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Long Distance Competition/Ultracycling, Randonneuring and Endurance Cycling Do you enjoy centuries, double centuries, brevets, randonnees, and 24-hour time trials? Share ride reports, and exchange training, equipment, and nutrition information specific to long distance cycling. This isn't for tours, this is for endurance events cycling

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Old 02-29-08, 04:07 PM   #1
squeakywheel
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best tires for gravel road

If you were riding 100 miles on gravel roads, what tires would you want? I'll be riding a Specialized Tricross.

http://www.specialized.com/bc/SBCBkModel.jsp?spid=32208

The standard tires on this bike are 700c x 32mm with small knobbies.
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Old 03-01-08, 10:48 AM   #2
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I'd go with 35mm Panaracer Paselas. Haven't ridden them a lot on gravel, but at 60psi (I weigh 180 or so), they handle the loose stuff just fine, roll pretty fast on pavement, and make chipseal disappear. And they've got to be one of the best tire values around.

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Old 03-02-08, 02:37 PM   #3
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I'd go with the 37 Paselas. They have a different tread pattern, and rounder profile than the 35's.

The 35's, by the way, measure ~30mm on my Open Pros. I have 35's, and have ridden a lot of gravel and hardpack on them (including mixed-surface brevets and PBP itself), and for a solid 100 miles on gravel I'd want a bigger tire. That goes double if any of this gravel is at all loose.

edit: +1 on Paselas being the world's best tire value. I actually prefer the wire-bead non-Tourguard version for superior feel w/o the kevlar belt.
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Old 03-02-08, 02:59 PM   #4
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Depends on what you mean by gravel. Hard-packed sand/fine gravel is fine with regular tyres with some shallow tread pattern. True gravel, with loose and angular pebbles, will not work well with anything less than really thick and durable knobbies, and even then I wouldn't want to ride 100 miles on it...
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Old 03-02-08, 06:47 PM   #5
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Most of my riding is on gravel. Last year I used the Michelin Country Rock tires and loved them. Low rolling resistance and they seem tougher than anything else I've tried, including knobbies. They roll way smoother and easier than knobbies on my Trek mtb.
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Old 03-02-08, 06:58 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Goonster View Post
I'd go with the 37 Paselas. They have a different tread pattern, and rounder profile than the 35's.

The 35's, by the way, measure ~30mm on my Open Pros. I have 35's, and have ridden a lot of gravel and hardpack on them (including mixed-surface brevets and PBP itself), and for a solid 100 miles on gravel I'd want a bigger tire. That goes double if any of this gravel is at all loose.

edit: +1 on Paselas being the world's best tire value. I actually prefer the wire-bead non-Tourguard version for superior feel w/o the kevlar belt.
Goonster -

Those must be some OLD Paselas. My 35's measure 35mm on Open Pro rims. The older ones were significantly narrower than nominal, like many brands in days past (and Conti to this day!).

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Old 03-03-08, 12:44 PM   #7
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Thanks. Looks like consensus is I'd be better off with a less agressive tread pattern than the small knobbied cyclocross tire I have now (unless the road crew puts a fresh load of large gravel on the week of the race).
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Old 03-03-08, 07:46 PM   #8
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I rode 70 km of gravel trails yesterday on Schwalbe Marathon Supreme 700 X 37C on Alex Adventurer rims. They are great tires on gravel as long as it's not too loose. I ride them every day on 4km of gravel and have never had a puncture. Traction has been great. I have about 2500 km on them. Lots of tread left.

They have a Vectran belt that seems to make them a lot lighter. Highly recommended.

Last edited by diesel_dad; 03-04-08 at 07:51 AM.
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Old 03-04-08, 03:34 AM   #9
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Paselas or Vittoria Randonneur cross

The randonneurs have stronger sidewalls than the paselas. The paselas roll better on a smooth surface.
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Old 03-10-08, 10:27 AM   #10
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I run Bontragers Race Lite Hardcases in 35, they are slicks but very tough. On loose gravel I'm not sure knobbies make a bit of difference for traction, and on the road they roll as fast regular tires (although they are heavier of course).

This is on Texas gravel, about 1-2 in sharp-edged chunks usually, so high pressure is required to not pinch flat.
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