Teravail Cannonball 38mm Tires: At The Finish-
Tubeless tires in the 35mm-40mm wide range have been hard to come by until recently. We have the Specialized Trigger Pro 2Bliss 38, WTB Nano 40TCS, the Clement MSO 36, the Maxxis Rambler 4o, and the reviewed tire here, the Teravail Cannonball 38mm tire. There are a few other tires coming soon as well, but these have been the main players. In this final installment on the Teravail Cannonball, we will get a taste for where it stacks up against all these other tires which I have ridden, and then I will give my final verdict on this new brand’s entry into the gravel tubeless tire market. The previous entry on this tire can be found by clicking HERE.
In terms of how easily the Cannonball is installed, and in how it does day to day in a tubeless set up, it ranks amongst the very best tires I have tried. These tires were easily mounted to American Classic, Velocity USA, and on HED rims with a little help from an air compressor in a couple of instances. Air pressure retention is really good. These tires also did not react in any way that would give me pause and I have the highest confidence in their ability to be stable and safe as a tubeless tire.
In this category I place a high premium on a tire’s smoothness, damping ability, and lack of rolling resistance. Tubeless tires also have the advantage over tubed tires in that they are nearly impossible to pinch flat. This, in my opinion, is the main culprit when it comes to causes for flat tires for gravel or back road riding.
Teravail made the casing of the Cannonball in such a way that the puncture protection and sidewall treatment makes the tire very stiff in comparison to other tires. I noted that a wider rim does mitigate that to a degree, but there is no denying the fact that you give up a smooth, damped ride feel for flat protection here. It also affects rolling resistance to a degree. I found in a roll down test against the new Clement MSO 36 tubeless tire that the Cannonball was slightly higher in rolling resistance. The Cannonball also has the characteristic of passing higher frequency “buzz” through the frame to your contact points. Furthermore, it transmits quite a thwack on sharper edged impacts. Much more so than other tubeless tires I have ridden. It should also be noted that I found that the Teravail tire worked better, in terms of the ride characteristics I find important, at a lower pressure than I would normally go with in tubeless tires. This may adversely affect the rolling resistance a bit, but higher pressures exacerbated my other complaints to such a degree that I couldn’t justify running these at any higher pressures than I did.
These tires are said by Teravail to be good on “coarse gravel”, whatever that means to you. Here it means loose rock all the way across the road several inches deep. In that scenario, these tires were more skittish, losing lateral grip, than some others I have ridden. Otherwise I felt that the stiff casing made more work of riding over coarse gravel than a more supple casing, say like the Specialized tire, or the Nano 40TCS has going for them. In fact, I would go so far as to say that many tubed gravel road tires actually roll over gravel better than this tubeless one does. Get the Cannonball on dirt, or smoother gravel, and it behaves much more like any other tire would. Mud is not a friend to this tire, as the copious, deep, small tread blocks seem to grab mud and not let go of it very easily. I also noted this tire’s loss of lateral grip in mud. I would rate it near the bottom in those areas.
At The Finish: The Teravail Cannonball tires have lived up to their claims in the weight and width categories, plus their tubeless performance has been very good. However; compared to the crop of tubeless gravel tires available at the time of this review, the Cannonball rates at the bottom for ride feel, which we feel has come at the expense of toughness and puncture protection. It also ranks as one of the heavier tubeless gravel tire options at a bit over 500 grams each. It is important to remember here that a wider rim gives the tire a better ride feel than a narrower one does. Ride feel aside, the stiff casing also hurts the tire performance in comparison to other tubeless offerings. The rider profile that best fits this tire is one of someone that values toughness and flat protection above all else. If this is descriptive of you, the Cannonball is your tire, but if not, you will get a much better tubeless ride feel and performance elsewhere.
NOTE: The Teravail Cannonball 38mm tires were purchased by RidingGravel.com for test and review. We were not paid, nor bribed for this review, and we always strive to bring our honest thoughts and opinions throughout.
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