Editor’s Note: With this being the first “Riding Gravel Rolling Review”, we are introducing some new terminology with the tried and true “long format” review process I have employed since 2005. The first post- the “Getting Rolling” post- will be an introduction and “first impressions” post. Stick around for the follow ups: Checkpoint- a “mid-term” update that will tell you how the product is holding up after several rides/many miles, and then “At The Finish”- a “final review” where I will wrap up everything in a “final conclusions/verdict” type way. Long term posts on any product will be listed as “Post Ride Refreshments”- a follow up on a product that may be kept for extra-long testing/test mule purposes
The Soma Fabrications Cazadero tires have been with me now through the Winter and it is time to lay down my final thoughts on how this tire stacks up against the competition for getting the gravel riding cyclist’s dollar out there. If you want to review my past thoughts on this tire, please see my “Checkpoint” review HERE.
I’m going to skip over the technical aspects of this tire and get right to my thoughts on how this tire fares in relationship to my experiences with many other tires for gravel road riding. The Cazadero is a big, meaty tire, and it isn’t going to be on the radar of those who seek fast, light, super responsive tires for the purposes of racing. That doesn’t mean that the Cazadero would be a bad tire for racing events though. On the contrary, it may be an excellent choice for something like the Dirty Kanza 200, or any event where comfort, control, and durability are primary concerns.
In my opinion, the Cazadero fits in with a certain group of tires that are wider, maybe not considered lightweight, and feature stability over loose, rough surfaces. Tires like the Bruce Gordon Rock & Road, Clement’s MSO 40mm tires, and the WTB Nano 40’s, which all feature big casings, grippy tread patterns, and border on “monster cross/trail” type tires. Tires you might fit to a 29″er, an “expedition/touring” bike, or use in the aforementioned gravel events that feature longer distances and/or rough terrain.
Of these sorts of tires, the Cazadero ranks highly, in my estimation. The standout feature for me is the Cazadero’s smoother center section which really allows the tire to roll easily on hard pack or pavement. The sensation there is that of a lighter tire, and in my opinion, this is what sets the Cazadero apart from the crowd. This makes the Cazadero a tire I feel would be a perfect match for a bike set up for mixed surface rides, touring, or as a great “all around” tire for any bike suited to gravel roads.
I also found traction to be quite good in situations where the surfaces ridden may include mud, dirt, or gravel. I only see this tire falling short on looser surfaces where that center section may cause some loss of grip. Otherwise, I find the Cazadero to have a great balance of traction, rolling resistance, and comfort. Like many other Panasonic made tires, there is definitely a “sweet spot” for air pressures, and in my experience that was above 40psi and below 60psi. However; I always encourage any riders to experiment for themselves regarding air pressures, as what works for me maybe isn’t right for someone else.
At The Finish: I give Soma high marks for hitting the weight and width specs for the tire with these samples. The casings work nicely over the gravel roads and the center raised tread section does what it is advertised to do. On pavement the theme continues and this makes for a versatile tire if it fits your bike. NOTE: These are not tubeless ready rated, so I didn’t test them that way. However; I do know that the Panaracer made Bruce Gordon tires have been successfully used in that manner, so…
A very good tire choice for someone looking for a do-it-all tires that feature volume, comfort, and versatility. The Soma Cazadero has you covered and as a bonus, it comes in black or tan sidewall choices and in a 650B variant. Highly recommended. See the Cazadero on Soma Fab’s site HERE.
There will be a “Post Ride Refreshments” long term review coming in a few months.
Note: These tires were sent over by Soma at no charge to Riding Gravel.com for test and review. We are not being paid, nor bribed for this review and strive to always give our honest thoughts and opinions throughout.
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