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38mm Gravel Tires

Old 04-05-22, 02:31 PM
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TheFort
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38mm Gravel Tires

Hey all,
Can you give some recommendations of the best 38mm gravel tires for riding rail trails? I'm looking for some tread on them.
Thanks!

Last edited by TheFort; 04-05-22 at 02:38 PM.
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Old 04-05-22, 02:34 PM
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Polaris OBark
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38mm Rene Herse Barlow Pass (slick) or Steilacoom (treaded).
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Old 04-05-22, 02:38 PM
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Specialized Pathfinder Pro in 38mm. Slick center ridge for road riding and tread on the sides for dirt. I've ridden these on everything from 82 mile road rides to semi-technical singletrack, gravel fire roads, etc.

I run them tubeless with Stan's Race sealant. They are fast, tough, and predictable. I've only ever had one flat that was my fault where I sliced the sidewall.
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Old 04-05-22, 03:03 PM
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I like my Gravelking SKs on my SSCX bike. They're 35s, but I'm sure the 38s would be equally good all-around performers. I'm running tubes on that bike, and have had zero flats in a looooooong time -- if ever.
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Old 04-05-22, 03:16 PM
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GravelKing SKs or SSs.
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Old 04-05-22, 03:50 PM
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I ride, and really like, the ridiculously expensive RH Barlow Pass tires on everything (where I live that means crappy roads, chip-seal, seasonal gravel roads, etc). They're 'file tread', which is pretty much slick- but there is an argument to be made that you don't need much/any tread unless you're riding on a surface that 'takes' the imprint of the tread/knobs (basically just mud or snow/slush) and on dry gravel surfaces having a tread/knobbies doesn't actually give you more traction (and in fact may give you less). The argument makes sense to me (though admittedly that doesn't mean it's true....).
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Old 04-05-22, 05:19 PM
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There's a bunch of online articles reviewing gravel tires, including the type of tread they have, what kind of surfaces they're good for, rolling resistance, etc. A few I've homed in on for the type of riding I do are the Conti Terra Speed, the Michelin Power Gravel and the Vittoria Terrano Dry. Right now I'm using a Donnelly MSO which I like a lot and has served me very well for mixed pavement, gravel and hard dirt. It definitely doesn't have enough tread for wet mud. When they're worn out, I plan to try one of the above, just to try something different. I'll get tires with more tread, probably the Continental Terra Trail in something larger (~48) and will use them on a second set of wheels I'm about to inherit (650B) and use that if I expect muddy or rougher conditions.

They all have tread (including the MSOs) - in varying degrees - that is smaller, sometimes almost slick, in the center with deeper tread on the shoulders for better grip when turning in non-paved conditions. The user reviews I've read emphasize that some work better on various surfaces from pavement to good gravel to dry dirt to mud to rocks. The ones I mentioned are generally given high marks for stuff that's not a lot of deep mud, and not super for really rocky conditions, like more technical MTB type of stuff. You need a lot of tread (like MTB tires) for mud. But for "gravel" riding, almost any tire will work fine.

Last edited by Camilo; 04-05-22 at 05:24 PM.
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Old 04-05-22, 05:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Camilo View Post
But for "gravel" riding, almost any tire will work fine.
Considering what a range of riding types and surfaces gravel biking encompasses, that's not totally true. It depends.
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Old 04-05-22, 05:40 PM
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Originally Posted by tyrion View Post
GravelKing SKs or SSs.
Ditto this.

I have SK's in 43mm, they are remarkably grippy on our packed dirt single track, they corner great and roll pretty well on asphalt.
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Old 04-05-22, 05:51 PM
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For 27, I really like the Swift Sand Canyons.

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Old 04-05-22, 10:45 PM
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I'm also considering to buy 38mm gravel tires (Gravel Kings) as they seem to be the cheapest "puncture proof" gravel tire available locally.

I'm going to use it for daily commuting and weekend gravel rides.

But how puncture-proof this tire really is, say can it resist broken glass that you can expect to encounter in city streets? And about the rolling resistance, say compared to Schwalbe Marathons? And grip in wet conditions?
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Old 04-05-22, 10:50 PM
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Originally Posted by qwaalodge View Post
But how puncture-proof this tire really is, say can it resist broken glass that you can expect to encounter in city streets?
I've had good luck with both pairs of mine, but no tire is puncture proof.

Last edited by Rolla; 04-05-22 at 10:54 PM.
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Old 04-06-22, 03:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Rolla View Post
I've had good luck with both pairs of mine, but no tire is puncture proof.
Yes, but one tire is always going to resist punctures better than the other so how does it compare to other tires in terms of puncture resistance? My used bike came with Schwalbe Marathon. I don't plan on replacing one with exactly the same tires due to the cost.

But so far, so good, I found it quite resistant to punctures. My previous old bike gets punctured so easily by steel wires littering the road. In less than 500 miles I get wire punctures on my old bike.

My current bike with the Marathons has gone over 1000 miles already without puncture. I have in fact, already removed many wires and broken glass that have embedded itself in the thread of the Marathons and still yet to have any punctures. It's terrific, I just can't afford another one! Have to go with cheaper options.
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Old 04-06-22, 06:09 AM
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Originally Posted by KJ43 View Post
Considering what a range of riding types and surfaces gravel biking encompasses, that's not totally true. It depends.
Yeah, but I get his point. Honestly, you can ride most bikes most anywhere called "gravel". One of the people we ride with has a "gravel" bike that honestly is just a road bike with 32mm GP5000s. And he can ride anywhere and is crazy fast on certain MTB trails.

Last edited by vespasianus; 04-06-22 at 06:12 AM.
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Old 04-06-22, 09:09 AM
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Originally Posted by qwaalodge View Post
Yes, but one tire is always going to resist punctures better than the other so how does it compare to other tires in terms of puncture resistance?
I haven't had the opportunity to compare them with all the other tires.
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Old 04-06-22, 09:12 AM
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Originally Posted by vespasianus View Post
Yeah, but I get his point. Honestly, you can ride most bikes most anywhere called "gravel".
While you can ride almost any tire on almost any surface, the gravel of central Kansas is fundamentally different than that of northern Georgia, and certainly some tires excel on one more than the other.
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Old 04-06-22, 09:26 AM
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Originally Posted by KJ43 View Post
Specialized Pathfinder Pro in 38mm.
The Specialized Sawtooth is very good, too -- looong tread life. It's got some tread, but not as much as the Pathfinder. Very good for a mix of pavement and smoother dirt roads.
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Old 04-06-22, 10:25 AM
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Originally Posted by qwaalodge View Post
I'm also considering to buy 38mm gravel tires (Gravel Kings) as they seem to be the cheapest "puncture proof" gravel tire available locally.

I'm going to use it for daily commuting and weekend gravel rides.

But how puncture-proof this tire really is, say can it resist broken glass that you can expect to encounter in city streets? And about the rolling resistance, say compared to Schwalbe Marathons? And grip in wet conditions?
IME Marathons (I've had Mondials, but I think Green Guard Marathons are just as rugged) are more puncture resistant than GravelKings. I use GK SKs tubeless, and they've been punctured a few times but sealed up by the sealant. I'd rate the GK SKs as having better traction in most cases.
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Old 04-06-22, 10:43 AM
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Another vote for Pathfinder Pro, as long as you understand they offer little in the way of flat protection. Otherwise, the Pathfinders are a decent, light rolling, plush tire with nice gravel grip.
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Old 04-06-22, 10:49 AM
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Originally Posted by Kedosto View Post
Another vote for Pathfinder Pro, as long as you understand they offer little in the way of flat protection. Otherwise, the Pathfinders are a decent, light rolling, plush tire with nice gravel grip.
I actually find them to be a pretty sturdy tire and have had zero flats except for one that was my fault where I sliced the sidewall. The Griptron compound they use is great on the dirt or tarmac.

There is the new S-Works version that I believe only comes in a 42mm size and is much lighter. I would consider it except I'm not down with the tan sidewalls.

Ian Boswell won the Unbound Gravel 200 using the 42mm Pathfinder Pros with Cushcore inserts. Back in 2021 so I assume they were the non-S-Works version.
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Old 04-06-22, 10:55 AM
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As already mentioned- Panaracer GK SK or GK SS. Pick whichever you want based on tread. If you are really paranoid, both come in a + version which has more protection and therefore more rolling resistance.
Very good mix of quality and price.
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Old 04-06-22, 10:56 AM
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Originally Posted by qwaalodge View Post
I'm also considering to buy 38mm gravel tires (Gravel Kings) as they seem to be the cheapest "puncture proof" gravel tire available locally.

I'm going to use it for daily commuting and weekend gravel rides.

But how puncture-proof this tire really is, say can it resist broken glass that you can expect to encounter in city streets? And about the rolling resistance, say compared to Schwalbe Marathons? And grip in wet conditions?
I have had good luck with glass by not riding thru it to begin with. Ride on the road and you wont encounter much glass. Ride on the shoulder or along the gutter and you will.
But beyond that obvious approach, the GK series seems to be a reliable tire for rolling over and thru city junk.
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Old 04-14-22, 07:21 AM
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Originally Posted by Kedosto View Post
Another vote for Pathfinder Pro, as long as you understand they offer little in the way of flat protection. Otherwise, the Pathfinders are a decent, light rolling, plush tire with nice gravel grip.
Ah, well I do want to go tubeless with these, but I'm going to use them on long rail trails and they can't be too prone to flats. I don't care about speed at all more about comfort and punctures.
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Old 04-14-22, 07:49 AM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
I have had good luck with glass by not riding thru it to begin with. Ride on the road and you wont encounter much glass. Ride on the shoulder or along the gutter and you will.
But beyond that obvious approach, the GK series seems to be a reliable tire for rolling over and thru city junk.
With bike lane adjacent to road lanes, I have no choice but to stay on the bike lane especially if the bike lane is almost empty and have no need to pass anyone.

The bike lane adjacent to road lanes as expected is littered with debris. I swerve around debris whenever I see them but some are just too small to see. Most of the stuff I pluck from the tread is under 5 mm long. Doesn't bother the Marathon but would easily flat tires that doesn't have protective layer.

Sadly, the GK+ and SS+ are in short supply atm with gravel bikes exploding in popularity.
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Old 04-14-22, 01:41 PM
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Originally Posted by TheFort View Post
Ah, well I do want to go tubeless with these, but I'm going to use them on long rail trails and they can't be too prone to flats. I don't care about speed at all more about comfort and punctures.
Like I said above, I use the Pathfinder Pros tubeless and find them to be very sturdy. I've ridden mine on long rocky trailrides, gone through rock gardens, etc. with no flats. I had them on my bike for over a year with zero flats and that includes a ton of trail and gravel riding.
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