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Tire choice for winter bike (road + gravel)

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Tire choice for winter bike (road + gravel)

Old 09-16-21, 02:01 AM
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Tire choice for winter bike (road + gravel)

Hello,

I plan to use my Triban RC520 disc as a winter + gravel bike and the stock tires don't suit this application at all so I'll need your help . Maximum size width announced by the manufacturer is 36mm but some guys manage to install 40mm on it. Here is a dedicated topic:
https://thesweetcyclists.com/widest-...triban-rc-520/

I'll use this bike:
- in the wet on paved roads of all conditions (including smooth tarmac), cobblestones and up to grade 2 gravel/ compacted dirt paths -> https://cyclingtips.com/2021/03/grad...road-surfaces/
- in the dry on bad/ worn paved roads, cobblestones and up to grade 3 gravel/ compacted dirt paths

I'm looking for (in this order):
- a lot of feedback from the tire (feel)
- grip in the wet
- as low rolling resistance as possible/ performance
- comfort
- puncture resistance

I plan to run tubeless. Do you have any recommendation for tires that would suit this application?

Many thanks
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Old 09-16-21, 02:44 AM
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No personal experience with them but I'd have a look at the Challenge Strada Bianca Pro HTLR in those two sizes.
WeightWeenies forum and the RidingGravel forum has some details on them, including fitting video.

Seem to be at the top for rolling resistance in a couple of tests.
Looking at their weight, they don't seem a fragile tyre.
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Old 09-16-21, 03:43 AM
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Based on your description, it sounds like even though you will ride it in the 'wet', you won't necessarily go through 'wet mud'. A lot of 'wet' tires (Schwalbe G-One Ultrabite, Vittoria Terreno Wet, Panaracer Gravelking EXT, Continental Cross King) are designed to excel in wet, muddy conditions, and have a tread pattern that sheds mud quickly. This comes at a significant cost of rolling resistance.
Therefore, I wonder if a more regular gravel tire (with a faster tread) would be a better fit. Bicycle Rolling Resistance and this German magazine test are a great place to start.

If I were you. I'd consider:
- Continental Terra Speed 700x40c (which have a tendency to run narrower anyway)
- Panaracer Gravelking SK+ 700x38c
- Pirelli Cinturato Gravel H tyre

Good luck!
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Old 09-16-21, 05:40 AM
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Being a bit familiar with the roads and paths you are likely to ride on, Pulse_ and knowing what is easily sourced here:

Be careful exceeding recommended tire size. It is recommended for a reason. It is possible, but your clearances will be reduced. As such, the chance of building up mud and leaves and grass between the tire and frame is a reality you'll need to contend with.

Schwlabe G-One Speed or G-One Allround are good choices, with the Speed being good for everything up through the gravel you've described (think Forêt de Soigne) as long as it is not muddy. The Allround will work on the same trails and roads, but will be a bit better if we get a long rainy period and the trails and such become excessively wet. I've not personally used either tire, but I know people who do and they tend to like both of them. The Challenge tires listed above work great on the dry stuff, I'm not sure how well they'll work when the gravel gets wet. I've only ridden them on tarmac, where they work just fine in the dry and wet alike.
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Old 09-16-21, 05:52 AM
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I use Donnelly Strada USH 32mm for winter riding. They actually measure out a little bigger, but still fit easily within my fenders. They have a solid ridge in the middle and roll pretty well on the road, but they do decently in much rougher conditions. And they seem to be pretty flat-proof, which is an important factor in my winter riding. On the other hand, they feel stiffer and heavier than my regular gravel tires, but that's a tradeoff I'm willing to make for winter riding. For me, they do fine on Grade 3 gravel.
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Old 09-16-21, 06:44 AM
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I use Schwalbe G-One Alround for winter. They are perfect for the conditions you describe. Fast, comfortable, reliable, and amazing traction in poor conditions (not mud though).

As a bonus surprise I found that they are also amazing in snow - for those rare days (in your case). It is amazing to go for a ride with the fresh white stuff on the ground. That is what I ride in the winter.

I'll say that the speed can be a nightmare when it is wet and I'm not on tarmac. Rolling resistance wise, the german (TOUR) found the alround and speed have the same rolling resistance, so no point in going for a slick.
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Old 09-16-21, 11:05 AM
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Thanks to you all for the answers, I'll sum up the answers

- Challenge Strada Bianca Pro HTLR -> top rolling resistance without compromising on puncture resistance
Based on this review they don't offer the best grip in the wet though: https://road.cc/content/review/chall...pro-tlr-280335. Apparently a very similar tire is prefered: https://road.cc/content/review/23748...w-pass-tc-tyre

- Continental Terra Speed 700x40c, Panaracer Gravelking SK+ 700x38c, Pirelli Cinturato Gravel H tyre -> you're right Prodigy4299, I don't plan to ride in wet mud (I would use a MTB for those conditions), so a fast gravel tire is definitely more suited. Overall I already know I'll ride more in the dry than wet, even if the tire I'll choose has to provide grip under wet conditions on hard surfaces.
https://road.cc/content/review/conti...d-tyres-270161
https://road.cc/content/review/panar...32-tyre-254221
https://road.cc/content/review/pirel...-h-tyre-273941

- Schwalbe G-One Speed or G-One Allround. Badger6: Again good remarks, I'll need to make sure they fit while providing enough clearance indeed. Are fenders a limit for tire width on a gravel bike? When do you find them unnecessary under wet conditions?
https://road.cc/content/review/23622...ding-road-tyre
https://road.cc/content/review/schwa...olution-285613
https://off.road.cc/content/review/t...re-review-8153 Just discovered this "R" version, the thread might be a tad too agressive tfor my usage though. All Schwalbe tires have excellent feedbacks!

- Donnelly Strada USH
https://www.cyclingweekly.com/review...lly-strada-ush -> I really like the idea of heaving an almost flat center line and more of an agressive thread towards the outer line.

Other tire that popped up while searching:
-> Vittoria Terreno dry which has excellent reviews:
https://off.road.cc/content/review/t...re-review-7865
https://granfondo-cycling.com/best-g...est/#toc_beste

Last edited by Pulse_; 09-16-21 at 11:26 AM.
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Old 09-16-21, 12:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Pulse_
Badger6: Again good remarks, I'll need to make sure they fit while providing enough clearance indeed. Are fenders a limit for tire width on a gravel bike? When do you find them unnecessary under wet conditions?

Each fender is slightly different, in terms of its dimensions. in some cases fenders will further reduce the maximum tire size you can utilize.

Reference my comments about clearances, when you add fenders, clearances get further reduced, in most (all?) cases. Tire clearance on your bike is defined by the width (outer dimension of the sidewalls when inflated to a reasonable pressure, say 3-4 bar), but it also takes into account the diameter of the tire when inflated also (see the clearance at the Bottom Bracket and at the bottom of the fork crown crown, and if one is present the brake bridge at the top of the seat stays. As soon as you mount fenders you lose some amount of clearance at those points in relation to the tread of the tire. My guess is that going to 40s while doable on a bike without fenders mounted, albeit with greatly reduced clearances, is impossible if you plan to mount fenders. I'd have to see the steed to be certain. That's why I suggested staying within the recommended tire size, at least initially. As for when I find fenders unnecessary...in the summer. I have a bike with fenders mounted available continually from 1. November to 31. March. It simply rains too much here, and excepting a few places, there is simply too much sand and muck on the ground, even on the paved (asphalt, cobbles, concrete farm paths, and even the Fietspaden in Flanders). Mount them, and keep them mounted, you won't regret it.

I don't think the Schwalbe G-One R is a good tire for what you described as your normal surface. Allround is probably the best option.

Last edited by Badger6; 09-16-21 at 02:37 PM.
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Old 09-16-21, 02:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Badger6
Each fender is slightly different, in terms of its dimensions. in some cases fenders will further reduce the maximum tire size you can utilize.

Reference my comments about clearances, when you add fenders, clearances get further reduced, in most (all?) cases. Tire clearance on your bike is defined by the width (outer dimension of the sidewalls when inflated to a reasonable pressure, say 3-4 bar), but it also takes into account the diameter of the tire when inflated also (see the clearance at the Bottom Bracket and at the bottom of the fork crown crown, and if one is present the brake bridge at the top of the seat stays. As soon as you mount fenders you lose some amount of clearance at those points in relation to the tread of the tire. My guess is that going to 40s while doable on a bike without fenders mounted, albeit with greatly reduced clearances, is impossible if you plan to mount fenders. I'd have to see the steed to be certain. That's why I suggested staying within the recommended tire size, at least initially. As for when I find fenders unnecessary...in the summer. I have a bike with fenders mounted available continually from 1. November to 31. March. It simply rains too much here, and excepting a few places, there is simply too much sand and muck on the ground, even on the paved (asphalt, cobbles, concrete farm paths, and even the Fietspaden in Flanders). Mount them, and keep them mounted, you won't regret it.

I don't think the Schwalbe G-One R is a good tire for what you described as your normal surface. Allround is probably the best option.
Thanks, I share your logic. The goal is to cover all weather and surfaces conditions with my 3 bikes so the gravel bike needs to be usable in wet conditions whether it's on pavement, cobblestones, grade 1-3 gravel or mixed surfaces. This implies being able to fit fenders which limits the tire width to 36-38mm max. If it's muddy/loose/rough, I'll use my mtb. If it's dry and on clean roads, I'll use my road bike. As I mentioned I'll naturally drive more when it's dry with the gravel bike too, it's just that the tires need to provide grip in the wet aswell if needed. As you know the weather is changing all the time in Belgium. It's similar to UK.
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Old 09-16-21, 02:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Pulse_
Thanks to you all for the answers, I'll sum up the answers



- Schwalbe G-One Speed or G-One Allround. Badger6: Again good remarks, I'll need to make sure they fit while providing enough clearance indeed. Are fenders a limit for tire width on a gravel bike? When do you find them unnecessary under wet conditions?
I have the terraspeed in addition to the Schwalbe. I'll say the terraspeed is a bit smaller than most 40mm tires (good in your case), but it wears very fast. You'll be replacing that one pretty often.

I leave a seat post mounted fender on my bike all year round, so I don't have clearance problems. I do have a bad weather bike with SKX fenders. Mostly I don't like having to worry about them getting banged on things and out of alignment (which is why I don't have full coverage or metal fenders). Fenders can have a horrible problem clogging up with mud (and sometimes wet snow). Not fun on a cold day when I'm wearing full fingered gloves. I'm guessing with your clearance that you might not want to go any bigger than 33mm with fenders - although 35-38 could be fine without.
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Old 09-16-21, 11:26 PM
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Originally Posted by chas58
I have the terraspeed in addition to the Schwalbe. I'll say the terraspeed is a bit smaller than most 40mm tires (good in your case), but it wears very fast. You'll be replacing that one pretty often.

I leave a seat post mounted fender on my bike all year round, so I don't have clearance problems. I do have a bad weather bike with SKX fenders. Mostly I don't like having to worry about them getting banged on things and out of alignment (which is why I don't have full coverage or metal fenders). Fenders can have a horrible problem clogging up with mud (and sometimes wet snow). Not fun on a cold day when I'm wearing full fingered gloves. I'm guessing with your clearance that you might not want to go any bigger than 33mm with fenders - although 35-38 could be fine without.
Hi, it's funny you mention the Terraspeed because I was visioning a video in which the tester reports exactly the same. He even titled the vid "live fast die young" which speaks for itself.

I read another test which gives me doubts for this tire as an allrounder. Here is their conclusion
"The Continental Terra Speed is light, fast and can be ridden efficiently on asphalt and compacted gravel. In corners, it loses traction quickly and will prove to be a demanding tire for gravel newbies. As a result, the Terra Speed can’t be recommended as an all-rounder."
https://granfondo-cycling.com/contin...-speed-review/

Wear rate isn't my biggest concern because I have 3 bikes and do other sports so it's not like if I planned to use my gravel bike every day. I should use it no more than 2 times a week.

Do you guys tried to mix up a different tire front and rear? What would you think about a Conti terraspeed in the front and G-One allround in the rear?

I have mixed feelings with fenders too because of the clearance. I don't plan do ride in the mud with the gravel bike though. It might happen but should be very rare. I think the fenders make sense when you drive in wet conditions on hard surfaces like bad roads, gravel, or short grass. It should really help with limiting projections. But once you ride in the mud it's just better to go with a fender that mounts somewhere else to keep the standard clearance, like a mtb.

33mm would be the safest bet in theory with my bike accepting 36 to 38mm tires max + fenders. It should be a sweet width too for a 50/50 use between tarmac and gravel which is what I should do, mixed with cobblestones and hard packed dirt. I don't plan to ride in harsh gravel (grade 4 or 5). What do you think? 32-33mm? 35? 37-38?

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Old 09-17-21, 02:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Pulse_
I read another test which gives me doubts for this tire as an allrounder. Here is their conclusion
"The Continental Terra Speed is light, fast and can be ridden efficiently on asphalt and compacted gravel. In corners, it loses traction quickly and will prove to be a demanding tire for gravel newbies. As a result, the Terra Speed can’t be recommended as an all-rounder."
https://granfondo-cycling.com/contin...-speed-review/

...

Do you guys tried to mix up a different tire front and rear? What would you think about a Conti terraspeed in the front and G-One allround in the rear?

...

33mm would be the safest bet in theory with my bike accepting 36 to 38mm tires max + fenders. It should be a sweet width too for a 50/50 use between tarmac and gravel which is what I should do, mixed with cobblestones and hard packed dirt. I don't plan to ride in harsh gravel (grade 4 or 5). What do you think? 32-33mm? 35? 37-38?
Before I lived in Brussels, I lived in Stuttgart, Germany...and I have ridden a bit with the folks at GF magazine, and even helped them a couple of times with some testing. I have the utmost respect for their work, they are careful and fair. I trust their assessment of the tire. Based on that, I would stay away from it, for the simple fact that it offers very little puncture protection, which if my one winter (so far) in Brussels has taught me anything, that is incredibly important.

I don't personally mix/match tires. I have never seen the need.

As for tire size recommendation, see my previous comments, and those of others, go as big as you can fit into the most restrictive space, in other words, go with as big as you can get under a set of fenders.
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Old 09-17-21, 02:12 AM
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Since we are on the subject... GF did a gravel tire test searching for the "perfect" all-around tire. The Schwalbe Allround fared okay, the Contis were pretty low, and the Vittoria Torreno came out on top.

https://granfondo-cycling.com/best-gravel-tire-test/

That said if you read the reviews of each tire (links to those at the bottom of the page I linked above), the Schwalbe seems to be the right tire for your use case: urban and Forêt de Soigne type excursions. Good puncture protections, rolls fast, and good grip.
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Old 09-18-21, 01:58 AM
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Thanks Badger6, the Allround is on my short list the only downside is comfort apparently, based on granfondo feedback "Limited comfort for the Schwalbe and… Schwalbe. Both Schwalbe tires delivered noticeably less comfort than the other tires in our test."

What would you think about a Specialized Pathfinder Pro or a Gravelking SS with a slick center line? Would these lack grip too much in slippery (hard surfaces) conditions?

There will be compromises to be made for sure, but all in all the most important is a confidence inspiring and versatile tire.
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Old 09-18-21, 04:10 AM
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I found this vid and the gravelking SS looks like a strong contender:
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Old 09-18-21, 07:14 AM
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As chas58 pointed out, there are fender options which don’t compromise tire clearance. Ass Savers have their Fendor Bendor rear which would mount above the chainstay bridge, and their Mullet front which mounts to the downtube:

https://ass-savers.com/collections/rear-mudguards

I run the Fendor Bendor and a Mudder up front, the latter mounting in the fork, but being so thin and adjustable in placement height, is not an impediment to tire clearance:


‘19 T-Lab X3

Regarding tires, although our climates are different, it seems to me you have many suitable options and many good suggestions have been made. I will add, though, that I ran Schwalbe S-One (now G-One Speed) successfully for a few seasons, as well as the GravelKing slicks, for many years and which I continue to use on surfaces such as the ones you mention. The T-Lab above is fitted with Herse Bon Jon Pass rubber, which shares a file pattern tread like the GravelKing slick, and they work well for me, too. Quite well, actually.

I parse my road conditions by one more bike than you do, splitting wet and cold spring and winter rides between tarmac and gravel, so the T-Lab above does dirt (a pair of American Classic Krumbein knobbies will go on for mud/snow) and a Kinesis Racelight 4S does wet pavement, but before the T-Lab, it was the Kinesis which covered all dirt and winter with the S-Ones and GK slick. I keep the GKs on all the time now, under Crud RoadRacer Mk3 fenders which go on/off as needed:

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Old 09-19-21, 09:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Pulse_
What would you think about a Specialized Pathfinder Pro or a Gravelking SS with a slick center line? Would these lack grip too much in slippery (hard surfaces) conditions?

There will be compromises to be made for sure, but all in all the most important is a confidence inspiring and versatile tire.
I run the Pathfinder Pro (38mm) on my "modern" Diverge ('21 frame). But it's too big for my "all road" OG Diverge ('16 frame). I don't believe they are available in size smaller than 38, so they'd probably not work for you. Lots of folks like the Gravelkings here, I have no actual experience with them. From what I have recall in reviews I've read, testers love how they roll and feel. The challenge is that the tires offer minimal puncture protection and if you are going tubeless there are more than a few reports of challenges getting the tires to seal up without some advanced skills. Again, I have no actual experience with these tires, simply echoing what I've read in a few places.
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Old 09-20-21, 04:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Pulse_
I found this vid and the gravelking SS looks like a strong contender:
Yeah, that is a good option. I'd probably do the SK on the front. From what I have read, there isn't a big difference between the SK and the SS. The slick is a b it different.

I always thought the snake bite problem was a bit of a faff. But a year ago, I did get two snake bite flats, much to my surprise. I think at least one was on the conti's. They did seal up fine (with a hand pump to add extra air) and I could keep riding. Maybe there is something to it.

The schwalbes ride fine. Really no downside to them. Not that I can really tell any difference between them and any other tire I have. I've read that the new ones may not have as good rolling resistance as mine? That is my bet for winter - those little nubs give me a little extra bit of traction and confidence over a slick (and I love how they handle snow).
If you want a variety of sizes and a slick center, the GK SS is a strong contender.
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Old 09-21-21, 01:11 AM
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Originally Posted by Pulse_
Hi, it's funny you mention the Terraspeed because I was visioning a video in which the tester reports exactly the same. He even titled the vid "live fast die young" which speaks for itself.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J2E-W_AtqSE
My understanding is that the 2020 and 2021 Conti Terra Speeds are built differently. Namely, Conti beefed up the 2021 Terra Speed to take into account those initial shortcomings.

Note the vast weight difference between the 2020 and 2021 model here:
https://www.bicyclerollingresistance...terra-speed-40

In 2021, Gravel Cyclist notes no noticeable wear (this is more subjective, of course):
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Old 09-22-21, 12:48 PM
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Tire pressure is an important factor and over inflatting the tires reduces impact resistance and has no real gain in terms of rolling resistance. A key advantage of "wider" tires is that they hold more air and so can support more weight at a lower PSI setting. A 25mm tire has 18% more volume than a 23mm tire for example.
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Old 09-22-21, 01:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Prodigy4299
My understanding is that the 2020 and 2021 Conti Terra Speeds are built differently. Namely, Conti beefed up the 2021 Terra Speed to take into account those initial shortcomings.

In 2021, Gravel Cyclist notes no noticeable wear (this is more subjective, of course):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dRfD_9p1nOI
Where did you hear about the change in construction with a tire that is about a year old?

I swap tires, but I'm thinking my rear tire is pretty much done at what is probably 500 miles or less. I've never seen a tire wear that fast. My GP5000 wear fast, but last 2-3 times as long.
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Old 09-23-21, 08:02 AM
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Three reasons:
1) From Bicycle Rolling Resistance:
"On paper, both the 35 and 40 mm versions of the Terra Speed appear to be the same as they both use the same tread pattern, the same familiar 3/180 TPI Continental casing, and the well-known Continental Black Chili compound. From the information published on Continental's website, we expected the 35 mm and 40 mm versions to be nearly the same tires.We did notice something strange in the specified weight of these tires: the specified weight of the 40-622 version is much higher than the 35-622 version (14% size increase, 29% weight increase). Even more remarkable is that the 40-622 Terra Speed is heavier than the 40-622 Terra Trail, which is a tire made for somewhat heavier conditions.

From the specified weight alone, we can be quite certain that the 40-622 version of the Terra Speed is a different tire than the 35-622 version that we tested last year. As most people that visit this site want to know every detail about their tires, we've done the tests that clearly show where the extra weight has gone and how this affects the performance of the Terra Speed."

2) Note that older reviews of the tire list the weight at 420g, while the current model is 465g.

3) This observation of more robustness is also echoed in some 2021 reviews of the tire, most notably the Gravel Cyclist one I linked to in the previous post.
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Old 09-23-21, 10:27 AM
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I think the 40mm is more robust (that is what I have) but I don't think they changed the design. They changed the claimed weight to 465, but JoM above measured them at 411 and 417.
Its not unusual for the 35mm version of a tire to be a lot lighter than the 40mm version.

Road.cc said the terra speed was pretty darn similar to the G-one alround and that is what I found too (except the G-one loves snow too).

"I tested the Schwalbe G-One Bite Microskin TL-Easy back in 2018 and it's still one of my favourite tyres for the way it works well on the road and when you head off onto gravel tracks and canal paths.The Terra Speed has similar sized knobbly bits as the G-One Bite (if you want deeper there is the Terra Trail option), and it behaves in exactly the same way."

https://road.cc/content/review/conti...d-tyres-270161

Either way, they are good stuff.
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Old 09-24-21, 05:35 AM
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I'm discovering it's way more complicated to choose a gravel tire VS a road tire (which is no surprise regarding the variety of terrains when riding a gravel bike..). Many thanks for sharing your experience, makes life easier

Here is my short list
- Continental Terra Speed, downside: "In corners, it loses traction quickly and will prove to be a demanding tire for gravel newbies" (granfondo) ?
- Vittoria Terreno Dry, downside: not for hookless rims
- Schwalbe G-one allround, downside: comfort? granfondo feedback + this vid:
- Panaracer Gravelking SS, downside: lack of versatility, seal, puncture prone?
- Pirelli Cinturato Gravel H, downside: variable batch quality?

I'll keep the dimension "safe" and go with a 35mm width.

Last edited by Pulse_; 09-25-21 at 05:01 PM.
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Old 09-24-21, 02:58 PM
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From what I remember living in BenNeLux, snow wasn't much of an issue. Or do you go riding on those rare snow days?

I think all of your tires are basically the same. I don't agree with the reviews at all (strongly disagree actually). Don't over think it, follow your heart (and what is in stock).
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