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Bad roads for road bikes

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Bad roads for road bikes

Old 06-07-23, 10:37 AM
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Vixar
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Bad roads for road bikes

Iím new to road cycling and I really donít know if I can adventure on bad roads without getting punctures. SoÖis it safe on short portions of dirt or light gravel ? Whatís the worst road type you can cycle on with 25 mm tyres without getting punctures ? (Of course, I might end up on this roads out of necessity or bad planning, not desire).
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Old 06-07-23, 10:52 AM
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No one can guarantee you to be puncture-free on any kind of road, and the durability of tires varies pretty widely with how they are built. One of the routes I regularly ride on my road bike (25mm lightweight "race" tires), includes a short stretch of dirt road that is pretty free from rocks or debris that would do significant damage, and I've had zero issues. I've had that bike in other dirt, as well. You want to avoid sharp edges that can slash big gashes in the tire, or hard impacts that could pinch-flat the tire or damage the rim. The rest is largely up to your handling skills and making good judgement about whether it's manageable.

Here's an example where I would have no problems taking my road bike...
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Old 06-07-23, 10:57 AM
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I've ridden on short stretches of road that look like that photo on 25mm and 28mm tires. It's fine. The handling can get a little squirrely on narrow tires mostly due to lack of grip on loose surfaces.
If you're frequently hitting roads like that, 28mm or 32mm will be more comfortable and handle a little better. Running lower pressure helps too.
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Old 06-07-23, 11:08 AM
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The most likely cause of a flat in my experience is a thorn. We have goathead thorns here. Also, glass, pieces of wire from car tires and all kinds of debris. These things are present on paved roads. When on dirt or dirty pavement you have to watch for sharp rocks.
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Old 06-07-23, 12:58 PM
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One of the very important things to do if you get a flat is to make sure you determine why you got the flat. Very few of my flats in the last 15 years have been from actual punctures from road hazards or thorns. Most were... cough, cough, errrr, error on my part installing the tubes or failue to keep it inflated enough for the road bumps and other things I was encountering.

Unless you truly live where there are goat heads and other types of thorns, then the road is the least of your worries. I use tire with a low rolling resistance which some think makes them more likely to puncture. But I haven't found that to be true. I haven't had a flat from a puncture or any other reason in at least 18 months if not more than 24 months.

And even that flat was more because I wore the tire down past the threads and the air was showing inside.
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Old 06-07-23, 02:10 PM
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I personally would go wider if possible & set it up to run lower PSI tubeless tires. It will not stop punctures, but it is more likely to seal up mid ride & you'll be able to address it at a better time/location.
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Old 06-07-23, 02:19 PM
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I have 38 mm road bike tires for exactly this reason.
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Old 06-07-23, 02:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Vixar
Iím new to road cycling and I really donít know if I can adventure on bad roads without getting punctures. SoÖis it safe on short portions of dirt or light gravel ? Whatís the worst road type you can cycle on with 25 mm tyres without getting punctures ? (Of course, I might end up on this roads out of necessity or bad planning, not desire).
Not only can you do short stretches of gravel on 25mm road tires, you can do longer stretches as well.
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Old 06-07-23, 07:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Vixar
Iím new to road cycling and I really donít know if I can adventure on bad roads without getting punctures. SoÖis it safe on short portions of dirt or light gravel ? Whatís the worst road type you can cycle on with 25 mm tyres without getting punctures ? (Of course, I might end up on this roads out of necessity or bad planning, not desire).
This is heavily regional, heavily rider-dependent, and also heavily dependent on the tire and tire setup. If you install 25mm Marathon Plus tires and pump them to over 100PSI, for example, you'll probably be able to ride just about any road without flatting... but it'll be horrendously uncomfortable and fairly slow.

Easiest way to figure this out is to try riding whatever roads you're concerned about on whatever setup you have, and seeing what the shortcomings are. If you get a flat, figure out what caused it, fix it, and continue the ride. If the flat was caused by something that'll be a common problem for you on that road, either address that cause or avoid such roads when using that setup.
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Old 06-07-23, 08:10 PM
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All my flats that I could identify were from glass or wire. I haven't regularly ridden dirt roads in years, but I did frequently before they paved them all it was never a problem. Rough roads aren't really a great concern unless they have big potholes. You don't want to hit those. But otherwise if it isn't too rough to ride your tires should handle it.

And 25s don't handle sand well. You won't get a flat but you might get dumped if you aren't cautious.

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Old 06-07-23, 09:01 PM
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I've never found road quality to affect frequency of punctures. Around here, I get punctures from the grit they spread on the roads when it's snowy or icy and then don't sweep off until maybe April. I mostly run Conti 5000 tubed tires which seldom flat. It's usually tiny rocks or glass or tiny bits of wire, though sometimes I make a steering error and get a sidewall cut from a small rock. I make sure to pump up enough to avoid pinch flats.
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Old 06-08-23, 02:29 AM
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Thanks everyone !
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Old 06-08-23, 04:56 AM
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How long is a piece of string?

There are heavy riders who are skilled and know how to "ride light" that can darn near traverse anything on 700x25 tires and there are 150 pound or less riders who pinch flat on a shadow in the road using the same wheels/tires. In my opinion, THAT is the number one thing to take into account when considering tires for conditions. That said, the answers above cover it nicely.
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Old 06-08-23, 06:08 AM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy
I've never found road quality to affect frequency of punctures. Around here, I get punctures from the grit they spread on the roads when it's snowy or icy and then don't sweep off until maybe April.
+2

I used to live in Peoria IL and at the time they used to spread cinders on the roads in the winter. Imagine billions of tiny, razor-like pebbles accumulating along the sides of the roads. Unlike salt, they weren't water-soluble so they would stick around for many months until (maybe) a torrential rain might wash them away. They were a year-round hazard!
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Old 06-08-23, 07:51 AM
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Jobst Brandt (and friends) used to ride EVERYTHING on 25mm tires.


(If you're interested in reading more about his adventures, Ray Hosler's blog is good, and there is a Kickstarter for an upcoming book!)
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Old 06-08-23, 07:59 AM
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Any idea where the pic is located?
Looks like the adobe clay I'm familiar with in SoCal but I'm each region has their own types.
Originally Posted by ThermionicScott
Jobst Brandt (and friends) used to ride EVERYTHING on 25mm tires.


(If you're interested in reading more about his adventures, Ray Hosler's blog is good, and there is a Kickstarter for an upcoming book!)
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Old 06-08-23, 08:07 AM
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you need to buy a dedicated graevelle bike to ride on dirt. The road bike might break, its meant for roads
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Old 06-08-23, 08:11 AM
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Originally Posted by ThermionicScott
Ive seen this picture many times and always wondered when it was taken. '84ish?

- Everyone has non-aero brakes.
- The 'Nishiki' logo looks more modern 80s than some of what the brand produced in the 70s.
- 'Nishiki' looks like it is sublimated on the shorts and I think that wasnt introduced until after the 70s.
- Ritchey doesnt look young, but also not old.
- Looks like most everyone has cages/straps.
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Old 06-08-23, 08:11 AM
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Originally Posted by CAT7RDR
Any idea where the pic is located?
Looks like the adobe clay I'm familiar with in SoCal but I'm each region has their own types.
A logging road on the way to Butano Ridge Trail in Pescadero Creek Park (I had to look it up in my copy of "Once Upon a Ride..." )
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Old 06-08-23, 08:12 AM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr
Ive seen this picture many times and always wondered when it was taken. '84ish?

- Everyone has non-aero brakes.
- The 'Nishiki' logo looks more modern 80s than some of what the brand produced in the 70s.
- 'Nishiki' looks like it is sublimated on the shorts and I think that wasnt introduced until after the 70s.
- Ritchey doesnt look young, but also not old.
- Looks like most everyone has cages/straps.
Yep, March 1984!
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There's no such thing as too far.. just lack of time
Originally Posted by noglider
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Old 06-08-23, 08:51 AM
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"Jobst Brandt (and friends) used to ride EVERYTHING on 25mm tires. "

I'd be surprised if most of those weren't 23's.
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Old 06-08-23, 09:12 AM
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Originally Posted by Jack Tone
"Jobst Brandt (and friends) used to ride EVERYTHING on 25mm tires. "

I'd be surprised if most of those weren't 23's.
I've ridden a little dirt on 23s.
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Old 06-08-23, 09:25 AM
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Originally Posted by big john
I've ridden a little dirt on 23s.
I've ridden some dirty pavement on 23's if I remember right.
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Old 06-08-23, 05:21 PM
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Originally Posted by ThermionicScott
Yep, March 1984!
Ha, well that's my win for the day- I guessed when a picture was taken.
In college my parents moved out to CA and for a year lived in Pescadero before moving to Half Moon Bay.
The park you mention is like 20mi from Pescadero, but that whole area is just fascinatingly barren. It's quite the juxtaposition- it's in an are with one of the most densely populated cities and a densely populated metro, but you can easily get lost and in serious trouble in the Santa Cruz mountains.

Wild that they rode road bikes.
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Old 06-11-23, 01:06 PM
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come ride in new Orleans Louisiana, you call it a lucky day when you find a smooth section of road. the city has been adding bike lanes that have now become gutters for all the trash and broken bottles. I run Conti gp 5000 at 80 psi
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