First Look: Teravail Sparwood 2.2

I test outrageously expensive tires so you don’t have to!

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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:

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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.

Keep Riding,

Max

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