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Some advice for KATY rail trail touring wheels/tires

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Some advice for KATY rail trail touring wheels/tires

Old 08-20-18, 09:45 AM
  #1  
Kirk Wolf
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Some advice for KATY rail trail touring wheels/tires

We are planning on doing a 4 day, 237 mile rail trail ride on the Missouri Katy Trail. This is a crushed limestone rail-trail that nearly crosses Missouri. What's nice is that you can exploit the "AMTRAK Missouri River Runner" service one way if you like. Its a great ride which I have done on my own, but my wife an I are planning this as a Tandem ride.

Here's what I have:
1991 Trek T200 tandem that we only use lightly these days, but has been maintained regularly over the years. Original owners :-)
Mavic MA40 - 700C - 40 hole wheels with heavy Wheelsmith spokes on XT hubs in good condition. These are still old, but were acquired after we did most of our riding and are lightly used.
Currently have old XT caliper brakes and Shimano 7 speed hub, bar end shifters. Rim brakes have never been much of a problem for our limited riding and terrain.
Bontrager H2 Hybrid 28C tire that I run at about 100.
Our loaded total weight will probably be about 375.

Our current setup seems fine on the pavement and seems OK on the hard-packed KATY trail surface that is near where we live, but I know from experience that sections of the larger trail are softer.
This trail has a crushed limestone surface, and general recommendations are for at least 32mm, and 37mm seems the favorite:

www dot bikekatytrail dot com slash tires.aspx

My questions:
- What is the widest tire that I should run on my current wheels? (The frame and brakes will be no problem). It seems like I am probably near the widest already at 28mm.
- If I can't use the wheel set that I have, any suggestions on what to buy? Given the limited amount of riding that we do, I would prefer to just have one wheelset.
- Recommendations on tires

Your kind advice is appreciated.
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Old 08-20-18, 11:38 AM
  #2  
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Originally Posted by Kirk Wolf View Post
We are planning on doing a 4 day, 237 mile rail trail ride on the Missouri Katy Trail. This is a crushed limestone rail-trail that nearly crosses Missouri. What's nice is that you can exploit the "AMTRAK Missouri River Runner" service one way if you like. Its a great ride which I have done on my own, but my wife an I are planning this as a Tandem ride.

Here's what I have:
1991 Trek T200 tandem that we only use lightly these days, but has been maintained regularly over the years. Original owners :-)
Mavic MA40 - 700C - 40 hole wheels with heavy Wheelsmith spokes on XT hubs in good condition. These are still old, but were acquired after we did most of our riding and are lightly used.
Currently have old XT caliper brakes and Shimano 7 speed hub, bar end shifters. Rim brakes have never been much of a problem for our limited riding and terrain.
Bontrager H2 Hybrid 28C tire that I run at about 100.
Our loaded total weight will probably be about 375.

Our current setup seems fine on the pavement and seems OK on the hard-packed KATY trail surface that is near where we live, but I know from experience that sections of the larger trail are softer.
This trail has a crushed limestone surface, and general recommendations are for at least 32mm, and 37mm seems the favorite:

www dot bikekatytrail dot com slash tires.aspx

My questions:
- What is the widest tire that I should run on my current wheels? (The frame and brakes will be no problem). It seems like I am probably near the widest already at 28mm.
- If I can't use the wheel set that I have, any suggestions on what to buy? Given the limited amount of riding that we do, I would prefer to just have one wheelset.
- Recommendations on tires

Your kind advice is appreciated.
Basically following as I'm also interested in people's opinions on this. From researching it a little recently, Panaracer Gravel Kings seem to be a good choice. Good on the road (very little performance loss) and good on simple trails like the Katy should be. I recommended them to a friend (w/o ever using them, lol) and she liked them on a test run for an Erie Canal tour she just completed. Will have to ask how they worked on her tour. UPDATE: she like them a lot. I think she got 28s as that would be the largest that would fit her bike.

Last edited by hochflynn; 08-20-18 at 02:58 PM. Reason: update
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Old 08-21-18, 10:44 AM
  #3  
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We own a 1997 Trek T200 that carried us through many adventures of similar nature. We mostly used Velocity Dyad rims with Panaracer Pasela 700 x 35mm tires for tours. We also used some Vittoria Voyager Hyper 35 or 37mm tires. Tire clearance was tight. 35 to 37mm tires were okay on dirt roads and crushed limestone. I think they'd be fine for your tour. The Panaracer Gravel King slick would be my recommendation. On rougher gravel, we always wished for wider tires and fewer sidewall cuts. We've since upsized to 650b x 42mm or 47mm tires (which fit the frame, by the way) and a new frameset with much more tire clearance.
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Old 08-22-18, 01:56 AM
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djedgar
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We tried riding part of the Katy one trip on our Beyond with what were either 25mm or 28mm tires, and we didn't go very far; it just wasn't fun. Next time in the area we had our Cannondale mtn bike with about 1.5"x26 pretty much street tires and had no problem at all. It was just very dusty. Our shoes and lower legs as well as the drive chain on the bike were coated white. Lots of historical sites to visit along some beautiful trails.
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Old 08-22-18, 10:05 AM
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Kirk Wolf
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My conclusion is that I need a new wheelset. Want something for moderately heavy loaded touring (400-415) that can handle 37-40mm tires, which our old T200 will accommodate.
Will unfortunately need to be rim brakes, but this have always been fine for our limited use and terrain.

Can anyone recommend something reasonably priced? I would expect that I need a custom builder with good tandem wheel experience.

Thanks.
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Old 08-22-18, 12:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Kirk Wolf View Post
My conclusion is that I need a new wheelset. Want something for moderately heavy loaded touring (400-415) that can handle 37-40mm tires, which our old T200 will accommodate.
Will unfortunately need to be rim brakes, but this have always been fine for our limited use and terrain.

Can anyone recommend something reasonably priced? I would expect that I need a custom builder with good tandem wheel experience.

Thanks.
I've had good luck with Velocity wheels - I have them on both my single bikes and on our tandem we have wheels they rebuilt for us with their heavier-duty Atlas rims. Not cheap but great values. Velocity Wheels - Hand Made in USA
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Old 08-22-18, 02:42 PM
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Try this site: Tandem Bicycles For Sale, Tandem Bike Components For Sale

There are usually a few people selling wheelsets on there at any given time. Currently looks like there is at least one guy selling RhynoLite 40 hole 700c wheels on there.

Here is another site to try as well: https://tandemclub.org/classifieds/browse-ads/
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Old 08-22-18, 02:44 PM
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I rode the trail last year on my (non-tandem) with 35c Schwalbe G-One Allround, and they were a perfect tire and size for the conditions.
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Old 08-22-18, 03:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Kirk Wolf View Post
...Can anyone recommend something reasonably priced? I would expect that I need a custom builder with good tandem wheel experience.

Thanks.
https://www.ebay.com/itm/132732590704
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Old 08-22-18, 05:22 PM
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I weigh around 215 lbs and my bike adds about 35 lbs more. Call it 250 lbs. I have ridden the entire Katy Trail 8 times on 700x32 tires.

However this past June it seemed like the trail was rougher than in the past. They seem to be using pea-gravel for repairs instead of limestone. I bought a pair of 700x35 tires which is as big as will fit my bike with fenders on it. I figure a slightly larger tire and about 10 psi less pressure will make for a better ride. I haven't tested this out yet on the Katy.
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Old 08-22-18, 07:59 PM
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Make sure the rear hub is 145mm spacing (not 130, 135, 140, 148, or 160mm).
For rim brake rims, Velocity Cliffhanger or Velocity Dyad are your best bets. Iíve built and ridden plenty of both for tandems.
For hubs, Shimano HF07 or HF08, DT Swiss 540, and White Industries MI6 or XMR-T are really solid options. Cheaper (but reasonably durable) options are Velocity Tandem hubs, Co-Motion tandem hubs, or modified (longer axle and spacers) Shimano LX hubs.
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Old 08-22-18, 08:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Kirk Wolf View Post
...Mavic MA40 - 700C - 40 hole wheels with heavy Wheelsmith spokes on XT hubs in good condition...

My questions:
- What is the widest tire that I should run on my current wheels? (The frame and brakes will be no problem). It seems like I am probably near the widest already at 28mm...
Those rims will easily accommodate 35mm tires. At 20mm wide they may not be optimum since a significantly wider rim will give the tire a rounder profile and therefore more usable tread width, but in the old days we used rims of similar width on our mountain bikes with 2.1" wide tires.
Brent
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Old 08-25-18, 05:14 PM
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I did the Katy both ways in one trip. I wouldn't hesitate doing it with 28's (unless it was really wet). We saw poisonous snakes on the trail multiple times so be careful (copperheads and rattlers)

You should enjoy it!
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Old 08-26-18, 10:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Kirk Wolf View Post
My conclusion is that I need a new wheelset. Want something for moderately heavy loaded touring (400-415) that can handle 37-40mm tires, which our old T200 will accommodate.
Will unfortunately need to be rim brakes, but this have always been fine for our limited use and terrain.

Can anyone recommend something reasonably priced? I would expect that I need a custom builder with good tandem wheel experience.

Thanks.

We have a set of Joe Young hand builts for touring - Phil Wood hubs, 48 spoke Velocity Dyads. We can run 40mm Schwalbe Duremes with fenders on our Seven Ti. I highly recommend Joe. I have three sets of his wheels, including my single tourer.
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