You’ve got a gravel bike and love rolling on mixed terrain, so getting the right tire is critical when the circuit includes road, gravel, singletrack and everything in-between. Very few of us exclusively ride gravel on our gravel bikes and that’s exactly the terrain that the Donnelly Strada USH 40c is made for.

Donnelly Strada USH 40c Tubeless Gravel Tire Features:

  • Fast, durable and smooth rolling center tread
  • Exaggerated chevron pattern on sides for excellent cornering traction
  • Integrated puncture protection belt under the tread
  • This is a tubeless-ready tire, but can be used with a tube
  • Width 40mm (measures 41mm on the Zipp 30 course)
  • Warranty: 1 year
  • Weight: 565 grams (actual)
  • MSRP: $70 ea
Niner RLT 9 / Donnelly Strada USH 40 Tubeless Tires

The Strada 40c tire has exceeded expectations for all-terrain performance.

Rolling on all Strada

The idea was to get a set of tires that could be mounted to a set of Zipp 30 Course wheels aboard a Niner RLT 9 for some mixed-terrain riding. After looking at the Donnelly tire lineup, it was easy to pick the Strada USH from the list. It had a good width, road and dirt-friendly tread profile and it was tubeless-ready. For me, tubeless is a no-brainer for gravel bikes (and all bikes, for that matter). The ability to run lower pressures without worries is not merely nice to have, but a must-have in today’s world.

When mounting tires, I always shy away from tire levers. For obvious reasons, they are just a bad idea if you can avoid them. For the Strada USH 40mm tire, I didn’t need any tools to mount them aboard the 30 Course wheels. Just a little elbow grease and that was it. In fact, I seated them up tubeless without sealant with the Bontrager TLR Flash Charger. And, there the wheels and tires sat, hanging in the garage for at least a week — only losing 5-10 psi in all that time.

Clearly, not all tubeless setups are equal, but mixing Zipp and Donnelly tubeless rims and tires appears to be a match made in heaven. Fingers crossed that I don’t jinx things, but I’m looking forward to many more miles ahead.

Donnelly Strada USH 40 Tubeless Tire Review

Fast-rolling in the middle with low-profile grippy shoulders. I’m double-tapping.

As tire widths increase, so do rolling weights. These aren’t the lightest tires in the shed at 565 grams, but that weight is well-spent as the casings are durable yet supple with added flat protection. And, tubeless beads are notoriously heavy, so there you go. I’ll trade a little extra weight for the supple ride afforded by running tubeless at 40/45 psi.

40c is a great width for gravel tires because it’s enough girth to run low pressures, improve handling and smooth out the ride without feeling bogged down. Set up aboard the Niner RLT alloy, I’ve enjoyed plenty of clearance to go along with that magic carpet ride.

I’m not going to sit here and tell you that these tires make the bike feel impervious to rough roads, but running 40/45 psi for my 170 lb weight has been pretty darn sublime. And, on pavement, the Strada USH rolls quite well — particularly on flat sections. Once the road turns upward, they do tend to lose some mustard and log slower times than I can get with pure road tires. All that is to be expected. I will say that I’m slaughtering my best times on gravel sectors these days. Seems like a fair tradeoff.

Cornering traction is sublime as these tires grip like Velcro and hold a line without much effort. And, more importantly, they handle beautifully on dirt. We’re talking gravel, hardpack, singletrack and loose, dry stuff and the Strada USH takes it all in stride. Standing climbs require a little weight shifting to maintain the best traction, but the key is to find the sweet spot by standing up and adjusting body position. Once there, the tires will gain traction and propel you forward.

As use has continued, the Strada USH’s have continued to perform well. They roll fast and are ready for another season of gravel use.

The Good

  • Tubeless setup in a jiffy
  • Holds air well with Zipp 30 Course wheels
  • Excellent combination of center treads and outside ones
  • Can confidently tackle rough terrain
  • Show little signs of wear so far

The Bad

  • A little heavy
  • Priced higher than similar tires

The Bottom Line: Donnelly Strada USH 40c Tires

For me, tubeless is a must-have on gravel and mountain bikes. The Donnelly Strada USH 40c tubeless tire inflates easily with a rock-solid tubeless bead. The tire tread rolls well in the flats and corners like champs on gravel, dirt and pavement.

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About Author

A native of the Pacific Northwest, Jason quickly developed a love for the outdoors and a thing for mountains. That infatuation continues as he founded this site in 1999 -- sharing his love of road biking, mountain biking, trail running and skiing. That passion is channeled into every article or gear review he writes. Utah's Wasatch Mountains are his playground.

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