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fastest tires for communting that are still able to go off road

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fastest tires for communting that are still able to go off road

Old 05-29-15, 04:17 AM
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fastest tires for communting that are still able to go off road

In gcn's commuter challenge:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gNzTeEzciec
Tom says that the best commuter bike would be a cyclocross with 28c slicks on it.

I own a cyclocross already and was looking for new tires anyway but the video brought up some new considerations that confuse me. And even after reading many threads here on bikeforums, I still need some advice.
I mostly commute with my bike (75% bad roads, 25% gravel) and I enjoy trying get as far/as fast as possible on weekends. However, I do enjoy the occasional getaway in the lines of 60% roads and 40% forest/mud (yes, I want it all ). At the moment I have two schwalbe tyrago 700x35c that are worn down and ready to be changed. I was looking for a faster tire because I do spend most of my time on road.

After researching the forum, here are the tires that stand out:

- Continental Grand Prix 4 saisons
- Continental GatorSkin
- Vittoria Randonneur II

What bothers me is: will I still be able to go offroad with those tires? Are there more appropriate tires for my profile?
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Old 05-29-15, 05:03 AM
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Both of those Continental tires have almost no tread and would not work offroad. Try the Continental Speed Ride in 700x42 - a cheap, fast tire thay works well on pavement, gravel, and dry singletrack.
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Old 05-29-15, 05:54 AM
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I asked a user directly in the youtube comments saying he was using a cx with 28 slick tires. Here is his answer:

they're Continental Gatorskins and for the commute I run them at 80psi front and 90psi rear. For continued off road I'd drop them to 60psi/70psi. For races or similar I swap them out for a pair of Bontrager CX2 32c tyres and run them tubeless with low psi. I haven't found a knobby CX tyre that is reasonably light and lasts.
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Old 05-29-15, 07:11 AM
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"Off-road" conditions vary significantly depending on where you live. Sand and/or mud with slicks (even wide slicks) is not much fun. However, groomed gravel or hardpack on 28 slicks is usually a nice ride. If you really must get by with just one set of tires, I'd look for something with a little more tread like the Clement USH or MSO. If you don't hate changing tires, get some 28 slicks for your mostly road rides (I'm partial to Panaracers) and switch to something with much more tread for your weekend adventures.
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Old 05-29-15, 09:02 AM
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I have Gatorskins (25c) on one of my bikes and can confirm that they do not work on singletrack, and are barely adequate on all but the most groomed of gravel roads. I've ridden them on short gravel segments between paved roads and have to go really slow and pick the smoothest possible line. They are just too small and smooth. I also have GP 4000's (also 25c) on my road bike and was loosing traction on a steeped paved climb yesterday that had a bit of loose sand/gravel on it - the tire just does not have enough bite.

Knobby CX tires would definitely wear out fast on the road, and give you a lot of rolling resistance. The Conti SpeedRides are a file tread tire, with knobs on the edges. The file tread rolls almost as well as a slick on pavement, but gives the tires just enough grip to really bite in on hardpack gravel and dry singletrack. It is a $30 tire that weighs 420 grams, which decent flat protection. A 28c Gatorskin probably weighs 300-350 grams, so the difference in weight is pretty negligible.

Lot of other tires are marketed for this type of riding and have a more or less continuous center ridge for pavement, and then lugs on the side (Clemet Xplor MSO and USH, WTB Nano 40). I haven't ridden any of them, but I can confirm that the SpeedRide is a pretty awesome tire for mixed pavement and dirt gravel riding. The only shortcoming is mud, where the file tread really does not work well.
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Old 05-29-15, 10:21 AM
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Very much depends on your commute and off road conditions.
Light supple tires will be faster than heavy tires. I am running Compass Barlow Pass 38mm slicks and these are definitely faster and more comforatable than the 28mm Gatorskins I have used before but the Gatorskins are definitely tougher.
The Barlow pass are fine for dry gravel roads but would be a challenge on tails, especially with loose or wet soils.
Surly Knards 120tpi 41mm are another light tire that provide lots of confidence on loose surfaces. These are reasonably fast on pavement but they are no road racing tire.
For fast pavement and good off-road i would look for tires that are light weight and wide with minimal center tread but some lugs on the side.
Knard, Nano, and MSO all look pretty good. Pick the light weigh versions for best speed at the expense of durability and puncture resistance.

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Old 05-29-15, 10:43 AM
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Get two sets of tires. One set for commuting/road duty and another for the forest and mud.
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Old 05-29-15, 10:58 AM
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Give the Panaracer Pasela a try. They're inexpensive, ride nicely, and are dirt/gravel-friendly. BTW, the non-PT/TG versions have a more supple feel/ride.
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Old 05-29-15, 11:13 AM
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I love Panaracer T-Serv (700x28) for commuting and I have done a lot of off road riding, including two gravel centuries.

Take note: If the gravel is loose, this is the wrong tire! I did the Almanzo 100 this month and there was a ton of fresh gravel, loose and 2-4 inches deep. I stayed on the bike and finished with a respectable time (just over 7 hours), but I was VERY cautious with all turns and descents.
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Old 05-29-15, 11:55 AM
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I don't think you can get a do-it-all tire for your conditions (which include both mud and road) that doesn't compromise one way or another. Cyclocross tires would sacrifice some road performance. Slicks would sacrifice off-road performance.

I've run Kenda Kwick Cross 30mm and Continental GP 4 Season 28mm on my cyclocross bike. To be honest, after riding both back and forth, I don't think I suffer much in terms of road performance on the Kendas, less than I would suffer by taking slicks off-road. The biggest issue I have with the CX tires is that they are more prone to flats than the Continentals.

Maybe something like Kenda Happy Medium would work for you. I'd recommend tire liners for extra flat protection.
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Old 05-29-15, 12:03 PM
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Originally Posted by justin1138
Get two sets of tires. One set for commuting/road duty and another for the forest and mud.
I'd take this up a notch and say two wheelsets.

Originally Posted by Cyclosaurus
I don't think you can get a do-it-all tire for your conditions (which include both mud and road) that doesn't compromise one way or another. .
+1. Anything good on road or hard trail is gonna suck in mud.

For a do it all tire I'd probably go USH. Still gonna suck in the mud, though.

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Old 05-30-15, 09:01 AM
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I personally would be running the Panaracer Gravel Kings in 32mm but any fast rolling CX tire will treat you well.

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Old 05-30-15, 10:20 AM
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'fast' is still the work you put into the pedals ..
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Old 05-30-15, 02:37 PM
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Clement X'plor USH for me, too. I do a combination of gravel, road, and commuting with them. A do-everything type of tire.
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Old 05-30-15, 03:21 PM
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I alternate between the Panaracer in 28mm for mostly road and some dirt, and the Ritchey Speedmax in 32mm when it's mostly dirt and some road. The Ritchey has long been recommended as a cross tire that was fast and longish lasting for road riding, but I'm glad to see the other newer options mentioned above! I'll try them out next.
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Old 05-31-15, 03:02 PM
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I just use 2 sets of wheels, since I can also change gearing at the same time. I run 32C Panaracer Paselas and an 11-28 cassette for road duty and various 32C-34C knobbies with a 12-27 cassette for dirt.
For a mixed bad road gravel commute some type of gravel racing/adventure touring tire would be the best bet like a Gravel King or the Hutchinson X'plor series. Then just keep knobbies on hand for vacations.
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Old 06-02-15, 04:21 PM
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I use the Conti Cyclocross Speed (700x35) for pavement, gravel, cross course, dry hard singletrack, and am very happy with it
https://www.conti-online.com/www/bic..._speed_en.html

.....but you wouldn't catch me running it in muddy/loose/deep conditions. For that matter, I'd probably be on another bike in muddy/deep/loose conditions that consisted of more than short stretches.
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Old 06-03-15, 09:31 AM
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Thank you everyone so much for your input. This has been so interesting that I don't really want this discussion to end. I understand now, that two sets of tires is the way to go. However, considering all the factors, I think the continental cross speed would be my first choice. It just seems to have the best overall stats... so to speak. It's not too expensive, seems perfect for commuters and has enough grip to ride off road. As mentioned by so many, for heavy duty off road mud craziness, another tire would be necessary.
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Old 06-03-15, 09:54 AM
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Originally Posted by ayasum
Thank you everyone so much for your input. This has been so interesting that I don't really want this discussion to end. I understand now, that two sets of tires is the way to go. However, considering all the factors, I think the continental cross speed would be my first choice. It just seems to have the best overall stats... so to speak. It's not too expensive, seems perfect for commuters and has enough grip to ride off road. As mentioned by so many, for heavy duty off road mud craziness, another tire would be necessary.
They really are great tires - I promote them on here all the time. No other tire comes close to the price, weight, versatility, and speed of those Conti's. Those that do literally cost twice as much.

Note that the "Cyolocross Speed" and "SpeedRide" are both the same tire - the only difference is the Cyclocross Speed is a 35c tire while the SpeedRide is a 42c tire. The SpeedRides measure at 39mm wide on my Velocity A23 rims so they do run a bit small. Definitely go with the 42c tire if you bike can fit it - the extra width and volume is really nice on gravel and singletrack.
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Old 06-04-15, 05:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Breathegood
I use the Conti Cyclocross Speed (700x35) for pavement, gravel, cross course, dry hard singletrack, and am very happy with it
https://www.conti-online.com/www/bic..._speed_en.html

.....but you wouldn't catch me running it in muddy/loose/deep conditions. For that matter, I'd probably be on another bike in muddy/deep/loose conditions that consisted of more than short stretches.

Same here- they roll very well on tarmac and hard-packed gravel/dirt and have enough grip on loose gravel. But, they are no good on mud.....as I discovered during a local CX race on a converted paddock course!

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Old 06-04-15, 07:55 PM
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The Conti Crossride have a really aggressive knob tread that works well on loose, steep fire roads and an overlapping center knob pattern that presents an effectively solid center bead on pavement. I can't really feel any difference in rolling resistance on pavement between them and 24mm slicks. they out climb a set of Conti Crossrace that I originally had, wear well and are reasonably priced.

They seem to be only available in 42 mm though and a lot of CX bikes won't take a tire that wide.
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Old 06-04-15, 08:27 PM
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I rode this tire for two years on my Cross Check. Club Roost Cross Terra 700x35c. They are inexpensive, wear forever, roll like slicks on pavement, are tough, hook up dang good through corners on hardpack single track, and even work decent in heavy sand. Very underrated tire, though it's been around a LONG time. It's not a superlight since it only comes in steel bead, but that's getting pretty nit-picky considering how well it performs.
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Old 06-05-15, 07:00 AM
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I'm really happy with the Panaracer GravelKing in 28 but they don't have any tread for off road. The 32 has some tread. Again, two sets of tires will probably serve you better than trying to find one for all conditions.
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Old 06-08-15, 07:28 AM
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The Kendra Happy Medium is an fast tire, both on pavement and on loose gravel. I would consider if if you want to have a fast 50/50 tire. if you spend most of your time on streets, use the Vittoria Voyager Hyper. its a tough slick tire that rolls fast, has a smooth ride, and is light.
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Old 07-05-15, 06:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Hypno Toad
I love Panaracer T-Serv (700x28) for commuting and I have done a lot of off road riding, including two gravel centuries.

Take note: If the gravel is loose, this is the wrong tire! I did the Almanzo 100 this month and there was a ton of fresh gravel, loose and 2-4 inches deep. I stayed on the bike and finished with a respectable time (just over 7 hours), but I was VERY cautious with all turns and descents.

Very impressive. I'm new to gravel riding, and ride an older mtb. When I wore out the knobbies that came on the bike(I bought it used), I mostly was riding paved trails and a little gravel, so I asked the shop to recommend something that would work. They suggested continental town & country. I've liked them fine on pavement, and don't yet have enough experience to tell me if what I'm running into is the tires or not. I liked them fine on well packed dirt/gravel, but they felt like rolling through molasses going through deep, loose gravel and sand. Then again, the last two rides have had monstrous head winds, making it somewhat difficult to judge. The rear end of the bike gets to fish tailing when the surface is loose? Tires, or do I need to change inflation? These are 1.9 x 26 running around 62 psi.
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