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Old 05-09-12, 09:12 AM   #1
frankgg
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Which 700x28c touring tire for rail trail / crushed stone bicycle paths?

Hello all,

I'm trying to pick a 700x28c touring tire for some trips on rail trail / crushed stone paths this summer. I will be using a road bike pulling a Bob Yak trailer.

Here's a list I made of the more popular touring tires I could find online, sorted by tire weight, with folding versions picked if offered in the 28c size.

Looking for some recommendations, I would like a tire that is decently flat resistant for anything you'd normally find on a gravel rail trail, and lighter is always better when biking 60-80 miles/day.

Panaracer T-Serv PT
700 x 28c Folding - 270 Grams
http://www.panaracer.com/urban.php

Panaracer Pasela TG
700 x 28c Folding - 280 Grams
http://www.panaracer.com/urban.php

Kenda Kwick Tendril
700 x 28c Folding - 330 Grams
http://www.kendausa.com/en/home/bicy...k-tendril.aspx

Continental Gatorskin
700 x 28c Wire - 360 Grams
http://www.conti-online.com/generato...orskin_en.html

Continental Contact
700 x 28c Wire - 500 Grams
http://www.conti-online.com/generato...ontact_en.html

Continental Touring Plus
700 x 28c Wire - 580 Grams
http://www.conti-online.com/generato...ngPlus_en.html

Schwalbe Marathon Plus
700 x 28c Wire - 740 Grams
http://www.schwalbetires.com/node/1323
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Old 05-09-12, 09:23 AM   #2
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If you're towing a trailer, the lighter is better mantra probably doesn't apply that much - you will be hauling a lot of weight anyway, so you won't notice a few hundred grams extra.

You want something sturdy enough that it won't flat on the gravel (especially if sharp bits of stone stick between the treads and work their way into the tire), so maybe with kevlar, and you probably want something that you can ride at slightly lower pressure so you won't notice the gravel bumps so much.
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Old 05-09-12, 10:03 AM   #3
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If you're towing a trailer, the lighter is better mantra probably doesn't apply that much - you will be hauling a lot of weight anyway, so you won't notice a few hundred grams extra.

You want something sturdy enough that it won't flat on the gravel (especially if sharp bits of stone stick between the treads and work their way into the tire), so maybe with kevlar, and you probably want something that you can ride at slightly lower pressure so you won't notice the gravel bumps so much.
I'm curious; I'm not trying to be a weight weenie about this, but I thought that even though I'm moving a fair amount of weight (bike + trailer + camping gear) that keeping down any rotating weight like wheel weight would still make a decent difference? I was thinking that with a gravel path there's lots of bumps and the like that will cause you to lose speed, and a heavier tire/wheel would mean more energy input into getting back up to/maintaining speed?
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Old 05-09-12, 10:54 AM   #4
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And I was thinking of it the other way around -- I want the tire to be robust enough to sop up those bumps in the first place so I don't slow down too much and have to speed up again.

We could, of course, both be right, and it's all a question of preference.
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Old 05-09-12, 12:47 PM   #5
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I'm curious; I'm not trying to be a weight weenie about this, but I thought that even though I'm moving a fair amount of weight (bike + trailer + camping gear) that keeping down any rotating weight like wheel weight would still make a decent difference? I was thinking that with a gravel path there's lots of bumps and the like that will cause you to lose speed, and a heavier tire/wheel would mean more energy input into getting back up to/maintaining speed?
Less rotating weight makes a barely perceptible difference accelerating. Once you start loading up with panniers or trailer that difference disappears.
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Old 05-09-12, 01:03 PM   #6
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I was slowing WAY the heck down on a lot of rails-to-trails gravel paths between Seattle and Ellensburg when I passed through there last year, and that was with 32c Vittoria Randonneurs. If you're going to be primarily on gravel you might want to hone in on 32/35 tires, you'll be going much faster when you aren't constantly feeling like you're going to slip.
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Old 05-09-12, 01:13 PM   #7
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From that list, I'd pick the Pasela TG - it would also be the tire that is both cheapest and in stock at my closest LBS, which sometimes goes a long way in my decision-making process.

But yeah, if you can fit bigger tires and will be doing a lot of rail-trail riding, I'd think about 35mm+ wide tires. Pasela comes in 37 I believe.
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Old 05-09-12, 02:09 PM   #8
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I rode on the New River Trail in SW Virginia last summer and used Ritchey Speed Max Pro tires in 700 x 32. I was glad that my tires had tread when we got caught in brief downpour that created a fair amount of puddles and mud on the trail. The NRT is mostly covered with fine crushed gravel or dirt. Although it would be rideable on 28s, I felt much more confident and safer on 32s and 35s would have been nice. The tread was also a plus when it rained.
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Old 05-09-12, 02:17 PM   #9
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Sadly, my bike is limited to 28's so that's as wide as I can go.

I'm surprised that I can't find any reviews of the Kenda Kwick Tendril, it looks like a nice tire, maybe its new? Or no one uses it?
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Old 05-09-12, 02:50 PM   #10
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I have found the Continental Tour Ride to be a really awesome tire for semi-loose stuff. I have 32's on my fixed gear rather than my loaded touring bike, but it's proven itself on overnights. They handle very predictably on dirt, packed & loose gravel and even dry river rock. Tread is a little deeper than the conti top contacts that I use on my heavy tourer.

What are you planning for the Yak tire? The stock tire/tube? This might be a non-issue with whatever you've got, but if it's the same as what's on their website, make sure you bring a pump that can fit both schrader and presta tubes, if your rims aren't drilled for the schrader width.
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Old 05-09-12, 03:09 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frankgg View Post
Sadly, my bike is limited to 28's so that's as wide as I can go.

I'm surprised that I can't find any reviews of the Kenda Kwick Tendril, it looks like a nice tire, maybe its new? Or no one uses it?
At the 28 size it's going to be less about the tire and more about the trail conditions. Since your are pulling a trailer would a cyclocross with mini nobs be appropriate for the rear to stop the slipping?

When I ride in dirt with front bags on dirt I use a flat and wide in the front position to help with float.
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Old 05-09-12, 04:02 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frankgg View Post
Sadly, my bike is limited to 28's so that's as wide as I can go.

I'm surprised that I can't find any reviews of the Kenda Kwick Tendril, it looks like a nice tire, maybe its new? Or no one uses it?
Also consider the Vittoria Randonneur Cross http://www.rei.com/product/709112/vi...700-x-28-32-35
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Old 05-09-12, 05:46 PM   #13
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I've had very good luck with Vittoria Rubino Pro Tech in 28c. Good sidewall protection. I think the Schwalbe Ultremo DD also comes in 28c, good sidewalls but no tread.
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Old 05-09-12, 10:48 PM   #14
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At the 28 size it's going to be less about the tire and more about the trail conditions. Since your are pulling a trailer would a cyclocross with mini nobs be appropriate for the rear to stop the slipping?

When I ride in dirt with front bags on dirt I use a flat and wide in the front position to help with float.
Should I expect slipping with a lightly-loaded trailer? (I won't be loading the trailer down with any more than I'd usually stick in 2 rear panniers & on a rear rack, maybe 15-20 lbs?)

I've done the Erie Canal and Pine Creek Trail with the same bike but using panniers on some 28's and my friend did GAP/C&O with me with a 25 front / 28 rear and didn't have any real trouble to speak of, even in some decently muddy conditions near DC on the C&O after a big storm went through the day before.

When you say you use a flat and wide in the front, do you mean a low tread tire?
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Old 05-10-12, 11:51 AM   #15
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Also consider the Vittoria Randonneur Cross http://www.rei.com/product/709112/vi...700-x-28-32-35
I'll second that
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Old 05-11-12, 12:16 AM   #16
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Tire specs are pretty loose, so whatever you decide on, be sure it really truly is to spec, and will fit your tight frame.

I would run 35s. I'm a big believer in keeping rotating weight down, but tire size is only one issue there. I use slicks, and as light tubes as I can find. even with 35s to stop the bike slipping i have had to go down to 25 pounds on some rail trails, but it was never a problem just certain sections.
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Old 05-11-12, 12:30 AM   #17
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I ride with 28 conti gatorskins. they are great on pavement but since they are slicks I don't think they would be great on gravel or off pavement. You may want to consider a knobby hybird type tire, sort of a mountanin bike tire for your touring bike. It will make the 28 cc tire larger to help with the gravel. On gravel roads control is what you want, not necesserally speed.
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Old 05-11-12, 11:10 AM   #18
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My "622-28" german made Conti top tour 2000, mount like a 23 wide on the rim.

So perhaps the 32 will come out as a 28, IDK your wheels ..

FWIW , run any tire you want, don't obsess on it, steel bead on the bike [cheaper],
I'd bring an extra 3rd, the folding tire, just in case.

Last edited by fietsbob; 05-11-12 at 11:27 AM.
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Old 05-11-12, 11:15 AM   #19
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bummer that you are stuck with 28's.

I tried a gatorskin 32mm. Its only 2mm bigger than the 28s (and doesn't weigh much more), but it sure does give a cushy ride when going over rough stuff.
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