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For some, choosing the right gravel bike tires can seem nearly as daunting as Neo battling to free humanity from the Matrix or time-crunched roadies trying to free ourselves from Zwift.

It doesn’t have to be. After researching the surfaces of 25 popular gravel events in the US, I found each would be best suited by riding one of three types and widths of gravel tires.

In this post, I’ll give you a shortlist of gravel bike tires for each of those events that will also work well for other gravel rides and training workouts you do on similar surfaces. I’ll also suggest some width options based on your wheels, riding goals, and unpaved road riding experience.


Click on any red statement below to go directly to that part of the post

Start by picking a gravel bike tire tread that works best for the mix of surfaces you’ll ride

To simplify things, there are four classes of gravel surfaces – dirt, gravel, rocks and technical

The popular events are best ridden on either slick, small knob or big knob tires 

Pick from my recommended shortlist of slick, small knob, and big knob tires and sizes

Your rim width, off-road riding skills, and goals give you some gravel tire width options


As a roadie gone groadie, my first long rides on my new gravel bike got me evaluating all manner of things. I liked rolling on dirt roads, felt slow on paved ones, and my confidence riding different combinations of dirt, gravel, rocks, sand, mud, and trail varied as wildly as the surface I came upon.

The 40mm tires that came with my bike had a lot of good-sized, spaced-out, differently-shaped knobs along the center and shoulder of the tire. I got why they might not roll well on paved roads but had no idea whether they were the right tires for the type of dirt and gravel I was riding.

As you might expect, I read a bunch of gravel tire reviews, asked some friends, went into a few bike shops, and looked at the websites of the better-known brands of cyclocross and gravel tires.

There was a lot of advice, recommendations, claims, etc. about the tires in general but little about how to decide which were the best gravel tires for the events and routes I was planning to do or for my wheels or skills or performance preferences or most anything else unique to my situation.

Can you get one set of gravel tires that is great for most surfaces or do you need different tires for different types of surfaces? Do you pick gravel tires for the most challenging, gnarly part of a ride or for the kind of roads or trails you’ll be on most of the course? What gravel tires are best when 20-30% or more of your ride will be on paved roads getting to and between the gravel sections?

How do you choose the right width of a tire that’s offered in several widths? Does the rim width of your wheels affect the tire size you should buy? Does your skill riding on dirt and gravel affect the tire or width you need? How about if you want to race vs. do a fast group ride vs. go at your own pace??

What tire weight is reasonable? What are the tradeoffs between lower rolling resistance and better traction? Does aero performance matter? Speed? How well you climb? How well you descend? What kind of handling or comfort you want? What level of puncture resistance you need?

With all the questions that come up when you think about which gravel tires to choose, it can seem like you need to be Neo stopping a crossfire of bullets or a pacing fence slowing a herd of Zwift group riders.

While these are all good questions, what I’ve come to understand is that you need to start by picking a gravel tire tread type that works best for the mix of surfaces you’ll ride during an event you are targeting or for the mix you train on.

The bad news is that there aren’t “all-around” gravel bike tires that do well in all situations the way all-around road bike wheelsets do. The good news is that one of three primary types of gravel tires, what I’ll oversimplify as slick, small knob, and big knob gravel tires, will work well with the most popular gravel events and with local rides you do on similar surface combinations when those events and rides are mostly dry. So, you can fill your gravel bike tire “quiver” with three pairs of tires and perhaps a fourth for wet and muddy riding.

You can deal with many of the questions I posed above by modifying the tire width you choose for a given type of tire. More on that later.


As anyone who has ever ridden unpaved roads and trails knows, “gravel” is a loosely grounded term (pun intended). When you go out for a gravel ride, you may find yourself traversing surfaces ranging from smooth, compacted dirt roads to what might otherwise pass for a rock garden.

Before the current wave of UCI road racers became gravel “privateers”, former US professional road cyclist and mixed-surface pioneer Neil Shirley put a stake in the gravel when he wrote about his descriptions of four categories of gravel (publication no longer available). This helped early gravel riders decide what bike and size tires to ride well before there were the many, many gravel bike and tire options we have today.

While not acknowledging or perhaps even aware of Shirley’s contribution, CyclingTips came up with its five grades of gravel a couple of years later. CyclingTips inserted badly paved roads as its first grade but the other grades were similar to Shirley’s.

Jerry Chabot of wheelmaker NEXT wrote an excellent piece about the unpaved roads he grew up riding in New Hampshire and Vermont. His father’s experience operating a gravel pit and building dirt roads for a living gives him a refined regional perspective for the right tire and wheel choices when doing one of seven types of rides of different speeds, lengths, and surfaces he outlines in his blog post.

I’ve not searched for them but I imagine there are other region-specific perspectives like Jerry’s worth considering.

Like it or not, you will ride some amount of paved roads at every gravel event. These are often at the start and finish, at feed zones, and linking unpaved segments. A few of the popular events are mostly paved rides but have dirt and gravel sectors where the selection between the best riders and the rest of us is made.

I have quantified the paved/unpaved breakdown for each event but am not considering paved roads in my gravel classes.

Chapeau to Neil for the work he and others have done to help us sort through the different types of gravel. After researching the unpaved surfaces at each of 25 popular gravel events, I’ve tried to build on what Neil started by being a bit more inclusive of the range of surfaces you’ll ride at the increasing number of events and give them simple, perhaps more relatable names.

Here goes.

Class 1 aka “Dirt” – maintained, consistent hardpacked dirt with small-sized or no gravel

Class 1 Dirt surface

Croatan Buck Fifty (left) and Tour of Battenkill

Class 2 aka “Gravel” – loose, small and medium-sized gravel spread over the road or in the crown or along the shoulder on top of hardpack or softer/uneven dirt; some washboard and occasional 1-2’ diameter potholes; sand and/or clay sections without gravel

Class 2 Gravel surface

 Clockwise from upper right Mid South (James Gann Photography), Coast to Coast, Coast to Coast (glowingrock), Gold Rush Gravel Grinder

Class 3 aka “Rocks” – unevenly sized, larger/sharper gravel and rocks, partly exposed/buried rocks, truck tire trenches and rain grooves

Class 3 Rock surface

Lost & Found (left), Dirty Kanza

Class 4 aka “Technical” – big rocks/rock gardens, deep loose gravel, deep ruts, path-, lane- or road-width potholes or single- or double track paths/roads with rocks, roots, fallen trees or other large obstacles

Class 4 Technical

Grinduro (King of the Ride – left), Hilly Billy Roubaix (James Doom)

As the descriptions and pictures make clear, the one-word class names Dirt, Gravel, Rocks, and Technical aren’t inclusive of the surface elements you’ll see in each class. They are, at least for me, the first word that jumps to mind (other than “yeah!” or in some cases, “sh*t” and four-letter words) when I enter a new section of unpaved road.

Another way to think about these four classes is by considering the kind of bike that would give you the most speed and confidence riding each surface.

Here’s how I would associate them.

  • Class 1/Dirt = Road bike
  • Class 2/Gravel = CX bike
  • Class 3/Rocks = Gravel bike
  • Class 4/Technical = Mountain bike

Fortunately, modern gravel bikes can be fast and instill confidence with the right tires and riding skills across all of these classes. That’s not the case with the other types of bikes.


Of course, most gravel events and rides don’t have the same class or type of surface across the entire route. That would make choosing gravel tires easy.

Instead, the challenge is picking tires that, along with your wheels, goals, skills, and other unique characteristics give you enough tire for the toughest surface class and not too much for the others.

To figure this out, I first came up with the surface mix between paved and unpaved surfaces at the popular events. I then did my best to determine what percent of the unpaved surface at each event was Class 1, 2, 3 and 4 or dirt, gravel, rocks, and technical.

Most event sites will describe their surfaces to varying degrees. Some will tell you how many miles of paved surface you’ll find. Others will describe and show you photos or even videos of the course. Still others will suggest sizes or specific tires they recommend you ride (be aware of tire sponsorships that may sway their recommendations).

Unfortunately, some events reveal little either because they are so new, or the course has changed, or the promoters want to create some mystery to enhance the image of the challenge you’ll face or just want you to chill out.

So how did I come up with the surface mix between paved and unpaved and across the unpaved classes that you’ll see below? It wasn’t easy and I’ll be the first to say there may be a good-sized margin of error in some of the numbers.

Basically, I read a lot of race reports and watched hours and hours of video footage from most of the events. My thanks and admiration goes to those of you who have shared your experience in enough detail to give those of us who haven’t ridden these course a good sense of what we’ll likely see. Special thanks to the videographers including Gravel Cyclist JOM and so many amateur groadies who took and posted hours of GoPro video from their events.

After breaking down the mix of surfaces at each event and reviewing what gravel tires event promoters, outside experts, and serious riders were using and recommending for them, it became pretty clear what type and size of tire would be best for those of us road cycling enthusiasts who are becoming gravel cycling enthusiasts.

As enthusiasts, our goals are to take each ride seriously, train for them, and go fast. We don’t just show up at a ride and hope to finish. Because of that, I’ve evaluated the surface for the longest course option for these events.

With our roadie gone groadie journey, I’m also assuming that most of us come from the road world with not a lot of recent off-road or mountain bike experience, skills or DNA to fall back on.

To make it a bit easier to come up with recommendations, I’ve also focused on 700c, tubeless tires going on disc brake wheels that have a 21mm to 25mm inside rim width on a gravel or cross bike with something near or better than a 1:1 gearing ratio for climbs.

If you do have a lot of off-road skills, wider rims, are on the lighter or heavier ends of the weight bell curve or prioritize confidence and comfort over speed, you’ll see some tweeks to the size or tire pressure I recommend a couple of sections below this one.

And to repeat what I said earlier, if a course is very wet or muddy, you need mud tires. My surface mixes and tire type recommendations are for when these events are run in dry conditions.

Yes, 650b is a real option but I’ve not considered those size tires here (Too many tires, too little time). And yes, some of you may not be comfortable with tubeless or are using narrower wheels or rim brakes and have a tighter gear range on the bikes you want to try out on gravel. That’s all well and good but it’s going to put you at a disadvantage on these gravel courses and in a dwindling group of riders who are serious about riding mixed surfaces. For that reason, I haven’t put together any recommendations for those set-ups.

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While each gravel tire’s combination of tread pattern, casing, compound, weight, and other design factors are unique, the performance goals are somewhat similar. For a given type of rolling surface, gravel tires aim to give you superior grip, handling, rolling resistance, puncture resistance, comfort, acceleration and climbing traction, braking and wear.

As you can see from the range of paved and unpaved rolling surfaces at most of the popular gravel rides I’ve charted above, a gravel bike tire’s versatility or ability to do well on different surfaces is also a key performance and selection criteria.

With the performance goals and versatility required of each tire in mind, I’ve come up with three shortlists of gravel bike tires for the mix of surfaces you’ll see at these popular events and on other rides with similar surface mixes. I’ve read enough reviews about each of these tires to suggest them to you.

Slick 30-34 mm road or gravel tires

Even though they are called “gravel”, there are several events and many rides where you are on a paved surface more than 30% of the time (e.g. Tour of Battenkill, Belgian Waffle Ride) or where Class 1 or hard-packed dirt is the primary unpaved surface (Peacham Fall Fondo, Croatan Buck Fifty, and Barry Roubaix on an infrequent dry day).

On these types of rides, a 30-34 mm width model of a tubeless road tire will provide you relatively low rolling resistance and good handling with plenty of comfort on a route where knobs down the center would slow you down and not add any grip or traction benefit when rolling straight.

My recommended choices here are Continental Grand Prix 5000 S TR you can order using these links to the product pages at Competitive CyclistPlanet CycleryPerformance BikeAmazon, and Merlin and Schwalbe Pro One TLE at Competitive CyclistAmazon, and Merlin. These are all stores I recommend because of their competitive prices and top customer satisfaction ratings.

On rides like these that also have a fair amount of turning or small amounts of Class 2 soft dirt or sand or even short Class 3 sections, you’d think that tires that are slick down the center with small knobs on the shoulders would be the best choice for the added handling and confidence they’d provide.

However, independent rolling resistance testing has shown that the best small knob tires are as fast or faster than the best semi-slick ones and provide better handling. So my recommendation is to either with the small-knob tires described below for these mostly paved road and Class 1 dirt rides that have a few Class 2 miles and Class 3 sections.

Small Knob, 35-42mm gravel tires (reviewed here)

Most of the popular gravel events are ridden on courses that are 80% or more unpaved roads where half or more of those surfaces are a combination of Class 2, 3 and 4 or gravel, rocks or technical. This is truly the image of a gravel ride or, at least where there is a lot of gravel of various sizes spread on or embedded in hard or soft-pack dirt roads. These events may also include sand, clay, and other soft surfaces that make grip and traction imperative.

Except for rides where 40% or more of the route is made up of Class 3 and 4 mileage, or that have roughly half that percentage of Class 4 alone, most enthusiasts will get the best combination of performance from what I call “small knob” gravel tires labeled with 35-42 mm widths.

In my attempt to simplify your tire selection, I’ll readily admit that “small knob” captures just one aspect, although I think the dominant one, of what are otherwise some very complex tread and tire designs with a lot of variation between brands.

Gravel tires with smaller, shorter knobs running down the tire’s center placed relatively close together with often progressively bigger and more dispersed ones moving out to the shoulders provide better grip, handling, braking, and less rolling resistance (more speed!) on the kind of smaller, loosely spread gravel and softer surfaces you get with Class 2 gravel surfaces than do “big knob” tires.

On larger, sometimes deeper gravel, rocky, trenched, and rooty Class 3 or rocks and Class 4 or technical surfaces, tires with big knobs that are taller and placed further apart will usually perform better in all the ways that matter (grip, handling, acceleration, and deceleration, “floating above” rolling resistance, comfort) compared to smaller knob ones.

While some of the “small knob” tires I suggest come in a wide range of widths, I’ll note there is a tendency for roadies gone groadie to “over-tire” or small knob tires in widths far more than they need. Some are looking for the widest tires to compensate for their lack of off-road riding skills and confidence or to help with concerns of how to get through some of the short Class 3 or Class 4 sections, especially the climbs and descents.

Line and technique are usually as or more important than getting a wider or bigger knobbed tire in these situations. Riding while “over-tired” can be a slow, heavy slog that makes you less agile and confident in handling maneuvers.

With that bit of explanation and caution, our testing has found the following tires perform the best of the many small knob gravel tires ridden:

Continental Terra Speed, available at the best prices using these links to recommended stores Competitive Cyclist, Planet Cyclery, MerlinChain Reaction Cycles.

Specialized S-Works Pathfinder, currently out of stock.

Goodyear Connector Ultimate from Amazon and Tredz (10% off with code ITKTDZ10).

Big Knob, 38-45mm gravel tires

Above, I outlined when you’d want to get small knob vs. big knob tires and provided a simple definition of what their primary design and performance characteristics are. Events and rides requiring big knob tires usually demand the greatest off-road technical abilities and top fitness levels.

As a road cycling enthusiast, you likely know how to get in shape for these ridiculously long rides. If not, start by doubling your weekend training rides.

For the technical skill-building part, find someone with mountain bike DNA or a groadie who has been at it for a while and learn from them.

What I’m getting around to the long way is that while 700C big knob tires will certainly help, they won’t fill the gaps in your skills or training.

We haven’t done enough testing of big knob tires yet to judge some better than others against our testing criteria. However, here’s one we did like for Class 2, 3, and 4 riding in Vermont. You can find our review of it at end of the small knob tire reviews linked to in the section above.

Rene Herse Hurricane Ridge, available using this link to Rene Herse.


While much of the attention around gravel bike tires focuses on tire width, I hope the above sections have convinced you that getting the right type of tire for the mix of surfaces you are riding is the most important consideration.

Once you’ve picked a slick, small knob or big knob tire and model, that’s when size comes into play. The sizes I’ve recommended for each tire type above are based on you riding 21-25C rims, having built your gravel riding experience starting with roadie rather than mountain biker skills, and having the enthusiast goal to ride these events and surfaces fast rather than leisurely.

Let’s look at some options if your personal situation is a bit different.

Rim Width: As with a new road bike, your gravel bike is likely to have heavy, underperforming stock wheels that you’ll want to replace. If you have already upgraded your road disc bike wheels, you may want to simply move them over to your gravel bike and put your new gravel tires on them. Totally reasonable.

While the difference between the label width and the actual width of gravel bike tires isn’t any more reliable than what you find on road bike tires, what I’ve seen is that gravel tire label width appears to associate best with rims whose inside widths measure 21 to 25mm. Your upgrade road disc wheels are likely to be in the 19-21mm range as are most stock wheels that come on gravel bikes.

If you get a better set of alloy or carbon gravel bike wheels, they are likely to be in the 22C-25C range, far wider than your road wheels. There are good reasons to get dedicated gravel wheels including saving your road wheels from potential gravel damage, getting better grip, handling, and puncture resistance, and avoiding the time and hassle of moving your wheels and re-mounting tires each time you change between road and gravel bikes.

I’ve done extensive testing of alloy and carbon wheels ranging in price from US$1000 to $2500 and more if you are looking to get better gravel wheels.

My testing has shown that the mounted and inflated tire width will increase by 2mm when you go from 19C to 25C rims whether at 50psi or 35psi. This was the case for both 40mm big knob gravel tires and 38mm small knob ones. So your actual width will increase roughly 1mm for every 3mm of rim width above 19C.

Gravel Skills and Ride Goals: If you have a mountain bike background, you likely have a range of handling, descending, line choice, and other skills along with the confidence to do things on dirt and gravel that most roadies gone groadie lack.

If you are a roadie looking to ride gravel as a nice change of pace rather than as hard as you ride on the road, you might want to ride a tire a couple mm wider (e.g. 40mm vs. 38mm). This can give you more confidence and comfort in the same way a 28C road tire might over a 25C even though it won’t be as fast.

Either way, stay with the type of tire that’s right for the surface you are riding and just change the width. If the event or ride calls for a small knob gravel tire, don’t go to a slick if you’ve got good dirt and gravel riding experience or to a big knob one if you want to take it easy.

With only a road background myself, I thought it was important to improve my technique rather than use wider tires as a crutch. After my first couple of seasons of gravel riding, I wrote this post called Gravel Riding Technique for Roadies to capture what I learned about how to do things differently coming from a road background.

Rider Weight and Tire Pressure: As with road bike tires, the best gravel tires will not perform great if you don’t get your air pressure right. A guide like this tire pressure chart from ENVE here can help you get started.  

Personally, I’ve found that trial and error is key to finding the pressure that gives you the right tradeoff between performance and comfort for a specific tire, wheelset, and surface combination. You can be comfortable with lower pressures but it will affect your speed and handling when it’s too low. If it’s too high, your rolling resistance may increase and slow you down if you are riding on surfaces that aren’t mostly Class 1 dirt.  Likewise, if you are doing a 100 mile or longer ride, you may want to ride a lower pressure to trade-off some speed for more comfort.

There may be a temptation to go with a wider tire if you are a heavier rider and a narrower one if you are lighter. Unless your skills and goals drive you to a wider or narrower tire, I’d work first on dialing in your tire pressure rather than choosing a different tire width.

Components: Recognize that tire type and width can’t make up for the wrong combination of components. A big knob tire isn’t going to get you up a 15% dirt or gravel pitch a whole lot better than a small knob one will if you have a 34-28 gear ratio. And if your brake rotors are undersized for your weight or the kind of pitch you are going down, the size or tread of your tires isn’t likely to help you control your speed any better.

*      *      *      *      *

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  • Great info! Impressive approach to classifying the terrain, evaluating major events and then suggesting tires. Would love the read more about the impressions of each recommended tire too. Sharing this article with friends!

  • Thanks for the article. My experience regarding some of what’s written differs – and, if I’m not mistaken, Josh Poertner at Silca says the same thing on his podcasts. Specifically, if you’re concerned about being “under-tired”, then there’s minimal to no real disadvantage to going to a wider tire (as opposed to a same width knobbier tire), providing it’s got a supple casing, because wider tires can run at lower pressures and will have lower suspension losses and similar or lower overall rolling resistance over most dry gravel.

    That was a long sentence. In other words, the only advantage of narrower tires over dry gravel, say a 35c vs a 40-45c, is minor aero benefit and a bit of weight. However, the wider tire at lower pressure would likely more than make up for the suspension losses of the narrower tire.

  • Wow, so much to say … I’ll try to restrain myself.

    FIRST, fantastic work pulling this together. Kudos for drawing on the work of others and adding to the gravel canon. It occurs to me that there’s an opportunity to crowdsource this effort to flesh out rides, terrain balance, and even tire choice.

    SECOND, I agree with @nellborg … tire volume is MUCH more important than tread pattern, all else being equal. For the rides in the northeast, of which I’ve ridden 5 of the 8 (including the least aggressive, Battenkill, and the most aggressive, VT Overland), a 40mm small knob tire like the Donnelly X’PLOR MSO will be at least a fine and often a great choice. The one exception is Battenkill, where a robust 28mm road slick is more than enough.

    THIRD, a few comments on specific NE rides:
    – Rasputitsa is more like 50/45/0/5 … it’s not as burly as the similar-length VT Overland (VTO)
    – Battenkill is 25% dirt and 90/10/0/0
    – VT Monster is 55/40/4/1 … there’s one very short unmaintained Class 4 jeep road section
    – D2R2 is *probably* lower in type 4 … I haven’t ridden the 180k route, but I’ve ridden the others

    FOUR, a few other NE rides to add:
    – Guilford Gravel Grinder (G3) – May … disclosure, a 545 Velo teammate runs the ride (5% pavement, 50/50/0/0)
    – JAM Fund Grand Fundo – Jul … there’s a gravel ride that’s like VT Monster and a CX Adventure Ride like VTO

    FIVE, a useful addition to the table in this article would be feet of climbing per mile of riding.
    – Battenkill, despite having some big climbs, is a relatively mild 60’/mile
    – JAM Fund and D2R2 are around 90’/mile
    – Rasputitsa is about 110’/mile
    – VT Monster and VT Overland are about 120’/mile
    – G3 comes in at a whopping 130’/mile

    Okay, so much for restraining myself. And I’ll repeat my kudos, great work on a complicated topic where opinion matters as much as science.

    • Thanks Mom… uh… Jeff for the kind feedback. Disclosure, Jeff and I know each other and, like my Mom, never misses an opportunity to say what a wonderful boy I am and then points out how I can be better 🙂

      Regarding Nellborg’s and your views that width is more important than tread type, we’ll just have to agree to disagree… or maybe not. Both tread and width are important as I think your stated preference for small knob, 40mm tires shows. As to Nellborg’s association with Josh Poertner, I listen to his podcasts too and he’s not spoken about gravel that I can recall and admits to hardly riding his bike for years. Nellborg may be referring to Jan Heine of Rene Herse/Compass tires who has been pounding home his conclusions about wider, more supple, reduced suspension loss tires for years and disparaging anyone who doesn’t agree with his viewpoint. His tire line is an outlier, however, as all but a couple of his new tires are slicks no matter their width from 32 to 55mm. I’m always wary of the research/findings/conclusions that favor the products of the company marketing them.

      Your input on the surface mix of NE rides is interesting. Seems to be pretty close to what I found in my research from many sources. Getting it exactly right wasn’t/isn’t the goal nor is adding in additional info. Suggesting what tire type and width to ride for rides with that/similar surface mix is.

      See you at the G3. Steve

      (Note: I’ve removed the crowdsource spreadsheet link for ride data. Not what we do here in the comments section. Perhaps that’s something you want to do on your blog)

      • Hi Steve … hah, didn’t know the “Steve” in the byline was you … small world! As for the spreadsheet link (which did NOT allow editing), I wasn’t intending that as crowdsourcing, just a sharing of my own thinking. The taking on of a crowdsourcing effort to better arrive at event characterization and tire choice will have to fall to someone more ambitious than me.

  • I could be wrong and have misheard or misunderstood what Josh was saying, but I’ll go back through some of the Marginal Gains podcasts and see if I can find where Josh was saying that.

  • I tend toward the dirt side of gravel. I ran 25c Grandprix 4000s2s at Battenkill, which really was a road ride, just a comment. Why no love for/info on 650b size wheels and tires? I love mine, 47 slicks (WTB Byways) and 2.1 knobs (thunder burts) are great!

    • Dave, agreed, you can run a road tire (and road bike) on a lot of packed dirt roads like Battenkill though I’d recommend something in 28-32mm range for comfort and handling sake if your frame can fit it. As to 650B wheels and tires, there’s just not enough love in my heart or time in my day and certainly not enough $ in my budget to do both 700c and 650b. Enjoy, Steve

  • Great article. We cover this subject a lot on the Gravel Ride Podcast and a listener sent your page to me. Riding mostly class 3 and 4 gravel, I tend towards a higher volume tire (47mm on 650b) as I find it is faster on the descents and it saves my body a little. I often change on the wheels when I’m traveling as I find most of the ‘racing’ I’ve done tends to have less in the way of class 4 than I’m used to.

    • Makes sense Craig. Putting the right tires on for the terrain you’re going to be riding is a far better approach for safety, comfort and speed than choosing a tire based on width, the easy but suboptimal default for a lot of gravel riders. Steve

  • Rene Herse tires aren’t mentioned here?… leaving me puzzled…Y’all are missing out!

  • What tires for the black fly challenge? Seems you are limited by class so really it’s a question of what bike. mtb or CX (and then what tire, hahaha). But I’d still like to know your thoughts and I’m surprised the race didn’t make the list since it’s one of the original dirt gravel races in the Northeast. Maybe too short?

  • @steve i don’t see big sugar gravel (arkansas) on your event surface. what other events on the matrix you think is closely match to big sugar?

    • John, I haven’t researched that one. As you’ve probably seen on the site, the 100 miler (Big Sugar) is 75% unpaved, while the 50 miler (Little Sugar) is only 50%. The unpaved sections are described as everything from maintained dirt (Class 1) to rocky/chunky (Class 3). Depending on your skill level and fitness, I’d guess a 38-42mm semi slick with some decent sized side knobs would do the trick for the but you might want to get some better, local input before you decide. Enjoy it. Steve

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