Gravel Ride Wheels
Last Post 08/27/2013 12:09 PM by robert mitchum. 13 Replies.
Author Messages
RobertMitchum

Posts:21

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08/21/2013 05:39 PM
II wanna start doing some gravel rides, just for fun. Until I get serious I figure I'll just slap a pair of tires and wheels on one of my old road frames. I usually pick up used stuff on eBay or craigslist. Any suggestions on what I should look for? All my road bikes have clinchers on them now. I weigh in at 155 lbs so I'm not Clydesdale. Thanks for any suggestions.
Orange Crush

Posts:1251

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08/21/2013 06:17 PM
I ride packed gravel (dyke) trails on my winter road rig reasonably regularly using the 25 mm tires already mounted. Works fine so as you say, to start off you don't need anything fancy.

The road setup gets a bit sketchy in loose gravel situations, not all gravel roads/trails are created equal.
Dale

Posts:524

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08/21/2013 08:09 PM
How wide of tires will clear your fork and frame?

I've got some Shimano 105 level wheels that I've beat to h*** and back racing cross and riding gravel roads. They've got some dings and dents from pot hole and barrier strikes (hello, Joey!) but still roll fine. I've never had to replace a spoke but they've been trued a couple times and on pavement I can feel a bit of a hop due to a dent but on gravel I don't notice. I run 32mm tires of various tread patterns-- currently a file tread.

OC is correct-- not all gravel is the same. Plenty of hard packed gravel I'll ride with my road bike and 22mm tubulars but if it's got a lot of chunk rock and flinty shards I'll find another route and come back with the 32mm tires
longslowdistance

Posts:744

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08/21/2013 09:55 PM
I use 32s mostly with Stan's Arch rims. Currently using Michelin Pilots, which I think roll a bit better and are a touch more plush than Pasellas. I've tried the pricey Grand Bois, super light, smooth and fast but not tough enough for routine use, anywhere. I don't know of a tire in this size range (28-35mm) that's a compromise between thinwall lightweight and bombproof urban tank tire. Any suggestions?

I have used 25 and 28 road tires too. I like the fatter tires better, until I hit pavement.
Dale

Posts:524

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08/21/2013 10:23 PM
I've got Armadillo's (28mm) on my tandem. They ride like crap but are pretty tough and a tandem soaks up a lot of tire and road nonsense. I wouldn't be afraid to run them on most gravel roads.
pabiker

Posts:80

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08/21/2013 11:14 PM
We ride gravel/dirt roads weekly on our Conti GP4000s they are 25mm wide and we use our regular road rims and bikes.

Nothing else is required unless you're hitting singletrack or weigh like 300 lbs.
79pmooney

Posts:1192

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08/22/2013 01:53 AM
How much gravel. how loose it is and how sharp make big differences. The road slopes also make a big difference. A steep side slope or deep ruts will be very different from a flat level road. Also how comfortable you are sliding through turns. Best is to ask a local then adjust what he tells you to your difference in off road skills.

Ben
dkri

Posts:91

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08/22/2013 12:20 PM
I'm with PA. Don't ride unpaved roads on my road bike all that much (but I do it fairly regularly) but when I do it's on the same wheels and tires I ride the rest of the time. In the fall I will do one long ride a week on the C&O Towpath (long, flat, unpaved, and dead straight with no stops for far longer than I care to ride) on my cross bike, with 33mm Grifos. Overkill, but nice nonetheless.
formerly dkri
longslowdistance

Posts:744

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08/22/2013 05:08 PM
I agree that you don't *need* fatter than say 25 mm but the ride is a lot nicer and control is better with fatter tires, especially up and down hill. But I'm not talking about the compact cinders like the C and O canal path, rather rougher gravel.
RobertMitchum

Posts:21

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08/23/2013 04:52 PM
Thanks for all the feedback. I am in bad need of a good goal. There’s a gruelathon gravel ride hereabouts in April. http://www.tourofhermann.com/ Big miles on bad roads. Doubtful that I’ll be capable of the whole thing especially that early in the year but it looks like perverse fun.

I too will toodle of some gravel farm roads in short spits on my current road rig, but this ride looks like HC aggregate. I figure I’m gonna pick up a pair of 28mm ‘cross tires and mount them on my ride and do some excursions to central Missouri.

Depending on your comments, I was considering picking up a pair of bomber sew-up wheels with cyclocross tires to avoid pinch flats but they’re such a mess for me. I’m still trying to get glue off my hands from the ‘70s. Thanks all.
Dale

Posts:524

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08/23/2013 06:08 PM
Tour of Hermann... a great event put on by a friend of mine

Lots of it is on pretty fast roads-- much better roads than Dirty Kansa which is notorious for destroying tires in the Flint Hills area of central Kansas but still no place for road tires. Some of my buddies did ToH and ran 32mm file treads or small knobby tires on pretty generic cyclocross wheels-- 32 spoke box rims

Where are you from? I'm just north of Springfield, MO in Polk County
CB2

Posts:18

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08/26/2013 07:28 AM
Conversely you don't need to ride anything narrower than a 25 on anything rougher than a velodrome.
longslowdistance

Posts:744

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08/26/2013 02:35 PM
Goldilocks rides 25s on the road and 32s on rough gravel.
RobertMitchum

Posts:21

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08/27/2013 12:09 PM
Dale: I'm in STL county.


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