Saturday, May 21, 2011
The comments yesterday reminded me of the perennial question that pops up in searches here and on Gravel Grinder News stats: What Tires To Run At The Dirty Kanza 200 ?
Well, this is purely my opinion, and purely speculation on my part, so take this with a grain of salt. I've been in the Dirty Kanza 200 three times, and I've never run a tire narrower than 2.00".
Ya know, I saw something in all three of my attempts, and that was guys having flat tires. Lots of them. I noted something, and that was that most all were predominantly narrower than two inch wide tires, and most skinnier than 45mm. I spoke with guys that had anywhere from three to as many as eight flat tires in 200 miles.
What if you didn't flat at all?
Seems like you'd save more time, and maybe, if you had the right "motor", that would be enough of a margin to win. Maybe.......
But let's face facts- Most folks entering the Dirty Kanza 200, or any gravel ultra, aren't entering to win it. Maybe 1% of the riders have any chance at that. So, how does the wider/narrower tire choice affect these riders? Well, that's obvious, isn't it? I think you all would rather be riding than fixing flats. Maybe. That might be a long shot, but I'm going with it..........
Maybe you'd also like to be comfortable? Have less numb hands? Maybe you'd like it if your bike didn't bounce around so much when you hit the bigger, chunkier stuff?
Maybe you've read tests where bigger tires run at lower pressures actually have less rolling resistance than skinnier tires at higher pressures? Or perhaps you'd like to enhance that even further by running tubeless?
I know that many do not have bicycles that fit bigger than your average cyclocross tire, and I know that a "fat" tire for a 120lb person is one thing, and totally another for a 220lb person, so you have to use some common sense here. There also are not many good, performance oriented, lightweight tires in between 35mm-50mm in width either, so I get it if you don't like your options. But, there are some options if you look hard enough.
In conclusion, I would advise that you may want to reconsider what you thought was a good gravel road tire.