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Tire Selection—Overwhelmed!

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Tire Selection—Overwhelmed!

Old 12-11-23, 09:00 PM
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Tire Selection—Overwhelmed!

I’m refurbing a vintage touring bike with tubeless 700c wheels. I’m looking for 40mm gravel tires, sturdy (I’m a Clyde), not too heavy (<~500g), reasonably puncture proof, fast rolling, and sure-footed on dry hard-pack, gravel, and tarmac.

I subscribed to Bicycle Rolling Resistance. It is overwhelming.

I have 35mm Pirelli Centuratos on my e-bike and they seem decent, so I was biased toward getting 40mm version of the Centuratos, but those seem heavy and pretty poorly rated by BRR.

Thoughts? Recommendations?
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Old 12-11-23, 09:12 PM
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Panaracer Gravel King SS. Good mix of durable, roast rolling, and good price. I have owned 6 of em for my gravel bike and though I dislike setting them up with my specific wheels, others set em up easily.

Continental Terra Speed. Fast rolling.

Both come in multiple sizes between 38 and 45mm and hit the weight you want.


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Old 12-11-23, 09:15 PM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr
Panaracer Gravel King SS. Good mix of durable, roast rolling, and good price. I have owned 6 of em for my gravel bike and though I dislike setting them up with my specific wheels, others set em up easily.

Continental Terra Speed. Fast rolling.

Both come in multiple sizes between 38 and 45mm and hit the weight you want.


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Ditto. They roll really well on asphalt.
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Old 12-11-23, 09:47 PM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr
Panaracer Gravel King SS. Good mix of durable, roast rolling, and good price. I have owned 6 of em for my gravel bike and though I dislike setting them up with my specific wheels, others set em up easily.

Continental Terra Speed. Fast rolling.

Both come in multiple sizes between 38 and 45mm and hit the weight you want.


Suggestions here will be limited only by the number of responses.
Thanks. Yeah I realize this post is kinda like asking for tips for good living.
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Old 12-11-23, 09:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Steve B.
Ditto. They roll really well on asphalt.
Both the Panaracers and Contis roll well on asphalt?
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Old 12-11-23, 10:04 PM
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I was checking out the Tufo Gravel Thundero, but I’ve never heard of Tufo. The specs seem decent.
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Old 12-11-23, 10:29 PM
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Originally Posted by ACHiPo
Both the Panaracers and Contis roll well on asphalt?
I use the Gravel King on my cross bike, some of the routes are on pavement, then on dirt. The knobbies grab very well on the dirt local to here and I’m always surprised at how nice the tires roll on pavement. I like these tires for the purpose,
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Old 12-11-23, 10:29 PM
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Both the Contis and Panaracers look good. I think I prefer the Contis based on the BRR review?

Wish they were a bit cheaper, though.

Last edited by ACHiPo; 12-11-23 at 10:33 PM.
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Old 12-11-23, 10:30 PM
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I've used three "gravel" tires over the years - mix of pavement, maintained gravel, rougher gravel, non technical dirt single track, mild mud and rocks, grass. But for what I feel a "gravel bike" is intended for (see below), all the tires worked very well and I really can't recommend one over the other. Continental Terra Speed, Donnelly MSO, Vittoria Terrano Dry.

I occasionally ride on some stuff that the entire bike - frame geometry, lack of suspension, is not good, at best, an exciting physically taxing job. But it's not the tires, it's the whole bike. Stuff where a mountain bike with real mountain bike 2-1/2"+ tires with MTB tread, MTB handlebars, MTB frame geometry, suspension, etc. would work much better.

It's a versatile bike, but I don't personally expect it to substitute for a MTB, while it does actually substitute reasonably well for a road bike. To me that is the way the "gravel bike" should tend on the MTB - Road bike continuum. So that's what I'm looking for in a tire and those are three among dozens of what I suspect are perfectly good options. I'll admit I have bought these tires based on availability and sale pricing, with a nod toward the rollingresistance.com data.

Last edited by Camilo; 12-11-23 at 11:33 PM.
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Old 12-11-23, 10:31 PM
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For dry w/reasonably good traction, I'm a fan of the Specialized pathfinder pro. I'm running the S-works version in the 42mm width, but I've heard good reviews on the standard tire too. IIRC, mine measure out close to 44mm, so the 38 might get you close to 40(depending on your rim width.)

Looking at them on the rolling resistance website, they seemed to provide the right balance of puncture resistance and speed. For a "racier" or fast tire, I think these really do fit the bill...also have much better puncture resistance than some of the knobby tires I've run in the past.

The weak link with them is traction in loose conditions or mud. I wouldn't call them terrible, but they do have that smooth center section. On a positive note, the mud does shed from them pretty quickly.
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Old 12-11-23, 10:34 PM
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Originally Posted by ACHiPo
I was checking out the Tufo Gravel Thundero, but I’ve never heard of Tufo. The specs seem decent.
Ive been happy with the Tufo Speedero. I believe Tufo’s background is in tubulars.

They were priced very competitively when I purchased. Worth trying. I may go with the Thunderos when they wear out.
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Old 12-11-23, 11:10 PM
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I currently run 40mm Pirelli Cinturato Gravel H (rear) and Gravel M (front), and I love the combination. They are a little heavier than some others, and a SLIGHTLY slower on pavement than others, but they are really durable in rocky conditions, and the handling in loose dirt is sure-footed and confident - remarkably so. I really liked the rolling efficiency and light weight of the Challenge Getaway Pros I was using before, but the sidewalls were too easily damaged, and the handling was a bit vague when initiating turns in the dirt. I lost confidence in them as a tire that would get me through a long race/event. I went back to the Pirellis, and was reminded of why they are my pick.

At the Belgian Waffle Ride event this year, my ride buddy was on 32mm Gravelking Slicks. Even on paved downhills where were were coasting, I was not hindered at all by the 35mm Pirelli H/M tires I was running, and easily kept pace.

I have tried the IRC Boken Doublecross, too. It was heavy and slow on the road, but very tough. Handling was not remarkably good or bad.

When you’re reviewing BRR tables, don’t just look at the ranking, but actual watts. Many times, there is only a tiny difference between tires that are 5 or more places apart on the list. A difference of 5W+ per tire is significant enough to pay attention to. A difference of a watt or so isn’t a big deal in the real world.

Which model of Pirellis do you have now? The H and M both rate higher for rolling efficiency than the RC.

Last edited by Eric F; 12-11-23 at 11:15 PM.
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Old 12-11-23, 11:26 PM
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It looks like the Panaracers now only come in 38 or 43 mm. Not sure if I should drop to 38, and I’m not sure if 43 will fit.
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Old 12-11-23, 11:30 PM
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If you haven't already go to CX/Gravel Bike Tires Test Results | Bicycle Rolling Resistance

You can compare tires on, what I feel, are useful characteristics (as they measure them) on a pretty easy to use interface.
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Old 12-11-23, 11:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Eric F
I currently run 40mm Pirelli Cinturato Gravel H (rear) and Gravel M (front), and I love the combination. They are a little heavier than some others, and a SLIGHTLY slower on pavement than others, but they are really durable in rocky conditions, and the handling in loose dirt is sure-footed and confident - remarkably so. I really liked the rolling efficiency and light weight of the Challenge Getaway Pros I was using before, but the sidewalls were too easily damaged, and the handling was a bit vague when initiating turns in the dirt. I lost confidence in them as a tire that would get me through a long race/event. I went back to the Pirellis, and was reminded of why they are my pick.

At the Belgian Waffle Ride event this year, my ride buddy was on 32mm Gravelking Slicks. Even on paved downhills where were were coasting, I was not hindered at all by the 35mm Pirelli H/M tires I was running, and easily kept pace.

I have tried the IRC Boken Doublecross, too. It was heavy and slow on the road, but very tough. Handling was not remarkably good or bad.

When you’re reviewing BRR tables, don’t just look at the ranking, but actual watts. Many times, there is only a tiny difference between tires that are 5 or more places apart on the list. A difference of 5W+ per tire is significant enough to pay attention to. A difference of a watt or so isn’t a big deal in the real world.

Which model of Pirellis do you have now? The H and M both rate higher for rolling efficiency than the RC.
I have Centurato Gravel H 35mm. I like them, but nothing to compare them to.
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Old 12-11-23, 11:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Camilo
If you haven't already go to CX/Gravel Bike Tires Test Results | Bicycle Rolling Resistance

You can compare tires on, what I feel, are useful characteristics (as they measure them) on a pretty easy to use interface.
That’s where I got overwhelmed.
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Old 12-11-23, 11:39 PM
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Originally Posted by ACHiPo
Both the Panaracers and Contis roll well on asphalt?
the GK slick and GK SS models both roll well on pavement, yes.
And the Conti Terra Speed is fast rolling too.
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Old 12-11-23, 11:52 PM
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Originally Posted by ACHiPo
That’s where I got overwhelmed.
Yeah there's a million choices and I'll bet the info you've gotten in this thread doesn't narrow it down in a meaningful way.

I kind of looked at what was reasonably available to me (reasonable shipping, or local) and/or what I saw a sale price for and then made a cursory look for reviews and or "data".

Like I said, I think there's dozens of tires that most of us would not be able to tell apart vis a vis the finer characteristics on what we actually ride. Many that we would be perfectly happy with.

The Donnelly MSOs that I actually wore out after many years simply happened to be the tire that was available at the local REI the day I needed tires several years ago. Random choice, but very satisfactory and they get decent reviews. I would have bought them again, but I wanted to try others "just because".

The Continental Terra Speed, I happened to read an online article (some nonsense article like "Best Gravel Tires for 2021"). They got good marks for rolling resistance and grip for (what I consider) appropriate gravel bike use and I found them on sale somewhere.

The Vittoria Terreno Dry I saw on sale from Western Bike Works (my favorite online vendor!) so I plugged them in to that comparison tool, and read some online info and they seemed like they'd work well and I'm very happy with them so far.

So a bit of randomness and a bit of "research". Mostly randomness. I wouldn't let it get too complicated. Maybe plug the tires that folks have been recommending into the rollingresistance tool and look for a good price on some that seem good?

OH, I'm sure this will help: I'll add another tire I'm happy with, the Maxxis Rambler EXO/TR I got last year for my new 650B wheels. Again, on sale at Western Bike Works at the time and get decent reviews. They work for what I need.

Last edited by Camilo; 12-12-23 at 12:04 AM.
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Old 12-11-23, 11:53 PM
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Originally Posted by ACHiPo
I have Centurato Gravel H 35mm. I like them, but nothing to compare them to.
The H is a pretty fast tire. Not the fastest out there, but pretty darn good. That said, there is value in trying out something different just to expand your own knowledge base.
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Old 12-12-23, 02:17 AM
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Originally Posted by ACHiPo
Both the Contis and Panaracers look good. I think I prefer the Contis based on the BRR review?

Wish they were a bit cheaper, though.
currently have Terra Speeds on three bikes - and GK SS on two bikes

recommended them - both seem to roll fairly well … Terra Speed can provide better grip on some surfaces due to the knobs

Terra Speed provides good grip and rolls very well on pavement - despite being a knobbed tire … there are few (if any ?) tires with knobs of the same size that roll that well

Terra Speed can run a tad small - 35’s can be around 33-34 mm mounted - the 40’s can be close to 38mm mounted

GK SS does not roll as well as GK slick (GK slick is basically a road tire) - but still rolls well and has side knobs (sort of), thicker tread, and is more puncture resistant


GK sizing can vary - 32’s were around 31mm mounted , 35’s around 37mm mounted, can’t recall size of the 38’s mounted … Panaracer apparently changed some of the GK sizing not too long ago - ? - something to consider when comparing tire sizes

if you are into color - GK’s in some sizes are offered in different colors

also have some other similar 700c and 650b tires including S Works Pathfinders, Tufo Speedero, Compass / Rene Herse - but have not had opportunity to try them (have Compass / Rene Herse on 26” bikes though)

can sometimes find a sale / good price on Terra Speed on Bike Tires Direct (BTD) or Bike Closet - and sometimes on eBay

Last edited by t2p; 12-12-23 at 02:47 AM.
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Old 12-12-23, 08:27 AM
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Originally Posted by t2p
currently have Terra Speeds on three bikes - and GK SS on two bikes

recommended them - both seem to roll fairly well … Terra Speed can provide better grip on some surfaces due to the knobs

Terra Speed provides good grip and rolls very well on pavement - despite being a knobbed tire … there are few (if any ?) tires with knobs of the same size that roll that well

Terra Speed can run a tad small - 35’s can be around 33-34 mm mounted - the 40’s can be close to 38mm mounted

GK SS does not roll as well as GK slick (GK slick is basically a road tire) - but still rolls well and has side knobs (sort of), thicker tread, and is more puncture resistant


GK sizing can vary - 32’s were around 31mm mounted , 35’s around 37mm mounted, can’t recall size of the 38’s mounted … Panaracer apparently changed some of the GK sizing not too long ago - ? - something to consider when comparing tire sizes

if you are into color - GK’s in some sizes are offered in different colors

also have some other similar 700c and 650b tires including S Works Pathfinders, Tufo Speedero, Compass / Rene Herse - but have not had opportunity to try them (have Compass / Rene Herse on 26” bikes though)

can sometimes find a sale / good price on Terra Speed on Bike Tires Direct (BTD) or Bike Closet - and sometimes on eBay
Just discovered there is a Terra Speed Protect. Found a good price, but no idea if it is equivalent to a regular Terra Speed? Think I’m gonna set a target price and 3-4 acceptable tires (Conti Terra Speed TR, Panaracer Gravelking SS, Tufo Thundero, ?) and pull the trigger when I see one for the right price.

Lots of good stuff here. Thanks. This is what I was looking for. I’m still amazed how many variants there are for the “same” tire, and how different the performance can be.

Last edited by ACHiPo; 12-12-23 at 08:37 AM.
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Old 12-12-23, 08:48 AM
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Originally Posted by ACHiPo
That’s where I got overwhelmed.
I just realized the most important thing hasnt been discussed yet- what bike are you working on?! And second most important question- what tubeless wheels are you using?
These arent important to know for what tires to recommend, but they are important because its a super cool project!

Old touring bike turned gravel build with rim brake tubeless tires- I always like seeing how these are spec'd and look. You get anything from traditional looking where downtube or bar end shifters and a triple are used, to a modern drivetrain being used, to crazy stuff like funky bikepacking alt bars and trigger shifters for the drivetrain with 50mm carbon rims.
The variety is whats neat.



Someone else mentioned that Panaracer GravelKing tires come in colors- they are usually pretty soft colors like a soft light blue or soft light pink. Sometimes they are in more bold colors like purple and yellow. I think Panaracer chooses a few colors each spring since thats when I seem to see press articles about the colors. Anyways, GK Slick, SS, and SK models all come in various colors and googling around will show you what colors in which sizes are still available at various online retailers.

On a related note- Ultradynamico is a tire brand that has 38mm and 43mm tires(made by Panaracer) in various colors. They have tires in those sizes in regular black wall, in skinwall light tan with black tread, and then also with gray tread and some tires with other color. Multiple tread types too with one model, the CAVA, being pretty slick and fast rolling(from user reviews I have read).
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Old 12-12-23, 09:16 AM
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Originally Posted by ACHiPo
Just discovered there is a Terra Speed Protect. Found a good price, but no idea if it is equivalent to a regular Terra Speed? Think I’m gonna set a target price and 3-4 acceptable tires (Conti Terra Speed TR, Panaracer Gravelking SS, Tufo Thundero, ?) and pull the trigger when I see one for the right price.

Lots of good stuff here. Thanks. This is what I was looking for. I’m still amazed how many variants there are for the “same” tire, and how different the performance can be.
The Terra Speed Protect is the full model name as 'Terra Speed' and comes in 35, 40, and 45mm sizes. They are consistently said to run narrow by a couple mm and I just mounted some 45mm Terra Speed tires a few days ago that currently measure out to just over 43mm.
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Old 12-12-23, 09:18 AM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr
I just realized the most important thing hasnt been discussed yet- what bike are you working on?! And second most important question- what tubeless wheels are you using?
These arent important to know for what tires to recommend, but they are important because its a super cool project!

Old touring bike turned gravel build with rim brake tubeless tires- I always like seeing how these are spec'd and look. You get anything from traditional looking where downtube or bar end shifters and a triple are used, to a modern drivetrain being used, to crazy stuff like funky bikepacking alt bars and trigger shifters for the drivetrain with 50mm carbon rims.
The variety is whats neat.



Someone else mentioned that Panaracer GravelKing tires come in colors- they are usually pretty soft colors like a soft light blue or soft light pink. Sometimes they are in more bold colors like purple and yellow. I think Panaracer chooses a few colors each spring since thats when I seem to see press articles about the colors. Anyways, GK Slick, SS, and SK models all come in various colors and googling around will show you what colors in which sizes are still available at various online retailers.

On a related note- Ultradynamico is a tire brand that has 38mm and 43mm tires(made by Panaracer) in various colors. They have tires in those sizes in regular black wall, in skinwall light tan with black tread, and then also with gray tread and some tires with other color. Multiple tread types too with one model, the CAVA, being pretty slick and fast rolling(from user reviews I have read).
I plan to start a post when I get further down the path assembling components. It is a Centurion Pro Tour. I just bought a pair of modern 36h Shimano/Velocity tubeless wheels with an 11-34 cassette. I realized I probably have the cart a bit ahead of the horse, as while I want to run 40 mm tires, I need to get my new wheels to make sure they'll fit.

Last edited by ACHiPo; 12-12-23 at 10:36 AM.
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Old 12-12-23, 10:16 AM
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I’m surprised no one has mentioned the Schwalbe G-One RS yet. It’s well-known for its rolling speed.

A big consideration is how we ride. My need for a front tire that’s grippy in the dirt is driven by my frequent singletrack riding, and the sand-over-hardpack conditions that are typical in my area. If your demands are different, you might not need the same level of dirt traction as me.
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