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Commuter tire that works well on dirt roads?

Old 07-31-22, 07:23 AM
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parkbrav
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Commuter tire that works well on dirt roads?

Hiya, I'm contemplating a 100 mile cycling challenge. Part of my route would take me to part of the East Coast Greenway in Maine, a good chunk of which is on dirt road.

Can anyone suggest a reliable tire that would be puncture-proof on dirt road / gravel conditions AND still be safe for some pavement?
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Old 07-31-22, 09:02 AM
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Maxxis Dissector 3C MaxxGrip DH

I kid... just about any commuter or gravel bike tire will do just fine on a dirt road, unless you are contemplating some fast downhill dirt sections, in which case you should at least have some little side knobs. But there are a zillion tires that fit this description. Every brand will have both commuter/touring and gravel tires that fit this description, with the commuter tires usually having thicker or harder armor, and the gravel tires being tubeless.

Just for one example Panaracer has the Gravel King which comes in five different treads and a dozen sizes, tan wall or black wall or color options, with or without an armor layer. And that's just the gravel side of one brand.
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Old 07-31-22, 09:34 AM
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I'm happy with my Gravel King SK's, they are terrific on gravel and roll pretty well on asphalt. If preponderance of asphalt, I would just size up to the largest road tread tire that fits the frame and use that. I just ordered a set of Schwalbe Marathons in a size 38mm, knowing they can handle medium sized gravel just fine. These are not gravel specific tires like the Gravel Kings, more an all-rounder tire. Specialized has a new tire called Sawtooth 2 Bliss inverted tread design, looks interesting. Reminds me of the discontinued Avocet Armadillos that also had an inverted tread and were great on dirt roads. A ton of rubber depth on those tires, indestructible but weighed a ton.

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Old 08-01-22, 12:20 PM
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Originally Posted by parkbrav View Post
Hiya, I'm contemplating a 100 mile cycling challenge. Part of my route would take me to part of the East Coast Greenway in Maine, a good chunk of which is on dirt road.

Can anyone suggest a reliable tire that would be puncture-proof on dirt road / gravel conditions AND still be safe for some pavement?
Ya really need to specify the size range you are looking for.

Realistically, any commuting tire works fine unless you are in the mud or wet grass or something like that. Most greenways I've been on don't get slick, even in the rain. Schwalbe Marathon's do fine, Pasela's, Gatorskins - all good ~<=32mm commuting touring type tires. Some of those are pretty tough and close to puncture proof. Ya want to get fancy and can go bigger, a tubeless 40mm gravel tire (mentioned above) work great too. Tubeless tires are often not super puncture proof, rather they are self sealing when they get a puncture.
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Old 08-01-22, 02:00 PM
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Originally Posted by parkbrav View Post
Hiya, I'm contemplating a 100 mile cycling challenge. Part of my route would take me to part of the East Coast Greenway in Maine, a good chunk of which is on dirt road.

Can anyone suggest a reliable tire that would be puncture-proof on dirt road / gravel conditions AND still be safe for some pavement?
Probably obvious but I’ll add that lowering your air pressure for the dirt and gravel helps, too. And if you have a set of tires that aren’t puncture resistant but you otherwise like, you could try a set of Rhinodillos or some such in them.
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Old 08-01-22, 04:58 PM
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Originally Posted by parkbrav View Post
Hiya, I'm contemplating a 100 mile cycling challenge. Part of my route would take me to part of the East Coast Greenway in Maine, a good chunk of which is on dirt road.

Can anyone suggest a reliable tire that would be puncture-proof on dirt road / gravel conditions AND still be safe for some pavement?
We toured the 800+miles of the 3k trail over around 15 days in the fall 5 years back, from New Haven to St Stephen. I'd prepared to use Schwalbe Marathon Almotion 622x40 on the dirt sections, and 622-37 Marathon Supreme as road tires, tubeless. However, the dirt trail was easy enough, I just stuck with the Supremes. The dirt was packed tight and never had an puncture with the Supremes, which are lighter than the Almotion, which are tougher and more grippy in dirt, but stayed in the bag.
I'm not familiar with the area when it rains, which is why I brought the Almotions. You won't need super grippy knobs, from what I remember, but I'd check the weather. I'd suggest tubeless and have a HV hand pump. If you're into a bit of fast riding, I would even think of the 34mm Pro One, which I'll be testing for the replacement of the Marathon Supremes, since Schwalbe seems to have killed off that like once the Addix model didn't ride well.
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Old 08-01-22, 11:50 PM
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Originally Posted by parkbrav View Post
Hiya, . . .. a reliable tire that would be puncture-proof on dirt road / gravel conditions AND still be safe for some pavement?

There is no not such a thing as ”puncture-proof", Period.

Instead, Learn how to do a quick repair, to replace the tube quickly or patch fix the flat tube on the spot, all while riding your supple smooth rolling fun to ride low rolling resistance favorite tires,

flat resistance, puncture resistant tires ride like s**t, enjoy your ride instead and worry less about getting a flat knowing that it could happen and you're able and ready to fix it quickly and back on enjoying your ride in no time and no problem

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Old 08-02-22, 02:18 AM
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I use 40mm Hutchinson Touaregs on my gravel bike (which I do also commute on). They roll well enough on the road, and handle a wide variety of off-road. We don't have miles and miles of gravel roads in the UK like you do in the US and our gravel rides tend to see about every type of terrain imaginable- a bit of gravel, some singletrack (that varies widely in how technical it is), rutted/muddy bridleways, fields, roads, etc.
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Old 08-02-22, 08:30 AM
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Originally Posted by Eds0123 View Post
There is no not such a thing as ”puncture-proof", Period.

Instead, Learn how to do a quick repair, to replace the tube quickly or patch fix the flat tube on the spot, all while riding your supple smooth rolling fun to ride low rolling resistance favorite tires,

flat resistance, puncture resistant tires ride like s**t, enjoy your ride instead and worry less about getting a flat knowing that it could happen and you're able and ready to fix it quickly and back on enjoying your ride in no time and no problem
Not necessarily. The Marathon Plus is a darling on the touring scene because of its toughness. Even the Marathon Almotion Onestar is very tough, especially when used tubeless, and also rides very fast and smooth. I've done rocky deserts, thorny forests and industrial cities on them for thousands of miles on tours and only ever had sidewall damage but not terminal. However it's a little overweight.
I do agree tire repair knowledge and kit are essential for long rides. I carry 120ml of sealant, 2 spare tires, 2 x S-Tubo Tubolito spare tube, a HV hand pump, a flat repair kit and a Schrader/Presta adapter to use a gas station to inflate tubeless once I hit a town with a gas station pump.
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Old 08-18-22, 08:54 PM
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I quite like continental cyclocross speed 700c-35 tires for pavement, gravel, and dry dirt, but it appears they have been discontinued. They do hold mud bad though.
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Old 08-19-22, 11:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Eds0123 View Post
There is no not such a thing as ”puncture-proof", Period.

Instead, Learn how to do a quick repair, to replace the tube quickly or patch fix the flat tube on the spot, all while riding your supple smooth rolling fun to ride low rolling resistance favorite tires,

flat resistance, puncture resistant tires ride like s**t, enjoy your ride instead and worry less about getting a flat knowing that it could happen and you're able and ready to fix it quickly and back on enjoying your ride in no time and no problem
Never had a flat with Serfas.

Good thread though.

I have had some luck with Specialized tires as well.

Looking for bigger tires for an old hybrid I picked up recently, so good thread.
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Old 08-22-22, 04:36 PM
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panaracer gravel kings are a higher end option
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Old 08-22-22, 05:45 PM
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For riding on dirt (and I assume gravel), one should soften the tires a little. And have sufficient volume to absorb the surface imperfections without bottoming out.

I liked the Clement X'Plor USH Tire, 700x35mm 120tpi tires I had. I thought they generally had low rolling resistance on the roads. Apparently now rebranded to Donnelly X'Plor USH 120 TPI Tire 700x35c

For what they are, they're very light, and perhaps a bit lower on the puncture protection scale. But, very good on the rolling resistance scale.

For a good durable all around commuter/gravel tire, look at the Michelin Protek Cross Max. Definitely not as fast of a tire as the X'Plor USH. But, good for flat resistance, and good overall traction on multiple surfaces.
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Old 08-24-22, 07:09 PM
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Originally Posted by parkbrav View Post
Hiya, I'm contemplating a 100 mile cycling challenge. Part of my route would take me to part of the East Coast Greenway in Maine, a good chunk of which is on dirt road.

Can anyone suggest a reliable tire that would be puncture-proof on dirt road / gravel conditions AND still be safe for some pavement?
17 years ago, a friend and I did a touring trip through coastal Maine that included a small gravel section of the Greenway. We also did other trips that at times had us riding several miles of dirt roads. On that first trip, I rode on 27 x 1/4” Vittoria Zaffiros. So basically a 32 mm tire. On the fairly chunky gravel we rode, it wasn’t ideal, but it worked. On a typical, well-maintained dirt road in New England, that was fine and I had no problems at all.

I don’t necessarily recommend that specific tire, what I’m saying is basically any moderately wide (35-40) mm road touring tire, or a “slick” gravel tire with at most a herringbone tread, will be fine for what you want to do. You could also go to something with a bit more tread if you want a bit more surefootedness, but you don’t really need a super knobby Unbound Gravel tire. These are very civilized dirt roads.
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Old 10-26-22, 12:06 PM
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Old 10-26-22, 02:31 PM
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Schwalbe Marathon Plus tires are thick, heavy, and practically bombproof. They’re fine on gravel unless it’s super loose or muddy.
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Old 10-26-22, 03:23 PM
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The $35 tire that can do both - Panaracer Paselas. (Might cost a little more now; that was pre-COVID.)

I've commuted on Paselas for years. Regulalry 28s. I no longer do gravel (NFL caliber loose brain syndrome) but virtually all I did was on Paselas as large as the frame fit. (Choices I know about are 23, 25, 28, 32, 35 and 38.) Fellow forumites witnessed me doing just fine on 38/35 over the gnarly Trask River Trail over the Oregon coast range. And I rode the 25 miles to the ride and about 10 back (cheated with public transit) on pavement. So about 70 psi on the pavement and far less on the gravel. Felt like the right rubber for the job all day. (Yes my near race much narrower tires would have done the pavement a lot better - but cost me two expensive tires and two equally expensive rims and a day of labor. And probably a crash or three.)

The Paselas are simply a good compromise tire. Not great at anything and not awful anywhere. Simple tread pattern that rolls decently well. More grip would be nice in some situations but they pick up little in the way of sharp stuff so even without armor, they don't get a lot of flats. Tread wears well but isn't "forever". Casing is thin, decently flexible and tough (but doesn't take abrasion well). Landing tread first on sharp rocks doesn't phase them but brushing sidewalls on curbs is a killer.
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