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B^2

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Reply with quote  #1 
I'm in the process of building up a gravel bike and I'm looking for some recommendations on a tubeless tire.  I'd say 80% of my riding will be on pavement while approx 20 will be on gravel.  I've always ridden 25c tires on my normal road bike so I'm looking for recommendations on both the model of the tire and what width tire I should be looking at.  I ride in New England but won't be doing any super muddy riding.  I'd like to avoid feeling like I'm dragging a boat anchor if possible.
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Volsung

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Reply with quote  #2 
the biggest Panaracer Gravelking slicks that your frame can handle.
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sgtrobo

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Reply with quote  #3 
or the GravelKing SKs, as they are ludicrously fast as well
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heybrady

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Reply with quote  #4 
I went from a CAAD with 25mm GP4000 to a gravel bike with Gravelking SK 35 that measure closer to 38.  I too ride about 80/20 pave/gravel and found that those tires are perfect. I  did not notice any more than maybe 1mph loss in speed on pavement, but setup tubeless, the increase in comfort is apparent immediately.  Pavement ruts are not even felt anymore.  

The GK slicks are probably good as well, but I feel the versatility of the SK is a better choice.
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olapiquena

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Reply with quote  #5 
If you are 80/20 and in New England... and that 20 is dirt road.... the SK is way overkill.  

Gravel King Slicks, Compass slicks... etc...
Hell... even a nice 32c slick (Donnelly, Schwalbe, Continental) works really well on MA/VT dirt. 

Now... if you saying Class 4 roads, that's a different story.
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scotjonscot

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Reply with quote  #6 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Volsung
the biggest Panaracer Gravelking slicks that your frame can handle.

Yep
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owly

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Reply with quote  #7 
https://www.cxmagazine.com/hutchinson-overide-tubeless-gravel-tire-review-35-38

I'd think a tubeless 35mm model on the front would be a good option. 

With either a slick 32mm, or the same, on the back.
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vride

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Reply with quote  #8 
On dry hardpack you don’t need anything over 30-32mm. In fact even [wide] 28s are perfectly usable. As other have suggested Gravelkings (slick), Donnelly/Clement , Shwalbe are all great. Now... even though you may not need it you may want to go wider for comfort. I now run 42mm Gravelking slicks on 650b rims and I don’t find them much (if at all) slower on pavement than 32s. If I am riding 80+% pavement I run them around 50psi and for 50/50 drop them to 35-40psi.
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Noonievut

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Reply with quote  #9 
I sometimes feel like I’m missing something with the ‘wider is better’ suggestions.

I believe it’s mainly a personal thing, and that one’s own experience on the roads they ride and the best tire for them may be vastly different from someone else. Problem is it takes money to try new tires, and you may stick with what you have and not realize there is something “optimal” for you. Where I ride, my 25’s were very uncomfortable on gravel...then I tried a 32 and it was much better, but I thought more was needed so tried a 40, and realized the 32’s were better on the paved parts and enough for the gravel parts.

Also, at what point does comfort not trump efficiency (like if you’re riding in a group and can’t keep up as easily any more...even though you’re a tad more comfortable with a wider tire).

We need a “rent a tire” service!

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RoverAl

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Reply with quote  #10 
I’ve had good results with Clements 700x32 Ush. I got caught up in a group ride with them and they held their own, I’m not a group rider kind of guy though. They could handle some mild gravel too. It is a durable long wearing tire but ultimately met its demise from glass and roofing nails. I just yesterday put on a pair of Hutchinson Override 700x35 and while it’s too soon to review I do like them initially. Supple , flat center tread and smallish knobs. I also ride more pave then dirt. The Overrides will be my summer tire for now. The 35 width gives enough cushion and grip to explore mildy. Think hardpack, pea gravel/shell. Not a mudder.
One characteristic with the tires I like is a flat center tread, or slightly raised tubeless and a supple casing with of course flat protection.
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bobknh

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Reply with quote  #11 
My $.02: I too ride NE roads in rural NH. I too come from a roadie background and like light weight high performance equipment. But, after several years of gravel riding on Compass Bon Jon's, a very supple light weight 35 mm all purpose tire, I've realized that a heavier sturdier tire with a bit of bite to the tread make more sense. I would go along with the suggestions for the 38 mm Gravel King SK tubeless. I've put a lot of miles on these tires in New England. They are made by the same Japanese company that make the Bon Jon's and share much of that companies quality and experience. Unlike the Bob Jon's they are a true tubeless tire and  I am able to  seat them easily - even without a compressor. Yes, they are a bit slower than the Bon Jon's. But the first time you are surprised by a recently regraded road with 3" of lose dirt on top, or a section of washed out road repaired with 1" gravel, you'll appreciate the extra bite and durability you get from the GK's. The GK's are much more durable, and resistant to sidewall cuts and deterioration. The sidewalls of my Bon Jon's begin to crack and deteriorate after a thousand miles of dirt riding at 30-35 PSI. There is a reason that the GK's are very popular with the gravel racing crowd. I think you'll find that the GK'S ARE one of the most popular tires on the gravel racing circuit. While I'm very pleased with my GK's, I'm planning to experiment with 40mm Schwalbe G-One's tires this Spring. I've been riding 28 mm Schwalbe Pro-one's tubeless on pavement this winter in South Carolina and have been very impressed with Schwalbe tubeless technology.
BTW - there were some comments about why wider tires? There are several advantages, but the main advantage to me, is that you can, and should, run them at much lower pressure, which allows them to absorb small surface bumps and irregularity which give you a more comfortable ride and compensates for any loss in rolling resistance compared to narrower higher pressure tires. In  addition, you get better traction for sketchier surfaces and cornering, and greater resistance to pinch flats, and punctures,  if mounted tubeless with sealant. 
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chas

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Reply with quote  #12 

Wider is better if you are cruising.  I think a lot of gravel riders here go for comfort.

And, you are right – there is a lot of different gravel in this part of the country.

Much of the year I’m on “gravelless” gravel – in the summer/fall our roads are hardpack dirt.  I’m on a 28-32mm tire on these roads.

Winter/spring the roads are either torn up or freshly graded.  That means washboard, dirt potholes and fresh V5 gravel.  I’m on 40 mm that time of year. 

Or if it is summer and I am throwing in singletrack or a chunky ride, I’ll use the 40mm tires.

 

The advantage of smaller tires (28-30mm) – light weight, responsive handling, acceleration, road feel.  Under the right conditions, I like smaller tire.  But I can swap out.  If you can only have one tire, bigger is more versatile. 

 

Jan Heine (not unbiasedly) likes to claim that tread doesn’t make any difference (not including mud).  I find that they have much different breakaway characteristics, but if I’m not sliding, the traction isn’t a lot difference between the two.

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chas

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Reply with quote  #13 
The part about you riding an rlt 9 steel with an ultegra build is important.  Nice bike.  Not super light.  40mm G-One or Gravel King SK should be good.  I use Maxis Ramblers for that type of riding because of their weight savings, but those 3 tires are fairly similar.  You would be fine on slicks though at 80% road - if the dirt isn't too aggressive.  
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bobknh

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Reply with quote  #14 
Quote:
Originally Posted by chas

Wider is better if you are cruising.  I think a lot of gravel riders here go for comfort.

And, you are right – there is a lot of different gravel in this part of the country.

Much of the year I’m on “gravelless” gravel – in the summer/fall our roads are hardpack dirt.  I’m on a 28-32mm tire on these roads.

Winter/spring the roads are either torn up or freshly graded.  That means washboard, dirt potholes and fresh V5 gravel.  I’m on 40 mm that time of year. 

Or if it is summer and I am throwing in singletrack or a chunky ride, I’ll use the 40mm tires.

 

The advantage of smaller tires (28-30mm) – light weight, responsive handling, acceleration, road feel.  Under the right conditions, I like smaller tire.  But I can swap out.  If you can only have one tire, bigger is more versatile. 

 

Jan Heine (not unbiasedly) likes to claim that tread doesn’t make any difference (not including mud).  I find that they have much different breakaway characteristics, but if I’m not sliding, the traction isn’t a lot difference between the two.


I agree with your comments. I too frequently ride 28mm tires when the roads are mostly hard pack, or if I'm riding mostly on pavement. In my case, I have 2 wheel sets for my 44 Bike Huntsman, a lighter weight (sub 1500gm) with I9 hubs and DT Swiss r411 rims) which have 28mm Schwalbe PRO-One's; and a chunkier pair with White Industry Hubs and HED Belgium rims with 35mm Compass Bon Jon's which I'm replacing with 40mm G-One's. You are correct that my lighter wheel set accelerates faster due to the lighter weight tire and rim. J H 's argument however, is that despite the lower RR of narrower high pressure tires, this advantage is lost due to suspension loss, compared to wider lower pressure more supple tires. The odd thing is that the vibrations caused by road irregularities actually make the tires "feel" faster. I have no way to verify this argument. But for higher speed group rides on pavement, I do favor my lighter wheels and tires. OTOH, for more casual rides on our back roads, I find that the extra cushioning and durability of my heavier wheels, leave me more relaxed and less fatigued after a long day in the saddle.
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Volsung

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Reply with quote  #15 
Theres gotta be a max width before rolling resistance starts to increase again otherwise everyone would be on Vee Apache 4.5s.

My 28 Vittorias on my road bike are way faster than my 48 Somas on my gravel bike.

Jan Heine is a loon.
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B^2

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Reply with quote  #16 
I ended up with 38 gravel king's tubeless.  Since I'm running Dura-Ace on my road bike, I figure I can swap the wheel set from my road bike if I need to.
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chas

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Reply with quote  #17 
on pavement, 28mm seems to be the sweet spot before rolling resistance increases again - although tire weight and aerodynamics goes up significantly above that size too.

But it depends on the surface.  Generally I try to match the tire pressure to the surface - from 120psi on ideal surfaces (velodrome) to 30 psi on rougher gravel.  Then it is a matter of matching a tire size to the PSI I want, so that I don't bottom out on the rim.  
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bobknh

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Reply with quote  #18 
Quote:
Originally Posted by chas
on pavement, 28mm seems to be the sweet spot before rolling resistance increases again - although tire weight and aerodynamics goes up significantly above that size too.

But it depends on the surface.  Generally I try to match the tire pressure to the surface - from 120psi on ideal surfaces (velodrome) to 30 psi on rougher gravel.  Then it is a matter of matching a tire size to the PSI I want, so that I don't bottom out on the rim.  

Tire weight certainly increases for the same tire model as the width increases. I think however, the question of aerodynamics is more complicated as the effect of a specific tire depends on the width and shape of the rim. A wider tire on a wider rim can actually be more aerodynamic. This was one of the innovations of Steve HED years ago, when he introduced wider road rims to the market.
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chas

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Reply with quote  #19 
probably true under 30mm.  I don't know if it is aero, weight, resistance (mental?), but I just don't seem to be able to keep a 40mm tire rolling at high speed on pavement as I would with a 28mm tire.  On gravel, the extra compliance of the 40mm more than makes up for the difference though.
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bzo

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Reply with quote  #20 
I regularly do a certain road group ride that I always do on my road bike, but rode my CX bike on last time. I have 38c slick GKs on it right now. My power average on this ride was 25-30 watts higher than past sessions, yet I was lagging more than usual. I think this can be attributed to higher rolling resistance, higher aero drag from wider tires and higher aero drag from the more upright seating position. I like the comfort of the big tires when riding on my own and off paved road, but the loss of efficiency was apparent on this slightly brisk road ride.

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bobknh

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Reply with quote  #21 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bobknh
My $.02: I too ride NE roads in rural NH. I too come from a roadie background and like light weight high performance equipment. But, after several years of gravel riding on Compass Bon Jon's, a very supple light weight 35 mm all purpose tire, I've realized that a heavier sturdier tire with a bit of bite to the tread make more sense. I would go along with the suggestions for the 38 mm Gravel King SK tubeless. I've put a lot of miles on these tires in New England. They are made by the same Japanese company that make the Bon Jon's and share much of that companies quality and experience. Unlike the Bob Jon's they are a true tubeless tire and  I am able to  seat them easily - even without a compressor. Yes, they are a bit slower than the Bon Jon's. But the first time you are surprised by a recently regraded road with 3" of lose dirt on top, or a section of washed out road repaired with 1" gravel, you'll appreciate the extra bite and durability you get from the GK's. The GK's are much more durable, and resistant to sidewall cuts and deterioration. The sidewalls of my Bon Jon's begin to crack and deteriorate after a thousand miles of dirt riding at 30-35 PSI. There is a reason that the GK's are very popular with the gravel racing crowd. I think you'll find that the GK'S ARE one of the most popular tires on the gravel racing circuit. While I'm very pleased with my GK's, I'm planning to experiment with 40mm Schwalbe G-One's tires this Spring. I've been riding 28 mm Schwalbe Pro-one's tubeless on pavement this winter in South Carolina and have been very impressed with Schwalbe tubeless technology.
BTW - there were some comments about why wider tires? There are several advantages, but the main advantage to me, is that you can, and should, run them at much lower pressure, which allows them to absorb small surface bumps and irregularity which give you a more comfortable ride and compensates for any loss in rolling resistance compared to narrower higher pressure tires. In  addition, you get better traction for sketchier surfaces and cornering, and greater resistance to pinch flats, and punctures,  if mounted tubeless with sealant. 

Today was a good example of practicing what I preach. I went for my first gravel ride after returning home from Hilton Head SC. The April weather here has been miserable, rain, snow and cold. I rode some of my favorite unpaved roads which I haven't seen for almost 5 months. They are in pretty bad shape -- lots of lose mud, washed out sections, etc. I was very glad to be on my 38 mm GK's, which seemed to grab well in the lose stuff and mud, and shrugged off the the chunky gravel used to repair the washed out sections. I probably could have handled the mess with my Bon Jon's; but I was much more relaxed and comfortable on my GK's.
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RoverAl

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Reply with quote  #22 
GK SK How is this tire on clean pavement for long stretches?
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bobknh

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Reply with quote  #23 
Quote:
Originally Posted by RoverAl
GK SK How is this tire on clean pavement for long stretches?

On pavement it rolls very well. Did a pavement ride yesterday on 38mm GK SK's tubeless 40/35 PSI R/F. Our NH pavement is pretty beat up due to winter storms. Lots of pot holes, cracked pavement and loose sand. Happy to have the extra cushioning, tubeless flat protection, as well as traction cornering on sandy patches. Overall, not quite as fast as my smooth tread Bon Jon's. But, for me,  the extra durability and traction of the GK's more than compensated for any loss of speed compared to the BJ's. The tread pattern on the GK's with small tightly spaced knobs in the tread center, and chunkier wider spaced knobs on the outside for cornering work extremely well over a wide variety of surfaces and conditions, including NH pavement and dirt roads in mud season.
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Pynchonite

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Reply with quote  #24 
I think it depends on what that 20% gravel looks like.  If I were living down near St. George, UT, where the dirt roads are pretty well graded and the gravel is smaller than pea-sized, I would go 28mm and focus on the weight and speed of the tire.  I used Hutchinson Sector 28mm's on a ride down there a while ago and they were the bee's knees.  If the gravel's more like here in the Salt Lake Valley, where everything comes in golf-ball-to-larger chunks and is hammered by ATVs, then it'd be hard to argue with either the 35mm or 38mm Panaracer Gravel King SK.  My 35mm SK's blimped up to 40mm on Stan's Crest rims and were fast as all get out on pavement.  They weren't the easiest to corner coming downhill at speed on pavement and didn't handle sand well but they were a treat generally and were cheap to boot.  Both tires have been very durable for me and are both tubeless ready.
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Zurichman

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Reply with quote  #25 
I read all the tire comments I can get as I have only been riding on 2 sets of tires so far. The now Donnely MSO xplor in 40 mm tubeless and the Kenda Flintridge Pro. The only difference I think I can see/feel is that the Flintridge Pro's are slower out on the road.

Other than Chas's comments that the Maxis Ramblers are lighter, what has anybody noticed between these tires if you have ridden all three or maybe at least 2 of them. I have to ride 11-13 miles to get to gravel here but would be setting the Roker up to ride gravel out of state. I am in the 200 lb. range now, hoping to get lower as the season progresses and run 40 lbs. in the rear and 35 up front. I still haven't got use to riding with a 1/2 flat tire. I left this afternoon and thought that the rear tire was going flat and turn back around and it only went down 2 lbs since last Tuesday. Here is the 3 tires in the hunt that I probably will be buying when my stock Donnley MSO get worn out on the Roker.

Maxis Ramblers
Schwalbe G-one's
Gravel King SK

Would be buying in 38 mm or 40 mm


Thanks
Zman

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If it was easy it wouldn't be a memory. You just hope you don't have all your memories in the same ride. been there dun that Zman
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