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Recreational Cyclocross and Gravelbiking This has to be the most physically intense sport ever invented. It's high speed bicycle racing on a short off road course or riding the off pavement rides on gravel like :The Dirty Kanza". We also have a dedicated Racing forum for the Cyclocross Hard Core Racers.

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Old 05-20-16, 11:39 AM   #1
chaadster
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Reviews of multiple gravel tires

Just wanted to share this link to a RoadbikeReview article called "Best gravel tires tested-- part 1", figuring it may be interesting to someone: Best gravel road tires tested ? part 1 | Road Bike News, Reviews, and Photos | Page 3
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Old 05-23-16, 05:46 AM   #2
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What a difference price-wise between Schwalbe and WTB.
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Old 05-23-16, 11:46 AM   #3
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Opposite take: The best gravel tire is the one you can ride without noticeable speed or handling loss on pavement in order to get to the good stuff like gravel/dirt.

I tried running a WTB Nano as my main tire and found it's pavement performance dismal and it's gravel performance indistinguishable from a smooth tread tire. I don't know, maybe we're expected to have multiple bikes or if you have one bike change tires to ride gravel?
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Old 05-23-16, 01:12 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Spoonrobot View Post
Opposite take: The best gravel tire is the one you can ride without noticeable speed or handling loss on pavement in order to get to the good stuff like gravel/dirt.

I tried running a WTB Nano as my main tire and found it's pavement performance dismal and it's gravel performance indistinguishable from a smooth tread tire. I don't know, maybe we're expected to have multiple bikes or if you have one bike change tires to ride gravel?
The 'do it all bike' is a cool idea, but I it seems to still not be a reality for most serious riders as a jack of all trades is also a master of none. I agree that its no fun and useless to have a tire that is unpleasant on pavement since so often you ride on at least some pavement to get to different gravel segments.
Clement XPlor MSO. 32, 36, and 40mm sizes and it handles pavement great(in the 40mm) with nearly constant center lugs and is stable on most all types of gravel roads I ride.

I have been really surprised to see how often the tire is popping up in stores. REI has it on their Mazama bike and Ive seen it on Diamondback Haanjo bikes as well as on multiple Raleigh gravel bikes in stores. REI actually uses a Clement road tire that I got for one of my road bikes on multiple Novara road bikes too.
...whoever is spec'ing Novara bikes has it right!
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Old 05-24-16, 11:53 AM   #5
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I think that's the case only if you stick with 700c wheels. This might be a dialogue for another thread but...

Moving down to 650b and with 38mm+ tires and you get over the weight/rotational inertia drags that come with the larger wheel at those tire sizes and end up with a bike that works great for everything. I'm totally biased since that's what I ride but I've tried to be objective and really pay attention to the reality but so far I'm not missing anything. My bike is a Soma Doublecross Disc running 650bx42 Hetre tires and I've done everything I used to do on my MTB or road bike and haven't really found anything lacking. Single track is slower than an MTB for sure but it's still fun and faster than one would expect. Gravel, dirt and rough roads are more comfortable/faster than the road bike and faster than the MTB. Group rides seem to be the same expect descending and cornering is a lot faster, evening sprinting feels about the same. Tight paceline? No problem keeping up and I'm not even an exceptionally strong rider.

The only thing I haven't done is a fast training crit but I'm going to try to fit that in later in the summer.

How is the cornering on the Clements?
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Old 05-24-16, 01:15 PM   #6
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I was actually just about to come in here looking for opinions on gravel tires. I've got a pair of Schwalbe Sammy Slick 35mm wire bead tires that came on a CAADX I bought a while back. I have used them on my Crockett for a few gravel rides and they have not been super impressive. The issue is mainly 1) the tires recommend a minimum pressure of 50 pounds (and I'm fat at 210-215 lately) and 2) the gravel roads here are not generally the pretty hardpack type roads you see on the instagrams. They can be really nasty loose stuff with chunks of gravel as large as 15-20 mm in diameter. Riding the 35c cyclocross tires on that stuff at 50 psi can feel like riding on ball bearings and the bike jumps around quite a bit.

I was thinking maybe a supple tire with a standard file tread pattern tire in a 38-40mm width that can run lower pressures. However, I do not have tubeless wheels so I am limited there in terms of psi.

Any input based on those parameters?
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Old 05-24-16, 01:20 PM   #7
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Ok, a few questions since you mention 650s.

1- Did you change the gearing to accomodate the need to otherwise spin faster to go the same speed? Basically, you mention group rides- do you find yourself spinning faster than on 700s to go the same speed or did you adjust the gear ranges accordingly?
2- How are the Hetre tires on gravel and hardpack in terms of traction and durability? The GB tires give off an image of supple and fast, but I also always figure they have the flat prevention of an overinflated balloon as a result of the comprimise.

As for the Clement MSO tires- I love them. Easy to mount and set, I think they are fast rolling, and they show no wear so far even though most riding has been on gravel. As for cornering, its stable for me on pavement and gravel. I pull a kid and weehoo on the bike I have the Clement's mounted to, so I wouldnt want a tire that feels unstable on pavement in any way. As for gravel, I am not typically riding into corners at 20mph, but the corners I do take at lower speeds are stable and confident. I dont feel like the tire will slide out under me and I do notice better climbing and corner handling than the cheaper Kenda slick 38s I had before.
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Old 05-25-16, 07:42 AM   #8
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I've been running slightly lower gearing than my road race bike, 46/36 12-32 instead of 50/34 12-26 but that's mainly because that's the crank that came with the bike. I don't generally feel any different cadence wise when we're all on the flats but I really have to spin faster on the straight descents. I'm pretty used to it as I have a track/fixed gear background but it would be nice at times to have a 50 or 52 ring, as it's not unusual to hit 130-140 rpm on the descents. Any sort of descent with curves and it's no problem keeping up as the wider tires allow significantly better cornering both in lean angle and the ability to move the bike around the road as I'm leaned over in the corner. The current 46/36 works so well for rolling pavement with excursions to dirt/off-road that I don't plan to change anything.

For just riding along off-road/regular speed(low speed?) I want to say the Hetres are similar to knobbies of equal width in overall traction but that's not really true. They do handle it differently, at lower cadences with high power you get less wheel slip after the initial slide along the top loose layer. With knobbies if I really kick it the tire just spins until power settles down, with the Hetres it's like they push the top loose layer out of the way and start gripping right after. Sorry kind of hard to describe. Descents feel less secure since they're smooth tread but practically I haven't noticed any real difference. All this is only true in the dry, anything even the slightest bit wet/muddy and the Hetres are awful and slip/slide everywhere. And despite the recent compass blog posts I would not want to race on Hetres as I feel their overall traction at extremes is significantly lower than a well designed knobbie tire, off-road.

I've found the tires to be durable off-road. I had several flats in the first 1500 miles or so but all were on pavement and were either a strong puncture that would have taken out any tire or were bits of glass that become embedded in the thick rubber and slowly work through to the tube over time. The latter is something to watch for, I started hand checking my tires with a flashlight once a week or so and these sorts of flats stopped.

Looking at the Clements I wonder if the tread pattern is better for gravel/dirt than the Nanos I've been running for exclusively gravel events. The Clement seems more of a ground-up designed gravel tire and the Nano is a baby-MTB tire.
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Old 05-27-16, 09:00 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Spoonrobot View Post
Opposite take: The best gravel tire is the one you can ride without noticeable speed or handling loss on pavement in order to get to the good stuff like gravel/dirt.
I really think this is true. Most of my gravel rides are about 1/3 pavement, but some are 2/3 pavement. If a tire has good gravel stability and good on road handling and rolling resistance, it's a winner. I don't see why I would want to ride on a tire that has big knobs and poor on-road performance when I can get something that works well on gravel and does fine on-road. I'm pretty happy right now with the Gravelking SK's, I'd be curious how they stack up against the tires in this review.
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