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Do gravel tires feel a lot slower to you than road tires?

Cyclocross and Gravelbiking (Recreational) This has to be the most physically intense sport ever invented. It's high speed bicycle racing on a short off road course or riding the off pavement rides on gravel like :The Dirty Kanza". We also have a dedicated Racing forum for the Cyclocross Hard Core Racers.

Do gravel tires feel a lot slower to you than road tires?

Old 10-26-17, 08:38 AM
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A tread block is just going to distort the tire more as you roll over it on flat pavement - distortion = lost energy. Not so much a problem if the gravel is the size of your tread.
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Old 10-26-17, 08:43 AM
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Originally Posted by johngwheeler View Post

Is this transition from road to gravel tires normal? Is is a question of feel more than absolute speed? (I would expect maybe a 2km/h average speed drop from what I have read, but it "feels" like a lot more.

I guess I really need to do some timed tests, with both tires, but it's fairly hard to create a completely controlled experiment with identical conditions (especially without a power meter).
GCN did a test of road vs cross speed - attributing the speed difference mostly to tires (they had some fast conti cyclocross tires)

They measured a speed difference of 2km/hr or 6.7%

The video is titled road vs gravel bike (by GCN), and the numbers are at 7:37
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Old 10-26-17, 09:57 AM
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Originally Posted by chas58 View Post
Then I have some Kenda Slant 6 tires that need 75 watts or more of power to go 18mph.
That's funny you mention those tires. They were the stock tires on a mountain bike I picked up earlier this spring. As soon as I rode them on the pavement to my local singletrack trails I could tell they were very slow, before I even made it to the trail head I was already thinking of what to replace them with.

However, once I got on the dirt the tires really came alive. They cornered phenomenally, gave excellent braking traction and felt like they were going to launch the bike forward during steep loose climbing. I was blown away - first time I'd seen such a discrepancy between pave/dirt before. Once I got home and checked Strava & Veloviewer I saw my tires were excellent and have kept the tires for the races I've done this season. They haven't let me down on singletrack.

I also ride them on my gravel racer and they do really make me suffer on the pavement but the offroad performance on dirt and gravel is worth it, so far.

I've been thinking about the G-One 60s for a while, just not sure they're going to work on singletrack - about half the gravel events I do in a given year have significant singletrack sections which wouldn't be fun on a loose tire. Have you done any singletrack?

Also, everyone knows the fastest gravel tire is the Compass Snoqualmie Pass, 700x44 can't go wrong.
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Old 10-26-17, 11:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Spoonrobot View Post

I also ride them on my gravel racer and they do really make me suffer on the pavement but the offroad performance on dirt and gravel is worth it, so far.

I've been thinking about the G-One 60s for a while, just not sure they're going to work on singletrack - about half the gravel events I do in a given year have significant singletrack sections which wouldn't be fun on a loose tire. Have you done any singletrack?

Also, everyone knows the fastest gravel tire is the Compass Snoqualmie Pass, 700x44 can't go wrong.
Yeah, I'm happy with the Kenda's on single track. They have a lot more volume than anything I've had before (60mm is about as large as that bike will take).

The G-one (650b 60mm) is horrible on any damp singletrack. Probably too slick to work well over rocks, roots, or even sand. Treaded tires tend to claw at hings, and if they slide they are predictable. The slick nature of the 60mm G-One on single track took some extra care - especially if you are going at speeds where you might drift through a turn.

So, they work on dry hard pack single track, but will keep you on your toes on anything else.
(Actually, they were designed for hard pack and soft sand where you don't need tread)
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Old 01-05-18, 01:58 AM
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Originally Posted by Barrettscv View Post
The fastest rolling gravel tire is the 700x35 Hutchinson Override.
The Vittoria Voyager Hyper has probably got just as much grip as the Override, and probably rolls faster.
Its so fast i keep up with Roadies with ease when pumped up to 80psi on my Boardman hybrid. The 700c X 35 measure 37mm wide on my bike.
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Old 01-05-18, 06:45 AM
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Originally Posted by tablatom View Post
The Vittoria Voyager Hyper has probably got just as much grip as the Override, and probably rolls faster.
Its so fast i keep up with Roadies with ease when pumped up to 80psi on my Boardman hybrid. The 700c X 35 measure 37mm wide on my bike.
The 120 tpi Vittoria Hyper and the 127 tpi Hutchinson Override are similar tires in terms of rolling resistance and traction if you use both tires with tubes. Both tires feature a nearly slick tread design and the tires weight about the same. However, the Override is tubeless. Once you install a conventional tube in a tire like the Hyper, the rolling resistance and the weight goes up significantly. In use as a gravel tire, the tubeless Hutchinson Override is lighter and can be used at very low air pressure with zero risk of pinch flats.

As much as I like the Hyper as an all-around tire, and I've worn out two pair over the years, the tubeless Override has enormous advantages on more technical gravel roads and trails. It's also lighter with reduced rolling resistance compared to the Hyper, which cannot be used as tubeless.
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Old 01-05-18, 08:31 AM
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My road bike has 25mm GP4000SII's and my do it all bike has had 35mm Schwalbe G ones and 30mm Schwalbe S ones. Using both bikes for the same ride, there is not enough difference between the GP4000 and S ones to be a factor, the 35mm G ones made a difference that was noticeable. The Schwalbe are great for those patches of loose gravel that gather up in corners of some roads, it's like they have the ability to glue themselves to the traction underneath, but yes they wear pretty quick if you are just using them on pavement.
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Old 01-05-18, 09:11 AM
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Originally Posted by tablatom View Post
The Vittoria Voyager Hyper has probably got just as much grip as the Override, and probably rolls faster.
Its so fast i keep up with Roadies with ease when pumped up to 80psi on my Boardman hybrid. The 700c X 35 measure 37mm wide on my bike.
how fast are the roadies riding?

Originally Posted by Podagrower View Post
My road bike has 25mm GP4000SII's and my do it all bike has had 35mm Schwalbe G ones and 30mm Schwalbe S ones. Using both bikes for the same ride, there is not enough difference between the GP4000 and S ones to be a factor, the 35mm G ones made a difference that was noticeable.
start riding faster and you'll start to see differences.
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Old 01-05-18, 09:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Metieval View Post
how fast are the roadies riding?
They had a serious look with their heads down.
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Old 01-05-18, 09:37 AM
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Originally Posted by tablatom View Post
They had a serious look with their heads down.
sounds like a bonk position, so 12 mph....
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Old 01-05-18, 09:53 AM
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Originally Posted by Barrettscv View Post
The 120 tpi Vittoria Hyper and the 127 tpi Hutchinson Override are similar tires in terms of rolling resistance and traction if you use both tires with tubes. Both tires feature a nearly slick tread design and the tires weight about the same. However, the Override is tubeless. Once you install a conventional tube in a tire like the Hyper, the rolling resistance and the weight goes up significantly. In use as a gravel tire the tubeless Hutchinson Override is lighter and can be used at very low air pressure with zero risk of pinch flats.

As much as I like the Hyper as an all-around tire, and I've worn out two pair over the years, the tubeless Override has enormous advantages on more technical gravel roads and trails. It's also lighter with reduced rolling resistance compared to the Hyper, which cannot be used as tubeless.
How is the Overide on wet ashpalt? I'm currently riding Voyagers, and I want to try tubeless. I love the Voyagers but even on damp asphalt at 2.5-3 bar the grip could be a bit better. When I slow down I do more skids than I would want.

The Overides just became available on Wiggle btw for so cheap:

wiggle.com | Hutchinson Overide Tubeless Folding Gravel Tyre | Cyclocross Tires

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Old 01-05-18, 09:58 AM
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Originally Posted by Facanh View Post
How is the Overide on wet ashpalt? I'm currently riding Voyagers, and I want to try tubeless. I love the Voyagers but even on damp asphalt at 2.5-3 bar the grip could be a bit better. When I slow down I do more skids than I want.

The Overides just became available on Wiggle btw for so cheap:

wiggle.com | Hutchinson Overide Tubeless Folding Gravel Tyre | Cyclocross Tires
They provide moderate traction on wet pavement, like the Voyager Hypers. Neither are especially good on wet, slick pavement. Most bicycle tires are not. You might consider the Continental 4 season in it's largest size.

See: https://www.bikeforums.net/cyclocros...avel-tire.html
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Old 01-05-18, 10:15 AM
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Originally Posted by Facanh View Post
How is the Overide on wet ashpalt? I'm currently riding Voyagers, and I want to try tubeless. I love the Voyagers but even on damp asphalt at 2.5-3 bar the grip could be a bit better. When I slow down I do more skids than I would want.

The Overides just became available on Wiggle btw for so cheap:

wiggle.com | Hutchinson Overide Tubeless Folding Gravel Tyre | Cyclocross Tires

IMO a full on slick is better than knobbys on wet pavement, more surface contact! just saying consider the 700x38 gravelking.

There is also a difference between a soft tire and a durable tire. The Voyagers will be a harder rubber for the durability reason, and the sacrifice will be grip. for the Longest time I ran Michelin dynamic 28c (more like a 31) in winter because they were super cheap and super soft. They would also embed with glass. So they got maybe one season then I tossed them, but at $15 a tire. I didn't care.
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Old 01-05-18, 10:59 AM
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Originally Posted by Barrettscv View Post
They provide moderate traction on wet pavement, like the Voyager Hypers. Neither are especially good on wet, slick pavement. Most bicycle tires are not. You might consider the Continental 4 season in it's largest size.

See: https://www.bikeforums.net/cyclocros...avel-tire.html
Thanks to the suggestion but I can't go back to 28s, too skinny.

Originally Posted by Metieval View Post
IMO a full on slick is better than knobbys on wet pavement, more surface contact! just saying consider the 700x38 gravelking.

There is also a difference between a soft tire and a durable tire. The Voyagers will be a harder rubber for the durability reason, and the sacrifice will be grip. for the Longest time I ran Michelin dynamic 28c (more like a 31) in winter because they were super cheap and super soft. They would also embed with glass. So they got maybe one season then I tossed them, but at $15 a tire. I didn't care.
Yeah I guess slicks are better on wet roads, although sometimes I ride on dirt roads in the winter too if it's not too muddy. Slicks are not the best on damp dirt.

I think first of all I need to decide how I use my bike. Since I moved to 37s about 3 months ago where I ride and how I ride are changing... I didn't think I would ride in the wet either, but it turns out I do. I considered moving down to 650b for maximum plushness and the ability to run fenders. But I still need to decide if I ride more on the road or offroad. For the winter I might go down to 32s so I can fit fenders in the back.

The Gravelking Slicks are really attractive but i'm a bit afraid about their durability. At 320g weight I doubt there is too much rubber, and sometimes I take my bike even to some slow rocky singletrack. I tend to overthink everything, i'm pretty sure I would be thinking non stop when the tyres are going to explode while riding them on rougher stuff.

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Old 01-05-18, 11:19 AM
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Originally Posted by Facanh View Post
Thanks to the suggestion but I can't go back to 28s, too skinny.



Yeah I guess slicks are better on wet roads, although sometimes I ride on dirt roads in the winter too if it's not too muddy. Slicks are not the best on damp dirt.

I think first of all I need to decide how I use my bike. Since I moved to 37s about 3 months ago where I ride and how I ride are changing... I considered moving down to 650b for maximum plushness and the ability to run fenders. But I still need to decide if I ride more on the road or offroad. For the winter I might go down to 32s so I can fit fenders in the back.

The Gravelking Slicks are really attractive but i'm a bit afraid about their durability. At 320g weight I doubt there is too much rubber, and sometimes I take my bike even to some slow rocky singletrack. I tend to overthink everything, i'm pretty sure I would be thinking non stop when the tyres are going to explode while riding them on rougher stuff.

Conti 4 seasons come in 32 now. (probably not what you are looking for though)
another good 32 is the Strada USH, for more rocky than dirt the X'plor USH its 35 though and not tubless yet.

If you are not riding like a maniac on wet roads the Overide is probably good enough. Maniac meaning carving hard turns.
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Old 01-05-18, 11:20 AM
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Continental GP 4 seasons come in 32mm, I just put some on my 700c wheelset. They measure about 32.5mm on Kinlin XR31TS rims (19mm internal width). Unfortunately haven't put any miles on them yet but I have good experiences with the 28mm version.
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Old 01-05-18, 11:28 AM
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Oh I thought 28 is the max, that's good!

I'm not a maniac especially when riding in the winter. In the winter I barely put in an effort, I just ride for fun. I'm out of shape anyways.

My biggest problem right now is mud. I clean my bike, then go out for a 1,5 hour ride, barely go on any dirt roads yet my bike still ends up looking like it had diarrhea. And of course most of the crap collects at the chainstay, then goes into the bottom bracket, onto the drivetrain etc... So even though I like my 37s I'll need to go down to 32s with fenders.

I thought about getting a slightly knobby soft tyre in 32mm for the winter that's not horrible on pavement and gives me a little bit of traction on damp dirt roads.
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Old 01-05-18, 12:52 PM
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What about Gravelking SKs?

Knobby but not too knobby, comes in 32mm (non tubeless), not heavy, reasonable price.
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Old 01-05-18, 01:20 PM
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I have no experience with either Gravelking tire.
I run a tubed Panaracer Pasela 700x38 on my hybrid. I like it so far no winter rides though. actually that bike will never see snow or rain. if I can avoid it) When I jumped down in tire size on gravel bike, I got tired of waiting for the 32 4 Seasons so I bought the 28 GP4000sII. (31 on my aksium wheels) I jumped down on the Gravel bike for fender reasons. I love riding in the rain, but rain isn't the issue, the issue is wet roads, road debris, and whatever else is on the roads that gets sprayed up when wet. oils, beer, soda, spit, piss, who knows what....
I could probably squeak a 35 with fenders but its tight, so fender + 32.

truth be told, riding the 38/40 size on gravel ruined me. I don't want to ride less than that now on gravel. but I can mostly avoid gravel.

If I keep the bike, my tire choices would be 35 (tubed) overide, 32 (tubed) gravelking, or 32 (tubed) Strada USH, 32 4 Season.


I've other reasons to sell/replace the bike though... so whatever; lol
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Old 01-05-18, 02:36 PM
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Originally Posted by tablatom View Post
The Vittoria Voyager Hyper has probably got just as much grip as the Override, and probably rolls faster.
Its so fast i keep up with Roadies with ease when pumped up to 80psi on my Boardman hybrid. The 700c X 35 measure 37mm wide on my bike.
Originally Posted by Metieval View Post
how fast are the roadies riding?



start riding faster and you'll start to see differences.
I've had Vittoria Voyager Hypers in 40mm, and GP4000s in 25 and 28mm.

TBH, the differences in speed are small enough to not be able to tell the difference. On bad pavement, I'm not convinced the 40mm Voyagers are not faster. Looking at rolling resistance tests, the GP has the Voyager by a handful of watts. But the Voyager will pick up watts the worse the pavement is. Plus I was riding in absolute confidence...not really worrying about the pavement at all while group members were pointing out every little crack in the road. I've taken them on fast group road rides as well. They were just fine cruising at 23-25mph with sprints around 30.

I don't think there's any reason to accept a sacrifice in rolling resistance when going to a wider tire. People think they're slower because of the predominance of slow tires available in wider sizes relative to skinnier sizes.

Oh...also I ran the Hypers at ~50-55psi

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Old 01-05-18, 02:40 PM
  #46  
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Originally Posted by johngwheeler View Post
I've just put on some Clement X'PLOR MSO 40mm clinchers on to my Giant TCX, for my first gravel ride. Previously the bike was in "commuter mode" with 28mm GP4000S2 tires.
....What has your experience been?
I have both of those tires. The MSO's slow me down about 2mph relative to the 28mm GP4000S2 tires (and I am fairly slow to begin with).

You might want to try 35mm XPLOR USH 120tpi. They will still be slower that the 28mm GP4000S2 tires, but snappier than the MSOs.
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Old 01-05-18, 02:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Metieval View Post
There is also a difference between a soft tire and a durable tire. The Voyagers will be a harder rubber for the durability reason, and the sacrifice will be grip.
I can attest to this. I loved my Hypers, but the GP4000 DOES have a bit better grip on wet pavement.
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Old 01-05-18, 02:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Abe_Froman View Post
I've had Vittoria Voyager Hypers in 40mm, and GP4000s in 25 and 28mm.

TBH, the differences in speed are small enough to not be able to tell the difference. On bad pavement, I'm not convinced the 40mm Voyagers are not faster. I've taken them on fast group road rides as well. They were just fine cruising at 23-25mph with sprints around 30.
I can tell the difference between a GP4000sII 25 and a Michelin PRo4 Endurance 25c on the exact same bike on the exact same 20 mile ride

Garmin will back that difference up in fact.

cruising and sprints means nothing, my fastest sprint was on a heavy bike, heavy wheels, and heavy tires. Yet that bike will yield the slower averages. on the same roads. time and again.

So we can toss the "feels like", and "Can't tell the difference" statements out.

Voyayer hyper has like a 18 watt roll resistance compared to the 12 watt GP4000sII with the pro4 endurance being 14, and a GP TT being 10. I've ridden 3 of those tires, and my garmin suggest that those watt differences between the tires are exactly that! regardless of whatever the roll resistance actually is.
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Old 01-05-18, 02:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Metieval View Post
I can tell the difference between a GP4000sII 25 and a Michelin PRo4 Endurance 25c on the exact same bike on the exact same 20 mile ride

Garmin will back that difference up in fact.

cruising and sprints means nothing, my fastest sprint was on a heavy bike, heavy wheels, and heavy tires. Yet that bike will yield the slower averages. on the same roads. time and again.

So we can toss the "feels like", and "Can't tell the difference" statements out.

Voyayer hyper has like a 18 watt roll resistance compared to the 12 watt GP4000sII with the pro4 endurance being 14, and a GP TT being 10. I've ridden 3 of those tires, and my garmin suggest that those watt differences between the tires are exactly that! regardless of whatever the roll resistance actually is.
Right. That's basically what I just said.

6 watts difference between GP and Hypers is what I would call a 'handful.' And like I said...I think that difference gets eaten up by less than perfect pavement. Given the right road conditions, I think it's entirely possible the Hypers could be faster.

But the real takeaway from this should be they're all FAST tires. One is skinny and fast, the other is wide and fast. Which is fastER? Probably the GP, but IMO it depends.
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Old 01-05-18, 02:54 PM
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Facanh
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Originally Posted by Metieval View Post
Voyayer hyper has like a 18 watt roll resistance compared to the 12 watt GP4000sII
Don't forget pressures. Yep, the GP4000 SII has 12.2 watts of rolling resistance according to bicyclerollingresistance.com.

At 8.3 bar...

35c Voyagers at 4.0 bar: 17.7 Watts

25c GP4000 SII at 4.1 bar: 15.5 Watts

And this is in a "lab" situation. Real world roads with real potholes, that's another story.

Last edited by Facanh; 01-05-18 at 02:58 PM.
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