Since I put the Taravail Sparwood’s on my bike a year ago I have done many things with them that I had no business doing. I took them for a few proper trail rides… and wrecked. Then I took them on a hungover road ride on the 4th of July… and nearly puked trying to remember why I thought that jello shots were a good idea. So these are not mountain bikes tire nor am I a roadie.
What they are is an awesome example of groad tires. If you love the crunch of gravel under your wheel and the isolation of a dirt road, then these tires are worth your attention. Since putting the terivails on my Salsa, they have whisked me along many many miles of rutted, rocky, and downright awful service roads while carrying many many pounds of bike-packing gear, and they have been nothing but a wonder to me.
Teravail says these tires are Great Divide inspired and that makes nothing but sense. I rode a small section of the Great Divide in northern Montana, and the tires felt as sturdy and responsive under a fully-loaded bike as anything I have experienced. I have also done a gravel century ride on them, and they were unreasonably comfortable. Seriously, 2.2 is the sweet spot for comfort, speed, and durability. They have enough lugging to keep you charging hard even on loose and sloppy gravel corners or descents, but you don’t have to push too hard to cruise along at a good clip along the straights.
The Sparwoods aren’t good at most things, they’re too slow to be a road tire and too smooth to be a single track shredder. Quite honestly, they're not meant for most people, but they are perfect for that small but growing community of cyclists who want to fly down the open road — but not just any road. We want the crunch of gravel under our wheels and the solitude that accompanies a Forest Service road that slowly winds its way through the landscape where the road signs are few and far between. If you're looking for a tire to take you to the end of that dead end road and beyond, definitely give the Sparwood a consideration.