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-   -   Bombproof vs. Weight for remote, unsupported gravel centuries (

Myosmith 02-23-14 06:46 AM

Bombproof vs. Weight for remote, unsupported gravel centuries
I'm looking at doing a few unsupported gravel centuries this summer, Almanzo and Woodchipper in MN, and Gold Rush in SD. All of these are unsupported and from what I understand can get pretty remote. The Woodchipper in particular is a smaller event in an area notorious for spotty cell phone reception. This is only my second year gravel grinding (I actually started late last summer) and I'm using my old steel hybrid Trek 700.

My question is one of tires. Last year I used Schwalbe Smart Sams 700 x 40 on my Plan B trail bike, aka The Goat, and later swapped them to the 700 for my first gravel grinding. They are good tires but not the most flatproof and even though Schwalbe gives them 5 out of 5 for durability, the tread is more than half gone after just a few hundred miles of gravel and dirt/sand trails. Specialized makes the Hemisphere Armadillo in 700 x 38. I've used their All Condition Armadillos on my road bikes for a couple of years and have never had a flat (jinxed that one) and have nothing but good to say about overall performance and durability. But the Hemispheres only come in wire bead and are about 200g heavier than the Schwalbe Smart Sams. I have no doubt that they will be as bombproof as any tire available and very durable (the are designed as an all surface touring tire) but I'm wondering how many of you gravel grinders would add a total of 400g to your bikes for the sake of peace of mind?

contango 02-23-14 08:36 AM

If I wanted puncture resistance as a top (or near top) priority I'd go for Schwalbe Marathon Plus tyres and deal with the extra weight of them. They are heavy, they roll quite hard, but they are probably as close to indestructible as you'll get without going to solid tyres.

On my mountain bike I've got 26x2.0" M+ tyres and have never had a flat after probably 2000+ miles. On the cross bike I put 5000+ miles on 700x32 M+ tyres and the only time I ever got a flat was when I picked up a half-inch hawthorn spike. Ironically that was in suburban London. I pulled hawthorn spikes out of the MTB tyres many times on canal towpaths and the like.

Where weight is concerned, personally I take the view that when I weigh a little north of 100kg there's little point fussing about 400g if it gives me a specific benefit.

shelbyfv 02-23-14 06:45 PM

I wouldn't go too far in the direction of heavy uncomfortable tires. Start the first event with new tires and save them for the subsequent events. Carry a couple of tubes, a patch kit, tire boot and a pump. Look for threads about tires for the specific events you will be riding as the road surfaces/ hazards may vary.

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