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What's your minimum preferred tire width for gravel riding?

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What's your minimum preferred tire width for gravel riding?

Old 09-02-20, 06:48 PM
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Helldorado
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What's your minimum preferred tire width for gravel riding?

I'm riding on a set of 42mm-wide 700C tires, because that's as wide as my bike frame will allow. How many of you prefer wider rubber for dry conditions gravel grinding?
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Old 09-02-20, 09:47 PM
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pipeliner
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40mmm is the minimum for me, ride 45s most of the time. I also weigh 240 and deal with dry conditions regularly. If I weighed 100lbs less i would consider running 38s...
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Old 09-03-20, 01:21 AM
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42 mm tubeless, I usually ride some easy MTB-tracks in the neighborhood
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Old 09-03-20, 01:33 AM
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I don't ride smaller than 32's which work well enough on gravel bike paths. Prefer 40's.
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Old 09-03-20, 05:19 AM
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I have 700x35 because that's all my frame will allow. It sucks so badly on the local terrain that I ride that I've been saving for months and searching for a new frame or new bike.
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Old 09-03-20, 06:30 AM
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Dry conditions? It depends entirely on the terrain. Smooth, hard-packed roads will be fine with 35s or even 32s. Lots of potholes, rocks, tree roots coming up through the road, etc, and 40+ is good.

At any rate, 42s are really pretty good all-rounders. That's what I run (they actually puff out to about 43-44mm), and they are sufficient for everything I encounter short of mud bogs and such. And remember that tire width (and tread, and psi) is always a balancing act in gravel riding: on a good long ride or race, you'll have, at some points, too much tire...And at other points, too little tire.
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Old 09-03-20, 06:39 AM
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I've been fine on 38mm (actual), but I'm def enjoying the extra volume from my new tires that measure out over 44mm.
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Old 09-03-20, 07:36 AM
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min would be 40mm i guess since thats what i used to use.
currently i have tires that measure 43 actual. i need to replace them soon and half want to try a new tire and half want to get the same tire again since I know I like it. The new ones will be 43 as well, regardless of which way i decide.

my frame can fit 47mm officially and over 2" 29er unofficially. i dont have interest in that for how/where I ride.
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Old 09-03-20, 08:34 AM
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I spend most of the summer on 32's, as our summer gravel is smoother than our summer asphalt.

But really, I chose a tire whose casing is 1.5x the size of the gravel (rocks, roots) I'll be riding on. Sometimes its 32, sometimes its 40, sometimes its 54mm
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Old 09-03-20, 08:37 AM
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650bx47 and it works excellent.
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Old 09-03-20, 08:40 AM
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I run 700x38mm Prior to this bike, I rode 700x30mm, but had too many flats. We have big, fast descents with loose gravel, so 38 is probably the smallest I would use around here.
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Old 09-03-20, 09:24 AM
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32 minimum, 38 max frame clearance, 40 ideal round number and good balance.
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Old 09-03-20, 10:10 AM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
min would be 40mm i guess since thats what i used to use.
currently i have tires that measure 43 actual.
Iím gonna guess: WTB Resolute?
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Old 09-03-20, 10:19 AM
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Originally Posted by Koyote View Post
Iím gonna guess: WTB Resolute?
thats the one. Its been a great tire so far. It doesn't feel sluggish, it feels good on pavement, and I've ridden a ton of flat river bottom singletrack this year on it.

But trying something new is intriguing and the 43mm gravelking SS looks perfect for how I usually use the bike, which is 2/3 gravel 1/3 pavement.
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Old 09-03-20, 10:22 AM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
thats the one. Its been a great tire so far. It doesn't feel sluggish, it feels good on pavement, and I've ridden a ton of flat river bottom singletrack this year on it.

But trying something new is intriguing and the 43mm gravelking SS looks perfect for how I usually use the bike, which is 2/3 gravel 1/3 pavement.
iíve been running the same tires on my main gravel rig for about 1 & 1/2 years now. No complaints at all, no problems, and I get good tread life. But stillÖ There is that curiosity about other tires.
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Old 09-03-20, 11:10 AM
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Super dry and fluffy in west NE right now. Roads vary from somewhat OK to 4” deep dried flour. Been on 700c45s at 35/28 psi, helps a lot.
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Old 09-03-20, 11:35 AM
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I converted a 1996 full rigid XC MTB to a drop bar gravel grinder...I can run 32c 'slicks' on the black top, 35c CX tyres on hard pack and light cravel and up to 53c knobblies for pretty much any other surface you care to mention. Even have a set of studded ice tyres for deep winter riding...
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Old 09-03-20, 03:37 PM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
thats the one. Its been a great tire so far. It doesn't feel sluggish, it feels good on pavement, and I've ridden a ton of flat river bottom singletrack this year on it.

But trying something new is intriguing and the 43mm gravelking SS looks perfect for how I usually use the bike, which is 2/3 gravel 1/3 pavement.
I just had a look at the Gravelking SS tire at the Panaracer website. I'm thinking that it may be a wash vs the Resolute. They're about the same weight, and while the GK has a smooth center tread (which should make it faster), it also has a puncture prevention belt (which should make it slower and less supple). 'Course, if you have puncture issues, you may benefit...But (knock on wood), my Resolutes have only punctured a couple times and have always sealed up nicely (Orange Seal).
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Old 09-03-20, 04:10 PM
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Currently experimenting with 700x36mm (about 37mm IRL) Challenge Gravel Grinder tires...very fast/smooth rolling on improved surfaces, but ofc no tread. As small as I will go. I've gone as large as 700x50mm, slow but very comfortable.
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Old 09-03-20, 04:13 PM
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3" - Don't listen to folks who say wider is slower on gravel, all those vibrations transferring to your body from narrow tires will wear you out way more quickly than the power it takes to kick over a wider tire.

Wide tire, < 10psi, you'll thank me later!

Last edited by davei1980; 09-03-20 at 05:09 PM.
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Old 09-03-20, 04:19 PM
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50mm. Everytime I increase tire size, I like it better. I'm up to 50mm now (Gravelking SK).
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Old 09-03-20, 05:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Koyote View Post
I just had a look at the Gravelking SS tire at the Panaracer website. I'm thinking that it may be a wash vs the Resolute. They're about the same weight, and while the GK has a smooth center tread (which should make it faster), it also has a puncture prevention belt (which should make it slower and less supple). 'Course, if you have puncture issues, you may benefit...But (knock on wood), my Resolutes have only punctured a couple times and have always sealed up nicely (Orange Seal).
There are 2 versions of the GKss. One is the GKss and the other isnthe GKss Plus+.
Apparently they felt it necessary to both spell out and make the image for the plus part.
The Plus+ has the PT shield casing, but I am considering the regular model without the extra protection. Its a handfulnof grams heavier than the Resolute, but smoother tread like you said.

The Conti Terra Speed would be neat to consider, but its 40mm at widest apparently(not really a deal breaker) and I've read it runs narrow.
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Old 09-03-20, 05:08 PM
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Originally Posted by tyrion View Post
50mm. Everytime I increase tire size, I like it better. I'm up to 50mm now (Gravelking SK).
I want to build a bike around that exact tire.
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Old 09-03-20, 05:27 PM
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Originally Posted by davei1980 View Post
3" - Don't listen to folks who say wider is slower on gravel, all those vibrations transferring to your body from narrow tires will wear you out way more quickly than the power it takes to kick over a wider tire.

Wide tire, < 10psi, you'll thank me later!
Depends on your gravel, and your speed. No one is winning races around here on a tire that big, not even with some pretty chunky sections. I'm racing on Sat and my 42mm Pathfinders (44+mm actual) will probably be the biggest tires at the front of the pack (I'm also one of the bigger guys up front, so I guess it makes sense lol).
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Old 09-03-20, 05:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Rides4Beer View Post
Depends on your gravel, and your speed. No one is winning races around here on a tire that big, not even with some pretty chunky sections. I'm racing on Sat and my 42mm Pathfinders (44+mm actual) will probably be the biggest tires at the front of the pack (I'm also one of the bigger guys up front, so I guess it makes sense lol).
Yeah no no no no - big caveat - not for racing

When you get in to racing things like comfort become less important and things like aero become way more important so yeah, I think we can both say we're both right (?). I think if you're not racing, go huge! The advantages in all day comfort, traction, and fatigue are awesome! Putz around at the party pace all day man! But when you're racing, you have a real decision to make, don't you? Rotational weight, aero, traction, rolling resistance, sponsorship pressure (not trivial, this is a real thing), etc.... I heard the guy who won last year's Dirty Kanza did so on 42mm tires, so I think you know what you're talking about here!

It's true, larger tires do have lower rolling resistance over rough terrain than smaller, narrower ones, but I have also heard that advantage is one you give up with aero drag starting at about 12 MPH or so. I am not a scientist but I believe both these phenomena are true.

I have also learned that a lot of things make sense to competitive riders which make little sense to noncompetitive ones, and vice versa.
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