The American Classic Kimberlite is a tire that hews to my taste in tires intended for mixed-surface riding. It begin with a center slick section, moves to a slight herringbone on either side of that, then a relatively deep diamond-file tread with some modest knobs at the sides.
Honestly, it looks like some city tires. My gravel rides almost always take in a healthy chunk of asphalt, so I like having something that will roll quickly on the road. Also, I’ve noticed that when the tire is wide enough, it doesn’t really need all that much tread in most off-road circumstances. This is a tire that gives terrific traction on hard pack and firm gravel. It breaks away gradually, so pushing it in turns isn’t suicidal.
It’s also a remarkably supple tire for something that’s tubeless, and that owes to its 120 thread per inch casing.
I have to confess that the marketing speak of Stage 5S Armor construction and Rubberforce G tire compound makes my eyes glaze over. No matter who the company is, they are working with their factories to present the best product they can, so I don’t get caught up in the minutiae of construction. Either the tire performs well, or it doesn’t.
This tire can go head-to-head with my all-time-fave gravel tire, the Donnelly Sport USH.
It comes in three different sidewall colors, black, tan and brown. The brown looks pretty good if you don’t still love black sidewalls. Tan sidewalls still make me think of cheap tires from my shop days, so I just can’t with the tan.
It comes in five sizes, 700 x 35, 40, 45 and 50mm as well as a 650B x 47. I’m riding the 40 because for me that has hit the sweet spot that I need between quick rolling and performance on rocks. I’m running these on a very wide Enve rim and I gotta say, they measure more like 45mm on such a wide rim.
Here’s the part that is just crazy: the tire retails for $45. I was sent these by a PR guy I know, but If I was purchasing gravel tires today, given that I’m trying to feed a teenager, I’d buy these in a heartbeat.