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  1. #1
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    Specialized Roubaix OK for a rail trail?

    I am thinking about riding the Great Allegheny Passage from Pittsburgh to Cumberland, MD on my 2015 Specialized Roubaix. I am currently riding on the original wheels (Fulcrum) with 700x25 Continental Gatorskins. Will this tire be OK for the non-paved surface and if not, can I put on a wider tire or some type of cyclocross tire?

  2. #2
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    I don't know the trail itself, but unless the surface is very soft, or very rocky, it'll be fine. You'd likely enjoy a bigger tire, if you can fit a 28 or 30mm wide road tire, especially up front, it'll be less likely to knife in, plus for comfort. Road bikes are far more capable in the dirt than we give them credit for, I've ridden 25mm tires extensively on singetrack, its pretty fun.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by npwhitman View Post
    I am thinking about riding the Great Allegheny Passage from Pittsburgh to Cumberland, MD on my 2015 Specialized Roubaix. I am currently riding on the original wheels (Fulcrum) with 700x25 Continental Gatorskins. Will this tire be OK for the non-paved surface and if not, can I put on a wider tire or some type of cyclocross tire?
    Wider tires would be better, but you would be fine on the 25 mm Gatorskins.

  4. #4
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    Rail trails vary greatly. I've definitely been on some that are unrideable with 25mm tires. Been other others where 23mm race tires would be fine. And some could fit either category depending on time or year and recent weather.
    So you'll need to take any responses with a grain of salt unless the person is familiar with that specific trail.

    I'd error on the side of too big. Big tires don't really slow you down but to small can be a disaster in soft stuff.
    I tend to doubt a true CX tire will fit your bike but I do use a file tread 33mm CX tire for the softer rail trails (and other types of dirt trails) and that seems about perfect to me.

  5. #5
    Russian Troll Farmer
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    It depends....if there are a lot of tire tracks in mud that later dried, I'd think that anything narrower than a 32 would be too little. I use 38's on my rail-trail bike, but some of the trails I ride are quite un-improved.
    "L'enfer, c'est les autres"

  6. #6
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    Could it be done with 25mm tires? The question is, what kind of a ride would it be? My guess is it would be quite jarring and unpleasant over a long distance. Only you can gauge your tolerance for that. You would have to keep your speed down for sure.

    Personally, I would try the widest tire that will fit on that bike.
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  7. #7
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    As long as it's not muddy you'll be fine. I've ridden between DC and Harper's Ferry a lot on my usual 25mm. But...

    Fatter would be better. Get the fattest tires that will fit. Someone here says they can fit 30mm gravel tires. Get soft sidewalls, not Gatorskins or whatever, which ride a lot harder. Try tires from Compass, Challenge, the Vittoria Pave, or even the 28mm Conti GP4000 S2, which runs a bit bigger.
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  8. #8
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    The trail from PGH to Cumberland is pretty smooth.

    The C&O is a lot rougher in spots. Just fit the widest road tires you can and you'll be fine.

    On of our group rode from PGH to DC with 25c Gatorskins on a fixed gear.

  9. #9
    Road Warrior
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    Quote Originally Posted by npwhitman View Post
    I am thinking about riding the Great Allegheny Passage from Pittsburgh to Cumberland, MD on my 2015 Specialized Roubaix. I am currently riding on the original wheels (Fulcrum) with 700x25 Continental Gatorskins. Will this tire be OK for the non-paved surface and if not, can I put on a wider tire or some type of cyclocross tire?
    I agree with the wide tire advise!! I love this trail and have ridden it twice and hopefully again this summer-fall. My favorite tires are 32's Ritchie Speed Max's but have used 28s gatorskins.. I carry the minimum amount of stuff to make the trip; a small pannier, a medium size Ortlieb handlebar bag, a few tools-spares, two water bottles, jerseys-shorts-socks-shoes and a credit card for the hotels.

    Have fun!!!

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