I've ridden the C&O once before and I realize very well that a road bike is sub-optimal for it. For those of you unfamilar with the C&O, it's a couple hundred miles of hard-packed dirt, crushed gravel, but bigger gravel chunks too sometimes, tree roots and mud, etc. It looks like my buds and I might be doing it again before long. So I need some technical expertise: are there things I could do to my roadie to make it C&O compatible? Can you put wider tires on a given wheel? The tires now are 25c 120 psi. I know I can get gnarlier tires, but I'm thinking they are still too narrow. Anything else I can do? Would I be crazy to try it? FYI, I live in Colorado so I can't just go there for a trial run.
Can you put wider tires on a given wheel? The tires now are 25c 120 psi. I know I can get gnarlier tires, but I'm thinking they are still too narrow. Anything else I can do?
Sure, you can put wider tires on most wheels. The more likely limiting factor will be how much frame/fork clearance you have. My former roadie could not accommodate a tire bigger than 25. This is one of the chief reasons that my current ride is a cyclocross bike, even though I ride mostly on the road -- for those days when I feel like a trail ride, I can put on a set of 70 psi size 32s, and I'm happy.
Bigger, lower-pressure tires are probably the single most significant thing that would make the C&O more fun on a road bike. Maybe some extra-cushy bar tape, or, if that's too overkill for one ride -- it would be for me! -- extra-cushy gloves to help dampen vibration . . . a saddle that's comfy over the long haul.
Have fun! I've ridden on the C&O, but never done the whole thing. I'll have to do that someday!