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  1. #1
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    How much tread do you really need on packed dirt ?

    Need opinions please: I ride a Surly Cross Check that came with Kenda Slant Six tires (700x35). I ride 70/30 pavement/dirt. My logic tells me that a street tire, like the WTB slick or a Pasela, will work just fine on packed dirt roads. I don't ride mud, deep sand, or loose gravel; consistently anyway. OR ... I'm thinking of a raised center ridge tire like a Clement X'Plor, or a Schwalbe Smart Sam.


    Thoughts ?

  2. #2
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    I run the Schwalbe Marathon Mondial tires on similar terrain and find their tread works quite well on packed dirt, I run 30psi most of the time. I used to run some regular Schwalbe Marathon HS420 tires on my touring bike in similar terrain. They worked fairly well but the traction ran out at around 18% grades where climbing and descending got a little sketchy.

    Tread wear on the Mondials has been very good, about 2500 miles so far and almost no visible wear.
    Last edited by 4Crawler; 03-09-2014 at 10:12 AM.

  3. #3
    Positively negative
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    Conering and mashing up his are the only places I seem to miss the traction of a more aggressive tire. I have been using Conti CX Speeds for mixed terrain with good results, but will switch to something more aggressive out front (Racing Ralph) when I plan to ride more dirt.

  4. #4
    old and slow
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    I think you are right. For dry and hard packed dirt and light gravel, you only need a mild tread pattern like a Pasela. For wetter and looser dirt and deeper gravel, more tread and bigger volume are important.
    There's only two things in life (but I forget what they are). - John Hiatt

  5. #5
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    How much tread do you really need on packed dirt ?

    Quote Originally Posted by autterson View Post
    Need opinions please: I ride a Surly Cross Check that came with Kenda Slant Six tires (700x35). I ride 70/30 pavement/dirt. My logic tells me that a street tire, like the WTB slick or a Pasela, will work just fine on packed dirt roads. I don't ride mud, deep sand, or loose gravel; consistently anyway. OR ... I'm thinking of a raised center ridge tire like a Clement X'Plor, or a Schwalbe Smart Sam.


    Thoughts ?
    The Marathon Racer works well. I want some tread on dirt. It is never perfectly clean and firm.

    Currently using Challenge GrifoXS open tubular 700x33 'cross tires. File tread, small edge knobs
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  6. #6
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    I used Clement LAS 's and had good luck in most conditions.
    Great on hardpack and grass,even decent in a muddy race-at least the file tread doesn't pack up.

  7. #7
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    How about a tread that works "almost" equally as well on pavement? I realize that there is give and take, but I know I won't swap tires for different occasions - just too much grief. I like to hop on and ride. I will probably defer to the 80/20 rule, and get a tire that works for 80% of my riding.

  8. #8
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    That is pretty much my strategy. My typical ride is about 15-20 miles of mostly pavement each way to a middle section of 5-15 miles of dirt. I wanted a tire that rolled easy on pavement yet had enough grip in the dirt. I didn't want to feel was that my tires were slowing me down on the ride back home. I tend to ride easy to moderate dirt trails and am not an aggressive rider, I just want a tire with enough grip to maintain control.

  9. #9
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    How much tread do you really need on packed dirt ?

    Either tire I mentioned is fine. The Grifo performs better and is lighter, but more expensive and wears faster.
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  10. #10
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  11. #11
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    Clement X'plor UHT would be high on my list. I'd actually have them on a few bikes if that made a larger size.

  12. #12
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    I run 700x35 Paselas on my cross bike and they work fine for the style of riding I do - touring / gravel grinders / urban (and suburban) exploring. Not racing.

    They can get slippy in muddy conditions but it's manageable for the most part. I generally don't ride gravel if it's muddy, so it's not a big concern for me.

  13. #13
    jrm
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    Im using the USH ex'plor 35c tires. They roll great but they do get a bit sketchy on roots and rolled on their side. Using wide rims and running lower pressure helps. In the past ive used a 32c tserv in back and the USH up front and it worked Ok.

  14. #14
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    Decision made, and it may be a surprise ... Panaracer Rivendell Ruffy Tuffy. Wanted a mostly road tire for my mostly riding. This, I believe, will be the ticket!
    Attached Images Attached Images  

  15. #15
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    Those Ruffys are nice tires. I have ran them before, the sidewall is too weak for the trails that I ride(they are not rock friendly). I switched to cheap Performace brand 28s at $15 a pop and just a tick heavier they feel the same in the dirt.

  16. #16
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    Ritchey Speedmax.

  17. #17
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    you shoulda snagged the fatter Jack Brown Greens... about 33.5mm wide. They are pretty durable and I've run them on singletrack and off road a bunch. Not too great in soft sand or rock gardens but a good tire. Those Ruffy's ride like rocks, they have a protection layer inside. Paselas are good tires too, just get the non tour guard version.

    mike

  18. #18
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    I just recently bought a 2014 Jake the Snake and I switched to the Club Roost Cross Terra tyres.
    Club Roost Cross Terra Tire 700c x 35mm Black Steel - AEBike.com

    On wet roots they sucks but they have performed great almost everywhere else. There is one rocky downhill where they get a little squirrely but that could also be because I run a rather high tyre pressure.
    Flotilla or Buffet.

  19. #19
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    I'm on the Kenda Happy Medium 700x40c. Perfect for mixed riding. Also, check out the Rock 'n' Road tire from Bruce Gordon cycles, 700x43c + gum sidewall!!! If my frame fit the RnR I'd be on those.

    To answer your question, you don't need any tread to ride gravel, but it might help:


  20. #20
    Teen Wolf
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    i run kenda happy mediums or kenda small block 8s. both work well on the road where i am at 80% of the time but hey have enough tread to inspire confidence offroad

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by rogbie View Post
    I'm on the Kenda Happy Medium 700x40c. Perfect for mixed riding.
    +1 for the Happy Medium

  22. #22
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    I have been riding a set of 700x40 Smart Sams for a half dozen or so gravel rides and have found them quite capable. I haven't raced any cross on them, but for the sections of nasty I have been through they have held up really well.

  23. #23
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    im happy with jet 2's, gravel/road/packed and sometimes a tiny bit of mud (best on gravel tho)
    i'm not sure if i'd feel a huge diff with ruffies compared to regular road tires. then again if its 100% road/packed dirt it seems like a good match

  24. #24
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    Not as cool looking without the knobbies ... BUT ... As soon as we get rid of some of this snow here in SE Michigan, I will let you know how they handle dirt roads (I suspect just fine). In the mean time, I'll be on the tarmac this weekend for the first time in a few months. I always have my Slant Six's for rougher terrain, but I suspect they will hang on the wall most of the time. Thanks for all the advice ...
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails How much tread do you really need on packed dirt ?-20140318_205027.jpg  

    Last edited by autterson; 03-18-2014 at 06:21 PM. Reason: added pic

  25. #25
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    They should work just fine. For mixed pavement and dirt, I am on Gatorskins 28, or Pasela 32. For straight dirt/gravel/singletrack, BG RnR is the ticket.

  26. #26
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    On Marathon Mondials 40mm. They work well, but have definitely noticed a lot of slide out on loose/muddy stuff and it takes an effort to keep the rear wheel planted on steep climbs.

    That being said, if you are doing dirt/gravel roads, go slick and wide, if you are doing single track go knobbier (less line choices sharper bends).

    Smart Sam looks rad. If/when I race cross next fall I'll probably jump to Kenda Small Block 8s (NoCal Cyclocross is hard and dry, no need for big knobs, just fast rolling).

  27. #27
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    I'm running 32mm Panaracer T-Serve Protex on my Crosshairs (though I know a 35mm or even 38mm tire would be better for the dirt). They're my "everything tire" on that bike and as long as I keep my speed up hills, avoid the sand/deep mud, and watch teh wet leaves, I'm alright. Better to have my MTN bike for those conds. anyway...so that's what I'm probably on on such days.
    - Chris
    '96 Trek 990 SHX / '08 Gunnar Crosshairs

  28. #28
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    I ride quite a bit of dirt road on Conti 4 season grand prix, 25mm. Fast on the road and can handle abuse. Back em down to 100psi or so, grip it, n rip it.

  29. #29
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    How much tread do you really need on packed dirt ?

    Quote Originally Posted by WA-CO View Post
    I ride quite a bit of dirt road on Conti 4 season grand prix, 25mm. Fast on the road and can handle abuse. Back em down to 100psi or so, grip it, n rip it.
    I do not go above 90-95psi on pavement with 23mm tires.
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  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by shiggy View Post
    I do not go above 90-95psi on pavement with 23mm tires.
    You must ride on roads that are glass smooth with no cracks or potholes. 90-95 on 23's here would mean lots of pinch flats. I am off of 23's now, though. 27-28 @ 80psi works for me.

  31. #31
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    How much tread do you really need on packed dirt ?

    Quote Originally Posted by phsycle View Post
    You must ride on roads that are glass smooth with no cracks or potholes. 90-95 on 23's here would mean lots of pinch flats. I am off of 23's now, though. 27-28 @ 80psi works for me.
    Far from it. Rough roads. Gravel. Potholes. Chip seal. 170lb rider.

    And lose the apostrophes.
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  32. #32
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    I run 28 bontrager wire beads. They hold up well for my riding, 80% road 20% packed dirt/gravel. I've even taken them on singletrack but prefer a cross tire in those situations. Run about 95 on road and I'll drop them to 80 if I'll be off a lot.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails How much tread do you really need on packed dirt ?-img_20140330_085625_885.jpg  


  33. #33
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    How much tread do you really need on packed dirt ?

    Quote Originally Posted by autterson View Post
    Not as cool looking without the knobbies ... BUT ... As soon as we get rid of some of this snow here in SE Michigan, I will let you know how they handle dirt roads (I suspect just fine). In the mean time, I'll be on the tarmac this weekend for the first time in a few months. I always have my Slant Six's for rougher terrain, but I suspect they will hang on the wall most of the time. Thanks for all the advice ...
    I live close to you and ride gravel in Oakland/Wayne/Washtenaw. I have been very pleased with Kenda Happy Medium 700x40 and Kenda Kommando ( Kommando has much lower volume, but is nice for when things get packed down in the summer.)

    I had some Schwalbe marathon extreme for awhile, but they were overkill (felt heavy)




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  34. #34
    little mad riding hood
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    late to the thread and I know we Coloradans are a bit crazy but for the sort of riding you're describing, we ride straight up road bikes on mid-fat slicks (so 25 or 28mm roadie slicks) at 60-80 psi.

    almost all our secondaries are dirt, and we have quite a few road races out here that incorporate dirt sections. You get used to it, and now I simply kind of laugh when I see threads like this.

    If you saw the local roadies riding their Zipp 303 25mm tubular slicks on dirt roads on racedays out here you'd be a little surprised at first, too, but it is not unusual or even out of the norm.

    edit: here's a perfect example of what I'm talking about. Photos of the 2013 Koppenberg circuit race.

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