the highest point, and another 3mm or so to the side. Like a big cyst on the tire. If you look at this photo, you can see where the tread was starting to separate and the tube is visible through the casing:
Grand Bois Cypres failure

In fact on removal the casing was severely splitting:
Grand Bois Cypres failure

Not good at all. I get hold of Jan @ Bicycle Quarterly and let him know. The tires have maybe 200 or so miles on them at this point and this just shouldn't be happening. He readily agrees and immediately tells me to send it to him and he'll get an exchange out to me as soon as their new shipment gets in. He was VERY cordial and easy to deal with and I'm VERY appreciate of him.

The Cypres are pricey tires. They are built to be high performance and make no bones about that. Like anything high performance they're built on the very narrow edge between lightweight and durability. In my opinion, Panaracer (the manufacturer) tries to make these too close to the performance side and ends up having some quality assurance issues.

I just went on a ride with these tires today and continue to love them. This was on a mixed terrain ride that is one of my normal rides.
bouncing along

I needed to post this experience with the tires not to undermine them or anything Jan is doing, but to further document my experience with them. My initial experience was so positive, and I'm sticking with these for the long-haul as they just feel so right for me. But I am going to be inspecting them a bit closer than I ever looked at a Pasela or a Roly Poly/Ruffy Tuffy tire. That's a bit of a negative, but within my skill set for bikes! If these give further problems, I'll report back!

14 comments:

Filigree said...

Oooh, not good; sorry to hear about this! I am thinking of getting the white Grand Bois Hetre 650B x 40mm for a soon-to-be mine Rivendell Sam H. and am hoping they will perform better.

I have 27" x 32mm Pasela Tourguards on my vintage Motobecane mixte, and those have had no flats so far, after maybe 500 miles over the course of 5 months in mixed terrain.

cyclotourist said...

Yea, I'm kinda' disappointed about it but have high hopes for it not happening again. Word on the internets is that they either last wonderfully for a few thousand miles, or develop splits & bulges and fail rather fast. The Hetres do not have this reputation and folks only speak highly of them. In fact, I'm considering converting this bike to 650B just so I can put some Hetres on it! That'll be down the line a bit when I can invest in a new wheelset for it in that size.

I have run Paselas a LOT over the last decade, and never any problems other than some sidewall cuts recently. They go on forever and feel really lively even though they're a bit heavy.

Congrats again on the Sam!!!!

franklyn said...

Cypres is probably not the only panaracer tire that has this problem. My kogswell runs Fatty Rumpkin and the rear tire got punctured twice, both times by nails. I thought maybe the tire is wearing a little thin after 2500 miles of use, so I rotate the tire to the front (and front to the back). I notice that when I ride on very smooth road that the bike sort of bumps at one particular point, and upon further inspection, I found also a bulge on the tire--not on the sidewall, though. Now I have to get a replacement for it.

cyclotourist said...

I've heard of Panaracer Paselas having sidewall problems (in fact I've had them to a small amount) but I don't think they or the other Panaracer models (Fattys, RPs, RTs, etc) have the casing split problem like the Cypres are known for. I'm only one data point in this conversation though. I'm well aware of that and am avoiding blanket statements about these or other tires. As I mentioned, I hope these work out fine as I really like them more than any tire I've ever used!

bikelovejones said...

I've used Pasela TourGuards (26 x 1.25) on my All-Rounder since I built it up three years ago and have never had a problem. Great tire, more-than-decent ride for the additional protection, at a reasonable cost.

cyclotourist said...

It was on Tourguards that I had the sidewall rips. Finally had to replace it after a long like, but with some tread left still. I agree though, can't beat the TGs!

Pondero said...

We appreciate the update and the thorough documentation. I'm very close to making a Hetre purchase and your report, along with others, on the Grand Bois tires has made me hesitate. I'm pleased to read your comment that "Hetres do not have this reputation" and will probably proceed.

cyclotourist said...

I have NEVER heard or read anything but praise for the Hetre. Other than price, I wouldn't hesitate!

Anonymous said...

I know this is an old post but I've had no problems with several Paselas, both skin wall and black wall and both plain and TG. What I did have a problem with is a Challenge Triathlon, which had a big bulge right smack in the middle of the tread. The casing separated just like your grand bois. I loved the feel of the Triathlon, am considering buying Parigi Roubaixs but may just stick with Paselas.

cyclotourist said...

I usually throw away Paselas due to sidewall problems before the tread is fully worn. In fact they're usually at the point that they feel really fast & supple due to the thinner tread. But the sidewalls get brittle and have lots of small cuts and gashes by that point and I don't want to trust them any longer. But they're $15 tires so that doesn't really bother me, know what I mean :-)

A friend of mine swears by the Challenge P-Rs and I'm interested in trying them. Right now I'm using Jack Browns and I like the way they roll, but can feel the extra mass. If/when I go back to narrower tires, I'll give the P-Rs a try for sure.

Matt said...

It's me again, the same guy with the Challenge Triathlon problem. Tell your friend to stop swearing! Seriously, I also tried a pair of P-Rs and I got the same center bulge in the tread, albeit a smaller one, after riding a gravel trail. There are some parts of the trail that are pretty rough but nothing too serious. This happened last Friday; came home and noticed a small bulge in the rear when I took the bike off the rack. Pulled the tire and the casing had separated/torn. The only hole in the tread was a small pinhole about an inch away from the tread separation so that wasn't the cause. I must have caused internal damage to the tire going over a bump but there really weren't any bumps out of the ordinary. Only conclusion I can reach is that Challenge tries are just too fragile. Back to Paselas for me.

cyclotourist said...

He swears a lot, what can I say...
I hear you on the P-Rs. I might actually try out some Rolly-Pollies. If not, Paselas are always available. Some people absolutely hate them but I think they're great.

Richard James said...

I've had exactly this problem with multiple Hetres (both front and rear) on a tandem. Similar roads, 360lbs, 80psi F&R. Interestingly, the tubes were fine, but the tires get chewed up when metal fenders touch the tire cysts

cyclotourist said...

Hi Richard, I wonder if that's just too much weight/pressure for the Hetres. They are so highly praised by people under "normal" conditions, might be outside their recommended usage?