Touring - Riding in New Zealand on "thin" tires?
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One place I hope to tour is in New Zealand. My wife and I have friends that recently moved there and I've begun researching/planning a tour there.
One issue that presented itself immediately was tire width. It seems that riding on gravel covered dirt roads is where some of the best riding is on the South Island. Looking at a few photos shows people biking on them with very wide tires.
The widest tire I can get on my Waterford 1900 is 700x38 tires with fenders but given the trouble I've had with fenders, let's assume 35mm.
For those who live or have ridden in New Zealand, would 700x35 tires be wide enough to handle the dirt roads in New Zealand?
10-18-10, 01:13 PM
I think you'll be fine. I ride on dirt and gravel roads with 32 mm tires.
Not all tires of the same dimensions are the same dimensions! You may be able to find a 38 mm tire that is a little narrower than the ones you have now. Or a 35mm tire in one brand that is a little wider than another. I once had a bike that could accept up to 28 mm tires from one manufacturer, but not from another. The difference between the two was probably two or three mm.
I ride on dirt and gravel roads with 32 mm tires.
me too... I'm looking hard at the new Continental GatorHardshell 32mm
for a hard, fast durable tire to get me round NZ South Island :)
edit: gah sorry, links not embedding well :/
10-18-10, 04:24 PM
NZ has great roads. No need for anything unique or special unless you are going for mtb specific trips.
10-18-10, 05:11 PM
I have done a couple of tours in New Zealand - most of the gravel roads are OK - but a small proportion -particularly on the South Island (and I assume only where they have to keep refreshing the roads due to damage caused by logging trucks) can be big gravel with nasty cambers - I was on 26x1.5 and struggled fully loaded - most other people that I saw with bikes were walking - However, it is not that common and I would not worry about it
10-18-10, 09:35 PM
I use 26x1.5 slick tyres and this will handle most gravel roads, unless they have just been graded (then no tyre will do the job well). If you go well offroad, you may benefit with knobbly tyres eg Molesworth, Rainbow Rd.
You might want to consider taking the fenders off if they cause a problem. Most bikes in NZ don't have fenders. We put up with a little dirt and water, or put cut down versions of fenders on the bike eg on the downtube.
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