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  1. #1
    Bike touring webrarian
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    San Francisco, CA
    My Bikes
    I tour on a Waterford Adventurecycle. It is a fabulous touring bike.
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    NZ's South Island dirt roads and "thin" tires

    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?



    (Crossposted from Touring section)
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  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    In the South Island the dirt roads will be hard clay on the east but a bit soft on the west where there is a high rainfall (the east is in a rain shadow due to the southern alps). The cycling tracks (other than roads) seem to be mainly in the east anyway. Most of the valleys and flats in the South Island are the result of glacial action during the ice ages. I would have thought 35mm would be sufficient. A lot of people seem to do the Otago Rail Trail on any old bike and this is clay with small stone.

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