Soma Cazadero 50mm Tire: Quick Review

Soma Cazadero 50mm Tire: Quick Review- by Guitar Ted

The very first RidingGravel.com review I wrote back in 2015 was on the Soma Cazadero 700 X 42mm tires. Those were the days when gravel specific tires were not common and tubeless ready ones were super rare. Now things are quite different, of course, and any tire introduced for gravel travel these days had better be tubeless ready or very inexpensive. The Cazadero kind of went off the radar due to the lack of a tubeless ready variant, which still seems to be the case for the 42mm tire. However; they saw fit to release a 50mm wide version of the Cazadero, and that tire is tubeless rated.  I recently tested these tires on one of my drop bar 29″ers. Let’s check it out……

Cazadero

The same Cazadero we know and love, only wider, and tubeless, and…..well better.

What It Is: Obviously this is a widened version of the 42mm Cazadero we tested two years ago. That said, Soma has had Panaracer make a few improvements to this Japanese made tire. the casing is now rated for tubeless use (Huzzah!) and they even managed to keep the classy looking skin wall as well. Panaracer is known for their lightweight, supple, high quality casings and the 50mm Cazadero is benefiting from that. Our 42mm samples weighed just north of 500 grams two years ago, but these 50mm tires only weighed 530 grams each. Very impressive! The tread is obviously just an expanded version of the 42mm’s tread with the same center ridge flanked by ramped rectangular knobs and having the “Z” shaped outer blocks along each side. In the hand, the tires feel incredibly supple and remind me somewhat of Challenge Tire’s “Open Tubular” casings which are really sweet riding tires.

Cazadero

That supple casing really helps tame the chatter.

Tubeless Performance: Mounting the Cazadero on my Stan’s bead seat style Sun Ringle’ wheels was…….a chore! These are definitely the hardest tires to mount that I have tried in a long, long time, and I am a professional bike mechanic that works in a shop. I see a lot of tire and rim combinations, so I do not say this lightly. I would suspect that a non-Stan’s tubeless rim would be a much easier fit. To give you somewhat of an idea how tough it was to mount these, I had to lever on both beads and the rear tire took well over a half an hour alone to mount. Yes……they fit Stan’s rims tight!

That said, it was easy-peasy to air up the tires and the Cazaderos did not weep sealant or display any weird traits at all. I would say that they bleed air off a bit faster than some other tubeless tires do, so maintaining air pressure is a bit more of a chore until the sealant develops a seal across the inner casing.

Ride Performance: The lightweight  casings really spin up fast, as one would expect. The really impressive thing for me was how well the Cazadero rides. I have had the opportunity to ride two sets of these tires and both displayed a feel that was so smooth that I thought the frame was more compliant than it really was. On rough pavement, the Cazadero 50mm tire just erases road buzz. You would think the tires had no tread, they are that smooth rolling. That is great, obviously, but gravel travel is a different animal. I was happy to find out that the gravel rides I have done with this tire were also very smooth. The casing suppleness really pays dividends.

I was a bit concerned that the Cazadero in the 50mm width might not turn out to be very stable though. The tread blocks seem to be in distinct rows, with each row looking somewhat lower in height from the next one as you work your way from the outer tread blocks to the higher, center ridge. This lends a speedy roll on harder surfaces, but other tires with this sort of rounded casing tend to knife into gravel and feel squirrely. Once again, the supple casing comes to the rescue, keeping your tire rolling forward instead of hunting side to side as it plows through the marbles, as some other tires do. Air pressure has a lot to do with this working, and I ran close to 40psi in these tires, but being a big guy at 240lbs, I would suspect others would be able to run these at lower psi’s.

Cazadero

The Soma Cazadero in the 50mm size makes a nice tire choice for 29″ers headed out for gravel travel duty.

At The Finish: The Cazadero is a wonderful tire from the standpoint of smoothness. It just does what you would hope a fatter tire would do, and that is to act as a bit of “suspension” for your bike. This does a good job of reducing vibrations, which is a big benefit to the rider. That also helps lower rolling resistance as well, which has been demonstrated in tests by various publications and other sources. So, it would seem that the Cazadero would be a slam dunk choice for a bike with enough clearance for it, like say, a 29″er, or perhaps a Fargo.

The thing is, not all is roses with this tire. For instance, those light casings are going to be susceptible to cuts. There just isn’t a lot there to ward off the nasties. The other thing is that this tire doesn’t seem to be as big as advertised. My samples measure out at 47mm each, for example, and that is after several weeks of use. That makes sense when the tire comes out to such a light weight, there just isn’t enough material to spread over that big a volume. The narrower width puts the tire in a kind of “no man’s land” where it won’t fit in many gravel/adventure frames and is slightly too small for the wants and desires of folks with 29″ers. That said, many will be pleased with the weight and ride quality of the tire, which does a lot for making up for these shortcomings. Of course, there is the 42mm Cazadero, but that tire isn’t blessed with a “tubeless ready” designation. While it has been used that way by many, buyer beware……

If the 50mm Cazadero fits your bike, (it really seems to be slightly narrower than 50mm), and you need a smooth rolling, multi-purpose tire for gravel and dirt, then this tire should be on your radar. Riders with 29″ers looking to convert their bikes to a gravel road machine should take a look at the Cazadero. It is definitely a tighter fitting tire and Stan’s rim owners should be aware that it may be too tight for use on those rims. Otherwise, tubeless performance is very good. I have to reiterate, it rides super smoothly. Probably the best riding tire in this size range I have tested. It is very light for an almost 50mm wide tire, but it may not be as durable as heavier tires, so those with sharper rocks and nastier terrain may want to look elsewhere for a tougher tire. The tread seems long lasting and the tire performs wonderfully on loose gravel and hard packed dirt roads.

The Cazadero is available in black wall or skin wall for about $75.99 direct from Soma online, from online bike shops, or from your local bike shop. You can check it out on Soma’s site HERE.

Note- These tires were purchased for use by Guitar Ted and this review was not paid for or done with any assistance at all from Soma Fabrications. We strive to give our honest thoughts and opinions throughout.

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12 Responses to Soma Cazadero 50mm Tire: Quick Review

  1. Gerard the kiwi September 11, 2017 at 11:44 pm #

    Yes! I’ve been riding the 42mm versions of these training for the Tour Aotearoa in February 18 (look it up and weep with envy!). The 42s are lovely on road and gravel, but as I’m riding a CX bike down a 3,000 km mix of road and trail, I’ve been waiting for these wider ones to appear. The fact that they’re only 47mm is actually a boon, given my frame clearances.

  2. Sgurr Uaran November 14, 2017 at 4:14 pm #

    Shame Soma don’t “officially” do a 650bx42 tubless…

  3. Ed Ng December 7, 2017 at 11:29 am #

    I recently put a set of WTB Resolute 700x42c tires on my Jamis Renegade and rode them to great success at this year’s Gravel Fondo out of Victory Brewing in Parkesburg, PA. I felt the Resolutes served me significantly better than the set of Horizons that I rode last year’s Gravel Fondo on.

    Have been pondering whether the Cazadero 50c would be able to give me similar or better on-pavement performance, similar levels of confidence on gravel, and better float/handling on deep sand, compared to these. I ask this because my chief riding region (South Jersey) is an absolute bastion of sugar sand/deep sand, and I’ve been on a constant search of the best tires I can possibly fit on my Renegade for said sand.

    I did a few searches on the site for it, but didn’t see any comparison of the Resolute versus the Cazadero 50. Would you be able to shed some light on such a comparison?

    -Ed

    • Guitar Ted December 7, 2017 at 5:50 pm #

      @Ed Ng- Thanks for the comments and the question.

      I think what you are describing is a situation with a nearly impossible solution given your parameters. Without a lot more detail, I can only offer you the following advice-

      In a situation where the frame is going to limit tire and rim width, such as is the case with your Renegade, you can try using as wide a tubeless rim that you can, (likely something with an inner width of 23mm-25mm), and a big volume tire like the Resolute. Frankly, I am not sure your bike will take a 50mm tire. (Possibly wider if run tubeless on a wider rim)

      Between the two tires you mention, I would choose the Resolute anyway, because the Panaracer made Caz isn’t a very durable tire nor does it hold air as well as the Resolute. The Caz is a great tire, but for as thin as it is, (which is why it weighs so little for its size), it cannot hold a candle to the WTB’s tubeless performance. Besides the side walls being beefier, the Resolute does better on pavement as well.

      Back to that sand- Really, the only thing you can do there is run lower pressures and use technique to power through that sand. Like a CX racer does. It isn’t easy, by any stretch. The “best” solution would obviously be a fat bike, but that’s a completely different deal.

      • Ed Ng December 12, 2017 at 3:29 pm #

        Thanks, Ted! That really helps me a lot, actually. I’ll stick with my Resolutes for now and play around some more with tire pressure–I do have a separate 27.5+ hardtail on days when I’m riding pure trail and it+me handles deep sand just fine.

        The rims that I will be upgrading my Renegade to are Boyd Altamont Lites, which have only a 19mm internal width. This is why I figured that the Cazadero 50s might fit–I have a separate set of 650b wheels with WTB i23 rims that I was using on my Renegade for while, but the Horizons’ lack of knobs was kind of a real killjoy on trails, and I’m simply not convinced that the Byways are really that much better.

        Here’s an interesting thing I DID notice when I was still running the Horizons–on the Renegade, because of the way they shaped the inside of the chainstays (they curved the inside of the chainstays closer to the BB in such a way that 700c rims will fit a wider tire than 650b rims), the rear triangle on the aluminum, quick-release Renegade frames (like my 2016 Exile) will actually fit a wider tire on 700c rims than it will on 650b rims since the chainstays are more limiting than the seatstays! Looking up front at the shape of the fork (also different for 2016 Exiles, a chromoly fork), it is clear that you’d run into clearance problems at the rear triangle long before you have clearance problems up front at the fork/crown.

        Either way, given what you said about the Resolutes, it probably doesn’t make sense to switch to 50mm Cazaderos.

        Now the only thing left I can wonder about is if anyone has tried running a Resolute out back and maybe a Riddler 45 out front; hmm…

        -Ed

    • Matt February 27, 2018 at 2:48 pm #

      I have considered just using the WTB Resolutes 700×42 as a road touring tire, tubeless, given I will take on some gravel as well – how did the Resolute compare to the Cazadero 42 for road – which would you choose (I think the 50 will be a bit big for my frame)

  4. Jonathan February 24, 2018 at 12:16 am #

    Greetings from Ontario, Canada! 🙂

    Thanks for the review and for your site – very helpful!

    I have a either/or question for you – I am looking to replace my tires very soon and I think I have narrowed it down to either the Soma Cadazero 50 or the Teravail Sparwood in 2.2. Which would you recommend? I am a frequent pavement rider (commuter and I ride with a bunch of guys who ride all pavement) with a 29er, but I do enjoy some singletrack and I intend to do a 400km trail later this fall. It seems from my research like the Cadazero would do a little better on pavement, but the Sparwood would be a little better on the trails… would that be an accurate assessment?

    • Guitar Ted February 24, 2018 at 7:13 am #

      @Jonathan- Hello from Iowa!

      Thanks for reading Riding Gravel. We all here appreciate that you do.

      Your “either/or” question is kind of a tough one. The tread pattern on the Cazadero would favor better grip off road than would the Sparwood, but without more specific information there, I cannot really say which would be okay for you. Gravel roads, maybe some light, not rocky single track? The Cazadero would do fine. If, however, there were a chance for nastier trail conditions which have the potential to damage a tire, then I would opt for the Sparwood even though it isn’t going to have as much traction as the Cazadero. The Cazadero is a more fragile tire, is what I am trying to say here.

      I guess from my viewpoint I would choose the tire based upon the worst case scenario I felt I was going to regularly see and not worry about pavement performance. If you don’t see an issue arising from using a tire that is lighter and more susceptible to damage off road, then get the Cazadero. The Sparwood was designed for the Tour Divide, (which has a fair amount of pavement, by the way), so to my mind, that sounds like the safer choice in your case, but you will have to make that judgment call yourself.

      Hope that helps……

      • Jonathan February 24, 2018 at 9:35 am #

        Excellent! Thank you.

  5. Mikael Blomme August 12, 2018 at 1:02 pm #

    Hi Ted,

    your orange Badger bike is looking very sharp and seems versatile since having the kind of clearance to accommodate these large tyres.

    What material and model is it, and where can I get hold of it (in Europe preferably)?

    I’ve been contemplating a 650b build but not sure it’s the best for me given my height (6,2″ and 34″ inseam), but definitely something with big volume tyres and slightly less reach and and more stack than my last bike, the 2017 Specialized Seqoiua.

    Any advice given that I commute 35 kms per day 2-3 times per week and do 20-70 km excursions on weekends. Surface being 70% gravel roads (with sandy as well as rough rocky patches) and 30% tarmac on my commutes, and preference for gravel and single-track (not to technical though, have 29er FS MTB for that) on weekends.

    I’ve been looking for a commuter/gravel/touring bike with similar geometry to the Specialized Awol or Marin Four Corners Elite, and one that isn’t dull black 😉

    Others considered: Fairlight Secan, Sonder Camino Ti, Ritchey Outback, Soma Wolverine.

    Last thing, would you advise against getting post-mount brake mounts in a new bike, given that flat mount seem to rule in the future?

    Best regards,

    Mikael

    • Guitar Ted August 12, 2018 at 7:07 pm #

      @Mikael Blomme- The Badger brand is extinct, so there are no more to be had. Regarding bicycle choice, I think one can over analyze these things.Perhaps just jumping on the one that fits you best and looks nice to your eyes and then just riding it will get you more enjoyment than fretting over choices. To be completely honest, it is nearly an impossible task for me to advise you on a bike when I don’t know you and how you ride.

      Flat mount = road based design, post mount = mtb based design. That’s how I see things stacking up. Your bicycle choice – road or mtb based- will dictate which you end up with as far as brake mount type for the foreseeable future.I do not see one or the other taking over everything.

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