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Knobs. Yay? Nay?

Old 04-30-23, 05:31 PM
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somebikeguy 
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Knobs. Yay? Nay?

Hello Cyclecross and Gravel forum

I am in the process of scheming on a Ritchey Swiss Cross to occupy the space between my newly-shod-in-tubeless-30mm roadbike and full squish Cotic Flaremax mtb. To me, the cross/gravel rig needs to be a good measure more capable than the road bike in order to make sense. The Ritchey maxes our at 40mm so this is what I'd target. My vision for the bike today is that I'd ride ~5-15 miles to trails, have some fun and ride home. I might also find I love it so much as a straight road bike I use it for that too. Conversely, I just got a SeaSucker rack so I can also drive to trails and explore further afield. I picture it being the bike I take on a vacation where I don't know what the riding will be.

I'd like to explore Rene Herse tire offerings and have been looking at their 38mm knobby and non knobby offerings. The wax kind of lyrical about the knobbies being fast and quiet on the road but we all know there is no free lunch. So I'm trying to figure out how to balance the possible roles of this N+1 bike... and curious to hear y'alls takes. The continental 5000s I used on my road bike were REAL easy to mount. I don't have that many miles on them yet but they seem a quality offering and designed from the ground up for tubeless. Are the Rene Herse the same?

Bonus q: any tips on tubeless compatible rims? I built the road bike's tubeless wheels on Pacenti Brevets. Could use those again but how boring. The mtb has very nice Hunts, could go that direction too. My gut is polished will look cool on the vintage-feels cantilever frame Ritchey but I'm not dogmatic about it.
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Old 04-30-23, 09:08 PM
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Don’t rule out mixing tires, front and rear. The roadie tendency is to use matching tires. I use more of a MTB approach with a fast-rolling tire on the rear, and something with more grip in loose conditions on the front.
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Old 04-30-23, 10:00 PM
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No knobs for me, based on what you describe as a typical ride.
Unless I am on a loose dirt or steep gravel climb, I just don't feel like knobs are needed. And when my rear wheel does slop on a climb, it's because I am standing so I just shift my weight back a few inches and no more slip.
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Old 05-01-23, 05:30 PM
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I have been riding Rene Hearse/Compass 38s on at least one bike for 8 years now on mixed gravel and roads. I have never felt the need for knobs, though I am not a racer. I try a lot of different tires, Gravel Kings. Continentals, Hutchison, Challenge, Donelley, WTB, Terravail. I always come back to the Rene Hearse slicks or the Challenge Strada Bianca... Probably because almost all gravel routes here are 30% road and I like to maximize riding a fast slick on the road parts. (That is when I can catch up to the knob riders!)
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Old 05-01-23, 06:47 PM
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There’s a reason the tires on bikes intended primarily for use off-road have some amount of protruding tread features. You can certainly ride singletrack trails on slicks, at least when it’s dry, but you’ll have to go slower than you would with more tread. Unless you don’t mind crashing. But yes, of course more aggressive tread patterns come at a cost on pavement. So there are plenty of “gravel” tires out there that try to find a compromise, with a low or fast-rolling tread that still provides some grip off-road. Unfortunately, you can’t easily tell which tires are fast just by looking at them, as some tires with more tread roll better than some tires with less tread. You can’t judge tire construction and tread formulation by eye. You can try and get an idea of what will work from review websites like ridinggravel.com, or from bicyclerollingresistance.com. And there’s just trying some things out and seeing what you like. Some treaded tires that are considered fast would be the Challenge Getaway or Panaracer Gravel King SK, though I’ve never ridden those. I have ridden the WTB Riddler which is… OK. I’ve also ridden the Vittoria Terreno Dry, which is apparently pretty slow rolling for a tire without much tread, but it’s so good and feels so quick on the trail that it might be worth sacrificing a bit of speed on the ride to the trailhead. And so on. Try some things out and see what works for you.
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Old 05-01-23, 07:31 PM
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Thanks. I think we have similar riding styles. Presume you are talking about the “Barlow pass” slick 38s. Do you run them tubeless? I get the vague sense that the Renes are okay but not perfect for tubeless. Curious your experience

Originally Posted by dwmckee
I have been riding Rene Hearse/Compass 38s on at least one bike for 8 years now on mixed gravel and roads. I have never felt the need for knobs, though I am not a racer. I try a lot of different tires, Gravel Kings. Continentals, Hutchison, Challenge, Donelley, WTB, Terravail. I always come back to the Rene Hearse slicks or the Challenge Strada Bianca... Probably because almost all gravel routes here are 30% road and I like to maximize riding a fast slick on the road parts. (That is when I can catch up to the knob riders!)
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Old 05-04-23, 06:25 AM
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I believe I'll have 40mm clearance max, all of which I'd like to use. I'm going to be running 20mm interior width Pacenti Forza Classico rims. Curious to hear real world installed, inflated widths on the nominal 38-40mm options: Conti Terra Speed 40, Rene Herse Parlow Pass 38, Panaracer Gravelking (SS, SK, +) 38.
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Old 05-04-23, 09:27 AM
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Terra Speeds can run a couple mm small - when installed on our rims (approx 24.25 mm outside measurement)

can’t recall measurement on 38 mm GK SS - unfortunately did not document (GK SS 32’s ran a tad small - 35’s ran a tad big - but Panaracer apparently made some size changes a while back so this might not always be the case)
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Old 05-04-23, 11:18 AM
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Originally Posted by Eric F
...fast-rolling tire on the rear, and something with more grip in loose conditions on the front.
Hey!... OK Eric... My little local rides on torn up asphalt are getting more and more TORN UP! They are virtually light gravel the whole distance now days. So much so that I really don't get the road bike out anymore. I am definitely going ta give this a try... Thanks...
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