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Gravel and Dirt Road Tire Buying Guide

February 18, 2016

Fun is now coming in the form of a Cross/Adventure Road bike and chances are that if you're here, you know how much fun they really are and now looking for the next thing to put on your dirt road slaying bike...correct?

Well ... Tires!

Tires, are your only contact point with the ground and arguably the most important piece of the bicycle. You wouldn't buy a Ferrari and then put some nice Wal-Mart discount special rubber on it...would ya?

So here's your go-to guide for choosing your next tire.

 

We are going to talk about width, TPI and actual on the road feelings of each tire. Here's a brief review of each of those things.

 

-Width. Cyclocross Tires are always going to be 33c. It's what the UCI has regulated as the maximum tire width for international competition and therefore what every tire manufacturer uses as a standard. MTB tires range from 1.95 to 2.3 inches. So that leaves this large gap from 33c(1.3inch) to 1.95. Thats where 35-40c tires come in.

 

-TPI. or "Threads Per Inch" is the amount of threading used in the casing of the tire. The higher the TPI the less rubber required to give the tire structure thus resulting in a more supple ride. This is a slippery slope when riding off road through, because the higher the TPI, the more delicate the tire is.

Specialized Trigger

Width :: 38

TPI :: 60

This is the Shop Favorite tire. 90% of the time we are all riding this tire. Cody raced this tire at 

Lost-n-Found last year to a 5th place. In fact this tire was designed specifically for Gravel Grinding and saw extensive testing in the training lead up and actual Lost-n-Found event in it's inaugural year, 2 years ago. This is a tubeless ready tire utilizing Specialized's 2Bliss technology.

"This tire rolls incredibly fast and I've experienced heaps of traction with this tire. This is quickly becoming my favorite tire...if only we could race CX on it! haha" - Kid Kaiser

 

 

 

Clement X'PLOR USH

Width :: 35

TPI :: 60 and 120 (We stock the 60)

 

When designing this tire the guys at Clement looked at specific wear patterns on knobby tires when being ridden on road. They measured the tires and analyzed how the tire treads were degrading down the center rolling patch. They then transfer that exact wear pattern onto a new tire and beefed up the center patch to give you a great, fast riding tire on road with just the right amount of knobs on the edges to give you cornering confidence in the dirt. I guess you could say this is the epitome of a do everything tire. This tire isn't going to allow you to rail turns going mach 100 but you'll be cruising with ease when you hit the pavement or gravel roads. Unfortunately not tubeless ready but we have seen success about a bit of work to set them up tubeless.

 

 

Maxxis Rambler 

Width :: 40

TPI ::120

 

This is a new tire for us but we're super excited to share it. 40 is definitely on the wide side of the spectrum but gives plenty of traction and a bit of built in suspension with it. The knobs of this tires are quite a bit lower than say, the Nano 40 which with give it faster rolling efficiency but with tires of this width, we've found that there is a definite line on the pressure chart that you can't drop below. Keeping it above a certain pressure will keep the tire from feeling slow and keep you from riding with the feeling of a flat. Tubeless Ready!

 

 

Maxxis Re-Fuse

Width :: 40 

TPI :: 60

 

This is just a downright fun tire to rip around on. On the traction scale is near the bottom when it comes to off road traction but for riding mostly pavement/hardpack or anything that doesn't require much steering...this thing is fun!!! It's like riding a giant balloon. You have to see for

yourself. And this tire is tubeless ready.

 

 

WTB Cross Boss

Width :: 35

TPI :: 60(Light Version)

 

This tire is in a close battle to be one of our top selling tires. It seems to be just the right width and the right amount of tread. Not too fat, not too slow. It has some serious tread to it and plenty of traction compared to a file tread but doesn't come across slow. The TCS technology is a tried and true tubeless system and makes for quick ease of setup.

WTB Nano Raptor

Width :: 40

TPI :: 60(Light Version)

 

The crew from WTB was on the forefront of designing a tire specific for the adventure/gravel bike and the Nano 40 was an immediate favorite as soon as it hit the market. We've spent a fair bit of time on this tire and like it in certain applications. We've found that on long days it can get to feel a bit heavy and sluggish. Unless you're riding more twisty single track where the terrain has some more banking and contour to lean into, we've found to be a bit edgy on flat track style turns. It's a great tire if you're using your rig to ride single track and use the roads to transfer to the next trailhead and continue rallying. TCS tubeless compatible.

 

 

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