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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Alrighty Iowans and TI vets, What are you running on the gravel out there?

I know there is no magic bullet tire for anything that might come along, but I'd like to get a better idea of what works for people who are riding the backroads of Iowa.

Right now I'm leaning towards 700x35 Panaracer Paselas for dry conditions and maybe a 42mm Mythos CX rear and 44mm Mutanoraptor front for wet and sloppy conditions. I do have the option of full on 29" rubber, but I don't see the reason to haul around that much rubber for a road ride. But hey I could be wrong.

Please advise.
 

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Harmonius Wrench
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Depends on your aims

You're going to get answers all over the board here, but I'll give you my take, as I ride alot of gravel.

Your thinking on tires is fine. No reason that you can not run what you are suggesting. I would say those are great choices for someone going for a top placing. Heck, we even had a guy last year running a road bike with 25mm slicks! He was certainly sinking into the mire more than his other front running mates, so I'm not sure he would have gone the distance had the event had any finishers. But that's another story..........

I think that what is getting lost most of the time in many of these discussions is the time factor. Sure, you could run skinny rubber. Why not? Ummm....................mile 276 at hour 20 maybe? How many folks can take the extra pounding that skinnier rubber inflicts for 25-30 hours straight? If you know you can, then have at 'er, mate!

Fatter tires are an insurance policy. Yes, they may weigh more, but they also are suspension, taking all the little hits that add up over a long event like T.I. They also ward off pinch flats, which are more likely to happen when you are tired and running in the dark on roads strewn with gravel.

Fatter tires are also floatation, for softer road conditions, like the "B" level maintenance roads.

How much you think you'll need for your body and rig will determine how wide a tire you run.
 

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Good question. I was thinking about some Schwalbe Marathon XR's. Probably 35's or even 40's. I use to run Maxxis 37's for a while and took them off road without too many problems.

G-Ted got a good point though about the amount of saddle time. I still think I'm leaning towards a fat road tire.

On a related note, it seems that there's an aversion to fenders in Iowa. I've seen a bunch of photos from training and recon rides where you end up covered in grit. I've even read it described as cement like once it dries. So why no fenders? They wouldn't even need to be full fenders but I'd at least think the clip on ones would help. If there's any moisture in the forecast come start time I was planning on running them.
 

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Harmonius Wrench
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Not a fan of the fender

fxdwhl said:
On a related note, it seems that there's an aversion to fenders in Iowa. I've seen a bunch of photos from training and recon rides where you end up covered in grit. I've even read it described as cement like once it dries. So why no fenders? They wouldn't even need to be full fenders but I'd at least think the clip on ones would help. If there's any moisture in the forecast come start time I was planning on running them.
I don't see any reasons that would overwhelmingly go against running a fender, but I don't like them and here's why.

1. Clearance: Rocks, and mud from "B" level roads don't get along with fenders too well, especially if you run them down close to the tires.

2. Wind: Conversely, if you run them high enough to clear the debris, then they catch the wind like a sail, and I work hard enough as it is. I really would rather be splattered and have a dirty bike than to work harder than I needed to on a gravel grinder.

That said, fenders might be a great choice for high resistance training rides! Hmmm.........
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I think the wind resistance of fenders may be a bit overrated. I've ridden tons of miles on a bike with full enders and it may slow you down a bit, but not enough for me to take them off on dry days.

Any most European manufactures of fenders use "breakaway" connections that will release the fender if derbries get up in your stuff. Of course the fenders I've been running are from a US brand, and I have taken a trip over the bars on an ill advised ride on some railroad ballast. I'm with fxdwhl, if it's wet. I'll run fenders, if for no other reason, to keep me and my stuff dry.

I'm glad to see I'm on the right track with tires. I think a good riding position will go a long way towards negating the need for big suspension-providing tires.
 

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2 cents your results may very

jonassterling said:
I've ridden tons of miles on a bike with full enders and it may slow you down a bit, but not enough for me to take them off on dry days.
I agree with g-ted. I've only been riding gravel in Iowa since the mid-1970's but my experience is fenders and wet, crushed limestone gravel can turn a bike with conventional full fenders into ditch art. I've had verying result with clip-on partial fenders but still get a pile o crap on bb.

dp
 

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Really I am that slow
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Prob going with

The bontrager 1.8 xrs the 29er size if thing are looking like they well be anything like last year....

If things are looking like it my be dry or very cold and hard I'll be rocking a bigger slick like a 37c contact....

Can't Wait!
 

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your ankles are fat
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same tyres for V1 and V2

I ran Klimax lites(1.75's) at 55psi for V1(ss) and V2(fixed)...with far better results at V1...

as far as what the perfect tyre is, there's probably a couple dozen "perfect" ones out there...speed vs comfort aside, as long as your leaning towards a semi-slick/something w/low rolling resistance you'll be cruising....unless the conditions are like last yr...then it won't matter, we'll all be eff'd.
 

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Guitar Ted said:
1. Clearance: Rocks, and mud from "B" level roads don't get along with fenders too well, especially if you run them down close to the tires.

2. Wind: Conversely, if you run them high enough to clear the debris, then they catch the wind like a sail, and I work hard enough as it is. I really would rather be splattered and have a dirty bike than to work harder than I needed to on a gravel grinder.
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Interesting. I've never had an issue with wind resistance, but Trans Iowa has the potential to test that theory very thoroughly.

I like the screw up type, for a rigid, sus-corrected fork. No clearance issues there.
 

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Fenders-

I think the effect of wind resistance of fenders on a bike is directly related to your speed and the overall resistance.

If you are riding a road bike at 20+ MPH, fenders are a huge detriment. On the same bike going only 15 MPH you barely notice that they are there. Also, assuming nothing clogs up, if you are riding in mud the rolling resistance is so high that the wind resistance from a fender seems inconsequential. If you are riding on pavement the rolling resistance is much lower, so wind resistance becomes a bigger relative factor.

I hate fenders. I have ridden with and without them on the same road touring bike, and they ate about 2 MPH. They probably wouldn't take as much from a MTB due to the slower speeds, but I am jaded enough that I won't ever try!

Tires-

In the last year on the same gravel roads I have tried 30 mm cross tires, 32 mm touring tires, 45 mm studded tires, and 52 mm 29" tires on a variety of gravel.

The 30 and 32 mm tires were very fast on smooth gravel but were greatly effected by chunky gravel. You need to concentrate to keep the front wheel running straight when it is deflected by a big gravel chunk. Some gravel is so bad that it is barely rideable, and while riding these tires I find myself on the left side of the road or in tire tracks looking for the smoothest possible ride.

The 52 mm tires were very smooth on everything. There was nearly no ride difference whether I was on pavement, moderately chunky gravel, or anything between. The tires were so much bigger than the gravel that the front wheel was not significantly deflected. I wasn't searching for the smoothest path on the road, but just floated over all of it. However, these tires were considerably slower than the 30 or 32 mm tires.

Finally, the 45 mm studded Nokkia tires. These are a very good compromise between the two extremes. They are more comfortable than the skinny tires and faster than the 29er tires. I plan on finding some decent, non-studded 45 mm tires for Trans Iowa. I obviously don't want to be running the extra weight of studs for 300+ miles!
 

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Tires

I ride Iowa gravel nearly everyday on Schwalbe Racing Ralph's in the 2.1. I love them and I feel they are a fast rolling and comfortable tire. A friend of mine rides Schwalbe Fast Freds and another friend rides Maxxis Maxlites (and he flies!). All three tires work very well on the gravel.
 

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i'm likely going to run 700x38 specialized armadillo elite hybrid tires. not too heavy, almost flat proof, and have some tread but hopefully not *too* much. i'll be experimenting with the pressure as the weather warms and i can try them out.
 
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