Old 08-05-19, 05:41 PM
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I recently started riding gravel, and have been pondering the exact question the OP asked. On my chosen work-out trail, I've had two close calls - one happened slow enough that I was able to pick the front-end up and put it back down on-line & square to the ground. The second happened super fast - too fast for me to react - but for whatever reason the front tire grabbed at the last moment and all I got was a shot of adrenaline.

Both times, it was poor technique, no question. More specifically, it was me falling back on my road instincts of leaning in, and also the habit of quickly scanning the road directly ahead and then going back to looking further ahead. In gravel you need to do the opposite - make sure you know is exactly what is going on right in front of you while keeping in mind the overall trail with the occasional glance up. And then of course do not lean in like you do on a road bike. I know the OP know this but...

I was riding Specialized Trigger Pro tires (on a Specialized Diverge), 38c, 45 psi (with tubes) both times. These tires have mild-to-moderate tread. What would have happened with slicks? Impossible to tell, just like it's impossible to know for sure if more aggressive tires would have helped the OP. But I'm a big believer that tires matter - and I'm betting that slicks would have put me on the ground. So maybe the tires did save me from poor technique. I'm never going to solely rely on tires, and am constantly working on technique and habit, but I'm also going to get a set of Vittoria Terreno Drys. I really do think those side knobs are a good thing and that they just might save my skin. Huge respect for those who ride gravel on slicks - obviously, the right riding skills make that doable. And maybe I'll be there too some day. But for now I'm getting some tires that I think will give me a larger margin of safety, and hopefully keep my 50-something body off the ground.

TL;DR - Tires may have saved this gravel newb from a similar crash (twice), and said newb is going to get what he thinks are even better tires. Props to those who can ride gravel effectively on slicks.

Last edited by GeogreHudetz; 08-05-19 at 05:45 PM.
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