Originally Posted by ebbett
just got my first cross bike and was wondering what tires people recommend for fire roads. I'd describe it as gravelly and loose dirt. I plan on riding from my house to the trails so the tire needs to work well on roads too. Not much mud where I ride (San Francisco/Marin area). Thanks!
You've described the kind of terrain I rode for years in Southern California, and I think for fire roads a wider touring or commuting tire is plenty enough. One of my bikes has very round and very smooth Avocets on them, and I ride them on fire trails everyday as fast as I can, and they actually hold their own in mud, thin snow, frozen soil, and of course the road. I experimented with knobbies for that kind of riding, swapped tires to test, and I'd argue that knobbies are appropriate for more aggressive trails. 32-37 mm Avocets, Panaracer Paselas, Vittoria Randonneurs, and some of the Schwalbe tires really excel at this mix. The trick is to run them at a relatively low pressure compared to road-only tires, and they grip well.
Once the trails become much more rocky, with steep fast declines and tight corners, I prefer knobbies.
Hope this helps.