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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 05-02-12, 03:56 PM   #1
snakattak
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Beefy tires onto road bike for hardpack dirt/sand trails?

Maybe not the best place for input on this. I have a 2010 Bianchi Vigorelli, it is a steel frame road bike with carbon fork.

http://www.bianchiusa.com/archives/1...ndo/vigorelli/

The place I recently moved to has a nice hardpack trail I want to ride on. It is a combination of hard packed dirt/sand and rough cement depending on the stretch of trail.

I want to take the trail but feel like at minimum I would need bigger tires, as most people seem to have a mountain bike or hybrid bike on it. Is it common to just buy a separate wheel set with some beefier tires for my road rig to ride on trails like that? What tires would you recommend for non-racing and not expecting true offroad with dirt/mudd. Would I need any other modifications to add the bigger tires?
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Old 05-02-12, 04:16 PM   #2
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Old 05-02-12, 04:18 PM   #3
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I think it's very likely that your frame won't accept tires bigger than 700x28, and maybe not even bigger than 700x25, particularly with those 105 brakes. That said, you could probably ride the conditions you describe with tires like that. It might not be ideal in terms of comfort, but you could try it.
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Old 05-02-12, 04:41 PM   #4
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You'll have to test fit...if its a road bike, probably nothing larger than a 28mm tire.
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Old 05-02-12, 05:00 PM   #5
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You'll have to test fit...if its a road bike, probably nothing larger than a 28mm tire.
I was just downstairs looking at it and that sounds about right. I have a 25mm right now and its pretty close to the brakes. Thanks for the suggestions.
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Old 05-02-12, 08:48 PM   #6
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28c tires will be okay on hardpack dirt and rough roads. People race cx on 30c's so 28c's will be just fine for rough roads and casual riding. Schwalbe, Continental, etc. all made nice "commuter" style 28c tires that'll suite you just fine (assuming they fit).
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Old 05-03-12, 05:20 AM   #7
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See if your LBS will let you try on a 28 tire. If it fits with some clearance, you should be fine. If not go with the 25. Run your pressure lower than you do on asphalt. You're going to have to experiment on that so you don't pinch flat. There are no hard rules on that, just start high and work your way down.

You might also look into file tread (Roubaix style) tires to give you a little more bite.
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Old 05-03-12, 09:55 AM   #8
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Get the fattest tires that your frame/fork/brakes will safely clear. Worth a visit to the LBS, as they might let you test tires for fit before buying.

On last night's commute home, a guy on a conventional road bike was hauling ass down the dirt road that I was climbing. Got a quick look at this bike, and he was running 23 or 25mm tires. Color me impressed.
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Old 05-03-12, 11:35 AM   #9
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As a rough estimate, you could use allen wrenches as feeler gauges to see how much clearance your current tires have to the brakes. For example, if you're running 700x25s now, and a 4mm wrench fits between the tires, fork crown, and brake calipers, there's a decent chance you'll be able to run 28s.
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Old 05-03-12, 11:43 AM   #10
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I recently asked for tire recommendations for a similar situation but I don't have the clearance issues you do. I went w/ 35mm wide tires but a lot of the models I looked at were available in narrower options. I was impressed with the help I got from this board, lots of links, I found the best price on my selection on eBay. Do a search on my name and it should be a good start.
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Old 05-03-12, 02:45 PM   #11
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See if your LBS will let you try on a 28 tire. If it fits with some clearance, you should be fine. If not go with the 25. Run your pressure lower than you do on asphalt. You're going to have to experiment on that so you don't pinch flat.
..This is not a good time to use $500 rims...

Also, a lot depends on how much you weigh. People tend to assume that you're a typical ectomorphic cyclist in giving advice. If you're a 220lb caveman type then tyres that would work for a 160lber might be a bad idea to even try.
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Old 05-03-12, 06:10 PM   #12
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..This is not a good time to use $500 rims...
Where does it say the OP is riding $500 wheels? The stock wheels on his bianchi are $200, well within the experimentation range in my opinion.
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Old 05-04-12, 05:58 AM   #13
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Where does it say the OP is riding $500 wheels? The stock wheels on his bianchi are $200, well within the experimentation range in my opinion.
Read between the lines. I think he's only furthering my advice... In other words: don't use your good wheels (if you have them) until you have the pressure dialed in, because you will flat at least once or twice while you find out the pressure you need to run them at. You don't want to risk trashing your expensive wheels on experimentation.
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Old 05-05-12, 06:22 PM   #14
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Where does it say the OP is riding $500 wheels? The stock wheels on his bianchi are $200, well within the experimentation range in my opinion.
He doesn't. But it's still a point worth making - playing with low pressure and narrow tyres off road is not a time to use rims that you can't afford to replace.
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