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Tire recommendation for Katy Trail - Missouri

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Tire recommendation for Katy Trail - Missouri

Old 06-21-22, 05:00 PM
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Tbaynes
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Tire recommendation for Katy Trail - Missouri

Hi folks - hope everyone is having a great summer!
My lovely stoker and I are taking a long overdue weekend getaway on the Katy Trial, out of Rocheport, Missouri. Anyone have any tire recommendations for our Co-Motion Speedster?

We are 190/115 lbs, will be just doing day trips out of our BnB, so traveling light.

For those who donít know the Katy, itís crushed limestone. Iíve heard itís hard on tires. Iím thinking 35mm GravelKing SK.
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Old 06-21-22, 05:07 PM
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Having just watched 2 different YT channels of folks either having completed it these past weeks or still riding it, I would use my 43mm Gravel Kings, but it looks like you could get away with something down around 32mm minimum. Conditions are very good, not big gravel.


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Old 06-25-22, 11:06 AM
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Roland and Julianna reported back, commenting: "700 x 38 for Julianna, 700 x 43 I think for mine. Julianna had tubeless, which was handy for the most part. They were fine the whole way, but would've preferred Schwalbe Marathons which we couldn't get due to supply-chain issues last spring. Met up with a guy on the Katy trail who did the whole thing on slicks, said he had zero problems. I appreciate a little tooth for when you hit the gravel"
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Old 06-25-22, 04:33 PM
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Thanks for the follow-up Steve. I didnít think about the Marathons - that might be a good choice.

I got a set of 700x35 Gravel King SKs yesterday - was pleased to find that Sunshine Bike (my primary LBS) actually had them on their site and in-stock. A rarity in these supply-constrained times.

So weíll see how they do. There are a number of gravel roads and trails around where we live and Iíve been hesitant to spend too much time on them, with the Gatorskins. I want a little more tread than that.

But my wife gets nervous riding on most roads so this is a good chance to explore a new dimension to our riding. I think she would like the peacefulness of gravel. Weíll see!



Originally Posted by Steve B. View Post
Roland and Julianna reported back, commenting: "700 x 38 for Julianna, 700 x 43 I think for mine. Julianna had tubeless, which was handy for the most part. They were fine the whole way, but would've preferred Schwalbe Marathons which we couldn't get due to supply-chain issues last spring. Met up with a guy on the Katy trail who did the whole thing on slicks, said he had zero problems. I appreciate a little tooth for when you hit the gravel"
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Old 06-25-22, 06:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Tbaynes View Post
Thanks for the follow-up Steve. I didnít think about the Marathons - that might be a good choice.

I got a set of 700x35 Gravel King SKs yesterday - was pleased to find that Sunshine Bike (my primary LBS) actually had them on their site and in-stock. A rarity in these supply-constrained times.

So weíll see how they do. There are a number of gravel roads and trails around where we live and Iíve been hesitant to spend too much time on them, with the Gatorskins. I want a little more tread than that.

But my wife gets nervous riding on most roads so this is a good chance to explore a new dimension to our riding. I think she would like the peacefulness of gravel. Weíll see!
I have 43mm Gravel King SK's on my gravel bike, they are great tires and would be my choice on the Katy and similar dirt/gravel. The SK rolls really well on asphalt, yet grips very well in turns on dirt single track has been my experience. A superior tire to the WTB Riddler that came on the bike.
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Old 06-28-22, 01:37 PM
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I've done the Katy end-to-end 9 times and one of those in 2020 was on a tandem! We have a newer Schwinn Twinn MTB tandem which is very heavy plus the stoker and I aren't lightweights. We used 26x2.125" tires with some knobby tread and it worked well on the Katy. We also rode the GAP and C&O trail last year and we were very thankful to have the knobby tires on the C&O as it was muddy in places.

Last year I did the Katy solo on a gravel bike with 650B x 47mm tires which I thought were overkill. However, they were smooth with just a tiny bit of tread. One day out near Clinton it had rained hard the night before and I did have trouble slipping and sliding. I'll be putting on some mild knobby tires the next time.

I've only had three flats on the Katy Train in thousands of miles of riding on it. Still puncture resistance is a good thing. Also the Katy is hard packed around Columbia and St. Charles where it's ridden a lot. However, if you get out into the boonies, it can be mushy at times.

The Gravel Kings seem to have good enough tread. I'd recommend the largest size that will fit your tandem.
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Old 07-03-22, 04:43 PM
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Late to the party.................Wife and I took single bikes to St. Charles Mo. last fall. Rode about 150 miles on the Katy. Her e-assist Trek has Schwalbe Marathon e-plus 700 x 1.75 tires while I rolled on much-less-robust Panaracer tires: a slick Minits Tough PT 20 x 1.25 on the front and a lightly-treaded T-Serv PT 26 x 1.25 on the rear. (It's a short wheelbase recumbent). No tire problems on the crushed limestone for either bike. If we had taken our tandem, I'm sure the Schwalbe Marathon Racer 1.5" tires would have been fine, too.
Both our bikes ended up covered in limestone dust.
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Old 07-11-22, 11:33 AM
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UPDATE - the Gravel King SKs worked well

My wife and I stayed in Rocheport and rode the Katy over 4th of July weekend. I swapped the Gatorskins out for Gravel King SKs, prior to the trip. Just wanted to share my experience.

1. The bike was more squirrelly, and took some getting used to. Specifically this showed up as instability related to the trunk bag that we have on a rear rack.
We normally ride with that bag on all our tandem road trips. On the Katy, with the Gravel Kings, I had to really pay attention in order to keep the bike well controlled. I did not feel comfortable riding one-handed, for example, and actually stopped whenever I wanted to drink or interact in any way with the bike computer. After a while I unzipped the side panniers on the bag, and moved everything into the panniers in order to lower the center of gravity. This helped, a lot.

2. We never got bogged down. Trail conditions were mostly dry, except for some dampness right along the river, for about 1 mile west of Rocheport. There were also several spots on the trail between Boonville and Columbia where the surface gets very fine, almost a sand. We floated through that with no issue.

3. Efficiency on road and trail was fine. I'm primarily a roadie these days, and geek out over how fast I can go, and for how long. So I place a lot of priority on efficiency, and the Gravel Kings felt fine. I never felt like we were being held back by the tread or width, on either asphalt or trail, compared to the Gatorskins that we normally run.

4. Lots of stones and grit kicked up. The area just west of Rocheport was a little damp, as noted above, and so lots of small particles stuck to the tires and were flung up. Unfortunately, this was the very first section we rode, on Saturday evening when we arrrived. Given that it was my wife's very first gravel ride, and we don't have fenders on our tandem, I heard lots of complaints for a while. She took a stone in the cheek which didn't help. I adapted by keeping the bike on the most highly traveled/packed part of the trail, which is about 6 inches wide. That helped, and it also helped once we got away from the damp section. We both had a layer of grit on our legs by the end of the ride. On days 2 and 3 we went east, and took the MKT spur up to Columbia once. It wasn't so bad there, and by then my wife had reset her expectations so it was fine.

5. Traction on loose gravel was good. Obviously the Katy itself is a good, well-maintained trail made of mostly crushed limestone, and traction was never an issue anywhere. The MKT trail, which runs from Columbia down to join the Katy, was slightly less smooth at the southern end closest to the Katy. I'm not talking mountain biking, but the gravel is looser there. I never felt any concerns about traction or handling with the Gravel Kings.

6. No flats. I had concerns about this and packed two extra tubes in our bike bag to be safe. We rode a total of 70 miles and had no issues. I didn't see any significant nicks or cuts on the tires, afterward.

Summary -- all in all, I think the Gravel Kings were fine. On days 2 and 3 my stoker said she enjoyed the ride as much or better than any ride we've ever done, even with the gritty shins. Having no wrecks and no flats, and never having to walk through the loose stuff, I'd say it was a success.
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