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Road Tires on Gravel and Dirt

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Road Tires on Gravel and Dirt

Old 07-16-13, 09:47 AM
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Road Tires on Gravel and Dirt

I just found out a 157 mile race I am doing in 3 weeks has a 6 mile section of gravel and dirt that was mentioned nowhere until now. I was planning on riding my 23mm GP4000s until I heard about this section...would going to 25mm help at all? I feel stupid worrying about this. I just finished the Crusher in the Tushar...but that was on a cross bike with 35mm tires. I've never even tried to ride my road bike on gravel.
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Old 07-16-13, 09:56 AM
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hmm, tbh i've taken my old cheap roadbike on some insane terrain without much issue.

If you're unsure about how your tires will hold up, you could always find some gravel / dirt areas around you and do some testing

my Local bike group did like 10 miles on dirt roads (during a 35 mile ride) and I never heard anything about flats during the dirt.

Every week someone usually gets a flat on the pavement though...
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Old 07-16-13, 10:21 AM
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Depends on the gravel. Heavy loose stuff will be really tough and pretty much impossible if there are significant grades. If it's packed, it's no big deal. Dirt is no big deal. You should inspect the section in advance and make a decision. If you have no way of checking it out in advance, I'd just stick with what you have. Most gravel roads aren't that bad.

Gravel absolutely won't hurt your tires. It will be easier if you drop the pressures.
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Old 07-16-13, 10:33 AM
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Packed dirt and gravel don't cause flats. What causes flats is plowing into a pothole or embedded rock which can be hard to see on some unpaved roads. But to answer your question, I would go with 25mm tires generally.
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Old 07-16-13, 10:45 AM
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I'd go with the 25s also, but that's what I normally ride. Remember that if you go to 25s to also reduce the pressure. I run 23s at 120 psi and 25s at 100 psi.

My best results for a 12 hour race on pretty crappy roads happened after I switched to 25s and less pressure.
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Old 07-16-13, 11:10 AM
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Originally Posted by PharmD
I just found out a 157 mile race I am doing in 3 weeks has a 6 mile section of gravel and dirt that was mentioned nowhere until now. I was planning on riding my 23mm GP4000s until I heard about this section...would going to 25mm help at all? I feel stupid worrying about this. I just finished the Crusher in the Tushar...but that was on a cross bike with 35mm tires. I've never even tried to ride my road bike on gravel.
If it's just six miles in 157, I'd just use my regular tires and muddle through. 25mm will help, but might be slower for the rest of the 151 miles. If it's not a real race, I'd go with larger tires. If it is a race with a wheel car and all that, I would probably just risk it with my normal racing tires.
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Old 07-16-13, 11:23 AM
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Gravel and dirt is usually fine, just watch out for sidewall punctures on the gp4000s. Gatorskins offer a bit more protection or 4 seasons
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Old 07-16-13, 11:33 AM
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You might get better feedback if you say what race it is, maybe someone has done it and knows the actual section of road.
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Old 07-16-13, 11:44 AM
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For me, it would depend on how lose the 6 mile section is. Two races I've done like that are Perry Roubaix (Perry Ga.), and Webster Roubaix. The muddy clay in Georgia, and the sand in Florida both made 25mm handle better.
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Old 07-16-13, 12:10 PM
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Originally Posted by valygrl
You might get better feedback if you say what race it is, maybe someone has done it and knows the actual section of road.
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Old 07-16-13, 01:01 PM
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I just did a 22 mi recreational ride I found on ridewithgps this weekend that turned out to have an unadvertised 6 mi section of packed dirt/gravel. My choices were go for it or turn around and climb back up the hills where I just hit my fastest downhill speed yet (up to 12% grade). I was riding 23s and it turned out fine though the whole way on the dirt I kept thinking "I hope this wasn't a bad idea... I wish I had some fat tires..." It was a pretty isolated road.
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Old 07-16-13, 01:15 PM
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Old 07-16-13, 04:03 PM
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Putney VT road race was famed for its' section of dirt road, and it was a spring race...often mud rather than dirt...we did it with regular road tires and did not worry about it.
I ride a section of road, several miles, that is dirt and gravel, with my 23mm tires...Michelin race something or others...with no problems at all. My biggest concern is hitting a sharp stone on the side wall and cutting it...did that once on a pair of brand new Vittoria sewups...lost the rear tire...ugh.

Do it and don't worry about it...
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