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Dan Reese

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Reply with quote  #1 
What would be your pick for a fast rolling 650b gravel tire that has decent cornering grip?  I'm doing a couple of races that are 50-60% gravel/dirt and would like something that rolls well on pavement and dirt but doesn't make me fear for my life on descents and corners.  

I currently have Bruce Gordon Rock N Roads, they're great on corners, descents and any rough stuff, but a little sluggish on the road.

I'd love to get Schwalbe Thunder Burt 2.1s.  Getting these would kill 2 birds with 1 stone, I'm also planning on an XTerra later in the Summer and the course lends itself to these tires.  Not sure about their speed on pavement.

I have no limitation on size, I'm running these in a 26" rigid hardtail that can fit 2.2 inch 27.5 tires in the rear and even bigger in the fork.

I'd like to hear what everyone thinks.
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Volsung

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Reply with quote  #2 
WTB byways were pretty much designed for that
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drwelby

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Reply with quote  #3 
Thunder Burts are well known for being a crazy fast tire, and they're one of the fastest tires in the BicycleRollingResistance tests. The Continental Speed King tests a little faster but has less knobs, it's more like the Byway but fatter. But it's not officially a tubeless tire so the Burts and Byways would be easier to deal with if you're running tubeless. The Schwalbe G-One Bite might work, it doesn't have tall side knobs so it probably corners better on pavement. 
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Slim

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Reply with quote  #4 
Not a specific tire model, but more a tactic:

Choose a fast rolling tire in the rear, since the rear has more rolling resistance than the front, and choose a slightly grippier tire in front, since a slide in the front is more dangerous than one in the rear.
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bobknh

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Reply with quote  #5 
As soon as you say fast, Compass tires come to mind. The Pumpkin Ridge 650x42 may be a very good choice if you want a lugged tire that wont slow you down on hard pack and pavement: https://www.compasscycle.com/shop/components/tires/650b/compass-650b-x-42-pumpkin-ridge/
One caution about Compass tires: while they are light, supple, and fast, they require lots of TLC and sealant to set up tubeless, and are probably less durable than some other tires that have been recommended such as the WTB. If you do go the Compass route I would suggest the standard casing instead of the extra light version.
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vride

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Reply with quote  #6 
Panaracer Gravelking slicks are awesome. I run them in 650/1.75. If you want something that rails corners, it will be a drag on pavement. So if you ride 50% pavement I would strongly recommend slicks. I also use Soma Cazaderos and they are good on pavement and much better than slicks on looser gravel - but nowhere as good as Gravelkings on pavement (especially cornering and if it’s wet). I have also used Gravelking SKs (in 700c) and they also roll well on pavement but again, not as good as slicks and for me the benefit of their tread for gravel is not worth it - even if i have to slow down in the corners on gravel I would still have faster average speed with 50% pavement on slicks. I have run Gravelking slicks between 30 and 50 psi depending on conditions and % of pavement.
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mr_slow

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Reply with quote  #7 
I've ridden a few gravel tires over the last year (since I got a dedicated gravel bike), most in the 700c size, so the 650b sizing may be slightly different. The GK's were good on gravel, but slightly slow on the pavement, the G-Ones were good on both, but got a little sketchy on loose gravel corners, the Sawtooth's have been okay on both (they now make a 650 version), they are the fastest of the three on pavement, and I've been riding the Byway's on my 650 setup, which seem to handle both quite well and are just as fast as the Sawtooth tires. My next set of 700's will be the Bruce Gordon's, but the Sawtooth tires don't seem to wear out... The Thunderburts, in a 700 are on the cusp of being too large for my frame, so I stayed away, but I see they have a 650b version, so that will likely replace my Byways. Let us know what you go with. 

Cheers!
Greg
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owly

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Reply with quote  #8 
As long as the downhill bends aren't too sandy/soft, I'd think a ThunderBurt up front would be fine. 

Sometimes I run that with a SwitchBackHill on the rear, for a road/larger-gravel ride.
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Dan Reese

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Reply with quote  #9 
Thanks for all the input.

I decided to get a set of Thunder Burts in 2.1.  Partly because I can use them for the XTerra (or I think I can, we'll see once I get them) and partly because I was ordering a fat bike tire from http://bike-components.de and the shipping was the same if I ordered just the fat bike tire or added another set of tires to the order.  Plus I got the older non-Addix tires, so they should be lighter than the new Addix version.  Once I get them I'll let everyone know what I think. 

I have a set of 38mm Panaracer Pari-Motos that I really like, but there are some downhill sections of these courses that would be unrideable on a slick.  Extremely rutted across the entire road.  So a slick is out of the question, at least for me.  I have run a Pari Moto in the back with a Bruce Gordon up front, that gives ok grip on turns at speed, but gets a bit squirrely on really loose stuff.  I guess if I rode it more, perhaps I would get more acclimated.  
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mix123

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Reply with quote  #10 
I ran Thunder Burt Liteskin Evos all last year and they were great in all conditions. The only time I didnt run them was at a race with sharp Scoria on all the roads as I was worried about a puncture. Could have ran snakeskins in that situation I guess. Pretty much as light as it gets and very fast rolling. They do wear rather quickly though.

Im not really sure why all the 650b gravel tires that are coming out are so heavy?
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Dan Reese

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Reply with quote  #11 
I would have to agree with you on the weight of the 650b gravel tires. Most of them are well over 500 grams. That's another advantage of the Thunder Burts.
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plohnes

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Reply with quote  #12 
I am riding 650 wheels with Panaracer GK 42 slick in the rear and Terrene Elwood 47 up front. Light, fast, comfortable, and confidence inspiring setup. 
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mix123

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Reply with quote  #13 
Ive never really thought of putting a smooth tire on the back and then something with grip on the front. Good idea.
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chas

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Reply with quote  #14 
I like doing that.  Extra grip and extra cushion up front are always welcome on a rough ride, while the rear is putting power down efficiently with no tread squirm.  

Its a pity 650b is so heavy.  I guess no one (other than compass) is making light supple race type tires, and instead going for the heavy duty backpacking/touring style in this size.
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mix123

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Reply with quote  #15 
I see challenge is now coming out with a 650b version of their gravel grinder tire. I would guess it's going to be pretty light judging by the weight of their 700x42.
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chas

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Reply with quote  #16 
I think I'll get a SnakeSkin Schwalbe Thunder burt.  at 415 grams for 54mm wide tire with tread - its looking like a good choice.  I'm matching the 650b 54mm front tire with a 40mm 700c rear for rougher rides (same diameter) - where I want the speed, power, and light weight of 700c, but a little extra cushion and traction of the 54mm tire on the front.
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simplemind

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Reply with quote  #17 
Here is an interesting read: "If you’re rocking your mountain bike then I recommend running a tire in the 2” range such as the Schwalbe Thunder Burt. I’ve raced the Thunder Burt on gravel before and it’s faster than some of the gravel specific tires out there. Teravail Sparwood and Bontrager XR0 are other good options. The casing and construction of a mountain bike tire will be even more important than a narrower gravel tire due to the fact that there’s more tire in contact with the road. And higher air pressure isn’t always your friend with mountain bike tires. Running a firm yet supple tire is key to rolling smooth and fast."


I can't see why some of these 650b's are that heavy either.  BTW, on a side note...I do think Schwalbe have the edge on rolling resistance in general, but it seems Panaracer gets most the love on the Gravel circuit.
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chas

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Reply with quote  #18 
Yep, I read that post.  Not sure I would do 2.1" for that race - maybe if it was in August and I was worried about sand.  Or 2.1 on the front might be the ticket.  

Here is another Gravel review for its sister tire "Furious Fred" which is like a Thunder Burt with even fewer knobs.  

Quote:
"Furious Freds perform best on surfaces like hardpack dirt, limerock and not so chunky gravel.  They are super fast in sand, even when it gets deep.  CX bikes will be floundering behind you.  With the right wheels, these tyres are almost an unfair advantage."

http://www.gravelcyclist.com/bicycle-tech/schwalbe-furious-fred-tlr-29er-tire-review

Edit:  Naw - I think 2.1" could be really good on the west part of the state.  There isn't much climbing so weight shouldn't really be an issue.
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mix123

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Reply with quote  #19 
Doing a local race this weekend it's 70% gravel / dirt and 30% pavement. I think I'm going to run a Thunder Burt Liteskin front and a Compass Switchback Hill rear. My thinking is this should roll really fast and handle really well on the gravel. What do you guys think? 
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simplemind

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Reply with quote  #20 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mix123
Doing a local race this weekend it's 70% gravel / dirt and 30% pavement. I think I'm going to run a Thunder Burt Liteskin front and a Compass Switchback Hill rear. My thinking is this should roll really fast and handle really well on the gravel. What do you guys think? 


As long as its dry, you'll be good!
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mix123

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Reply with quote  #21 
I'm always second guessing myself when it comes to these big tires and racing because it's such uncharted territory and goes against all old school race thinking. I was going to run 700 40 Maxxis Ramblers. But thinking about this there's no way those would roll as well as Thunder Burt Liteskin front and a Compass Switchback Hill rear setup. Especially on the paved sections.
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Dan Reese

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Reply with quote  #22 
I just got back from my first ride on the Thunder Burts.  Wow, they're lightning fast.  The ride was mostly pavement and I felt like I was on a road tire.  Very fast rolling tire.  The only gravel near me is a section about 1.2 miles long.  I beat my PR on it by 4 seconds despite the fact that half of it had freshly spread "gravel", more like plain old dirt spread over the road and I averaged 16 watts lower for the segment than my previous best time.  I'm very impressed.  Good cornering grip too.  Just for reference, mine are TLE Snakeskin.

A Thunder Burt up front with a slick, fast rolling tire in the rear would be super fast.

As far as installation, the front tire mounted easier than any tubeless tire I've ever mounted.  Put it on, put sealant in, hit it with the compressor and it sealed immediately.  Back tire wasn't so easy.  I used soapy water, tried a strap, no go.  I drained the sealant out, put in a tube and inflated it to 55 lbs.  Let the air out, pulled the tube out, put sealant in and then it finally sealed up.  Not the hardest ever, but not easy and not what I was expecting after the first one.
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mix123

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Reply with quote  #23 
They don't match but they'll do for now. I call them Party in the Front. Business in the Back haha. Will report back after I ride them.

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HollyBoni

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Reply with quote  #24 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Reese
I just got back from my first ride on the Thunder Burts.  Wow, they're lightning fast.  The ride was mostly pavement and I felt like I was on a road tire.  Very fast rolling tire.  The only gravel near me is a section about 1.2 miles long.  I beat my PR on it by 4 seconds despite the fact that half of it had freshly spread "gravel", more like plain old dirt spread over the road and I averaged 16 watts lower for the segment than my previous best time.  I'm very impressed.  Good cornering grip too.  Just for reference, mine are TLE Snakeskin.

A Thunder Burt up front with a slick, fast rolling tire in the rear would be super fast.

As far as installation, the front tire mounted easier than any tubeless tire I've ever mounted.  Put it on, put sealant in, hit it with the compressor and it sealed immediately.  Back tire wasn't so easy.  I used soapy water, tried a strap, no go.  I drained the sealant out, put in a tube and inflated it to 55 lbs.  Let the air out, pulled the tube out, put sealant in and then it finally sealed up.  Not the hardest ever, but not easy and not what I was expecting after the first one.


That's nice to hear, what pressure did you run the Thunder Burts at? 
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Dan Reese

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Reply with quote  #25 
Just under 40 in the rear and just under 35 in the front. The bike and me kitted up is probably 215. Maybe a pound or 2 less. Might be a little high for really rough roads. The section I hit was relatively smooth, although there were a fair number of potholes. I hit multiple potholes and didn't feel like I was pogoing Super fast on pavement at that pressure. I wanted to test them on some rougher roads today but it was cold and windy so I rode the fatbike in the woods instead.
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