Vibration Testing Supple Tires – How Much Comfort Can You Get From Them?

One of the most recurring topics in the world of bicycle comfort is tire ‘suppleness’. You can find opinions like, “This tire rides harshly” and “That tire is very comfortable”.

Naturally, I wanted to find out if these subjective opinions are correct or not. So I bought a pair of Soma Cazadero 42mm tires, which are known as one of the more supple tires on the market.

On a daily basis, I use Panaracer GravelKing SK tires. I have 42mm and 50mm versions (700C) and 48mm in 650B. These tires are very rigid and dependable. I use them both in tubed and tubeless setups.

But GravelKings are not the most ‘supple’ tires you can get – far from it. To unlock the most comfort from them you really need to reduce the tire pressure a lot (ie. 20 psi with a tubeless setup). Only then can you get something of a ‘magic carpet’ feeling. However, cornering is really not that enjoyable when your tires squirm at low pressure…

Fortunately, there are tires like Soma Cazadero that are known for their great suppleness. This allows you to ride with much more practical air pressure (30 psi both tubed and tubeless) and still enjoy the comfortable ride (at least in theory).

Fitting The Soma Cazadero Supple Tires

The Soma Cazadero in a 42mm variant is not officially tubeless-ready, and with my narrow Alex ATD470 rims it shows. Mounting them tubeless required removing the inner valve completely to quickly inflate the tire and get the beat to lock. I also needed a lot more sealant (actually a mix of Slime and NoStans sealant) to stop air from leaking.

In the end, it worked quite well, but on a daily basis, I’d rather use inner tubes with this tire (perhaps a different rim would work better).

I ran this test based on the tubed setup and at 30 psi air pressure. Why 30 psi? Based on my previous tests, I found out that this is optimal tire pressure for my weight. You will not get a pinch flat with tubes and the cornering is much more enjoyable. Yet 30 psi is still low enough to allow the tire to flex and show its suppleness.

How Does A Supple Tire Feel?

Compared to my GravelKing SK 43mm tire, the Soma Cazadero generates much less noise on the tarmac. This was the first surprise, especially when you compare the treads on both tires (Cazadero looks much more like an off-road tire).

The Soma Cazadero also felt a little bit slower, but I didn’t conduct any speed tests to know for sure.

The other difference was the corning feel. The Cazadero felt like it was sliding more than GravelKing SKs. But after more rides, I got accustomed to that feeling, and to be honest, when pushed hard – the Cazadero behaved in the corners as well as the GravelKings.

But how about comfort? To be honest there was something going on but I did not feel a big difference at all. I then began to wonder if all this supple tire hype was indeed just hype…

Vibration Testing Supple Tires

You can see my vibration measurement procedure & outdoor test courses HERE.

I ran my standard tests based on my Jamis Renegade benchmark bike with a RedShift ShockStop suspension stem and an Ergon Allroad Pro carbon seatpost.

The big revelation was that a supple tire is indeed more comfortable!

On the bumpy forest trail, the front of the bike was generating over 10% fewer vibrations, and the back was even better with 13,4% fewer vibrations.

On the fast gravel road, the difference was lower, but still 6% at the front, and 3,1% fewer vibrations at the back.


Based on my previous vibration tests, I can tell you that this is a significant improvement in overall comfort. The Soma Cazadero tires now have a spot on my benchmark bike for future tests.

Other than lowering your tire pressure, or fitting a Redshift suspension stem, more supple tires are one of the best things you can do to improve the overall comfort of your gravel bike.

So yes, supple tire hype is real and you should jump on the supple tire bandwagon as soon as possible.

You can support the CyclingAbout Comfort Lab by purchasing Soma Cazadero tires on Amazon. Simply click HERE for 700Cx42mm, HERE for 650Bx42mm, and HERE for 650Bx50mm – and a small commission will come our way.

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