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  1. #1
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    Mixture of road and dirt path touring

    Not sure if this is the correct forum for this but here goes...

    I'm off on a 120 mile round trip cycle along roads and riverside paths and some dirt tracks and so plan to fit suitable tyres on my racked-up cyclocross bike (which usually I use for road commuting). For tyres I'm thinking Contintional Country Plus and for tubes Continental Tour 28 all for my 700c wheels (Mavic Aksiums). Will I be okay with that tyre/tube combination? If so, should I go for the 37mm or 42mm tyre? Would there be much benefit from a wider tyre (assuming it'll work with my wheels)?

    Excuse the newbie questions

  2. #2
    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
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    I don't think which tubes you pick will matter all that much. As for tyres, it depends on the surfaces you expect to encounter. Slicker is generally better on-road, knobblier is better for loose or muddy surfaces, so you're going to need to compromise. It's a 'cross bike, why not 'cross tyres? Maybe like these?
    There have been many days when I haven't felt like riding, but there has never been a day when I was sorry I rode.

  3. #3
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    Don't know what your off road surfaces will be like, but last month I did a 9-day tour in the states (Montana) with a full load. The route had a combined total of about 55 miles of unpaved surface, including one 20 mile and one 30 mile stretch) ranging from soft dirt to bare rock in a few places, and pretty much everything in between. Some of unpaved stretches had both climbs and descents. I rode Conti Contacts, 700x37, on my Surly LHT. They did great. No scars, cuts, etc., at the end of the tour. The GF rode what looks like the U.S. equivalent of the Comfort Contact (I think they call it something else here) pulling a trailer and she was fine, too. However, she's much lighter than I and carried less weight.

    Here is what some of the unpaved riding was like:

    COW.jpg

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by chasm54 View Post
    It's a 'cross bike, why not 'cross tyres? Maybe like these?
    That's a good suggestion but I think 'cross tyres tend to be light and so might offer less protection, given that they're designed to be used in cyclocross events. I did look at the Marathon Cross tyres, I have Marathon Plus rubber on my folding bike and they're great.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
    Don't know what your off road surfaces will be like, but last month I did a 9-day tour in the states (Montana) with a full load. The route had a combined total of about 55 miles of unpaved surface, including one 20 mile and one 30 mile stretch) ranging from soft dirt to bare rock in a few places, and pretty much everything in between. Some of unpaved stretches had both climbs and descents. I rode Conti Contacts, 700x37, on my Surly LHT. They did great. No scars, cuts, etc., at the end of the tour. The GF rode what looks like the U.S. equivalent of the Comfort Contact (I think they call it something else here) pulling a trailer and she was fine, too. However, she's much lighter than I and carried less weight.

    Here is what some of the unpaved riding was like:
    Thanks - given that the Contacts come with free tubes, I'll take a closer look at them.

  6. #6
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    I commute on paved and dirt tracks with Schwalbe Marathon Cross tires in 38mm. They do well on packed dirt and small gravel.

    I'd run something like IRC Mythos in 42 or 44mm for looser packed roads, washboard surfaces and bigger gravel. That's what I used on the GDMBR last year and they were perfect when inflated to 50 lbs.

  7. #7
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    Conti Travel Contact adds their Gatorskin sidewall reinforcing grid.
    to kevlar tread antipuncture band .

    tread: smooth center band, flanked by a row of knobs,
    good for paved and gravel routes ..
    offered just in 622- 37 wide, or 26-1,75" [559-47]
    Last edited by fietsbob; 08-09-11 at 08:13 AM.

  8. #8
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    Think I'll probably go for these - thanks for all your feedback everyone

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    Good choice. I love them - nice slick for the road, but those knobs work great when the tires sink into softer stuff. I recently did a bunch of riding on some hiking trails that had a newly applied (soft) layer of woodchip mulch. I think the mulch was used more to stem weed growth than anything else. But the Travel Contacts handled pushing through the soft stuff no problem. My friend's mountain bike flatted out on some nasty looking thorns but my tires were fine. Another nice feature is that the knobs continue the round profile of the tire, so the tire still grips well in the turns.
    1980 Motobecane Grand Jubile ~ 1986 Kuwahara ATB Drop Bar Convert (WIP) ~ 1991? Spec'zed Rockhopper ~ 2006 Bianchi Volpe

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    I've got some 1.75 Sport Contacts. They're definitely made for heavy loads. I rode with them for awhile on the LHT unloaded and didn't particularly like how they handled on pavement without weight, especially wet roads, but I was surprised how well they handled on gravel scattered dirt roads. It's wider profile is good for rough surfaces and the thick tread appropriate for heavy loads.

  11. #11
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    Check out the Conti Contacts. They have a mild tread that works really well on hardpack dirt roads/trails. They run narrow (the 42mm is really 37mm on a 23mm rim), so go larger than you think.
    GRAVELBIKE.COM - ride everything

  12. #12
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    I roll Marathon Pluses in 38mm on gravel roads, dirt tracks and singletrack all over Texas with no complaints.

    The only issue would be if it ever rained in Texas (HAH!), I might want something with a hair more tooth in the real muddy stuff, but I'd most likely just keep what I have and reroute aounnd the impassible bits.

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    It really depends on how "fluffy/loose" the off tar sections are. With gear, 1.5 work fine for me on packed trail. When riding loose stuff I'll push is up to 1.75-1.95 with a bit of side nob. The trade off is, they just feel sluggish on pavement.

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    Just wondering if the 700x37 tyres I've ordered will fit my rims - Mavic Aksium specs specify clincher tyre up to 32mm although my bike came with 35mm tyres. Will I be okay fitting 37mm wide tyres?

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    Senior Member Newspaperguy's Avatar
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    For a road and dirt tour this summer, I put 700X37 Specialized Armadillo tires on my bike.

    On the pavement, I didn't notice any speed compromises. On the dirt portion, the tires handled everything the road could dish out. The trip was more than 1,000 kilometres and I had no flats.
    Life is good.

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    Quote Originally Posted by giskard View Post
    Just wondering if the 700x37 tyres I've ordered will fit my rims - Mavic Aksium specs specify clincher tyre up to 32mm although my bike came with 35mm tyres. Will I be okay fitting 37mm wide tyres?
    they'll probably fit but my gut sense that is that you'll experience a fair amount of tire bending going around turns on pavement. It all depends on the total load on the tire.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by LeeG View Post
    they'll probably fit but my gut sense that is that you'll experience a fair amount of tire bending going around turns on pavement. It all depends on the total load on the tire.
    Well I weigh about 117kg + a 3kg pannier so there'll be a fair load on the tyre.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by giskard View Post
    Well I weigh about 117kg + a 3kg pannier so there'll be a fair load on the tyre.
    it's only 120 miles. How long have you been riding on the Aksiums and have you ridden on dirt with them?

  19. #19
    Senior Member alan s's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LeeG View Post
    they'll probably fit but my gut sense that is that you'll experience a fair amount of tire bending going around turns on pavement. It all depends on the total load on the tire.
    You should be able get away with a somewhat oversized tire, but the rim may not be able to handle the forces at full inflation. For example, if you plan on running a 37mm tire on a rim rated for a 32mm max tire, but keep the pressure at no more than 60 psi for a tire rated at max 80 psi, there is less chance of rim failure. Exactly where you draw the line for larger tires/lower tire pressure is unknown, so there is some risk involved in running tires beyond the rim specs. Reducing the tire pressure too much increases the risk of pinch flats and increases rolling resistance.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by LeeG View Post
    it's only 120 miles. How long have you been riding on the Aksiums and have you ridden on dirt with them?
    6 months and no, haven't ridden them on dirt yet

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by alan s View Post
    You should be able get away with a somewhat oversized tire, but the rim may not be able to handle the forces at full inflation. For example, if you plan on running a 37mm tire on a rim rated for a 32mm max tire, but keep the pressure at no more than 60 psi for a tire rated at max 80 psi, there is less chance of rim failure. Exactly where you draw the line for larger tires/lower tire pressure is unknown, so there is some risk involved in running tires beyond the rim specs. Reducing the tire pressure too much increases the risk of pinch flats and increases rolling resistance.
    Thanks, I get it - there's a balancing act between increased chance of rim damage and the increased risk of pinch flats.

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