The Comet is a new tire from Panaracer that should grab the attention of riders who are into the adventure and gravel bike scene or even someone simply looking for a very versatile tire on their commuter bike.
The Comet is listed as a 700x38mm tire but on my Velocity A23’s it measured much closer to 40mm wide which for me was a nice surprise as I love high volume tires but it is something to consider if clearance is already tight on your bike.
Most of its miles were on my commute which is mostly made up of a dirt/gravel bike path and glass strewn streets with the occasional 50ish mile “gravel grinder” thrown in for good measure. The Comet has great climbing/braking traction, good cornering traction in all but the most aggressive corners and rolls very well. The tire I can not help but compare all other gravel tires to is the Clement XPlor MSO which in my opinion is the closest thing we have to a “perfect” gravel tire right now and the Panaracer stacks up nicely to the Clement and reminded me of it in a lot of ways. They both have a very supple ride which is a big hand saver over fresh gravel and braking bumps on fire road descents. The Clement does have a very slight edge when talking about rolling resistance and cornering traction although the Panaracer does seem to have better climbing/braking traction when really pushed on single track.
Durability was also surprising, looking at the small tread blocks that remind me of a Small Block 8 I expected the tire to wear very quickly but even after 400 miles or so of abuse there is hardly any noticeable wear at all, I could see this tire going for over 2k miles on the rear under all but the most abuse riders. I can also say, even with all the broken glass we have in our fine city, I have still not had a single flat!
As much as I liked the Comet, I can not say it is now my favorite gravel tire out there when looking purely at performance but it is surprisingly close. The real kicker here though, the Panaracer Comet is only going to retail at $29.99 for the Kevlar bead option and will have a wire bead option at only $19.99. That is an incredible price for a tire of this caliber and is enough to make me reconsider springing for the Clements next time I am shopping for gravel tires and it makes it a no brainier for those looking for a tough and affordable commuter tire that can be ridden any where.
**In full disclosure, I did receive these tires from Panaracer at no cost to myself but the opinions above are my honest thoughts on the performance of these tires**