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onurlft

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I live in Texas and planning a trip to Canyonlands NP in a couple of weeks. Part of the plan was to ride the White Rim trail in two days (overnight camp spot already reserved). Has anyone done the trail on a gravel bike? I have a Salsa Warbird Ti running 38mm Teravails. I'm not sure if it would be too sandy? Any one with any experience or advice that could be shared would appreciated. Alternatively, I can bring my Santa Cruz MTB which would handle anything, so I'm set either way. Thanks!
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Mega Watts

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Reply with quote  #2 
I haven't ridden white rim, but have ridden my mountain bike there extensively. I'm guessing that the sand sections would be miserable on a gravel bike. The soil there is almost all rock or sand. I'd suggest you mountain bike there, but the road riding is good too.
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Marinerecon

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Reply with quote  #3 
Quote:
Originally Posted by onurlft
I live in Texas and planning a trip to Canyonlands NP in a couple of weeks. Part of the plan was to ride the White Rim trail in two days (overnight camp spot already reserved). Has anyone done the trail on a gravel bike? I have a Salsa Warbird Ti running 38mm Teravails. I'm not sure if it would be too sandy? Any one with any experience or advice that could be shared would appreciated. Alternatively, I can bring my Santa Cruz MTB which would handle anything, so I'm set either way. Thanks!


We rode the White Rim in 2016 and met two guys riding Fargos. All they could say was “f$7@ the Fargo”. I rode a 27.5 plus and my wife a full suspension 29er. In my opinion, way too sandy in some parts for a gravel bike and in some sections you’d fly.
I’m much more of a “look around” kind of guy than get there fast but either way you’ll love the White Rim.
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SKV11000

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Reply with quote  #4 
I've ridden most of it and nearby Shafer Trail with my wife, her on a Cannondale CAADX and myself on a Colnago World Cup (CX bikes). Both of us were on 40mm Maxxis Ramblers, tubeless with lower tire pressures (31/33psi). Other than having a short wheelbase and high BB, never did I wish I was on anything bigger or cushier.

A Warbird should be fine IMO. Just keep the psi down and keep 'er steady through the sandy parts.


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Pynchonite

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Reply with quote  #5 
Some friends and I did the White Rim in 2016.  Among us, there were two 29er touring bikes (a Surly Ogre and Frankenbikepacker), two Specialized AWOLs, and a Surly Krampus.  Everyone was running at least 29x2.1" tires and those of us with 29ers were running 2.3's.  The AWOL is essentially a gravel bike but has clearance for 29x2.1" tires.  We did the same thing that you're thinking of: we rode self-supported from Mineral Basin and camped on top of Murphy's Hogback (best goddamned campsite ever... minus the mice).

My recommendation: get something beefier.  No one in our party was able to clear all the sandy sections, one of which, near the Colorado, is a mile long and unrideable except on a fat bike.  A lot of the trail consists of exposed bedrock that feels really lumpy when you're loaded.  Me (Ogre) and the guy on the Krampus had probably the best time of it, though the AWOLs more than kept up.  The dude on the Frankenbike was/is absolutely inhuman, so I don't count him.  Anyway, I think that, if you were doing it in a day or had resupply provided, the gravel bikes would be fine.  They'll be a hoot for Mineral Basin Road above Canyonlands and I've dreamed about doing those roads on my Crux but I think that it would probably be miserable riding with 20lbs of water plus gear on 700c x 38mm tires.  Plus, if you're self-supported, you'd need to be able to skeedaddle if doom happened which would just not be possible with those bikes on that terrain.  Even with 29x2.3" tubeless tires, my rig rattled so much that it unthreaded my Dromlite bag in its pannier.

The takeaway: you could but I wouldn't.  My two cents.

PS - There is an account somewhere of a group that did the White Rim In A Day where one of their party was on a cross bike but the author made it seem like that guy wasn't having a great time, either.
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Urbs

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Reply with quote  #6 
Some friends and I did the white rim ride in 1 day a couple of years ago, I would definitely ride you're mountain bike. I rode my fs Niner RKT and was still feeling it after. It's a bumpy trail, I think your mountain bike will make the trip more enjoyable, bring lots of water! Have fun.
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onurlft

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Reply with quote  #7 
Thanks for the great advice, everyone! I leave next week. Still haven’t made up my mind yet, but I’ll let you know how it goes.
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keneticsam

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Reply with quote  #8 
I've ridden White Rim in one day on a cross bike with 45mm tires, it was fine.  80% of it is just smooth dirt roads and any bike is fine on those sections.  The other 20% though is pretty rough and I'd prefer 2"+ tires on those sections.  Nobody can ride the mile long sand/silt slog, so just plan on walking that part.  I had problems with chain suck after the silt, that stuff is just nasty.

So I guess I'd recommend the MTB if you're hauling gear but either bike is fine if you have a support vehicle, just keep your tire pressure low.  And bring a camera, that is some phenomenal landscape, enjoy! 😃

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