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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 : "Unbound Gravel". We also have a dedicated Racing forum for the Cyclocross Hard Core Racers.

My first gravel rig!

Old 07-05-21, 07:33 PM
  #1  
dr_jones1988
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My first gravel rig!

After cycling for many years, mostly on road/touring bikes, I have purchased my first gravel bike, the State Bicycle Co. 6061 Black Label. Luckily for me, it comes with a set of 700c road slicks, and a set of 650b gravel wheels, (with an upgrade in cost, to be clear.) From the box it runs with tubes, but I believe Iíll be wanting to get into tubeless for both sets of wheels. It also has a nice big carbon fork with a few extra mounting spots for miscellaneous accoutrements needed for gravel/longer rides.

Iíll be running clipless, but I really have no idea what Iím getting into. The bike should be here late august, and I just couldnít be more excited.

I have a few questions, mostly, what are some favorite gravel tires? I had planned on seeing what the bike comes with first, but had my eye on some Panaracer Gravelkings for the 650b wheel set. Also, any details on the switch over from running tubes vs. tubeless would be much appreciated.

Planning on taking the rig immediately over to my local bike guruís for a real deal set up, as I need all the help I can get. Mostly, just wanted to gush about the new bike, see if anyone has any tricks or tips for getting started with my first real gravel bike.

Thanks!
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Old 07-05-21, 11:40 PM
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Noahma
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Opt for a pair of mountain bike pedals / shoes / cleats. Soooo much easier to deal with than road pedals / shoes. Especially if you start hitting areas that may be a bit more rough. I am running the Gravel King SK's (tubeless) on my gravel bike. I am really liking them, I ran Michelin's gravel tires last year on the bike, they are great tires, but man do they wear fast. I was lucky to get 1300 miles out of them, and they started to show a good deal of wear at 800 miles of mixed road / gravel use. The Gravel Kings are over 1000 now and look almost like new.
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Old 07-06-21, 02:31 AM
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I'll second the pedals recommendation, something like the Shimano SPD system. Recessed cleats make the shoes walkable off bike.

I've had excellent experience with Specialized Pathfinder Pros as well as Challenge Gravel Grinders. Vittoria makes some very well reviewed gravel tires as well, which may be my next move considering the testimonials to the suppleness of the carcass.

Converting to tubeless can be hassle free, or a major PITA. The key is (a) having the right tools and supplies, and (b) patience. The first set up is always the hardest. I recommend finding a shop (or knowledgeable cycling buddy) to help you go through the first setup. You can always pay someone to do it for you, but then you'll be unfamiliar with the setup, which once learned is not hard, but until then can be mysterious. Also, remember, tubeless can fail (I blew a tire on Sunday on my road bike, and I've cut tires in the woods that wouldn't seal). Going tubeless means you can run lower pressures, but you should definitely carry a flat kit that in addition to a reamer/awl and plug (bacon), also includes a tire boot along with a tube.
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Old 07-06-21, 03:56 AM
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I know everyone seems to love Gravel King SK's, so they must be OK in the 700 version, but my experience with the 650 x 48 was less than stellar. They performed well off road, but on any pavement section they were painfully slow. I have found the Terrene Elwood 650 x 47 Tough version to be a far superior tire to the Gravel Kings.
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Old 07-06-21, 05:19 AM
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Badger6
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Originally Posted by Badger6 View Post
I've had excellent experience with Specialized Pathfinder Pros as well as Challenge Gravel Grinders. Vittoria makes some very well reviewed gravel tires as well, which may be my next move considering the testimonials to the suppleness of the carcass.
Should have been clear, I was referring to 700c. I've personally avoided 650b because I've not needed "wider" rubber, and I've had no issues on rollover with the 700c sizing that made me think I should change sizes.
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Old 07-06-21, 06:57 AM
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The thing to ask is what terrain are you going to ride? if it s hardpack with small loose gravel/rocks, any large-ish tyre (above 40C) will do. if you're looking for woodland, fireroad, you would be better with something like a summer XC setup:
continental race king on rear and Continental crossking on the front
Schwalbe G-one bite on rear and Schwalbe Gone ultrabite on the front (advise to me by a schwalbe UK rep)

SPD is definitely the way to go but there again there are different versions. If you are new to them or unsure about them, you may want to go for a hybrid model, SPD on 1 side and flat on the other side like PD-530.
or if you don't want Shimano, you could go for the Crank brother equivalent which has 4 clipping sides rather than 2 on shimano.
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Old 07-06-21, 07:12 AM
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Old 07-06-21, 07:56 AM
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Would be a good idea to have both wheel sets properly tensioned and trued as well.
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Old 07-06-21, 08:01 AM
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Yeah, as Fentuz points out, tire reccos are rather pointless without knowing the kind of terrain and surface you’ll be on.

In the summer, ride hardpack dirt roads over rolling terrain, so file tread 700x 35c rubber work pretty well for that, but just as importantly, gives me the kind of paved road manners I want. Even if it’s only 10 paved miles out of 40 total miles, I just don’t feel right slogging down pavement on heavily treaded tires…too much roadie in me, I guess.

Come fall, winter and spring, I do go for some tread, and have ridden Schwalbe G-One 700c sucessfully. I’d like a set of 650b wheels for the racy gravel bike, though, so I can max out tire width for the float when its sloppy out. Whether I can swing the 650b this season or no, I’ll probably go with knobbies from Rene Herse because I really like the feel of their file tread tires, which I run in both 700c and 650b (on another bike; wrong freehub for the T-Lab’s SRAM AXS, though, so cannot share between bikes. Grrr!).
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Old 07-06-21, 10:38 AM
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I also got my first gravel a couple of months ago. It's really just like my endurance road but with hydro-disc, up to 44mm tires (as opposed to 28-30mm) to deal with deep sand, which is the key difference and the reason I got it, 1X drivetrain, and dropper post (which will likely not get used much since being on terrain that needs a dropper usually means I'm on the mtb). Putting slicks on it could easily make it a replacement for the endurance road (just without the high end speed). I'm now in the market for gravel-width slicks, but I guess that's a different thread.
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Old 07-06-21, 11:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Riveting View Post
I also got my first gravel a couple of months ago. It's really just like my endurance road but with hydro-disc, up to 44mm tires (as opposed to 28-30mm) to deal with deep sand, which is the key difference and the reason I got it, 1X drivetrain, and dropper post (which will likely not get used much since being on terrain that needs a dropper usually means I'm on the mtb). Putting slicks on it could easily make it a replacement for the endurance road (just without the high end speed). I'm now in the market for gravel-width slicks, but I guess that's a different thread.
Drop the dropper, get some Panaracer GravelKing SS, and call it good. The SS version has a 43mm option and its pretty much slick, just some obligatory shallow fast tread.
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Old 07-06-21, 02:44 PM
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In my experience, unless you ride in a lot of mud, tread patterns on gravel tires is less important than width and tire pressure. My tire of choice for 95% of the riding that I do is the Gravelking SS+ in 700 X 43. These handle everything form pavement to loose chunky gravel just fine, and are probably one of the best do it all tires on the market. The Gravelking SK+ is a very close second.
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Old 07-11-21, 07:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Cycling879 View Post
Poster is new so may still be on probation from posting pics. I believe this is the State bike on order.
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Old 07-13-21, 07:28 AM
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I'd be interested in hearing what people think of the Sensah group on the State bike after a couple thousand miles.

I wasn't super impressed with the Sensah shifters I had but I'm almost never right
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