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Tires for trails - need advice

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Cyclocross and Gravelbiking (Recreational) This has to be the most physically intense sport ever invented. It's high speed bicycle racing on a short off road course or riding the off pavement rides on gravel like : "Unbound Gravel". We also have a dedicated Racing forum for the Cyclocross Hard Core Racers.

Tires for trails - need advice

Old 05-28-13, 05:22 AM
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Tires for trails - need advice

I have a Norco aluminum x bike I use for many riding scenarios: gravel, rail trails, bad weather, and MTB trails (mainly double track but some easier single track too); it's a real do-it-all bike for me. My tires are 35 wide with knobs on the edges and not much down the middle. This has been fine for most conditions, but I wanted a second pair of beefier tires for the trails (softer over rocks and roots, and more grip for climbing). I'm using clincher rims, and can probably go to 38-40 wide (if not much mud).

Can a clincher tire/rim have a low psi for a softer feel, without high risk of pinch flats? Or is this why people run tubeless? Are there specific tires that would be a good trail-only tire?

I was considering buying a hardtail and giving up on the idea of using my x bike on trails, but I would rather use the money on good wheels if they will help.

Thanks!
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Old 05-28-13, 06:52 AM
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What tire are you using now?
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Old 05-28-13, 09:06 AM
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Originally Posted by Noonievut
Can a clincher tire/rim have a low psi for a softer feel, without high risk of pinch flats? Or is this why people run tubeless? Are there specific tires that would be a good trail-only tire?
Tubeless are great for low pressure, but you should be able to get a lot of improvement without going that way or changing bike. I suggest putting 38/40mm Schwalbe Marathon Extremes on your bike: they grip like those funny lizards that walk up brick walls and people use them on 29er MTBs for xc endurance racing:

https://forums.mtbr.com/endurance-xc-...re-711309.html

..I'm thinking of changing my crosser for a 29er because I've been having some neck problems - and 220lb and really need a granny gear for gravel climbs, because one I try to power my way up most of the effort goes into throwing stones (the Extremes grip gravel superbly - its just the gravel doesn't grip the gravel enough) - but I'd definitely keep the Extremes. Or maybe even an Extreme on the front for steering and braking and a lessy grippy but faster Dureme on the back. Another plus point for a crosser is that Extremes clear mud well. Downsides: they don't roll as well as a real cross racing tyre - but that's inevitable when you add centre knobs because of the extra flex the knobs cause, which increases hysteresis energy (aka rolling resistance.)

The other benefit of Extremes is that they are about the best bad weather tyre available - the rubber still grips in the wet and the cornering knobs aren't sharktooths (which can bend in cornering on tarmac and send you sideways.)

...If you need to go further and run tubeless, I think the Extremes should be fine with that too. (Schwalbe have good tech help you can email: check their site.)

Last edited by meanwhile; 05-28-13 at 09:11 AM.
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Old 05-28-13, 03:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Barrettscv
What tire are you using now?
continental double fighter.
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Old 05-30-13, 04:56 AM
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I picked up some Clement X'Plor MSO. Mounted them yesterday, still lots of clearance. Going to try them soon and will compare to previous tire on trails and gravel roads.
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Old 05-30-13, 12:44 PM
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the other consideration in running low pressure clincher tires , is tire creep around the rim.

because it will bring the tube & stem with it , and cause the stem to shear out of the tube,
because the hole in the rim, does not move.
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Old 06-05-13, 06:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Noonievut
I picked up some Clement X'Plor MSO. Mounted them yesterday, still lots of clearance. Going to try them soon and will compare to previous tire on trails and gravel roads.
Tried them, don't like them at all. I tried at two different tire pressures and the c shape (it's actually more triangular than a c) gives 0 traction on loose gravel. My 23 skinnies give equal traction. I'm using the stock tires again.
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Old 06-05-13, 08:02 PM
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I'm a big fan of less tread the better.

Specifically, tires with micro street tread like Panaracer T-Servs of Continental Contact is all the tire i need.



Have tried many a semi-knobbie, cross and aggressively treaded tires out in the tuft over the years, and IMO slick tires are very adhesive in almost every condition save slick mud, super steep or wet root days - and even then, not that much of an disadvantage over the slight extra grip tread provides.

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Old 06-05-13, 08:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Noonievut
Tried them, don't like them at all. I tried at two different tire pressures and the c shape (it's actually more triangular than a c) gives 0 traction on loose gravel. My 23 skinnies give equal traction. I'm using the stock tires again.
Did you get the 60tpi or 120tpi version? I've been looking at these after reading some reviews.
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Old 06-06-13, 02:26 PM
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Originally Posted by cuda2k
Did you get the 60tpi or 120tpi version? I've been looking at these after reading some reviews.
60 tpi was the only option.
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Old 06-06-13, 05:53 PM
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The only thing that gives you traction in loose gravel is volume.
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Old 06-07-13, 05:03 AM
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Originally Posted by flargle
The only thing that gives you traction in loose gravel is volume.
Makes sense. Problem with the clement is that only a narrow portion of the tire is touching the gravel, so lower volume than one would think given the girth of the tire. I know my 35mm tire I put back on the bike works better, though I will continue to look for something with a wider contact area.
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Old 06-07-13, 10:05 AM
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Originally Posted by Noonievut
Makes sense. Problem with the clement is that only a narrow portion of the tire is touching the gravel, so lower volume than one would think given the girth of the tire. I know my 35mm tire I put back on the bike works better, though I will continue to look for something with a wider contact area.
I would look at the Little Big Ben from Schwalbe. They measure about 36.5mm at 70 lbs of pressure on 21mm wide rims.

See: https://www.rivbike.com/product-p/tben-10128.htm
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Old 07-08-13, 08:49 AM
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I thought I would update and set the record straight. After some glass ruined my original front tire I decided to mount the Clement MSO again but this time go even lower on the tire pressure...trying to flatten it out somewheat. I'm 140 pounds so figured I could get away with 40psi (front tire flatted and I've so far changed only this one). With the lower pressure the tire was much better than before, and I would say better than the stock tires. The extra volume gave the cushion I wanted, yet the tire still rolled well on pavement. I'm going to try the rear tire next and will run that a few psi higher, but no more than 45.
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