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jwiner

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Reply with quote  #1 
I'm a mountain biker at heart, and have wondered why the mountain bike model of different tires and widths for front and rear tires hasn't really been adopted with GG. What are your thoughts?

I run WTB Nano 40's today and love them.

I'm eyeing the Panaracer Gravel King SK's and think 35's are what I need (they commonly measure 38), but why not 40 in the front (they commonly measure 43)???

Review of both widths:
http://www.gravelcyclist.com/bicycle-tech/review-panaracer-gravelking-sk-35mm-and-40mm-tires/#comment-2106
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imajez

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Reply with quote  #2 

It's another tradition to overcome. It will happen in time I'm sure.

All depends if your setup will allow it though. Nano 40s are the absolute limit at rear on my bike, but I can go a touch taller/fatter up front

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RunsWithScissors

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Reply with quote  #3 
For me it's a matter of economics.  In my opinion there's not enough benefit to running a wider front in this application to justify it.  I prefer to rotate my tires from front to rear a couple times through their life so they wear evenly and I don't have a pile of half worn out front tires laying around.  Mountain bikes are a special purpose machine.  Everything gets optimized for the offroad environment.  Gravel and CX bikes tend to spend more time on surfaces that aren't bumpy or loose traction wise, so there's less benefit to having a wider front.
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Nubster

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Reply with quote  #4 
What benefit would it have on road/gravel? I don't find myself ever thinking that I need a fatter tire up front when I'm grinding away on the dirt roads or on pavement. I'm perfectly happy with 40's front and rear. If the front end of my gravel bike was washing out often or I was getting a lot of rim strikes...I'd start to look into it. But I dont...so I don't. It can't hurt to experiment if you are inclined to do so. But these are different machines. I don't think there would be the same benefit as there is on a mountain bike.
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bobknh

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Reply with quote  #5 
My $.02: I'm not a tire engineer -- and the design and manufacture of tires is quite complex. That being said, the demands on front and rear tires are significantly different for gravel riding. And this concept is further complicated by the fact that frame and wheel design also affects the type and dimensions of the tires which can be used on a specific bike. In the past Continental marketed front and rear specific tires for road bikes. I never tried them. And I believe that this concept never gained much traction (no pun intended) in the road market. So, I hope that some tire manufacturer takes a serious look at this question, and tries to develop front and rear specific gg tires. 
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Curtis

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Reply with quote  #6 
I am thinking of trying it. Old school mountain bikes had different front and rear tires as a set.
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pwoodruff

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Reply with quote  #7 
Currently running with G-One 650x40 and because I have a Slate I can go to 650b x 47 Elwood on the front...have never done this and was about to pose the question...and here it is on the forum...even though I have the Lefty up front it would provide even more of a supple ride in rough conditions..any others tried it...thoughts...?
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oleritter

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Reply with quote  #8 
People are doing it. 
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Tyre Guy

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Reply with quote  #9 
As bobknh mentions, tire design and manufacturing is quite complex.  In my extended experience, the end sales of separate front and rear tire have never justified the resources required to design, engineer, tool and develop for commercial use.  Once you call a tire "front" or "rear" you're going to sell about half as many as you would if you just offer a tire.  A smaller niche like Gravel amplifies the issue. In addition, I've seen tires designated front- or rear-specific used on the opposite end of the bike quite often.  Maxxis has considerable experience with the DHF and DHR tires both run at both ends.

In the end, tire companies can recommend tires for front or rear applications, but the consumer has the last word with their spend, as RunsWithScissors clearly states.
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jruhlen1980

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Reply with quote  #10 
Well, at least one fairly accomplished rider is doing it:

https://spark.adobe.com/page/Qllagb8sgiz7o/
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Curtis

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Reply with quote  #11 
Thanks for the link to the good story. 
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bnystrom

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Reply with quote  #12 
Notice that the reason that he ran a smaller tire in the rear was "for increased mud clearance", not for some other performance advantage. That's not to say that there might not be one, but a 33mm tire is a lot narrower than I prefer to ride on dirt/gravel and off-road. With many 'cross/gravel bikes, mud clearance is not an issue, even with 38-40mm rubber.

While I agree with RunsWithScissors' economic rationale, I use a different rotation approach. I run a pair of tires until the rear wears out, then rotate the front to the rear and install a new front tire. That way I always have relatively unworn rubber on the front, where it's most critical. It also eliminates the need to rotate the tires multiple times. While that's not a chore if you're using tubes (which I am at the moment), it can be a hassle if you're running tubeless and you risk damaging the beads through repeated removal and re-seating.
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thegreatdelcamo

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Reply with quote  #13 
I currently have a Riddler 45 in front and Riddler 37 in back. I like the additional volume for hitting potholes at speed and increased traction on loose gravel on off-camber roads. Same concept as a mountain bike, in my mind. I may put a 45 on the back, but if they are staggered, I’d put the larger on front.
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Dwillis

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Reply with quote  #14 
I just completed Dirty Kanza on Maxxis Ramblers with a 40mm in front and a 38mm in rear on my gravel bike.  I did it for an extra margin of mud clearance in this case.  Granted, 2mm is not a big difference and there was no discernible riding difference between this setup and 40mm F&R.  As others have mentioned, I further justified it with the increased traction concept has worked for years on my mountain bikes. 
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