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Want to dabble in gravel riding but not get a second set of wheels

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Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

Want to dabble in gravel riding but not get a second set of wheels

Old 05-20-21, 12:33 PM
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WorldIRC
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Want to dabble in gravel riding but not get a second set of wheels

Thinking of dabbling into some light gravel riding (think rail trail).

In an effort to not buy a second set of wheels, what tire(s) would be recommended that are still great on the road, but still provide some confidence when on gravel roads.
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Old 05-20-21, 12:58 PM
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Seattle Forrest
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You're going to need to share some more info if you want advice worth taking:
  • What size tires are you running now?
  • How big of a tire can your frame fit?
  • What does road mean to you? Fast group rides? KOM hunting? Leisurely solo rides?
  • What are gravel rail trails like near you? Does gravel just mean not paved, or does it mean actual pea sized rocks, and if so are they deep?
  • Do you ride in the rain or will you in mud?
My experience personally is that the same tires that work well on pavement are great on hard packed dirt roads, and sure footed in 28 mm. I've done trail trails and plenty of logging roads on GP4000s and similar tires. As soon as I hit a patch of sand it gets a little scary, and I sink into actual gravel like kids at McDonald's Fun Land. I don't have a lot of traction in mud. The way I ride - I don't have to do gravel, I do it for fun so I can choose days with good weather - the trade off between on and off pavement favors a road tire. But people's mileage varies so much on this.
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Old 05-20-21, 12:58 PM
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sean.hwy
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I am happy ridding on the road and gravel with these tires

Schwalbe G-One Allround
700x35C
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Old 05-20-21, 01:10 PM
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WorldIRC
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Apologies, my title should say gravel riding.

I am on a BMC Roadmachine 01 Three with Roval C38 Wheels (tubed) w/ Conti GP5000 28mm tires now.

I can go up to 33mm wide with my frame.

Leisurely solo rides. Not hunting KOMs or racing.

Gravel could mean rail trails (tightly packed pea sized rocks). The bike is too compliant for anything more aggressive than that and would rattle my brain

I am not riding in the mud.

Last edited by WorldIRC; 05-20-21 at 05:51 PM.
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Old 05-20-21, 01:35 PM
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Most trails by me are crushed limestone. I like riding on that stuff. And riding on it with 23mm sew-ups is kind of a kick. 25mm and definitely 28mm gives better control when it gets wet and sloppy.
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Old 05-20-21, 02:32 PM
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Elvo
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WTB Byway 650x48
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Old 05-20-21, 02:36 PM
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sean.hwy
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I should have added that my friends are happy with 700c 38mm specialized sawmill on their gravel bikes. Plenty fast for the road and long distance and does ok in the gravel.

I just purchased
https://www.giant-bicycles.com/us/re...dvanced-2-2021

it comes with Giant CrossCut AT 1, tubeless, 700x38c. I don't care for them at all. Way to slow on the road. Probably a great tire for mountain biking. I prefer my tires roll fast on the road and are ok in the gravel/dirt. I tend to ride most of my miles on the road before I get to the gravel/dirt.
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Old 05-20-21, 04:12 PM
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PeteHski
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Pirelli Cinturato Velo 32mm. Fine on road, should be okay on gravel. Very puncture resistant. Ideally mounted tubeless so you can run lower pressures.
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Old 05-20-21, 04:54 PM
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FYI my bike is rated to fit up to 33mm tires.
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Old 05-20-21, 04:59 PM
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Given that the Giro has just done a stage with 50km on gravel roads, using normal road tires (Ineos were using their 25mm standard tires), can't you just use what you've got?
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Old 05-20-21, 05:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Doomrider74 View Post
Given that the Giro has just done a stage with 50km on gravel roads, using normal road tires (Ineos were using their 25mm standard tires), can't you just use what you've got?
Well when you put it that way….
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Old 05-20-21, 05:22 PM
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Doomrider74
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Originally Posted by WorldIRC View Post
Well when you put it that way….
Where in Canada? Im in BC, just outside of Vancouver.
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Old 05-20-21, 05:29 PM
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Originally Posted by doomrider74 View Post
where in canada? Im in bc, just outside of vancouver.
gta
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Old 05-20-21, 05:32 PM
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If you're not riding in mud, road tires should work well for you. 🙂
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Old 05-20-21, 05:35 PM
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Wouldn't the people in the Cyclocross and Gravelbiking (Recreational) sub-forum know more about this?
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Old 05-20-21, 05:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
If you're not riding in mud, road tires should work well for you. 🙂
I could certainly practice more and see if I can get the appropriate control with my GP5000s
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Old 05-20-21, 07:43 PM
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Graveling SS 32c should be nice tires for you. Mostly smooth in the middle for the road, and some small nubs on the edges for a bit more traction in gravel and small bits of mud. Gravelking also makes a slick (and the SK) if you wanted less (more) tread. All their tires are quite supple and have relatively low rolling resistance for gravel tires. Another good option is to just get the Conti GP5000 32s.
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Old 05-21-21, 01:04 AM
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Originally Posted by Doomrider74 View Post
Given that the Giro has just done a stage with 50km on gravel roads, using normal road tires (Ineos were using their 25mm standard tires), can't you just use what you've got?
Were they really on 25s (honestly asking, because I don’t know)? Often the pros will ride on 27 or 28mm rubber for stages like that. I’ve ridden plenty of (dry, smooth) gravel on 25s, but 28s were better, and 32s were supreme. I’m not a pro, though.
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Old 05-21-21, 07:00 AM
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Originally Posted by sean.hwy View Post
I am happy ridding on the road and gravel with these tires

Schwalbe G-One Allround
700x35C
+1. Very impressed with Schwalbe tires so far. I have a set of Pro Ones on my TCR and I will be buying a set of G-Ones when my gravel bike's tires will be worn-out. Thread is not too aggressive - should be good for both paved roads & beaten paths.
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Old 05-21-21, 07:58 AM
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Originally Posted by Badger6 View Post
Were they really on 25s (honestly asking, because I don’t know)? Often the pros will ride on 27 or 28mm rubber for stages like that. I’ve ridden plenty of (dry, smooth) gravel on 25s, but 28s were better, and 32s were supreme. I’m not a pro, though.
Ineos were, yes: The commentator heard it from the team mechanic. It was surprising to all, but it didnt seem to hurt them as Bernal gained more time over his rivals. The rest of the teams were on 26-28s, but still weren't using anything "special", relative to their standard tires.
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Old 05-21-21, 08:03 AM
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For rail trails literally any road tire would work, just lower the pressure a bit. If you can go 33 then go 33. I have some Challenge Strada Bianchi clinchers that are 33s and ride like a Cadillac at about 50 psi but still hang just fine on fast group road rides.
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Old 05-21-21, 08:19 AM
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Originally Posted by ksryder View Post
For rail trails literally any road tire would work, just lower the pressure a bit. If you can go 33 then go 33. I have some Challenge Strada Bianchi clinchers that are 33s and ride like a Cadillac at about 50 psi but still hang just fine on fast group road rides.
This is mirroring other recommendations I'm getting. I may just get wider GP5000s
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Old 05-21-21, 09:09 AM
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When I bought my 1'st and only road bike when I was 16 I didn't know they had tires for gravel. The cheap 27 x 11/4" tires worked fine on packed gravel roads where I live. I used that bike on trails too. Of course if we are talking Soft gravel, Sand, or Mudy trails that's a whole different game. I think people would be surprised at what conditions a road bike, especially with 32mm tires is capable of. It may not be best for racing, but for the average cyclist might work fine even with stock tires.
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Old 05-21-21, 09:55 AM
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Originally Posted by scottfsmith View Post
Graveling SS 32c should be nice tires for you. Mostly smooth in the middle for the road, and some small nubs on the edges for a bit more traction in gravel and small bits of mud. Gravelking also makes a slick (and the SK) if you wanted less (more) tread. All their tires are quite supple and have relatively low rolling resistance for gravel tires. Another good option is to just get the Conti GP5000 32s.
this.
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Old 05-21-21, 07:44 PM
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Railtrails and crushed limestone are not gravel roads. Though I am sure there are exceptions,I ride rail trail/crushed limestone surfaces with a road bike on 25s, no problem. If I were doing a lot of it, I might want 28s or 32a.

In truth, you can ride "fast gravel" on a road bike also.

Then there's the gravel that really requires a different approach.
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