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Old 09-16-12, 07:30 AM   #1
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Gravel racing tires.

Now that road racing season is over, and most of my riding is done on my Cross bike, Iím beginning to start ordering and collecting all the new consumable parts to get my road bike ready for next year. My favorite race and the first race of the year is a local spring Roubaix-style race. Next year, Iím also planning to travel for some other similar races in the region. In the past, Iíve just left my 23mm Gatorskins that I used for winter training on the bike for those first few races. I donít actually like the Gatroskins much though as I find them to be a really harsh ride and only marginally if at all more durable than other high-mileage tires Iíve used. Iím thinking about getting a 25mm tire for next year (either a Rubino Pro or Pro4 endurance)
Hereís what Iím hoping to get out of the slightly larger tires:
1. A little more float on the deep gravel/sandy parts so I donít sink in as much.
2. A smoother ride over the rougher road surfaces.
3. The ability to use normal PSI (105/112) and hit pot-holes without pinch flatting (in the past Iíve pumped them up a little more for rough roads.)

Has anyone used a wider tire for races on rough/gravel roads and found any or all of the above to be true without a significant amount of extra resistance on the smoother pavement?
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Old 09-16-12, 07:36 AM   #2
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Yes. The 25mm or even 28mm (depends on whose 28mm) are pretty standard for most local XXX/Roubaix.

There are also some pretty inexpensive rim/wheel choices out there with wider rims that would mate up pretty well with the wider tires.
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Old 09-16-12, 08:31 AM   #3
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I rode 25s all season: Conti 4 seasons, then GP 4k. Dropped the pressure a bit for the roubaix races. It worked for me. (normally ran 90 in the front, 100 in the back) Dropped it accordingly to the surface. And I run pretty standard rims.

A buddy of mine got 28's for an especially sandy roubaix around here and said it helped.

One of my teammates gave me crap for all of the extra rolling resistance that I'm creating, but honestly I can't tell the difference. If you buy Zinn's argument, wider tires have a lower rolling resistance. The only drawbacks for me are adjusting the break pads and (in theory) more aero drag. Considering I'm racing on an open pro and a Klinen rim, I don't care about the latter.

Flat protection has been much better with the 25s. I didn't pinch flat all year, and only one puncture that I can think of *knock on wood*.

Also I find the conti 4 seasons to be comprable to the GP4k, however it does wear quickly.

Go for it.

Last edited by kindablue; 09-16-12 at 08:43 AM.
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Old 09-17-12, 03:19 AM   #4
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I've done Rouge-Roubaix (our local version) twice. The first I used 25c Gatorskins, the second I used 28c Conti Grand Prix. No problems with either. The issue, as Bob implied, is what will fit in your frame. The 28s fit (barely) in my Allez frame, not in my Look 585. The sticking point isn't the fork and stay clearance on my bikes, but the rear brake (Ultegra 6600) on the Allez and the FD clamp on the Look.

I've switched over to Michelin Krylions on three of my bikes. They're the recently-discontinued predecessor of the Pro4 Endurance. When I wear them and the two NIB replacements out, I'll start with the Pro4 Endurance. I've got 25s on two of the bikes, and they measure 26.7mm wide on Open Pro and RR465 rims; the 23s are about 23.5mm. I haven't flatted yet with a combined 6k miles, which is better than I did with Gatorskins. The ride is much better than the Gatorskins as well. Two of the rear tires have ~2500 miles on them, and while obviously worn, have a good bit of miles left. (I weigh 185.)

I'd go with the the Pro4 Endurance in 700x25c.

Demain, on roule!
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