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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.

32, 35 or 40 tires?

Old 02-20-19, 05:21 PM
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Hondo Gravel
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32, 35 or 40 tires?

What tire width do yall prefer? I currently have 35s on my bike and they roll good on the paved sections and are adequate on hard packed gravel. I used 40s find them slow on pavement but better on the rougher gravel sections. Im just curious what fellow gravel grinders are running.
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Old 02-20-19, 05:40 PM
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38mm Compass Barlow Pass TC, and I also have 38mm Steilacoom TC on another wheel-set, which are vastly superior to the WTB Nanos they replaced.
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Old 02-20-19, 07:14 PM
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I like my 45mm riddlers, but 40s are faster and perfectly capable on most of the gravel around here. I think the reason so many gravel tires are in the 38-40mm range is that this is the widely considered sweet spot for comfort/speed.
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Old 02-20-19, 08:35 PM
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Most gravel tires are 38-40mm because that's what easily fit in "cross" bikes from 3-4 years ago that served as the base for gravel bikes. 40mm is also right at the limit before technical problems start cropping up at the bottom bracket juncture if you want to have non-mtb geometry and a 68mm bb shell + other stuff.

I went from 32->35->40 within the first 3 gravel events I did as it was obvious the terrain and climate down here in the southeast wasn't going to favor the narrower sizes. 40mm has served me well for the past four years but late last year I went and upgraded to 45mm. I haven't noticed much difference on pavement but I can pull out a little bit more performance on anything more technical than mild gravel compared to 40s. The extra little bit of speed down hill and cornering ability can make a huge difference over a 3-4 hour event. IMO it outweighs the slight weight, aero and paved rolling resistance penalties.
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Old 02-20-19, 09:56 PM
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Yup I think the general consensus is the 40 size tire followed by the 38. So I will be looking into purchasing some 40s soon. I had 40 Nanoraptors by wore them out so I got Schwalbe Marathons on my bike now. I use these tires for Katy Trail they work well for that. 40s sounds best for most gravel roads.
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Old 02-20-19, 11:10 PM
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40 or 42. If the 40mm tires you tried were lower end, then yeah it makes sense they would feel sluggish.

as important as width is, having a quality tire is just as important for performance.
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Old 02-21-19, 06:35 AM
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I'm running 40mm Maxxis Ramblers that are said to measure at 38mm. They came with my bike I love them. Fast on pavement, great grip off road. I would like to know what tire would be faster without loosing too much grip. I'm thinking Schwalbe G-One Allround or 37mm WTB Riddlers?
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Old 02-21-19, 10:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Hondo Gravel View Post
What tire width do yall prefer? I currently have 35s on my bike and they roll good on the paved sections and are adequate on hard packed gravel. I used 40s find them slow on pavement but better on the rougher gravel sections. Im just curious what fellow gravel grinders are running.
I think you got it. 40 is the sweet spot.

In the summer/fall I tend to go on 32mm slicks, as our "gravel" is often smoother than our asphalt.
In the winter/spring I tend to go 40mm because the roads are a lot messier.
If I'm doing something rough, single track, or soft, I'll put a 50mm in the front.

40mm is a great sweet spot though. Going smaller is mostly a weight issue.
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Old 02-21-19, 10:53 AM
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Originally Posted by Hmmm View Post
I'm running 40mm Maxxis Ramblers that are said to measure at 38mm. They came with my bike I love them. Fast on pavement, great grip off road. I would like to know what tire would be faster without loosing too much grip. I'm thinking Schwalbe G-One Allround or 37mm WTB Riddlers?
I don't think you can get much better than the Rambler. Its about the lightest in its class. I can't tell much difference with the G-One, other than the G is a little heavier, rolls pretty smooth, and is better in snow and worse in muddy conditions. Pretty subtle differences though.
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Old 02-21-19, 11:10 AM
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Of course 40mm Marathons are going to feel slow. There is no reason to use those tires. They offer a little more puncture protection but the ride feel is terrible.

Switch to 40, 42, or 45mm tires with a supple sidewall and you'll prefer them for all types of riding, even pavement. Compass, Soma Supple Vitesse, WTB, Grand Bois, whatever. They are leaps and bounds ahead of the Marathons which are overbuilt traditional touring tires.
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Old 02-21-19, 11:46 AM
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It depends. For an all-around tire (think Challenge Gravel Grinder Race & similar), I like a 38mm tire. It works well on the vast majority of surfaces. And the Gravel Grinder Race has little side knobbies that make it work as well as a 40mm on surfaces (like loose gravel and soft soil) where a little extra width is helpful.

But if it's muddy (and my frame offers enough clearance) or rocky (football size and bigger), I prefer something 43mm to 45mm. The added volume is extremely helpful in those situations.

And if I'm going to be on pavement and/or "civilized" gravel -- gravel that's well manicured / graded on a regular basis -- I'll go with a 32mm tire. Or even a 28mm on my road bike.
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Old 02-21-19, 12:04 PM
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38mm for me.
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Old 02-21-19, 12:19 PM
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45
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Old 02-21-19, 12:51 PM
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40mm WTB Nano's. The gravel I ride is pretty rough.
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Old 02-21-19, 01:43 PM
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33-40mm.
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Old 02-21-19, 03:58 PM
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I will say if its muddy, a narrow tire works better for me. I road 60mm slicks over mud and it was a nightmare. Something around 30mm would dig right into the mud and give me traction and steering stability. Bigger tires just float, or depend on deep lugs to maintain stability in mud.
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Old 02-21-19, 04:02 PM
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It depends. Some people ride on gravel with 25. I don't know what someone considers comfort or what they consider gravel or for how far or often they are on said gravel either

Me personally, once above the low 30's when you are talking 3-8 mm difference, the actual tire and it's characteristics is far more important than the specific size. I have to two different 40's that are night and day difference between each other. That being said... I start my search at 38 and go up from there.

Last edited by u235; 02-21-19 at 08:47 PM.
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Old 02-22-19, 11:47 AM
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38s so far for me. Soma Shikoro. Good all arounder.
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Old 02-22-19, 04:26 PM
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Originally Posted by FlashBazbo View Post
It depends. For an all-around tire (think Challenge Gravel Grinder Race & similar), I like a 38mm tire. It works well on the vast majority of surfaces. And the Gravel Grinder Race has little side knobbies that make it work as well as a 40mm on surfaces (like loose gravel and soft soil) where a little extra width is helpful.
Oooo these look fast! I'm riding an hour of pavement and hard packed dirt and smooth single track. The Challange Gravel Grinder Race in 42 looks very interesting. Just saw they have the 38 in brown which is awesome.

Also chas58: I just need Ramblers in tan walls then I'll be happy. Or at least giant yellow MAXXIS text.

The X'Plor MSO from Donnelly looks fast as well.
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Old 02-22-19, 04:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Hmmm View Post
Oooo these look fast! I'm riding an hour of pavement and hard packed dirt and smooth single track. The Challange Gravel Grinder Race in 42 looks very interesting. Just saw they have the 38 in brown which is awesome.
I have raced both the 38mm and 42mm Gravel Grinder Race. For pavement, hard packed dirt, and smooth single track, I would definitely go with the 38mm. The 38mm is a much faster tire -- more of a difference than 4mm in width would make you think. For me, the 42mm tire is more for deep mud, loose sand, and rocky / MTB style courses.

How fast is the 38mm tire? On an 8 mile stretch of smooth pavement, I once held a Strava KOM that I captured using 38mm Challenge Gravel Grinder Race tires on a Niner RLT9 bike. Even now, five years later, my time is 2nd fastest on that segment. I used the same tires for Dirty Kanza. The 38's are extremely versatile.
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Old 03-06-19, 02:59 PM
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Originally Posted by wgscott View Post
38mm Compass Barlow Pass TC, and I also have 38mm Steilacoom TC on another wheel-set, which are vastly superior to the WTB Nanos they replaced.
ABSOLUTELY AGREE. Compass may have a few more flats, but absolutely worth it! Compass is now called Renee Herse however. They ar e really fast and comfortable tires...
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Old 03-06-19, 03:37 PM
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I'm running 700x30 Schwalbe S One, which are tough enough for any gravel and are very fast on pavement. These measure 32mm wide.

I'm using two tires that are 700x38 nominal size but both measure 40mm wide. The nearly slick Hutchinson Override and the semislick Vittoria Terreno dry are both excellent.

Certainly the bigger tire is fastest on gravel and the ride comfort makes the larger tire better.
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Old 03-06-19, 05:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Barrettscv View Post
I'm running 700x30 Schwalbe S One, which are tough enough for any gravel and are very fast on pavement. These measure 32mm wide.

I'm using two tires that are 700x38 nominal size but both measure 40mm wide. The nearly slick Hutchinson Override and the semislick Vittoria Terreno dry are both excellent.

Certainly the bigger tire is fastest on gravel and the ride comfort makes the larger tire better.
Thoughts on Overide comfort and suppleness compared to any others you've used off asphalt? I have them to but always looking and comparing.

Last edited by u235; 03-06-19 at 05:31 PM.
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Old 03-06-19, 05:15 PM
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I run slick 38s at about 40 psi most of the time. This seems like a good combination of float and speed. My gravel bike can fit up to 50s but that's overkill for me as I ride smooth gravel and dirt roads mostly on it.
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Old 03-06-19, 07:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Hiro11 View Post
I run slick 38s at about 40 psi most of the time. This seems like a good combination of float and speed. My gravel bike can fit up to 50s but that's overkill for me as I ride smooth gravel and dirt roads mostly on it.
what bike do you have that runs 50s?
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