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One Set of Wheels, Two Sets of Tyres

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One Set of Wheels, Two Sets of Tyres

Old 09-10-21, 01:26 AM
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One Set of Wheels, Two Sets of Tyres

Hi there,

I have a Surly Midnight Special and have been running tubed GP5000's in 32mm. Great tyre. Super fast and awesome for road riding.

I always planned on getting two sets of wheels, one with the GP5000 and one with a nice wide tyre for the very occasional gravel ride.

To save money that I don't have I'm interested in people's opinions and whether this is something they do. Eg buy another set of wide tyres to change into whenever I do the occasional gravel ride.

Is it a pain to be constantly changing tyres or no big deal? I plan to run tubes on both. The wide tyres are going to be the Specialized Pathfinder Pro in 42mm 700C. Any reviews on how these tyres perform?

Also interested in people's experiences with 42mm 700C tyres and how they go with the Surly MS. This is the stated max size from Surly for 700C. How is the tyre clearance? For reference my wheels are 19mm width.

Many thanks!
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Old 09-10-21, 02:55 AM
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Originally Posted by Champ340
To save money that I don't have I'm interested in people's opinions and whether this is something they do. Eg buy another set of wide tyres to change into whenever I do the occasional gravel ride.

Is it a pain to be constantly changing tyres or no big deal? I plan to run tubes on both. The wide tyres are going to be the Specialized Pathfinder Pro in 42mm 700C. Any reviews on how these tyres perform?

Also interested in people's experiences with 42mm 700C tyres and how they go with the Surly MS. This is the stated max size from Surly for 700C. How is the tyre clearance? For reference my wheels are 19mm width.
Line by line:

1) Yes, I used to do that. Over the last 7-8 years as I acquired more bikes (and divested of a car), and then came upon a few extra wheelsets, it was no longer necessary, but really, it is doable and I wouldn't think it out of the ordinary. And from a cost perspective, it is certainly a much more economical option than buying another set of wheels, rotors, and a cassette.

2) No, with a caveat. If you did decide to run your tires tubeless, it will be messy and could be a hassle with getting tires seated and such. With tubes, however, it's a 15 minute long process, with breaks to sip on your preferred beverage so you don't become dehydrated.

3) The Pathfinder Pro is an excellent all around tire. It won't work well in muddy conditions, or permit aggressive riding on wet grass. Other than that, it is a good tire for pavement all the way to chunky gravel and cobblestones. I ride 700x38s, and contemplate 42s, but the 38s do for me what I need. I can't comment on how they'd work specifically with your frame, in 42mm width, but if there is a question about fitment, the 38s should easily work, and having ridden several imperial century length gravel races this summer in Belgium on all sorts of surfaces, I've never wished for more tire. I do run mine tubeless at 2.5 bar, occasionally down to 2.1, I think with tubes I'd probably stay above 2.8. They are not sluggish feeling at all, and they turn very predictably with no "wallow" when leaned over.
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Old 09-10-21, 05:38 AM
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Answer to the one set of wheel and two sets of tires. I do that now but plan on a second set of wheels in the future. But for now I ride mostly road so have only switched a few times in the last two months. One trick I use is to keep the tubes inflated enough to stay in the unmounted tires.

The rear through axles is a pain and I still have not mastered getting it back on. Off is easier. May just need a second bike more gravel touring.
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Old 09-10-21, 06:19 AM
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Anything's possible, but it wouldn't work for me. I don't mind bike maintenance, but the thought of swapping tires to go for a gravel ride would in all likelihood prevent me from going on a gravel ride.
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Old 09-10-21, 06:20 AM
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Sounds like a reasonable plan. Swapping tubed tires should take just a few minutes. I guess it depends on what "very occasional" means to you. Once every few weeks would be OK with me. Every week and I'd be thinking about wheels.
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Old 09-10-21, 06:33 AM
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Yeah, define 'occasional'. If its Once a month, I guess that isnt bad. If its once a week, I sure wouldnt want to swap out tires that frequently.
If its once a week, I would just put quality wider tires on and be done. Use those for all road and unpaved riding.
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Old 09-10-21, 08:29 AM
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Originally Posted by kingston
Anything's possible, but it wouldn't work for me. I don't mind bike maintenance, but the thought of swapping tires to go for a gravel ride would in all likelihood prevent me from going on a gravel ride.
This is 100% accurate. I am already thinking of skipping a group gravel ride on Sunday for this exact reason. My new wheelset won't be here for 4 weeks, and swapping between road and CX tires on a single wheelset has quickly become annoying. I'm also now running tubeless tires with inner tubes just to make swapping easier, which is dumb.

EDIT: I'd say anything more than once a week is not realistic. I'm basically swapping tires every weekend, and then selecting the riding type for the next week as a result of that tire choice. I had planned on just running a gravel/CX tire all fall, but these tires get annoying on long paved road rides, so I'm either avoiding those, or avoiding gravel.

Last edited by msu2001la; 09-10-21 at 08:33 AM.
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Old 09-10-21, 05:25 PM
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Thanks for the replies everyone. I'll get the tyres and if it's too hard to live with swapping them over then in time will buy a second wheelset.

As to the question about how frequently. I have no gravel near me so it will just be the very occasional gravel ride, once or twice a month.
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Old 09-10-21, 06:08 PM
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One advantage of being a rim-brake holdout is that I've picked up a bunch of nice wheels for a song. It's just so nice and convenient to throw on a different set of wheels in literally less than a minute.
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Old 09-10-21, 08:16 PM
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Originally Posted by caloso
One advantage of being a rim-brake holdout is that I've picked up a bunch of nice wheels for a song. It's just so nice and convenient to throw on a different set of wheels in literally less than a minute.
For sure mate! I've picked up some great deals for my rim brake bike. I think going forward there are going to be even better deals as disk brakes take over.
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Old 09-10-21, 08:56 PM
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I'm willing to swap tires twice a year on my fixed-gear (studded in winter), but any more often than that, I'd want another set of wheels.
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Old 09-11-21, 06:31 AM
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For me, its a no-go. New York streets are filthy. I don't touch the tires more than I have to.
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Old 09-11-21, 12:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Champ340
Is it a pain to be constantly changing tyres or no big deal?
I tried the two tires/one wheelset thing once, and it lasted for about two months before I just found a set of tires that could do both jobs reasonably well. The tire changing process itself wasn't that bad, but it eliminated any spontaneity.
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Old 09-12-21, 11:02 AM
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Originally Posted by DorkDisk
For me, its a no-go. New York streets are filthy. I don't touch the tires more than I have to.
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Old 09-12-21, 11:59 AM
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Things really changed for me when I went to two exact matching wheel sets for the same bike. One set with Road Tires @ 27 x 1-1/8 and the other CrossX @ 27 1-3/8. With those two wheel sets I now had two bicycles. But also consider that I buy cheaper machine manufactured wheels and after receiving them I loosen them up and re-dish and tune them before use. If I had to spend some of the outragiuos costs of wheels sets that are common now days I certainly would consider other options...
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Old 09-12-21, 12:21 PM
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On my clincher wheels, tire changes are really easy without the use of tire levers. On my tubeless wheels, putting on tires are incredibly hard and my hands are sore afterwards! Depending on your rim/wheel + tire combo it'll either be a no-hassle swap or a profanity laced activity making you wish you had two wheelsets.
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Old 09-12-21, 04:23 PM
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This is mostly a matter of what you are willing to do and how much spare time you have, but I have one additional note; if you are not careful when changing tires some tires start to shred at the bead after a few on-off cycles. If you do this a lot consider using the Schwalbe tire mounting fluid to ease wear on the bead.
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Old 09-12-21, 04:59 PM
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With a set of Rene Herse Bon Jon Pass (35mm) or Barlow Pass (38mm) I never even consider changing tires going from Road to gravel.

I have swapped between MTB tires and Road slicks in the past. It was good for experimenting and deciding what i wanted, but it got old quick. I ended running two wheelsets, which then led to two different bikes.
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Old 09-13-21, 05:11 PM
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Originally Posted by ThermionicScott
Fenders won’t keep my tires clean.
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Old 09-13-21, 05:26 PM
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Originally Posted by DorkDisk
Fenders won’t keep my tires clean.
Right, was agreeing that roads can be gross. I have no helpful tips for keeping tires clean.
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Old 09-14-21, 12:03 AM
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IMHO better two sets of wheels. Even changing once a month will be a burden, and you will stay on one tires.. That is coming from experience.
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Old 09-14-21, 07:17 AM
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I wouldn't change a perfectly good set of 32s for an occasional gravel ride. I've done lots of gravel miles on 28mm tires.
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Old 09-14-21, 08:25 AM
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Originally Posted by ThermionicScott
Right, was agreeing that roads can be gross. I have no helpful tips for keeping tires clean.
I just wipe the tires down after each ride with disinfectant wipes since I hang my bikes in a tiny apt with tires at face level. The amount of squished rats in the city the past 18mos is hard to imagine. I refuse to ride in the city right after a first rain, the water is just nasty- fenders or not.
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Old 09-14-21, 09:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Champ340
Thanks for the replies everyone. I'll get the tyres and if it's too hard to live with swapping them over then in time will buy a second wheelset.

As to the question about how frequently. I have no gravel near me so it will just be the very occasional gravel ride, once or twice a month.
I've done it all, so here is my thoughts

a non tubeless tire and a non tubeless wheel are insanely easy to switch over. I forget how easy it can be until I use some of my older bikes
A tubeless tire and/or a tubeless wheel can be insanely (impossible for me) to switch over.

Since you use GP5000, the tubed version mounts super easy for me on a traditional hook rim (tubeless compatible)
The GP5000TL is impossible for me to mount on a slightly oversized hookless tubeless rim.
Both the tire and the rim combo make a huge difference on ease of changing (whether or not you use tubes).
Heck, with the right set, the hardest part is just pumping the tire back up to pressure.

I have 5 wheels, and it is super easy to change a wheel for the weekend. I'm not gonna change a tire for the weekend, but I do occasionally. More likely I'll change the tire for the season (faster tires for the summer, wider tougher treaded tires for the winter).

A really good compromise though, is just buying a front wheel. I use a 40mm front tire and the 32mm GP5000 combo a lot. Front wheels are fairly cheap (compared to the rear), and the front tire is where I need the volume & tread. Having two front wheels can take you a lot of places with very little hassle. If I'm gonna do an epic ride, I'll swap out the rear - but much of the time a 40mmF 32mmR rear is fine.
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Old 09-14-21, 10:31 AM
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Originally Posted by chas58
The GP5000TL is impossible for me to mount on a slightly oversized hookless tubeless rim.
Wait... what?
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