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44c or 40c tires for upcoming gravel race

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.

44c or 40c tires for upcoming gravel race

Old 08-06-21, 05:51 AM
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44c or 40c tires for upcoming gravel race

Hi everyone, I'll be partaking in a gravel race in Colorado and I wanted to ask about tire size. I am currently riding on 700x44c tires and have been thinking of going to a 40c for more speed. Many people have been saying that their recommended tire size for this race is 38c. However, Im not sure if I want to go that small. I have ridden all tire sizes before but never raced. The race is SBT gravel and I'm not sure if I should fork out the money for a brand new set of rubber or not.
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Old 08-06-21, 05:54 AM
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First, note that we have a subforum for cyclocross and gravel riding. You would get better responses there, perhaps.

Second, depending on the specific tires, 44 mm may be just as fast as 40 mm. It will certainly be slightly plusher and offer slightly better traction. I would stick with what Iíve got if I were you.

Sorry to break it to you, but if this is your first gravel race, you are probably not going to win. Go out, ride hard, have fun, and your equipment choices will evolve.
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Old 08-06-21, 06:06 AM
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I agree with the suggestion to check the gravel and cyclocross sections.

From what I've learned from my friends who race gravel a lot - it depends. The guys I know who are really into gravel racing probably have a dozen sets of tires they swap out depending on the conditions.
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Old 08-06-21, 12:15 PM
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Originally Posted by topflightpro View Post
I agree with the suggestion to check the gravel and cyclocross sections.

From what I've learned from my friends who race gravel a lot - it depends. The guys I know who are really into gravel racing probably have a dozen sets of tires they swap out depending on the conditions.
And maybe what the other riders are running that day.

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Old 08-06-21, 12:25 PM
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I'm riding on 700x38c tires - Specialized Pathfinder Pro.

They are pretty fast on the road and trail. Not as plush feeling as the 40c Maxxis Ramblers that came with my bike, but good grip even on loose, semi technical trails.

I would recommend them as a fast, durable gravel tire.
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Old 08-06-21, 12:28 PM
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That looks like an interesting event. Be great if you would post an after ride report in the Cyclo/Gravel section.
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Old 08-06-21, 12:48 PM
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I'll be running 38 knubbies at Steamboat, instead of my usual 32 slicks. The race website recommends either knubbies or slicks in 35.
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Old 08-06-21, 01:14 PM
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Thread moved from General to Gravelbiking
Originally Posted by Retro Grouch View Post
Fenders protect you from tire splatter. Mudguards protect you from tyre splatter.

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Old 08-06-21, 01:59 PM
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I find it difficult to judge the terrain from an elevation map, but I think you'll make up more time descending on big tires than you will save by climbing on smaller tires. That's given equivalent tires in each size.
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Old 08-06-21, 02:16 PM
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I don't think a "what tire is the right width" question can really be answered without knowing if you intend on running tubeless or tubes. Especially when it comes to gravel riding. I refuse to go tubeless and am sometimes forced to ride my MTB because of 700x 35-38 pinch flats.
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Old 08-06-21, 02:52 PM
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In general if there is pavement involved, I would go 38-40 tire width - - - - if no pavement on the course 40+ tire width.
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Old 08-07-21, 01:51 PM
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Depends on the tire construction. I'd rather ride a fast and light 44mm than a thick and heavy 40mm -- for anything!
Originally Posted by chandltp View Post
There's no such thing as too far.. just lack of time
Originally Posted by noglider
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Old 08-08-21, 04:14 PM
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If it were my first race, I would want to have as much confidence as possible in my tyre choice and know their limits. Therefore, if you have been using the 44c the most, Iíd stick with them.

if you picked a new tyre, Iíd want to get some serious ďtestingĒ in various conditions before pushing them as hard as I can in a race environment.

in all fairness though, Iíve never been in a bike race myself either, so Iím basing this opinion on my experiences in other sports I have been involved in.
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Old 08-08-21, 07:34 PM
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As mentioned- depends on the tires you are considering. I would want a medium-fast rolling 44mm instead of a slow rolling 40mm.
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Old 08-12-21, 10:12 AM
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44 definately (unless there is a lot of pavement). Heck, I have some light weigh 50mm gravel tires that feel like cheater tires compared to 40mm. Really, no downside to them unless I'm spending a lot of time over 20mph-paved.
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Old 08-12-21, 04:43 PM
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I am not sure the distance you are riding in this race.

But looking at the elevation I can see why 38 is the tire choice. Weight!

So if you shed a lot of weight dropping from a 44 to a 40, go for it. Otherwise just ride your 44's
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Old 08-16-21, 11:41 AM
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I did the 104 mile/blue route yesterday with 40mm Ramblers. I would not have wanted to be on a narrower tire. We still hit 42mph downhill and did 24mph in a pace line on pavement, but the few miles of single track and the last gravel section would have been tough on narrower tires, and there were plenty of 35 mph downhill gravel sections that a narrower tire would have been sketchy. But, I didn't win, so what do know. I averaged about 14.5mph and the pros averaged like 22. Unreal.
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