The GravelKing Mud looks to add a bit of extra grip to your gravel bike
A mud-specific gravel tyre seems like an oxymoron. But the Panaracer GravelKing Mud is a useful beast in UK conditions, where anything off-road, even if there’s a gravel base, is usually covered with a layer of slippery mud.
Most gravel tyres come with a tread of small knobs. These are great for grip and roll well on dry gravel, but have a tendency to clog and slip around if there’s any loose cover.
The Panaracer GravelKing Mud has an array of long, shallow knobs across its crown which provide some extra grip without adding too much rolling resistance. There is a set of deeper, smaller knobs at the sides to provide enhanced grip when cornering and cut into deeper muck.
There’s plenty of air volume in the 35mm tyre – it came out at around 38mm on Hunt’s rims. As usual, hitting the sweet spot for tyre pressure requires a bit of trial and error. I found around 40psi to provide reasonable speed on road, although you do slip around a bit in muddy conditions.
Dropping the pressure to 25psi resulted in enhanced grip in muddy conditions but a heavy ride on tarmac. I was also hitting the rims on bumpier tracks. You can still slip around and lose traction in really deep mud though. In deeper mud, a narrower tyre is likely to enhance grip as it should cut deeper and might hit the more solid base.
The tyre has a rounded profile, so get the pressure right and you should be rolling on the crown of the tyre on harder trails. The tread pattern is not quite as aggressive as mud-specific cyclocross tyres like the Dugast Rhino, but it’s enough to keep you going forward.
The Panaracer GravelKing Mud can be set up tubeless. It’s quite a tight fit to a tubeless rim, so once you get it fitted, seating and sealing are comparatively trouble-free. Panaracer says that it has incorporated anti-flat protection in its casing.
The Panaracer GravelKing Mud is available in 33mm and 35mm widths and with black or these rather smart tan sidewalls. If you expect to encounter deeper mud, the 33mm version might be a better bet than the 35mm.
Panaracer’s other gravel tyres are available in the larger widths up to 48c, more common for riding gravel. But for muddy conditions, the Panaracer GravelKing Mud’s narrower section provides better penetration and grip and is less likely to float over the surface.
The Panaracer GravelKing Mud tyre is a good option if your riding takes you onto trails with a gravel base but covered with surface dirt, giving you some extra traction over most gravel tyres. But it’s not quite as adept in muddy conditions as a mud-specific cyclo-cross tyre and in 35mm width tends to slip around when the mud gets really deep.