I test outrageously expensive tires so you don’t have to!
Teravail is a new company under the Quality Bicycle Products (QBP) hood. Your local bike shop is likely a QBP hookup, since they provide a lot of the necessaries for big and small shops alike. When I first saw the Sparwood 2.2 featured on The Radavist’s coverage of the Salsa Cutthroat bikepacking rig this past summer, I knew I had to sink my teeth into them.
The Sparwood is Teravail’s “Continental Divide” tire. It’s designed for endurance mountain biking, with a mix of dirt and pavement and everything in between: singletrack, doubletrack, fire road, gravel road, beach, mud, snow, meadow, and every other condition faced during the more punishing endurance races. Whether any tire can function as a “Jack of All Trades” is something I’m a little dubious about, but I want to reserve my judgement. If this truly is the Holy Grail of bikepacking tires, I want a thousand miles on it before next summer to find out.
Right now, I have the 120 TPI version set up on my old Sun Ringle rim in the rear, but I should have a tubeless wheelset built by the end of the month. I’ll test this tire tubeless and run the pressure down as far as I dare when we hit the cold months, and I’m planning to ride this bike straight through the winter. Ride or die!
First Impressions of the Teravail Sparwood 2.2:
The Sparwood seated fine, though they were a bit tougher to get on than my Maxxis High Rollers. I think that’s a good thing for tubeless tires, since they’ll set up easier and stay on. I’m currently just running the tire in the rear, since the puncture-resistant casing, narrow width, and fast-rolling tread seems well-suited to this. No reason to sacrifice grip in the front when it’s bearing much less of my weight. Even a 2.4 up front will still roll nearly as fast as a second Sparwood.
The tread pattern rolls well, obviously, since my comparison is the super-knobby Maxxis High Roller. I did notice the fresh tire picking up a lot of sand and gravel, which plinked off the frame anytime I rolled the bike, but this has faded with a few uses.
Fast rolling? Check. Grippy? Seems ok… it’s hard to tell a difference since our local trails are still absolutely prime for mountain biking. The dirt I’m on is just so good, it would make a Wal-Mart tire feel excellent.
Once I get some trail time in a range of conditions and put some serious miles on this, I’ll post back here and shed some light on this new option before the bikepacking season really kicks into gear.