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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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Curtis

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Reply with quote  #15 
Four month report on running different front and rear tires. I have had good results running a Kenda Flintridge Pro on the front and a Kenda Small Block Eight Pro on the rear. They were both 35cs. This is the biggest I can get on my Lite Speed T5. They were mounted tubeless on Assaults. 
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Zurichman

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Reply with quote  #16 
I have read as many posts as I can since I am the newbie to gravel riding. From what I  have read is that most run the wider tire up front for traction going into the corners. Then from what I gathered a lot of riders who are mostly racers run the narrow tire on the back because of less weight and helping to make the bike faster. That is kind of a crap shoot  there depending on where you are riding. When I was out in Kansas in the Flint all the riders who were trying to run the faster Hybrid tires were along the road changing flats. One Guy I saw around 32 miles into the 75 mile ride was carrying  his bike and just had the front tire hanging off the rim and said he was out of the race/ride as he had 4 flats already. The kicker is he was 3-4 miles from the rest stop. So it might come under the old commercial. You can pay me now or you can pay me later. I would rather run a heavier tire and have peace of mind that I don't have to change a tire out in the middle of the race.

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bnystrom

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Reply with quote  #17 
You have to gauge this for yourself and the type of riding you do. I have no opposition to running different tires front and rear, but I rarely do because I just don't have a need to. Running a smaller tire in the rear is not much of an issue on a mountain bike, but on a gravel bike with narrower tires (40mm or less) you run an increased risk of pinch flats and/or denting a rim with a narrower rear tire. To avoid that, you have to increase the tire pressure which makes the ride harsher. For those reasons, I typically run the same size tires at both ends. If different sizes work well for other riders, that's cool too. There is no right or wrong here, just personal preference.
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Erik_A

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Reply with quote  #18 
I run larger tires on the front for extra suspension/ dampening.  I do this on both gravel and rigid XC mountain bikes.  I also run a tire with more grip/ widely spaced knobs on the front for traction on both types of bikes as well.
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RideAlongside

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Reply with quote  #19 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Erik_A
I run larger tires on the front for extra suspension/ dampening.  I do this on both gravel and rigid XC mountain bikes.  I also run a tire with more grip/ widely spaced knobs on the front for traction on both types of bikes as well.

Exactly what I was about to post. I run a 29+ tire on the front of my rigid mtb with a 29x2.3 or 29x2.4 on the rear. It helps with mud clearance and is lighter weight. I tend to go into the corners with lots more weight on the front end and it helps having that wider tire both absorb and slightly deform to the terrain for increased contact patch that keeps the front tracking instead of sliding out.

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coffee

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Reply with quote  #20 
Ah, this takes me back to racing the old Panaracer Smoke / Dart combo. Then the Fire XC Pros came out and it all came down to just swapping chevron direction. Yeah, I'm that old.

For folks running different widths, are tire pressures being kept identical?
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Erik_A

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Reply with quote  #21 
Nope, lower tire pressure in the front, for the same reasons.

Quote:
Originally Posted by coffee
Ah, this takes me back to racing the old Panaracer Smoke / Dart combo. Then the Fire XC Pros came out and it all came down to just swapping chevron direction. Yeah, I'm that old.

For folks running different widths, are tire pressures being kept identical?
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