March 15, 2013
In my latest "Fine Tuned" column in this month's Adventure Cyclist, I focused on gravel riding. Gravel roads are where I tend to spend the majority of my time in the saddle, so it's an exciting topic for me. To keep the momentum running, today I'm going to run down some of my favorite gravel tires.
The tire that re-fuses to puncture. If you're looking to get a strong puncture resistant tire on your road bike for some flat to rolling gravel roads, this is an excellent choice. There is just enough texture on the surface of the tire to keep you glued to the pavement in wet conditions, and give you some confidence on the secondary roads. This is an excellent tire for those who believe the best gravel bike is their road bike.
If you live in mountainous regions, where the gravel descents are long and bumpy, a wider tire with some good grip is a huge asset. The 700x40mm Clement X'Plor MSO has done nothing but impress me, and it doesn't hurt that it's named after the Missoula, Montana airport code. It has a pretty low profile tread pattern that is great for dry gravel, and handles well in fast corners. If a 700x40mm tire is a bit too wide for your bike, check out their 700x35 X'Plor USH. This tire has a smooth top center ridge to roll fast on pavement, but sports some knobs on the sides to provide good traction when cornering.
I tend to toss muddy and sandy roads into the gravel category, and for loose conditions like these, WTB's Cross Wolf is a great tire. Its aggressive tread pattern does a great job of holding solid traction through the slop, and sheds mud quickly.
Photo by Sarah Raz
TOURING GEAR & TIPS is written by Joshua Tack of Adventure Cycling's member services department. It appears weekly, highlighting technical aspects of bicycle touring and advice to help better prepare you for the journey ahead. Look for Josh's "Fine Tuned" column in Adventure Cyclist magazine as well.