Wednesday, August 28, 2013

More Tires & Wheels

You could go big.....
Yesterday I was talking poofy 29"er tires, and today I am talking about tires on gravel. It's a much debated subject. I am not going to delve to deeply into the ways to make a choice for yourself, but I wanted to compare and contrast two tires I happen to be liking a lot lately.

First up is the Rock & Road tire. There is no doubt that this tire is the "Gravelists Adventure Tire" in my mind. It can handle any chunky nasties you might encounter, but it still rolls fast on hard pack. I've even heard it sets up very nicely as a tubeless tire. So, for a "one stop shopping experience", get a Rock & Roll tire, that is- if your rig will fit it. 

The big surprise for me was that this tire rules on hard packed single track.  Grippy, fast, and smooth, up until you get into rocks or roots. Then the small volume bites you a bit. However; if you have a smooth dirt ribbon in your area and it only has a few, if any roots and rocks, you may never want to run a "true mountain bike tire" anymore. This tire is that good on dirt single track.

....or you could go skinny!
Then there is a tire at the opposite end of the spectrum. You pay more than a Rock & Road tire to get less. Less stiffness, less weight, and yes....less control. But here's the thing: It rolls very fast and smooth for its size. Very fast.

The Challenge Grifo is only 33mm wide, (versus the 42mm wide Rock & Roll), but its construction and shape make it really work well as a gravel tire for everything up to chunky stuff all the way across the road and deeper gravel. These are the tires I ran last weekend on the 3GR, and the only time I was hating them was when the gravel was fresh and spread all across the roadway.

These are probably awesome for a "go fast" type ride and for now, I can't say how they'd hold up to a constant gravel beating......but I am going to find that out! More riding into the Fall will figure that out for me. I will say that the white rubber looks kind of cool on my Orange Crush and the Vaya. Makes everything seem all cream sickle-like!

So, for me no one tire is "the" tire, but all of these have a place and of course, others do too. For a discussion on tires, gravel events, and whatever comes up, see Mountain Bike Radio today for discussion on that stuff. The "Guitar Ted Show" comes on the air at 8:00pmCST-7:00pm MST Feel free to call in and ask a question with the following #: (646) 595-4113


Velocodger said...

Have you tried Kenda's "Happy Medium" 40mm tires? I like mine. They are 434 grams, and not super expensive. They have been great on my Calif hardpack trails, rolling over babyheads and holding a line in the deep dust.

Guitar Ted said...

@Velocodger: I have not, but I know others that have and report good things about them. Unfortunately, some of those same folks also found out that non-tubeless Kenda tires and sealant are a very bad idea! Otherwise, these sound like good tires for gravel travel.

Unknown said...

Very Soon I will be trying out a similar "looking" tire to the Challenge, in the Continental Speed Ride. With a size of 700x42, it may well have the all conditions float I love with a fast paced tread. Plus at 420g with a folding bead and coming in at around $30, it just may be a hidden gem.

Thanks for all your reviews and testing, I feel it is helping shape the sport and make a great impact on what manufacturers bring to the market.

rideonpurpose said...

Sometime you really need to try some tubular 27s at 35 psi.

Guitar Ted said...

@rideonpurpose: Tubulars sound great and all, but after witnessing a set get shredded at Trans Iowa this year, I have thought less of that idea.