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Old 03-06-11, 08:21 PM   #1
MileHighMark
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Mixed-surface tires

My route to work is going to change from 100% pavement to approximately 40% dirt trails. Said trails range from hardpack to soft dirt and pea gravel.

My current tires--Vittoria Randonneur Hypers--are fine on the hardpack, but pretty sketchy elsewhere. I'm looking for something that'll give me some better traction/control on the dirt portion, but not roll like an absolute slug on the pavement. I was thinking of trying Vittoria's Randonneur Pro or Cross Pro, but am open to other suggestions.

Must haves:
  • 35mm actual width (700C)
  • Reflective sidewalls (prefer black over tan)
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Old 03-06-11, 08:30 PM   #2
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I've ridden Michelin Cities 28 front/32 rear over those kind of surfaces, but I don't know offhand if you can find them in 35s. I know they're available with reflective sidewalls.

They weren't great in gravel, but I doubt any 28/32 would be.
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Old 03-06-11, 10:36 PM   #3
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If you find somewhere that definitely has Randonneur Cross Pros in stock, let me know. I've been trying to find a set of the 35mm, but the only place that claims to have them also has multiple reviews saying they claim to have things and then don't.

I do think going with a cross tire may be a good idea for you.
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Old 03-07-11, 01:37 AM   #4
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If you find somewhere that definitely has Randonneur Cross Pros in stock, let me know. I've been trying to find a set of the 35mm, but the only place that claims to have them also has multiple reviews saying they claim to have things and then don't.

I do think going with a cross tire may be a good idea for you.
http://www.wiggle.co.uk/vittoria-ran...paign=products

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Old 03-07-11, 01:44 AM   #5
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For loose surfaces increased width will offer the most benefit... I like my Schwalbe CX Compe tyres for riding everything from the road to hardpack, to singletrack.

They come in a 35 and a 45 width and are also pretty bulletproof when it comes to not flatting.
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Old 03-07-11, 07:47 AM   #6
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I rode a 300k last year that had about 25k of loose gravel forest service roads. I used my regular old 32mm Pasela TGs.

Here's an idea of the gravel roads we were on. This is the transition from paved to unpaved:
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Old 03-07-11, 08:09 AM   #7
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I ride on gravel roads 8 miles a day, but they're pretty hard packed unless they've just been graded, then it's hard pack with loose gravel on top.

Honestly, if I had to ride pea gravel, I'd switch to a 26" bike and mount fairly fat tires on it.
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Old 03-07-11, 08:19 AM   #8
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Oooh, nice, thanks! I may have to jump on those!
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Old 03-07-11, 10:33 AM   #9
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The gravel isn't that deep. It's a thin layer on top of hard pack. A portion of the trail is ADA-accessible/compliant, so it's not as bad as one would imagine. The Hypers do OK with 10-15psi bled out, but I'd like something that offers just a bit more traction.

The Paselas look decent, but I'm not sure how their sidewalls would hold up against the occasional sharp (albeit, small) rock. That, and the last pair I purchased (one year ago), were 2-3mm narrower than claimed.
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Old 03-07-11, 10:37 AM   #10
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I've been using 35mm marathon extremes to get me through some mud/silt and back onto gravel and then pavement. They might be overdesigned for what I need but they have never let me down either.
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Old 03-07-11, 10:55 AM   #11
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Is it traction that is the problem" Or is it that the narrow tires keep deflecting off gravel and stones?

I would bet its the latter. If so, then its not aggressive tread you need, its wider tires. Unless you are climbing up and over rough terrain or trying to find friction in slippery mud, then tread will do little for you.

Put some fatties on that thing.

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Old 03-07-11, 11:38 AM   #12
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WTB Allterainasaurus is a practical low cost tire.
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Old 03-07-11, 11:58 AM   #13
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I've been enjoying my 700x38 Schwalbe Marathon Cross tires. They also come in 35mm, if I'm not mistaken.
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Old 03-07-11, 02:41 PM   #14
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Considering all that you've mentioned, volume will be your friend. Can you go a bit wider than 35?
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Old 03-07-11, 03:16 PM   #15
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Considering all that you've mentioned, volume will be your friend. Can you go a bit wider than 35?
I think I can go 37-38mm (actual). The Rando Hypers actually measure 36.5mm when mounted on Velocity Dyad (24mm) rims, and fender clearance is pretty good with those.
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Old 03-07-11, 05:37 PM   #16
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Wide tires roll really nice, and won't sink into "soft" gravel as easily as a narrow tire. Beyond that, unless you're really pushing the adhesion envelope on the trails, the tread pattern won't be a huge concern. If you ride in the rain, something with a softer compound will be helpful. Also for commuting, I'd be looking for something with excellent puncture protection.
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Old 03-07-11, 05:40 PM   #17
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The Paselas look decent, but I'm not sure how their sidewalls would hold up against the occasional sharp (albeit, small) rock. That, and the last pair I purchased (one year ago), were 2-3mm narrower than claimed.
They do run a wee bit on the small side from claimed size. My 32s measure up 30.7 on my calipers. My 28s come in at 27.1mm on a standard 19mm road rim.
As for sidewall durability, take a look at my picture again. Those aren't small or rounded rocks; it's plain old forest service road gravel. Here's another view to get a good idea of it (and we rode 25k in this stuff cresting the summit of a mountain pass.)


Best view I could find. Tire's perspective:
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Old 03-07-11, 08:27 PM   #18
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I've been enjoying my 700x38 Schwalbe Marathon Cross tires.
Yup, same here
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Old 03-10-11, 02:18 PM   #19
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Just ordered two 37-622 Conti Contacts (2011) from Universal. Should have them early next week. Looking forward to testing them out, especially since I punctured on the commute home last night.
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