December 14, 2018 Login  


Fat tires for gravel bike: mini knobbies or file tread?
Last Post 11/15/2018 10:48 AM by Orange Crush. 17 Replies.
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longslowdistance

Posts:1707

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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:2263

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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:1707

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

Posts:1707

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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:2482

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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:1707

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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:2263

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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:1972

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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
longslowdistance

Posts:1707

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11/11/2018 08:28 PM
So I've been riding the 38mm file tread panaracer gravel kings for a while now. About 70% pavement, rest on gravel ranging from buff to rugged double track. And a lot in the wet (sorry west coasters. It just won't stop raining here in the east.) Anyway, I'm very happy with the tires for my use including on rough double track unless it's slimy, when of course a file tread is inadequate. They roll pretty well on pavement. As for wear, don't know yet. No free lunch.
After these are done in a few months, I may try the panaracer gravel king mini knobby SK version. Or not. Maybe SK miniknobbies in back, file in front.
Nice to have choices.
longslowdistance

Posts:1707

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11/11/2018 08:32 PM
BTW,
Should any of you fellow forumites spot tires endorsed by unicorns farting rainbows, please let me know.
That's the tire I really want.
longslowdistance

Posts:1707

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11/13/2018 09:08 AM
OC: I hear ya regarding rough descents being no fun. So I put an 80mm travel fox fork on my frankenbike. Sure does improve the fun on the rough stuff, up and down. I picked fox because their lockout is more of a true lockout. Some others I've tried have 10- 15mm travel when "locked out".
Cosmic Kid

Posts:2482

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11/13/2018 12:09 PM
Posted By Frederick Jones on 11/11/2018 08:32 PM
BTW,
Should any of you fellow forumites spot tires endorsed by unicorns farting rainbows, please let me know.
That's the tire I really want.


While I have yet to see the rainbow-farting unicorn endorsing it, the Maxxis Rambler appears to be a very popular choice for Dirty Kanza. Bunch of us are gonna try and get in this year...if we get in, then I am gonna take a hard look at the tire. I would classify it as a "semi-knobby" design.

I've been riding the Specialized Sawtooth this fall....basically an inverted tread tire. Been pretty happy with it for the hard-packed trail(s) i normally ride. Don't think it would be a good choice for Dirty Kanza, though.
Just say "NO!" to WCP!!!!
Orange Crush

Posts:2263

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11/14/2018 02:24 PM
Which distance are you aiming for CK? And say it ain't so LOL. I had you stuck in the tri-geek cookoo's nest forever.
Cosmic Kid

Posts:2482

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11/14/2018 02:58 PM
Posted By Orange Crush on 11/14/2018 02:24 PM
Which distance are you aiming for CK? And say it ain't so LOL. I had you stuck in the tri-geek cookoo's nest forever.


Go big or go home....full monty.

I'll get back into tri's at some point, but needed a break. Really enjoyed just riding my bike this year....nice to be healthy and not have legs hurting all the time!!

A bunch of guys around here did Leadville last year and I missed out...in hindsight, I wish I had done it. So I agreed to trying to get into Dirty Kanza next year while we were all out drinking on Saturday. Spot the problem yet?
Just say "NO!" to WCP!!!!
Orange Crush

Posts:2263

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11/14/2018 03:10 PM
What problem - isn't this how everything good starts LOL?!

I take it by full monty you mean the 200miler and not the limited entry 350 miler?

I like the "don't call us we won't come pick you up" disclaimer. At least there's cell phone coverage apparently.
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