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High Volume 26" Gravel Grinder Wheels

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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.

High Volume 26" Gravel Grinder Wheels

Old 01-08-15, 09:13 AM
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High Volume 26" Gravel Grinder Wheels

BTW - I'm an IDIOT. I meant TIRES...not WHEELS!

I've been drooling over the MTB drop bar conversion thread over at the Classic & Vintage subforum for months and have been slowly building up one for myself. The concept I'm going for is a get-out-of-town, SHTF, bug-out, doomsday tourer bike (and in a more realistic sense, an everyday all-rounder). I'm building it up around a 1986 Kuwahara straight-gauged chromoly ATB frame with relaxed angles and double eyelets front and back. Adding dirt drop-style bars, Shimano first-gen Deore XT deerhead derailleurs, heavy bomb-proof wheels, etc.

Anyway, trying to pair some high-volume tires to this thing in the 26x2.2 to 26x2.4 range. Looking for something that will be used primarily on roads but can handle gravel, hardpack, and roots well and can handle some loose sand (not that any tire handles that well). Durability is important. Currently looking at:

Geax Booze Light 26x2.3
Halo Twin Rail 26x2.2
Maxxis Holy Rollers 26x2.2 and 26x2.4
Schwalbe Big Bens 26x2.15 and 26x2.35
Schwalbe Table Tops 26x2.25

Thoughts?

Last edited by wintermute; 01-08-15 at 09:17 AM. Reason: I'm an idiot
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Old 01-08-15, 03:47 PM
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Had The Continental Travel Contact Tires on My Trekking Bike, their design is for unpaved Roads and the paved ones that you rode past the end of.

559-47
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Old 01-08-15, 04:03 PM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob
Had The Continental Travel Contact Tires on My Trekking Bike, their design is for unpaved Roads and the paved ones that you rode past the end of.

559-47
I have those on my Bianchi Volpe and love them (actually I think it might have been based partially on your suggestion a bunch of years ago), but on this one, I'm looking for beefier tires that I can run at lower pressures for some built-in suspension. Actually, maybe I should look at the Continental Town and Countries, or the Retro Ride - although I've heard that Continental has had some QA/QC issues.
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Old 01-08-15, 04:07 PM
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I run Wider rims , Have Snow Cats From Fairbanks AK . the 1.9" tire* takes a D shaped Profile ..

maybe you are 'needing' a Fat Bike .. 4" Wide tires wide rims , they are selling Well these days,


* ( Suomi Nokian .. studs )


QC issues are taken care of in having an LBS Stand behind their Sales , online buying you dont get that so much.

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Old 01-08-15, 04:16 PM
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I've been happy with the continental town and country tires for the kind of roads you're talking about. They're also not quite as heavy as some wide tires. Some of the wide, durable tires are pretty porky. You have to pick your poison in terms of the weight/durability trade-offs.

Also in terms of the supposed q/c issues, just because a random stranger on the net publishes something negative about a product doesn't mean much. It's at best a data point and people are much more likely to write something if they're unhappy than happy. I've used continental tires for a long time and I've been really happy with them. That doesn't "disprove" the negative reports (I'v read them as well) but I still think continental makes great bike tires.

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Old 01-09-15, 12:11 AM
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I like Schwalbe 2.35 HS430 Big Apple, a lot. These are not "doomsday" tires, they are enjoy-the-ride tires.
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Old 01-20-15, 01:07 PM
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For your uses, not sure why you'd look at such fat tires. I'd say the sweet spot is probably 1.75", maybe 2.0". Panaracer Pasela comes to mind.
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Old 01-21-15, 12:36 AM
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I don't have any input other than to say that the Kuwie frameset sounds rad as hell. I don't even remember them being in the MTB game back then.
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Old 01-22-15, 03:40 PM
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Originally Posted by palu
For your uses, not sure why you'd look at such fat tires. I'd say the sweet spot is probably 1.75", maybe 2.0". Panaracer Pasela comes to mind.
I'm looking to have the tires add a decent amount of suspension to the bike. Plus, I have plenty of bikes with respectably-sized tires, and some of those are Paselas, looking to have some fun with this bike and I'm looking for the end result to be over-built.

Originally Posted by gamby
I don't have any input other than to say that the Kuwie frameset sounds rad as hell. I don't even remember them being in the MTB game back then.
I'll post photos when I'm getting somewhere with the build. It's a VERY well-built bike. It's clearly a low- to middle-end bike, but the braze lines are very clean and the drop-outs are very nice-looking forged pieces. VERY relaxed geometry (I'm not sure what the head tube and seat tube angles are, but they can't be steeper than 70 deg.) with LONG chainstays. The double eyelets front and back allow it to run with fenders and racks.
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Old 01-23-15, 04:24 PM
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I use ITS MK2 micro knobby tires on my '88 KOM MTB-to-drop bar gravel bike. Now sold as the Vee MK3, it looks to be available in 26 x 2.25. Or, in a very similar tread, as the Vee Speedster in a couple 26" widths.

These tires are lighter and faster than any Schwalbe Big Apple or Fat Frank, yet still have great grip on gravel and hard pack. Excellent all-rounder tires.
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Old 05-09-15, 09:00 AM
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Originally Posted by bikemig
I've been happy with the continental town and country tires for the kind of roads you're talking about. They're also not quite as heavy as some wide tires. Some of the wide, durable tires are pretty porky. You have to pick your poison in terms of the weight/durability trade-offs.

Also in terms of the supposed q/c issues, just because a random stranger on the net publishes something negative about a product doesn't mean much. It's at best a data point and people are much more likely to write something if they're unhappy than happy. I've used continental tires for a long time and I've been really happy with them. That doesn't "disprove" the negative reports (I'v read them as well) but I still think continental makes great bike tires.

Hope I have good luck with the Conti Town & Country tires. Had a tube go bad, and tires (wtb knobbies) were getting cracks in the sidewalks, so asked lbs to recommend something for 75% road/25% gravel he suggested the Conti town & country. Then I read online all the complaints of flats, so am a little nervous. Hoping to head out for a short gravel maiden voyage this afternoon.
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Old 05-09-15, 01:03 PM
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I'm ecstatic over how well these tires roll across everything. Marathon Almotion HS 453 | Schwalbe North America, Bike24 - Schwalbe Marathon Almotion Evolution MTB Folding Tire 55-559 - Black-Reflex

Mounted tubeless there's no worry about punctures. Only 24psi needed up front for comfort & stability on 40mm rim.

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Old 05-09-15, 01:19 PM
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Continental X-King Protection. They make it in 2.2 & 2.4" widths. Rolls super smooth on pavement considering how knobby it is, also it's pretty light. Has reinforced sidewalls. You can find them on eBay for around $40 each. Pic is showing a 2.2".
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Old 05-09-15, 01:25 PM
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Are you sure you can fit a 2.3 or 2.4 inch tire on that frame? Most old mtb frames won't clear a tire much larger than 2.2.
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Old 05-11-15, 09:23 AM
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Originally Posted by FrozenK
Are you sure you can fit a 2.3 or 2.4 inch tire on that frame? Most old mtb frames won't clear a tire much larger than 2.2.
Wow, thanks everyone for keeping this thread going! I've been playing around with the frame and I THINK I could maybe get 2.3s or 2.4s in there, but I'm going to stick with 2.2 max at this point because I'd hate to buy a set of tires only to find out I can't use them.

Right now, my list includes:

Maxxis Holy Rollers (2.2s) - probably the most off-road capable of the ones I'm contemplating
Schwalbe Big Bens (2.15s)
Conti Town & Country (2.1s) - as narrow as I want to go

The Schwalbe Mondials look great, but a little narrower than I want and too expensive. Those Almotions also look great (tread profile looks very close to the Big Bens, but better protection), but it's also too expensive.
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Old 05-11-15, 09:36 AM
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I love the WTB Nano in 700x40c for gravel and all of my on- and off-road riding on my main bike. Did as well as any tire I have tried when I hit some loose sand in a gravel race. It is available as a 26x2.1" tire.
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