With the growing popularity of gravel cycling, the number of tire manufacturers clambering aboard with their take on a gravel tire continues – which is a good thing. Panaracer released the Gravel King – first in 32mm and now in 40mm tubeless ready. The Gravel King tire with its small tread blocks differs markedly from the tread pattern of the company’s 700c x 38mm Comet Hard Pack tire. Originally spotted at Interbike 2014, how do the Comet Hard Pack tires fare? Click on through to find out…


The Comet Hard Pack tire has been a staple of Panaracer’s MTB tire line-up. Essentially, this variant is a down-sized version of those same tires, but in 700c. Labelled as 38c (or 700c x 38mm as we prefer), but clearly marked on the sidewall with an ETRTO of 40-622, these tires measure 40+ mm wide, depending on the rim they are mounted to. The Hard Packs tipped the scales at 464 / 466 grams each tire – for the folding Aramid bead version.


The Comet Hard Packs are not intended for tubeless use, but they work splendidly in this manner. I mounted them tubeless on two different pairs of wheels – handbuilts with Stans Alpha 340 rims and American Classic Hurricane – both wheelsets are intended for tubeless use.


In the case of the Stans Alpha 340 rims (17mm inside width), the tires measured 41mm wide. For the American Classic Hurricanes (18mm inside width), the tires grew a little more to 42.5mm wide. It took a little effort to get the tires to seal, and by that I mean the usual pancaking technique (Pancaking = shaking the wheel back and forth to distribute the sealant), followed by laying flat on a bucket – then repeat pancaking, etc. Only once during the review period did I experience a slow leak, which was quickly rectified post ride with more sealant and a little more pancaking. In all cases, I inflated the tires anywhere from 35psi to 40psi, despite the manufacturer recommending a minimum of 44psi – with tubes.


The biggest negative came when installing / jamming these tires in between the cantilever brakes of my somewhat retro bike. A minor quibble, easily rectified by releasing a little air, then re-inflating to the desired pressure. Bikes equipped with disc brakes will not have this issue.


But the positives far outweigh any negatives. This is an excellent tire that rolled fast over every dirt, gravel, singletrack, sand and hardpack surface I encountered. The rounded tire profile of the Comet Hard Pack provides very good cornering control while maintaining rapid forward motion with excellent traction. On paved roads, the tread pattern of the tires had them howling a little, indicating resistance and a slight loss of speed. However, the Comet Hard Packs are a nice improvement over the less voluminous tires I’d been using previously for our local nighttime gravel road rides.


The Comet Hard Pack tires are tough. I’ve taken some notable hits on them, with no sidewall cuts or other damage evident during the review period.  The Aramid bead, folding version of the Hard Pack under review is rated at 60TPI, lesser than other good quality tires currently available. However, in no way did the lower TPI count detract from my perceived quality of ride. As a side note, the Comet Hard Packs are also available in a wire bead, 30TPI version.

PanaracerCometHP2015-5The Made in Japan Panaracer Comet Hard Pack is a competitively priced tire, priced at around $US 35.00 for the Aramid bead folding version, and $US 20.00 for the wire bead version.

Photos and article by Gravel Cyclist.
Jayson O’Mahoney is the Gravel Cyclist: A website about the Gravel Cycling Experience.

Panaracer Tires



  1. fergus on

    had issue with panaracer tires and stans rims, ran the gravel kings for a while and the tire would blow off the rim at 90 psi, maybe not an issue with these at a much lower pressure. Wouldnt recommend the rim and bead combination though

    • typevertigo on

      Probably too late for you to read this reply, but it appears YES.

      Older Panaracer tires had the Panasonic branding right next to the Panaracer logo too. I guess it goes with Matsushita (parent company) being a zaibatsu (corporate conglomerate) like Mitsubishi and Yamaha are.

  2. Sevo on

    Fergus-All of stan’s mtb and cross rims are only rated to 45 psi last i checked. I’ve used panaracer tires on their road rims (cross) no problem.

  3. Veganpotter on

    sss…TPI isn’t 100% worthless knowledge. A high thread count typically makes a tire that’s less susceptible to punctures from very small, sharp objects. A lower TPI is better at handling cuts. A lower TPI tire is also harder to manufacture at a low weight due to the way the rubber soaks in to the tire during manufacturing.

    Fergus…what were you thinking? Only a road tubeless tire(assuming your rims can handle it) can handle a pressure much over 60 and 90 is stupid high for anything over 28mm wide and really, 90 is pretty damn high for a road tubeless tire that’s a 28

  4. Bob Cummings on

    The Comet is a great gravek tire. I live in Kansas and ride in the flint hills. Run them tubeless at 30/32psi and could not be happier.

  5. greg on

    That article is a bit misleading. Continental is the only company I’m aware of that counts multiple layers in their TPI rating.
    Excluding Continental, tires with 290 or 320tpi are non-vulcanized. The tread is glued to the casing. Vulcanized tires, where the tread and casing are molded together, typically top out in the 120s (I think Maxxis does a 170tpi now). Again, these are single layers before being wrapped around the head.
    Tpi is not everything, but it absolutely is one important component of tire selection.

  6. fergus on

    Gravel king isn’t a road tubeless and was running it them with tubes. 90 is fine for the tire as they are rated to 110. The rims can handle over 125 as running them now with conti 4 season without issue at around 90. anything below 80 is soft for road riding.

  7. slomab on

    To the Reviewer:

    RE: Tires catching on brakes when installing–

    Doesn’t the straddle cable pop out and allow the calipers to spread out, like a quick release? Don’t think I’ve a cantilever that doesn’t…

  8. Jayson O'Mahoney on

    @slomab – I should have clarified a little better. This tire is so wide, even with the calipers spread out at maximum (where the brake holders touch the frame), the tire still doesn’t squeeze between the brake pads.

    I suspect this would only be a limitation on those running older bikes like I did in the review. This is no fault of the tire. My bike was probably designed for tires no wider than 34mm. But, easy to resolve by deflating a little air.

    Thanks for the feedback.


COMMENT HERE: (For best results, log in through Wordpress or your social media account. Anonymous/fake email comments may be unapproved or deleted. ALL first-time commenter's posts are held for moderation. Check our Comment Policy for full details.)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.