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  1. #1
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    Bike and Tires for Katy Trail?

    I am planning a week on the Katy Trail, one end to the other, during the first week of July. It will be credit card type camping, with my wife going along to hunt for antiques and a wine shop.

    Should I use my touring bike, currently with 700x32 tires, and just change the tires to 37 or 42's or maybe even 45's? My touring bike is set up for ultimate comfort, I ride 100 miles a week or more on it now on blacktop, and it is my favorite.

    Or, would I be better off to take my hardtail mountain bike, currently with 26x1.95" road tires, and maybe change those to a 1.4 or 1.5" tire? I don't ride it as much, but do ride 20 to 30 miles once in while on packed gravel.

    Both bikes can accomodate a set of panniers for a long day trip so the ability to carry what I need is not an issue.

    Any thoughts on tires and bike to use?

  2. #2
    Slow and unsteady
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    I've done the entire Katy twice: once on 700x32s and once on 700x35s. Either tire was fine, and I weighed over 180 pounds and carried tent, bag, food, clothes, etc. I think the 26x1.95s would be overkill. And if you are used to doing distance on your touring bike, it's probably not a good idea to switch to the mtb now.

    You still need to watch the trail. Soft shoulders, washouts, debris, etc.

  3. #3
    Are we there yet? oldbikeguy's Avatar
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    I did the Katy last June, St. Charles to Clinton (4 days), and am planning to do the trail again this June, Clinton to St. Charles (3 days). I rode a Trek 1200 with 700x28, Bontrager Hard Case tires. NO flats. If the trail were soft, 28ís are about as narrow as you might want to go, however in July the trail should be hard packed.

    I live close to the Katy Trail and ride the sections around St. Charles quite often. Riding the trail from end to end was a lot of fun, great scenery and fantastic people along the way. Enjoy your trip!
    "Beautiful, handsome machines that translate energy into joy."

  4. #4
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    Is the trail pretty hard packed?

  5. #5
    Slow and unsteady
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    Quote Originally Posted by Monoborracho
    Is the trail pretty hard packed?
    Yes - but...

    If it has rained a lot it can be a little softer on the edges, and you also have runoff that creates gullies in some areas. You always have to keep an eye on the trail, just like you do when riding on the road. There are overhanging trees that drop branches, rough spots created by machinery, soft spots created by recent repairs, a snake or cow or wild turkey...

    It's a hardpacked trail, but it's not like a multi-use trail at the local park. I've done over 1000 miles on the trail and have never come close to crashing nor have I experienced any mechanical problems due to trail condtions. I've hit some unexpected holes in the trail, and sometimes I've had to maneuver around washed out areas. The biggest problem I've encountered with the trail itself is the dust. It can gum up the chain on a multi-day trip if the conditions are very dry. I use a wax-based lubricant that seems to handle the dust better than oil-based.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Everest's Avatar
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    It's very hard packed, I was fine with 23c road tires, granted that was unloaded but I was never was in situation where they really worried me at all. I would just go with what you have on your bike now 32c should be about perfect.
    Road: Quattro Assi Scandium w/ SRAM Rival and Rolf Echelon's
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  7. #7
    Bud in KC
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    I rode the Katy trail in April with 28s on a Trek 1500. Changed tires up from 25s and I guess that I'm glad I did. There were a few short stretches of soft gravel, but all-in-all the trail was in very good shape.

    I don't mean to hijack this thread, but if your are interested in rail to trails in the midwest, you should try the Wabash Trace, starting in Council Bluffs, Iowa and running southeast to the Missouri line. We rode it last week and the trail is beautiful. Trail condition very similar to the Katy, and gorgeous stretches of canopied riding. It's about 63 miles total, and it made a nice two-day ride for us.

    Bret O.
    Lenexa, KS

  8. #8
    Float. Hammer. Jog. grasshutmedia's Avatar
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    Any advice for the Katy that would specifically relate to riding it West to East over Memorial Weekend? Thanks.
    '05 Trek Pilot 2.1
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by grasshutmedia
    Any advice for the Katy that would specifically relate to riding it West to East over Memorial Weekend? Thanks.
    see other post

  10. #10
    Member skinnytirebiker's Avatar
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    I've ridden the Katy end-to-end 5 times now. I've done it two years on my road bike with 700X23 tires. I have an Armadillo tire on the back, and only lost 10lbs worth of pressure combined in the two years. I'll never ride that trail again on a mtn bike. It's just too much bike. Skinny tires are fine on that trail.

    The Katy Trail rules!
    "The bicycle, the bicycle surely should be a vehicle of novelists and poets."
    -Christopher Morely

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  11. #11
    Just shy of 400W ranger5oh's Avatar
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    I rode 85 miles of the Katy Trail on 700x23C tires... had no problems at all.
    2008 Cannondale System Six
    2003 Klein Palomino MTB

    60% of the time, it works everytime.

  12. #12
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    Do the touring bike.

    I did a century on the Katy last year, used a road bike with 28mm tires (actually probably quite a bit smaller than 28). Worked OK. I'd say 32-38mm would be ideal.
    I don't even use the offensive term "Fred." -- Sheldon "All Cyclists Are My Friends" Brown (1944-2008)

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