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  1. #1
    pan y agua merlinextraligh's Avatar
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    Tires for Dirty Kanza

    200 miles of dirt/ gravel roads in the Flint hills in Kansas. Reportedly the flint rips through tires, and that is a principal concern.

    Tires I've seen reccomended include Clement X'Plor 40mm, Schwalbe Marathon Extreme Cross, Specialized Armadillo Elite Crossroads, and Stan's Ravens (with a number of people saying the Ravens are too light.)


    I know there's a smattering of info on this on BF, but I'm starting a new thread, given that others are dated, and models have changed or been discontinued.

    So what's a good choice for low rolling resistance, puncture resistance, and strong sidewalls (to avoid casing tears, which could ruin your day)?

    Personally, I'll be doing it on a CX bike so 700c, and 40mm is likely the widest I can go.
    You could fall off a cliff and die.
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  2. #2
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    I've not ridden the dirty kanza - can i still talk tire recommendations about dirty kanza? (inside joke) As a qualifier, though, I've sold literally thousands of bike tires over the years. and ridden hundreds, if not thousands, of miles of dirt by touring or cross bike.

    I don't know what tires are going to be best on the kanza. For gravel and dirt two track, I've always ridden 32-35c street like slicks, and really liked the Bontrager Racelite 32c as a tough, large volume tires. Even Panaracer T-Serv for messenger have held up admirably for me on many hundreds of miles of rough gravel and what not.

    But washboard gravel calls for bigger tires, it really does. Riding washboard gravel on a 35c tire is grueling, as big a casing a tire as possible will soothe the relentless bang and rattle of washboard gravel. I just built up a monstercross 29er to ride the washboard gravel and sand of the roads round here, i found the typical 35c tires sub-optimal over those conditions.



    I wish tire manufacturers made tires like the vittoria rubino pro-tech or the conti 4-seasons in much larger casings. you don't need much tread if at all to ride gravel roads IMO.

    Marathon extreme cross? I don't know of that tire, but don't consider the standard Schwalbe Marathon Cross to be markedly tear resistant. The specialized Armadillo crossroads are a much tougher tire, and would be my pick between those two. It's probably slower than the clement, but wouldn't consider any tire Clement offers as being tougher than a marathon extreme or an Armadillo. Maybe rolling 'Dillos at lower pressure improves the rolling resistance?

    good luck, have fun.
    Last edited by Bekologist; 01-18-13 at 12:52 AM.
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  3. #3
    Senior Member Commodus's Avatar
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    I've been wondering this too, but I'm afraid my thinking has not progressed past yours. I think the Clements are my personal front runner currently.

    I've also given some thought to the Kenda Happy Mediums, but not sure about durability.

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    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Commodus View Post
    I've been wondering this too, but I'm afraid my thinking has not progressed past yours. I think the Clements are my personal front runner currently.

    I've also given some thought to the Kenda Happy Mediums, but not sure about durability.
    what bike would you run happy mediums on, commodus? Curious what bike you've got that will fit those honkers. (edit- I thought the only 700c happy medium was a 29 x 2.1, not a 40c cc tire)


    I'd love to compare the Clements sidewalls to panaracer T-Servs - I've used T Servs extensively off road and on real lousy gravel, and been very happy with the results and durability. They factory says they have a reinforced sidewall.

    for long distance gravel road rides, I'm a bigger fan of file tread/street siping versus the knobs of a typical 'cross tires and tires treaded like the marathon extreme. The tread of the kenda happy medium is a step in the right direction for big volume tires oriented for long distances, but it be nice to see big tires with even less tread.
    Last edited by Bekologist; 01-19-13 at 07:36 PM.
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  5. #5
    Domestic Domestique UnsafeAlpine's Avatar
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    I'm riding the Challenge Grifo XS and have had really good luck with them throughout last fall's riding.

  6. #6
    Have bike, will travel Barrettscv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by merlinextraligh View Post
    200 miles of dirt/ gravel roads in the Flint hills in Kansas. Reportedly the flint rips through tires, and that is a principal concern.

    Tires I've seen reccomended include Clement X'Plor 40mm, Schwalbe Marathon Extreme Cross, Specialized Armadillo Elite Crossroads, and Stan's Ravens (with a number of people saying the Ravens are too light.)


    I know there's a smattering of info on this on BF, but I'm starting a new thread, given that others are dated, and models have changed or been discontinued.

    So what's a good choice for low rolling resistance, puncture resistance, and strong sidewalls (to avoid casing tears, which could ruin your day)?

    Personally, I'll be doing it on a CX bike so 700c, and 40mm is likely the widest I can go.
    Hi Merlin,

    What size tires and what air pressures did you use last year? Right now, I'm planning on a 700x40 Schwable Marathon Dureme on the rear and a 700x40 Vittoria Rando Hyper on the front.
    2014 Trek DS.1: "Viaggiatore" A do-it-all bike that is waiting in Italy
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  7. #7
    Old. Slow. Happy. MileHighMark's Avatar
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    Check out the SOMA C-Line by Panaracer.
    GRAVELBIKE.COM - ride everything

  8. #8
    pan y agua merlinextraligh's Avatar
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    700x40 Schwalbe Marathons. (I believe duremes, IIRC).

    40mm was as wide as would fit my bike, and they were fine, except for a bit of an issue with mud clearance.

    I saw a number of people on 32mm tires with flats, so I would go with 40's if the fit.

    I don't recall the air pressure I ran, but I would guess something like 70lbs. I ran them pretty hard prioritizing rolling resistance over comfort.

    I picked a heavy duty touring tire over something more cross oriented, again prioritizing rolling resistance over grip, and I think it worked out well. Only on a couple of very steep little sections, climbing out of the saddle did I wish I had more traction, and even then it was manageable.

    That said, just eyeballing the Rando Hyper, I wonder whether it's got adequate cornering grip in the loose places.

    Lots of Dk is relatively smooth dirt road. But portions of it are "minimally maintained road" that really just a step above a mountain bike trail.
    You could fall off a cliff and die.
    You could get lost and die.
    You could hit a tree and die.
    OR YOU COULD STAY HOME AND FALL OFF THE COUCH AND DIE.

  9. #9
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    I know multiple people who have put lots and lots of miles on those MSOs in the rocky roads and trails of northwest Arkansas and rave about them. That said, not every CX bike will fit them. I like the 35mm USH and have had no flats or problems, but not tons of miles on them so far, either. But if I could fit the 40s, I would.

  10. #10
    Have bike, will travel Barrettscv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by merlinextraligh View Post
    700x40 Schwalbe Marathons. (I believe duremes, IIRC).

    40mm was as wide as would fit my bike, and they were fine, except for a bit of an issue with mud clearance.

    I saw a number of people on 32mm tires with flats, so I would go with 40's if the fit.

    I don't recall the air pressure I ran, but I would guess something like 70lbs. I ran them pretty hard prioritizing rolling resistance over comfort.

    I picked a heavy duty touring tire over something more cross oriented, again prioritizing rolling resistance over grip, and I think it worked out well. Only on a couple of very steep little sections, climbing out of the saddle did I wish I had more traction, and even then it was manageable.

    That said, just eyeballing the Rando Hyper, I wonder whether it's got adequate cornering grip in the loose places.

    Lots of Dk is relatively smooth dirt road. But portions of it are "minimally maintained road" that really just a step above a mountain bike trail.
    Yes, as much as I love the ultra smooth ride of the Hyper, it's a slick. I'll put a Clement MSO on the front.

    The Dureme is a small block version of the Marathon Extreme. They once sold a touring version which is what I have. Now they just have a tandem version, see:http://www.schwalbetires.com/marathon_dureme_home
    http://www.schwalbetires.com/bike_ti..._dureme_tandem
    Last edited by Barrettscv; 04-17-14 at 01:42 PM.
    2014 Trek DS.1: "Viaggiatore" A do-it-all bike that is waiting in Italy
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  11. #11
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    I am riding the Half Pint on my Atlantis with 700x40 Schwalbe Duremes. I have the 700x42 Continental SpeedRide on my LHT. If I was riding the whole 200, I might consider switching the SpeedRides over to the Atlantis because they are lighter and seem smoother than the Duremes.

  12. #12
    Have bike, will travel Barrettscv's Avatar
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    I'll be in Kansas City next week and will try to drive the Half-Pint route. If I'm able to do this reconnaissance, I'll post some pictures.
    2014 Trek DS.1: "Viaggiatore" A do-it-all bike that is waiting in Italy
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    2010 Origin 8 CX 700: "Servizio Grave" Monstercross/29er bike
    1997 Simoncini Special Cyclocross: "Little Simon" lugged Columbus steel CX bike
    1987 Serotta Nova Special X: "Azzurri" The retro Columbus SPX steel road bike

  13. #13
    Have bike, will travel Barrettscv's Avatar
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    Wow, I drove about half on the Half Pint route by car today. I think they surfaced the road with broken ceramic tiles. Large chunks of broken gravel blocks the size of cigarette packs were an often seen feature. Tires need to be large and cut resistant. It's going to be a tough Century.
    2014 Trek DS.1: "Viaggiatore" A do-it-all bike that is waiting in Italy
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    2010 Origin 8 CX 700: "Servizio Grave" Monstercross/29er bike
    1997 Simoncini Special Cyclocross: "Little Simon" lugged Columbus steel CX bike
    1987 Serotta Nova Special X: "Azzurri" The retro Columbus SPX steel road bike

  14. #14
    Senior Member richpool's Avatar
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    I live in KC , Im riding DK200 (as well as Maisie's Pride and Almanzo for warm ups) I will be running Clement X'Plor MSO 40's. I have trained for the past year on Clement X'Plor USH 35's. Bumping up in size do to the chunkier gravel out there. I have only good things to say about USH's

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