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Gravel tires on road bike

Old 09-02-23, 10:55 AM
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Gravel tires on road bike

Hi, on my roadbike I currently have 700x23c tires, but on some trips Iíve planned there are some packed gravel sections. Which tires do you recommend for my bike, also considering my rims, which are pretty narrow. Thanks
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Old 09-02-23, 11:44 AM
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Can you fit 26c tires? Panaracer has Gravelking slicks in that size which are fairly sturdy for a narrow road tire.
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Old 09-02-23, 08:11 PM
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I agree with Jonathanf2, gravel king has the slicks and the panaracer sk's in 26mm. Conti gatorskins may work as well. I think having two sets of wheels is not a bad idea either....
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Old 09-02-23, 08:56 PM
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It’s a bit of a crapshoot as to what will fit. If an older bike, they were not designed for wider tires. You might not fit a 28, all depends on clearance at the rear dropout, under the brakes, etc…. Other issue you run into is trying to squeeze a wide tire past the brake pads when the brakes are opened up. I have had to deflate, mount wheels, then inflate when the wheel is in the dropouts, all because I could not fit an inflated tires past the brakes,

You might mail order buy 3 versions of the same tire, a 25, 28 and 32 and mount each till something doesn’t fit, then return what doesn’t work,
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Old 09-03-23, 03:52 AM
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Your brake pads look to be near the top of the slot. This bike wasn't designed for even moderately wide tires. Maybe a 25 or 26mm tire would fit, but even that's a gamble.
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Old 09-03-23, 02:22 PM
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Bear in mind that maxing out your tires will reduce clearance for mud or small rocks. Having your tires jam up with mud after a rain is frustrating!
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Old 09-03-23, 02:57 PM
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Continental Ride Tour Tires 700x32

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Old 09-03-23, 03:03 PM
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how about some gatorskins in 700x25 packed gravel should be no issue.
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Old 09-03-23, 05:13 PM
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Depends on the length and severity of your gravel sections!

If it's just a couple of short sections then you could ride what you've already got. If they're a much larger percentage of your riding time then stick on the widest road tyres you can (unfortunately probably not very wide, 28mm max but likely less).

Have a look at your clearance around the front brake, fork, rear brake, chainstays, etc and see what you think might fit.
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Old 09-03-23, 05:25 PM
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I managed 28m on my fave road bike but even so I won't take it on anything that sticks to the tires because you can hear and feel the bits grinding against the brake calipers and stays. Just not enough clearance. The bike was designed for 25's max.. If you see a lot of gravel in your future, you either adapt to the narrow tires or start hunting for another bike. Good luck
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Old 09-05-23, 07:22 AM
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Looking at the O.P.'s picture, I'm not sure the brakes can handle even a 25/26 tire.

Maybe it's time for N+1: wider tires mounted on a new bike.

The wild card is the description of the trail. Dry, finely packed gravel may be fine with the 23s. OTOH, packed 1/4" gravel is going to make the ride "interesting;" packed pea gravel may be fine unless somebody has skidded across it riding knobby tires. And let's not even talk about packed gravel behind a pack train of horses.
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Old 09-07-23, 08:49 AM
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I squeezed 700x30 knobbies onto my Cannondale R300 and it got me by until I built a real gravel machine. It was tight and all sorts of sticks, leaves and rocks got caught in the chainstays, under the brakes, popping out everywhere but, it worked. The rougher stuff caused numerous flats. As long as it was hard pack, I was OK. Anything soft and you will struggle. It was enough to see if I liked it though and I put 600 miles on that bike. I liked it and moved on. Hopefully you can get bigger than 25's but it looks tight.

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Old 09-07-23, 09:54 AM
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I'd recommend fitting as wide of tires as possible on that bike. This advice would apply to riding on any surface.

I don't think you need gravel tires for this. I frequently ride on trails that I'd describe as "packed gravel" with GP 5000 road tires, 28mm or 32mm are great for those situations, but if you're limited to 25mm then run those and you should be fine.
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Old 09-07-23, 10:31 AM
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Based on an estimate of when that bike was built, I would be surprised if you can get 28s on it, and even 25s might be questionable. On my bikes of a similar age, one I've been able to get 25s on. The other won't take more than 23s. Even my newer road bike (rim brake) won't take more than 26s because it's limited by the rear rake arch.
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Old 09-07-23, 12:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Eric F
Based on an estimate of when that bike was built, I would be surprised if you can get 28s on it, and even 25s might be questionable. On my bikes of a similar age, one I've been able to get 25s on. The other won't take more than 23s. Even my newer road bike (rim brake) won't take more than 26s because it's limited by the rear rake arch.
Yep. Might be a tight squeeze looking at the photos.
I had a 2005 Felt road bike that came from the factory with 23s. Also that was the largest tire that would fit.

Seems crazy now.
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Old 09-07-23, 05:18 PM
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I managed to get 28mm on my 2002 road bike, but it's a pretty tight fit, and that's as wide as I can go. The wheels are newer and wider than my original wheels, so 28s are ok. Anyway, depending on the type of gravel, you might be fine with slicks (or semi-slick with some siping), but wider is definitely better. And tubeless is also recommended so you can ride at lower pressure, but if those are old rims, they likely can't go tubeless. Not sure what your budget is, but you might consider a second set of wheels so you can max out your width and go tubeless.
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