Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Cyclocross and Gravelbiking (Recreational)
Reload this Page >

32 mm tires that can climb in steep & sandy conditions

Notices
Cyclocross and Gravelbiking (Recreational) This has to be the most physically intense sport ever invented. It's high speed bicycle racing on a short off road course or riding the off pavement rides on gravel like : "Unbround Gravel". We also have a dedicated Racing forum for the Cyclocross Hard Core Racers.

32 mm tires that can climb in steep & sandy conditions

Old 05-18-21, 08:28 AM
  #1  
Hypno Toad
meh
Thread Starter
 
Hypno Toad's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: Hopkins, MN
Posts: 4,291

Bikes: 21 Bianchi Infinito; 17 Breezer Radar Pro; 15 Surly Pugsley; 13 Felt Z85; 11 Globe Daily; 09 Kona Dew Drop; 96 Mondonico

Mentioned: 21 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 911 Post(s)
Liked 520 Times in 291 Posts
32 mm tires that can climb in steep & sandy conditions

I'm working on a long-planned adventure ride - climbing Mauna Kea. The bike for this adventure can take up to 32 mm tires. The climb starts with 34 miles of climbing, going up over 9,000 ft, on pavement. The last 8 miles (4,500 ft) of the climb is gravel with loose sandy sections with grades kicking over 15%. My bike has great gearing for climbing a wall (33/32), but I want a tire that will give traction on soft sandy climbs.

My first pick-thought is GravelKing SK 32mm - I know they are very popular with the gravel folks I ride with - but I don't know my 'narrow' gravel tires very well (my typical gravel bikes roll on 700x45 and 26x4).

Let me know your thoughts on 32mm tires that can ride both pavement and soft sandy climbs. Thanks!
Hypno Toad is offline  
Old 05-18-21, 09:51 AM
  #2  
autonomy
Senior Member
 
autonomy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2016
Location: Boston Roads
Posts: 876

Bikes: 2012 Canondale Synapse 105, 2017 REI Co-Op ADV 3.1

Mentioned: 14 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 447 Post(s)
Liked 119 Times in 72 Posts
Ehh, how sandy are we talking? If it's sandy enough to sink in, then 32mm will be a pain even with a tread. You'd want a wide contact patch for that; it's more about bike control than grip at that point. If it's closer to 'a little bit of loose sand' than you should be fine. FWIW the GK SK are fairly grippy, just a hair more grippy than XPlor MSOs in my experience. I ride the 40mm version and usually have no problems unless the sand is deep enough for the tire to sink. You'll need to watch out on descents more so then on climb.
Another one to look at would be Vittoria Terreno Dry. I really wanted to get a set of them but they were on backorder for weeks; should be a faster-rolling tire than GravelKing but nearly as grippy. Not sure what the stock looks like this year. And, of course, there's the Schwalbe G-One and the various offerings from WTB though not all are made in 32mm.

Just for reference, this kind of stuff is perfectly doable on 28mm slicks but you do have to be careful especially on steep terrain; 32mm tires with tread would give you much more confidence.




Last edited by autonomy; 05-18-21 at 10:01 AM.
autonomy is offline  
Old 05-18-21, 11:34 AM
  #3  
unterhausen
Randomhead
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Happy Valley, Pennsylvania
Posts: 21,607
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
Liked 1,329 Times in 963 Posts
The 32mm SK might be large for a 32mm, anyone know? Which dimension is the limit on this bike?

I probably would get the GK+ file tread 32mm if it's just sand.
unterhausen is offline  
Old 05-18-21, 11:45 AM
  #4  
msu2001la
Senior Member
 
msu2001la's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Midwest
Posts: 1,346
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 559 Post(s)
Liked 441 Times in 271 Posts
There really aren't a lot of 32mm knobby tire options out there, and for a 15% loose surface climb I would definitely want some tread, and as wide a tire as would fit.
32mm Gravel Kings are probably a top choice. If you can squeeze in 33mm, there's a bunch of CX specific tires out there that might work. Two of my favorites:

https://www.challengetires.com/shop/...s/dune-2/55047
https://www.donnellycycling.com/coll...ready-clincher

35mm Conti Terra speeds seem to measure a bit small on some rims, so they might be an option if you can squeeze them in.
msu2001la is offline  
Likes For msu2001la:
Old 05-18-21, 02:21 PM
  #5  
tangerineowl
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: Oz
Posts: 810

Bikes: Curve Grovel v2 ti

Mentioned: 9 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 213 Post(s)
Liked 48 Times in 43 Posts
Diamond tread would be good for sand.
tangerineowl is offline  
Likes For tangerineowl:
Old 05-18-21, 03:11 PM
  #6  
chas58
Senior Member
 
chas58's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Michigan
Posts: 4,562

Bikes: too many of all kinds

Mentioned: 35 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1042 Post(s)
Liked 295 Times in 238 Posts
well, I'm thinking any 33mm CX tire should work unless you are really tight. I've used Schwalbe G-One in their CX version, and they are about the size of my 32mm tires.
That said, I spend most of my skinnier time on Conti GP5000 slicks (32mm). Personally, I've worked on developing a smooth pedal stroke and can do just about anything with slicks, short of real greasy stuff (wet rocks, roots, grass).
There are 30mm CX tires too (or used to be). some are mud some are semi-slicks for gravel riding on traditional road bikes.
Speed max:
https://www.levelninesports.com/ritc...xoCHqwQAvD_BwE

You thinking tubless?
chas58 is offline  
Likes For chas58:
Old 05-19-21, 12:00 AM
  #7  
Badger6
Obsessed with Eddington
 
Badger6's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Brussels (BE) 🇧🇪
Posts: 754

Bikes: '15 Spesh Diverge, '14 Spesh Fatboy, '18 Spesh Epic, '18 Spesh SL6, '21 Spesh SL7, '21 Spesh Diverge...and maybe n+1?

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 262 Post(s)
Liked 264 Times in 179 Posts
Challenge Dune (small shoulder knobs, running along a diamond file tread) or Chicane (bigger shoulder knobs running along a diamond file tread). The Chicanes were my go to tire for several years riding loose to chunky (not boulders, but bigger rocks) gravel. I'm login to run the treads off the Spesh Pathfinders my bike came with, then mount the Challenge Gravel Grinder (essentially a Chicane, in bigger volume). The tread is durable and hooks up well. I've never ridden on the big island, but I recall the "gravel" was sometimes treacherous with the volcanic rock, I'm sure you're taking this into account since it may chew up the tires pretty good, depending not he surfaces on the road you will ride.
Badger6 is offline  
Likes For Badger6:
Old 05-19-21, 07:28 AM
  #8  
Hypno Toad
meh
Thread Starter
 
Hypno Toad's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: Hopkins, MN
Posts: 4,291

Bikes: 21 Bianchi Infinito; 17 Breezer Radar Pro; 15 Surly Pugsley; 13 Felt Z85; 11 Globe Daily; 09 Kona Dew Drop; 96 Mondonico

Mentioned: 21 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 911 Post(s)
Liked 520 Times in 291 Posts
Originally Posted by Badger6 View Post
Challenge Dune (small shoulder knobs, running along a diamond file tread) or Chicane (bigger shoulder knobs running along a diamond file tread). The Chicanes were my go to tire for several years riding loose to chunky (not boulders, but bigger rocks) gravel. I'm login to run the treads off the Spesh Pathfinders my bike came with, then mount the Challenge Gravel Grinder (essentially a Chicane, in bigger volume). The tread is durable and hooks up well. I've never ridden on the big island, but I recall the "gravel" was sometimes treacherous with the volcanic rock, I'm sure you're taking this into account since it may chew up the tires pretty good, depending not he surfaces on the road you will ride.
Originally Posted by chas58 View Post
well, I'm thinking any 33mm CX tire should work unless you are really tight. I've used Schwalbe G-One in their CX version, and they are about the size of my 32mm tires.
That said, I spend most of my skinnier time on Conti GP5000 slicks (32mm). Personally, I've worked on developing a smooth pedal stroke and can do just about anything with slicks, short of real greasy stuff (wet rocks, roots, grass).
There are 30mm CX tires too (or used to be). some are mud some are semi-slicks for gravel riding on traditional road bikes.
Speed max:
https://www.levelninesports.com/ritc...xoCHqwQAvD_BwE

You thinking tubless?
This is why I come to BF ... I get stuck in a rut thinking of one solution (gravel tires) and totally forget to think about CX tires. Thank you for the great tire options!!

I might go tubeless, but it's not required either.

To an earlier post, I don't know the conditions well, but from other ride reports, I understand it'll be dry powdery sand. I understand road tires will not be able to make the gravel climbs. I'm no stranger to steep gravel climbs*, just nothing this long or at this altitude.

* I've been riding gravel races for 10 years and see a wide variety of gravel conditions. The bike I plan to bring to Hawaii is not my typical gravel bikes, I have a Bianchi Infinito, it won't take a wide gravel/CX tire (max 32-33 mm). With a good tread that rolls well on the pavement sections, and offers traction while climbing loose sandy gravel. As I posted in the OP, I've got the gearing to stay in the saddle and spin, keeping weight on the rear wheel and avoid spinning out.
Hypno Toad is offline  
Likes For Hypno Toad:
Old 05-19-21, 07:47 AM
  #9  
Fentuz
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
Posts: 189

Bikes: Dahon jetstream p8, customized helios & Plant X Free Ranger (modded of course)

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 62 Post(s)
Liked 39 Times in 34 Posts
You might want to look at the schwalbe X-one bite or michelin cyclocross power
Fentuz is offline  
Old 05-19-21, 07:54 AM
  #10  
chas58
Senior Member
 
chas58's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Michigan
Posts: 4,562

Bikes: too many of all kinds

Mentioned: 35 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1042 Post(s)
Liked 295 Times in 238 Posts
Originally Posted by Hypno Toad View Post
This is why I come to BF ... I get stuck in a rut thinking of one solution (gravel tires) and totally forget to think about CX tires. Thank you for the great tire options!!
These were my goto tires for those conditions and limited tire clearance. Both are 700x30mm. That Kenda is crazy fast and crazy cheap.
chas58 is offline  
Likes For chas58:
Old 05-19-21, 09:53 AM
  #11  
chaadster
Thread Killer
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Ann Arbor, MI
Posts: 10,414

Bikes: '15 Kinesis Racelight 4S, '76 Motebecane Gran Jubilée, '17 Dedacciai Gladiatore2, '12 Breezer Venturi, '09 Dahon Mariner, '12 Mercier Nano, '95 DeKerf Team SL, '19 Tern Rally, ‘21 Breezer Doppler Cafe+, ‘19 T Lab X3

Mentioned: 21 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1520 Post(s)
Liked 576 Times in 351 Posts
Originally Posted by chas58 View Post
These were my goto tires for those conditions and limited tire clearance. Both are 700x30mm. That Kenda is crazy fast and crazy cheap.
That Kenda Kwick, the K879, was my go-to winter tire for many years and several pairs, but I believe it is out of production now.
chaadster is offline  
Old 05-19-21, 10:12 AM
  #12  
thehammerdog
Senior Member
 
thehammerdog's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: NWNJ
Posts: 3,453

Bikes: Road bike is a Carbon Bianchi C2C & Grandis (1980's), Gary Fisher Mt Bike, Trek Tandem & Mongoose SS MTB circa 1992.

Mentioned: 9 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 570 Post(s)
Liked 235 Times in 161 Posts
Originally Posted by Hypno Toad View Post
I'm working on a long-planned adventure ride - climbing Mauna Kea. The bike for this adventure can take up to 32 mm tires. The climb starts with 34 miles of climbing, going up over 9,000 ft, on pavement. The last 8 miles (4,500 ft) of the climb is gravel with loose sandy sections with grades kicking over 15%. My bike has great gearing for climbing a wall (33/32), but I want a tire that will give traction on soft sandy climbs.

My first pick-thought is GravelKing SK 32mm - I know they are very popular with the gravel folks I ride with - but I don't know my 'narrow' gravel tires very well (my typical gravel bikes roll on 700x45 and 26x4).

Let me know your thoughts on 32mm tires that can ride both pavement and soft sandy climbs. Thanks!
I use Ritcheys 32mm and like them.
very affordable.
thehammerdog is offline  
Old 05-19-21, 10:54 AM
  #13  
Badger6
Obsessed with Eddington
 
Badger6's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Brussels (BE) 🇧🇪
Posts: 754

Bikes: '15 Spesh Diverge, '14 Spesh Fatboy, '18 Spesh Epic, '18 Spesh SL6, '21 Spesh SL7, '21 Spesh Diverge...and maybe n+1?

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 262 Post(s)
Liked 264 Times in 179 Posts
Originally Posted by Fentuz View Post
You might want to look at the schwalbe X-one bite or michelin cyclocross power
Did you read the OP's original post? The tires you linked are good tires...just, not for the conditions of the ride he is trying to set his rig up for.
Badger6 is offline  
Old 05-19-21, 01:13 PM
  #14  
Fentuz
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
Posts: 189

Bikes: Dahon jetstream p8, customized helios & Plant X Free Ranger (modded of course)

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 62 Post(s)
Liked 39 Times in 34 Posts
Originally Posted by Badger6 View Post
Did you read the OP's original post? The tires you linked are good tires...just, not for the conditions of the ride he is trying to set his rig up for.
yes i did... you might not

The last 8 miles (4,500 ft) of the climb is gravel with loose sandy sections with grades kicking over 15%
this requires grip hence cyclo cross loose surface tyre... like the tyre Jeremy Powers used on some test on sand loose surface where the rim digs deep in the sand...

Otherwise, it is just hard pack gravel...
Fentuz is offline  
Old 05-19-21, 06:30 PM
  #15  
dwmckee
Senior Member
 
dwmckee's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Posts: 2,220

Bikes: Co-Motion Cappuccino Tandem,'88 Bob Jackson Touring, Co-Motion Cascadia Touring, Open U.P., Ritchie Titanium Breakaway, Frances Cycles SmallHaul cargo bike. Those are the permanent ones; others wander in and out of the stable occasionally as well.

Mentioned: 7 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 306 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 204 Times in 134 Posts
Originally Posted by autonomy View Post
Ehh, how sandy are we talking? If it's sandy enough to sink in, then 32mm will be a pain even with a tread. You'd want a wide contact patch for that; it's more about bike control than grip at that point. If it's closer to 'a little bit of loose sand' than you should be fine. FWIW the GK SK are fairly grippy, just a hair more grippy than XPlor MSOs in my experience. I ride the 40mm version and usually have no problems unless the sand is deep enough for the tire to sink. You'll need to watch out on descents more so then on climb.
Another one to look at would be Vittoria Terreno Dry. I really wanted to get a set of them but they were on backorder for weeks; should be a faster-rolling tire than GravelKing but nearly as grippy. Not sure what the stock looks like this year. And, of course, there's the Schwalbe G-One and the various offerings from WTB though not all are made in 32mm.

Just for reference, this kind of stuff is perfectly doable on 28mm slicks but you do have to be careful especially on steep terrain; 32mm tires with tread would give you much more confidence.



I agree with these choices and would add the Bruce Gordon Rock N Road. Though as stated width means more than tread in this case.
dwmckee is offline  
Likes For dwmckee:
Old 05-20-21, 06:57 AM
  #16  
chas58
Senior Member
 
chas58's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Michigan
Posts: 4,562

Bikes: too many of all kinds

Mentioned: 35 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1042 Post(s)
Liked 295 Times in 238 Posts
Originally Posted by Fentuz View Post
You might want to look at the schwalbe X-one bite or michelin cyclocross power
Yup, that is what I was thinking.

I use the Schwalbe - they are fast rolling tires with lots of grip. Especially when they are broken in (obviously when I'm torqueing down on 1000+ watts, those knobs are gonna distort, but they are fine for <500watts or when worn down a little).
I've seen some of the Michelin's - but it seems the sub 33mm tires are mud oriented. That said, the knobs are pretty short. The power Jet tire looks great if it comes in the appropriate size.
chas58 is offline  
Old 05-20-21, 07:25 AM
  #17  
Hypno Toad
meh
Thread Starter
 
Hypno Toad's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: Hopkins, MN
Posts: 4,291

Bikes: 21 Bianchi Infinito; 17 Breezer Radar Pro; 15 Surly Pugsley; 13 Felt Z85; 11 Globe Daily; 09 Kona Dew Drop; 96 Mondonico

Mentioned: 21 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 911 Post(s)
Liked 520 Times in 291 Posts
Too funny, I found a great ride report here on BF ... but found it thanks to Google:

5 Miles of Unpaved Road, Just Because
Having read about it online, I knew the next 5 miles immediately after the visitor center were unpaved gravel. I also knew it was probably the toughest part, which is really why you bring a gravel bike instead of a road bike if you plan on making it the whole way on a single steed (as opposed to using a road and mountain bike for example, which is what some people do).

All that being said, I still grossly underestimated how hard it would be, especially when paired with the 9,000ft+ elevation and the fact that it ascends 2,600ft. Some sections in there felt like 15% incline, and many of those proved to be too much even for my 33mm Specialized Trigger tires.

I should also explain here that what’s being described as “gravel” is really more powdery ashes. If and when you hit a patch of it, there’s very little traction to be had! The net result for me was that I fell 3 times on my side and would have fallen 2 times more, had I not been quick enough with my unclipping. Luckily I was only going 3mph or so, so only my ego got hurt

I am now aware there is a lot of technique involved in tackling gravel (or powdery ashes) climbing. I personally have nearly zero experience on mountain bike so, while it may be obvious to others, I had to learn to keep a good amount of weight on the rear wheel as I slowly pedaled my way up, all the while zigzagging to find spots with the least amount of loose ashes.
Long report on my climb up Mauna Kea (Big Island of Hawaii)
Hypno Toad is offline  
Old 05-20-21, 09:09 AM
  #18  
autonomy
Senior Member
 
autonomy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2016
Location: Boston Roads
Posts: 876

Bikes: 2012 Canondale Synapse 105, 2017 REI Co-Op ADV 3.1

Mentioned: 14 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 447 Post(s)
Liked 119 Times in 72 Posts
Originally Posted by Hypno Toad View Post
Too funny, I found a great ride report here on BF ... but found it thanks to Google:

Long report on my climb up Mauna Kea (Big Island of Hawaii)
Ah, if you can describe it as 'dry, loose, slippery, powdery ashes' then that is a different beast from 'gravel covered with a bit of sand'. What I would do is bring the widest tire my bike could fit with at least a file or somewhat-knobby tread - G-One- or GravelKing-like (the big knobs are really only worth it for super-muddy terrain), run the lowest pressure, and ride that section unclipped. At that point you need a bit more technique than "power into it"
autonomy is offline  
Old 05-20-21, 09:37 AM
  #19  
Fentuz
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
Posts: 189

Bikes: Dahon jetstream p8, customized helios & Plant X Free Ranger (modded of course)

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 62 Post(s)
Liked 39 Times in 34 Posts
As you are limited by the size, this is why Xone bite is a good option. you could look at G one Ultrabite too which it pretty similar however made for gravel so wider. Either way, you need the most aggressive UCI Cyclocross tyre to get the grip and remain within 33mm max.

I used to ride rocky hill which a mixture of shingle cotswolds stones, mud, sand and according to Strava 16% on panaracer comet 38-622 and the wheel was slipping a lot, that was "OK" for 100 to 200 meters but I would not do that for 8miles.
I remembered the XC setup I had 20yrs ago, check for evolutions and swap the tyres for Conti XKing front (all season) and Conti XKing rear (deep wet muddy winter) or RaceKing rear most of the year, I got up these hills without issue now.
Point being your las 8 miles are MTB-XC territory and is going to be the hardest so you have to compromise; with MTB "knobblyness", you will be slower on road tarmac but you will have a chance on these 8 last miles.
Fentuz is offline  
Likes For Fentuz:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright © 2021 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.