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  1. #1
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    first gravel ride with panaracer tires

    i'm thinking about doing a two-day gravel ride, but i have no tires. all my road bikes have 23mm tires. i can probably only go as wide as 28mm on my sun m13ii rims. i think i'll buy panaracer gravelkings. they come in 26mm and 28mm. should this choice be any kind of dilemma? or do i simply buy the 28s? i'm a little uncertain at this point about the gravel conditions. thanks.
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  2. #2
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    First thing to do is find out what kind of surface you're riding over. Rails/trails that is dry a 28mm would work for....but pea-gravel, you won't even be able to ride out of a parking lot with 28mm.
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marc View Post
    First thing to do is find out what kind of surface you're riding over.
    No, the first thing to do is figure out what will fit in the frame. When somebody says "i can probably only go as wide as 28mm" then I kind of wonder whether they actually know what will fit.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kerry Irons View Post
    No, the first thing to do is figure out what will fit in the frame. When somebody says "i can probably only go as wide as 28mm" then I kind of wonder whether they actually know what will fit.
    If the surface is peanut butter or pea gravel....having a ≤28mm clearance disqualifies you no matter what the exact number is. You're not even going to get out of the parking lot.
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marc View Post
    First thing to do is find out what kind of surface you're riding over. Rails/trails that is dry a 28mm would work for....but pea-gravel, you won't even be able to ride out of a parking lot with 28mm.
    gotcha.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kerry Irons View Post
    No, the first thing to do is figure out what will fit in the frame. When somebody says "i can probably only go as wide as 28mm" then I kind of wonder whether they actually know what will fit.
    not worried about the tire fit in the frame/calipers in the least, but tire fit on the rim.

    internet says 32mm will work, but 28mm seems more reasonable on these.
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  6. #6
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    Are your rims the limiting factor for tire size or your frame? You can put a fairly wide tire on narrow rims you know. i have a set of rims for a cross bike that have 18 outer rim width and 14mm inner- the bike came with 32mm tires.
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  7. #7
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    dunno why wide tires on these scare me so much. may be a phobia or ocd.
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  8. #8
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    I have ridden most of the popular gravel roads and trails in the area (Olympics, Cascade Foothills, etc...). I might be able to give you some idea of what to expect if you let me know where.

    I can't think of a lot trails that will accommodate 28's except for the rail trails (basically Snoqualmie Valley Trail and the John Wayne Pioneer Trail up to Hyak and through the tunnel). Anything easy of Hyak, the gravel gets bigger, deeper and looser, and 28's are going to be a challenge.

    I presume you are bringing tubed wheels and tires? If so, you'll want to bring lots of spares.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by blackfrancois View Post
    dunno why wide tires on these scare me so much. may be a phobia or ocd.
    You do know that people have raced CX on narrow clinchers for decades, right? And don't forget how narrow mtb rims were for years and years. It's not a problem.
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    Quote Originally Posted by blackfrancois View Post
    i'm a little uncertain at this point about the gravel conditions. thanks.
    And you thought strangers on the internet who have no idea where you live would be?

    Seriously dude, I have absolutely not clue what will fit your frame, how much you weigh, how much help you could use bike handling wise from going bigger or the conditions of the road.

    Personally I use anywhere from 25mm (my regular road tires) up to 40 depending on conditions.

  11. #11
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    There is a difference between what you "could get away with" and what would be optimal. You may get away with 28mm tires, but it may be either a white knuckle experience or just a very slow ride.
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  12. #12
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    If you are worried about width alone on a standard width 700c rim, I wouldn't worry about 28s. Like cxwrench notes, I've raced cross on 28's using regular road clincher wheels. I used 27 mm Panaracer EVO Race gravel tires on Mavic MA40's for Cali Eroica and they were nice, but just measured out to 25 mm wide though. I've never subscribed to the maxim you need really wide tires to ride on gravel, and use 23's on mixed paved/gravel all the time.

  13. #13
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    As the first poster said, it really depends on the gravel surface. I've ridden gravel where my road bike and 25's work fine, and ridden some where my 38's were sinking in and making the ride miserable.

  14. #14
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    On crushed stone and 'fire road' gravel, 28's should be OK. Around where I live, there are a lot of rail trails where the surface is simply old New York Central Railroad ballast (from the period AFTER cinders made it smoother), and on those trails, I'm damn glad I have 42's!
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  15. #15
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    Put the largest tires that'll fit the frame, fork and brake calipers and don't worry about how they fit the rims. The more supple the tire, the less they will be bothered by narrow rims. People been putting wide tires on narrow rims since before I was a gleam in my fathers eye and it all worked out fine.

    It hasn't been a problem till the last few years.
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