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Fat tires for gravel bike: mini knobbies or file tread?
Last Post 08/02/2018 03:06 PM by 79 pmooney. 7 Replies.
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longslowdistance

Posts:1680

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08/02/2018 07:44 AM
Wearing out the strada bianca 33mm tires on the gravel/go anywhere bike. Nice tires. Want to try wider, so Panaracer gravel kings for the next set, at least 38mm. In the fatter sizes these tires offer either a mini knobby tread or a basically smooth (file) tread. I don’t have much experience with the miniknobbies. Reviews on line say not squirmy in turns, that’s good. I’m guessing they will wear longer because more rubber on the road, which if true is good, too. But I’m wondering if they will throw more dirt and small rocks onto the drive train, which is not so good. I’m OK with the amount of traction I’m getting now.
Orange Crush

Posts:2238

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08/02/2018 08:22 AM
Smooth file tread is what I use all the time.

My more discerning fellow gravel grinders that are also cx racers only ever use knobbies when expecting slippery and wet conditions.

I've only ever encountered traction limitations of file tread on a gnarly grassy dike section we have here. Even in mid it's still fine and I only use 32s. That's all the Diverge will fit which is bizarre for a supposed gravel bike.
longslowdistance

Posts:1680

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08/02/2018 10:20 AM
Thanks, helpful.
longslowdistance

Posts:1680

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08/02/2018 11:45 AM
Looks like max size for the file tread is 38mm, vs 43 for the miniknobbies. Decisions, decisions . . .
Cosmic Kid

Posts:2435

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08/02/2018 12:12 PM
I assume the "mini-knobby" tire you are talking about is the Gravel King SK and the "file tread" is regular Gravel King?

Either option looks pretty good to me...I was expecting a bit more tread pattern for the normal Gravel King, but if you are mostly riding on hardpack / finer gravel, it looks like an awesome choice. If you ride more in the wet / looser / muddier conditions, then the SK might be a better choice.

For me, I'd be on the file tread, no doubt....but my only "gravel" road around here is a super-hard pack river trail that is not even slightly technical.
Just say "NO!" to WCP!!!!
longslowdistance

Posts:1680

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08/02/2018 12:52 PM
Yes, by mini-knobby I mean the "SK" (?semiknobbie?).
I had hoped to try real porkers for my next tires, just to see what it's like, but I'll probably go with the file tread 38s. May be a momma bear "just right" compromise size for floating over loose and bumpy stuff anyway.
Orange Crush

Posts:2238

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08/02/2018 02:00 PM
Our forest service roads here are so rocky, bumpy and gnarly I've come to realization that I really just like uphill "gravel riding". Flat and downhell sectors are getting tiresome and after a few hours make me realize that really I'm a roadie. Same as with cobbles; uphill is fine but downhill your eyes are vibrating in their sockets and your brain gets smashed against the side of your skull. Maybe I need an MTB with squishy fat tires.

Of course, like CK we have real easy river trails as well but you can basically just take any old bike or tires on those.
79pmooney

Posts:1951

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08/02/2018 03:06 PM
I rode the Trask River Trail over the coast range last summer on Paselas, 37 front, 35 rear. Smoooth tread with a wavy rain groove. They were great! My only issue was traction going up the reallly steep places and that wasn't the tires. 1-1/2 to 2" "gravel. 36-24 low gear. 18%. Sitting down and weighting the rear tire wasn't possible. Going down grades just as steep was a blast!

I had maybe 30 psi in the front and a touch more in back. Felt like I had the right tires for the job - and tires that weren't too bad for the other 60 miles that day (90 total). I do wonder if maybe the casings might not be tough enough to be every day tires for those conditions.

Although I skidded to a stop and fell over on one of the steep pitches and walked the ensuing ones, I felt overall I had very good tires for the day; that a more aggressive tread probably wouldn't have prevented that spill and my legs would have regretted the slow tread on the pavement, esp late that day.

Ben
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