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Tubeless Tire Recommendations for 50/50 Gravel and Asphalt

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Tubeless Tire Recommendations for 50/50 Gravel and Asphalt

Old 06-16-20, 06:53 AM
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PoorInRichfield
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Tubeless Tire Recommendations for 50/50 Gravel and Asphalt

I'm building a second set of wheels to use primarily for riding the many Rails-to-Trails bike trails in my state. Most of these trails are a mix of asphalt and crushed gravel. While the gravel is packed most of the time, bad weather can cause wash-outs and make the gravel really loose.

For those of you who ride in similar conditions, what tires do you recommend?

For this second set of wheels, I'm trying to find a decent set of tubeless ready tires that can give me reasonable traction in the gravel, but will also roll reasonably well on asphalt as a lot of the time the trails are paved. As such, I'm thinking that the tire should either have a smooth or lightly treaded center section. My road tires are Continental GP5000 TL tires which are really nice, so I thought I'd go to Conti for some gravel tires. However, it looks like they're a bit late-to-the-game with tubeless offerings for gravel tires. The max tire size for my bike is 700x38c.

This is pretty typical of the terrain on the Wisconsin rails-to-trails trails...




Here's a Continental CX tire that seems like it has a decent tread pattern but isn't available as tubeless (yet)...


Last edited by PoorInRichfield; 06-16-20 at 07:20 AM.
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Old 06-16-20, 07:04 AM
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Continental Terra Speed comes in a 35mm and tubeless, very fast small knobbed tire, but also wears out quickly.

Panaracer just released a new GravelKing SS, looks promising for road/gravel mix, I'm going to try a set next time I need tires.

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Old 06-16-20, 07:08 AM
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wgscott
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Rene Herse Barlow Pass (700C x 38mm) sound ideal for your application. I run them with tubes, but they can be run tubeless (better to use their sealant).

Those knobs on the the tire you posted won't really do anything.

If you need knobs, the Steilacoom is a good option. I use that on really rough stuff, and mud.
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Old 06-16-20, 07:16 AM
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PoorInRichfield
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Originally Posted by wgscott View Post
Those knobs on the the tire you posted won't really do anything.
When the trails are in good condition, I've been able to ride them w/ 25 or 28C slicks w/o issue, so I don't think I need a very aggressive tread. Other than in the occasional wash-out, the only other time I've wished I had a little more traction was on the rare occasion where I needed to stop fast. I figured that maybe the scale-lookin' tread on the Conti's might help there.
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Old 06-16-20, 07:39 AM
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Hutchinson Overide 35 or 37. My 37 comes in at just over 38ish on 23 rims. Great on road and packed gravel wet or dry but a banana peel when there is wet dirt involved or wet potholes/damaged gravel path (you are using 28 slicks now so you are used to that). Responds good to comfort with changes in pressure as needed for gravel. Wear is not great, maybe 3K miles and the back is worn. Never a problem using tubeless.

EDIT: the larger version is a labeled a 38, not a 37.

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Old 06-16-20, 07:43 AM
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Originally Posted by u235 View Post
Hutchinson Overide 35 or 37.
Seconded.
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Old 06-16-20, 08:33 AM
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For rail-trails and paved surfaces only, and with your tire clearance needs, I would just run 700x35c GravelKing slicks, or a mix with an SK or SS on the front, with a slick on the rear.
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Old 06-16-20, 11:25 AM
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I have a 2020 Domane as well and I'm also running Conti 5000 Tubeless as my road tire. For gravel, I'm running Schwalbe G-One All Around (tubeless) and I'm quite happy with them. Since you mentioned doing the trails with regular slicks, I think the Schwalbe G-One Speed could be a great fit for you.
Check out the Schwalbe range:

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Old 06-16-20, 11:40 AM
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I'll second the vote for the Schwalbe G-1 all around tubeless for your needs. I have them in 700x38c tubeless on my Niner RDO and they have been perfect for my needs. About 40% road and 60% gravel; mainly smooth, lots of decomposed granite trails. Inflated properly (I use 45psi most of the time), they have amazing grip on gravel trails; yet they roll fast on the road. I have put about 3500 miles on my first set and the front looks new. The rear is showing just a bit of wear, but still has life left. I just ordered up another set.


Tire when new...
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Old 06-16-20, 01:27 PM
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Originally Posted by PoorInRichfield View Post
When the trails are in good condition, I've been able to ride them w/ 25 or 28C slicks w/o issue, so I don't think I need a very aggressive tread. Other than in the occasional wash-out, the only other time I've wished I had a little more traction was on the rare occasion where I needed to stop fast. I figured that maybe the scale-lookin' tread on the Conti's might help there.
For this kind of terrain, and knowing that you sometimes roll 25 or 28c road tires, I'd suggest looking at 33c CX file treads. Something like a Challenge Chicane TLR would be light and fast on asphalt, and still give you some control in corners if things are loose.
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Old 06-16-20, 02:53 PM
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Originally Posted by PoorInRichfield View Post
For those of you who ride in similar conditions, what tires do you recommend?
A smooth and fast rolling tire with as much volume as your frame can handle. Volume will help with imperfections and loose sections due to washout more than tire tread.
Compass/RH has been mentioned. Schwalbe G series has been mentioned. Donnelly MSO 36 tubeless is another(the middle is smooth).
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Old 06-16-20, 08:19 PM
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I was running the Specialized Sawtooth and really liked them but have recently switched to the Specialized Pathfinder Pro. Both in 42’s because running 40 PSI is like riding a magic carpet.



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Old 06-16-20, 11:26 PM
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I also have the Schwalbe G-One All Arounds in 38 on my Niner RDO and have been pretty pleased with them. They roll faster on pavement than I expected.
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Old 06-17-20, 07:02 AM
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PoorInRichfield
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Thanks everyone for your input... lots of tires here that I didn't know existed!

I think it's funny how in the road bike world, there's pretty much two tubeless tires that are loved by all... the Conti GP5000 TL and Schwalbe Pros. In the gravel world, I can see that the cream hasn't quite risen to the top yet... or there is a lot of cream

I'm going to have to read some reviews on all the tires suggested, although I'll admit I'm most intrigued by the Specialized Pathfinder Pro suggested by BluFalconActual as I like the center ridge. Since it's usually the the center of the tire that wears fastest, I'm assuming that any tire with minimal tread in the center soon won't have any tread ones the tire wears, negating the tread. I've had a little experience with Specialized tires in the past and found them to be really good tires... although my Trek bike might have an issue rollin' with a competitors tires!
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Old 06-17-20, 08:47 AM
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BluFalconActual
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I roll them on my Giant so no shame in that. Colin Strickland rolls around on them on his Allied and he’s faster than all of us here lol
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Old 06-17-20, 10:01 AM
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another candidate would be a Teravail Rampart, kinda heavy in my opinion though
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Old 06-17-20, 10:35 AM
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Add Continental Terra Speed. Feedback has been that they are even better than the excellent Schwalbe G-One All-around.
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Old 06-17-20, 10:51 AM
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G-one is my go-to, but the other suggestions look good too.
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Old 06-17-20, 12:28 PM
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u235
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Originally Posted by vinuneuro View Post
Add Continental Terra Speed. Feedback has been that they are even better than the excellent Schwalbe G-One All-around.
That is on my short list too. I've been using the Speedride for years and it is cheap and a great tire for mix and takes a lot of abuse but its not TL. The only thing keeping from pulling the trigger is it seems ideal in places that I already use a 45c riddler.. Where I may end up going is the 38 Overide in the back and the 40 Terra Speed up front for days when the Riddler is overkill.

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Old 06-17-20, 06:04 PM
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PoorInRichfield
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Old but interesting video for the Panaracer Gravel King tires from one of my favorite YouTubers (fast-forwarded to actual riding on gravel):


Now I'm total baffled as to what a good gravel tire should be... the Gravel King sure looks like a road tire, but if it works, it works!
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Old 06-17-20, 08:06 PM
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Originally Posted by PoorInRichfield View Post
Old but interesting video for the Panaracer Gravel King tires from one of my favorite YouTubers (fast-forwarded to actual riding on gravel):

https://youtu.be/Ziw707_Dnmg?t=529

Now I'm total baffled as to what a good gravel tire should be... the Gravel King sure looks like a road tire, but if it works, it works!

Gravel means different things to different people. You will never be traction limited with a slick tire on gravel. Slick tread is perfect on gravel and good on dry hard. A good road/gravel tire is a slick, file thread, small tread or something with some edge bite that is conforming and rolls great on asphalt to. I'd take a wider conforming tire with no tread than a smaller tire with tread every time on gravel. Maybe you adjust pressure depending on how much and how bad the gravel is. I mentioned the Hutchinson Overide. Perfect example of that. Where tires like that fail is off camber mud or wet grass, peanut butter smooth wet clay, loose over hard with bends, sandy areas etc.. None of those are "gravel". Most gravel trails have some of that in areas of washout or runoff etc but if you can hold your line, maybe take some weight off the front a bit and go straight through. Try to dodge it and go around in the mud and it gets squirrelly or in wet clay and you are down. Once your route has more of the later where a slick is not ideal, you start with adding traction. More than likely that compromise means you start taking away from the road rolling efficiency. That's not a road+gravel tire, that is a mixed terrain trail tire that may or may not roll as good as others on the road. I am generalizing and not trying to classify every tire on only if it is has tread or not. Point is you don't need any tread for gravel at all, second point, define gravel

Last edited by u235; 06-17-20 at 10:33 PM.
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Old 06-17-20, 10:01 PM
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Originally Posted by PoorInRichfield View Post
Now I'm total baffled as to what a good gravel tire should be... the Gravel King sure looks like a road tire, but if it works, it works!
A good gravel tire is one that you like the look of and competently handles terrain you ride.
Thats it.

Some like a fast tire and are willing to sacrifice tread life and/or protecrion. Some like a reliable tire and are willing to sacrifice speed.


It really comes down to look and if it does well on where you ride.
a slick tire is absolutely fine for what you will ride. Itll probably roll faster. Or a tread with a centerline will roll well too.
There are a lot of varying styles of gravel tires that are all 'good'.
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Old 06-29-20, 03:55 PM
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I love the WTB BYWAY ROAD TCS Tire. The roll amazingly good on tarmac and they can handle light gravel very well! The tire is also very supple and comfortable, It also comes with the tan wall if you are into that, I think it looks amazing on most bikes.
Only downside for me is durability which is not the best.
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Old 07-01-20, 11:13 PM
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Originally Posted by wgscott View Post
Rene Herse Barlow Pass (700C x 38mm) sound ideal for your application. I run them with tubes, but they can be run tubeless (better to use their sealant).
I second this recommendation. I run mine tubeless. Older versions had issues with tubeless, but it seems that the new ones have it worked out. I run the superlight version.

In my experience it excels on both pavement and gravel.

Last edited by Kapusta; 07-01-20 at 11:21 PM.
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Old 07-02-20, 09:54 PM
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I just mounted a set of Michelin Power Gravel tires in a tubeless setup on my Trek. I ride it several times a week to and from work through a mix of road and gravel. They ride nice on just about everything I have ridden them on so far.
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