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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just bought a new gravel bike that can fit up to 45mm tires. It came with slicks, I'd like to get a set of knobby 35-40MM tires for the bike. Details:
- I plan on using the bike mostly on hardpack with some loose gravel and some pavement.
- I'm more interested in durability and cut resistance than a few grams of weight saving.
- Overall, lower rolling resistance is a higher priority than loose gravel bite, although I do want some good bite in the corners.

Additional considerations:
- I'll be using some tubeless-compatible cross wheels and might want to set the tires up tubeless, but this is not a strict requirement.
- I'd might consider fenders if there are a few good 32-35 MM options out there. 40s might fit with fenders, I don't really know.

Currently considering:
WTB Nano 40 (probably my current top choice)
Clement X'Plor MSO & USH 40
Challenge Gravel Grinder 38
Kenda Happy Medium 40
Maxxis Rambler 40

Any others? Which one do people like best?
 

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Are you really heavy? Or maybe you're definition of gravel and hardpack is different from most.

I think you're way over doing it with knobby tires and 40mm is a bit much too.
 

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I ride the Clement XPlor USH in 32 in the exact conditions you describe and love them.

I can't speak to their puncture resistance as I only have about 300 miles on them, but I agree that the 40s might be a bit of overkill.
 

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If overall, lower rolling resistance is a higher priority than loose gravel bite, I think your choice of these is pretty clear. It's the Challenge Gravel Grinder 38 which has aggressive treading on the sides for cornering bite, but is relatively smooth in the middle with tiny nibs to give you a little traction, but should roll nice.
 

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I switched from Clement XPLOR USH 35mm to the 40mm MSO and found things significantly improved off-road, without taking a huge on-road performance hit. I'd recommend either. You can always switch things around.
 

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Panaracer Gravelking SK in 38 or 40mm and Soma Vittese EX also in 38 and 42mm to add to your list
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Are you really heavy? Or maybe you're definition of gravel and hardpack is different from most.

I think you're way over doing it with knobby tires and 40mm is a bit much too.
I weigh 155. Your point is a good one, overly knobby 40mm tires might be overkill. The idea of extreme comfort and rock solid grip at hour four does sound nice to me, though. I did 65 miles on semi-slick 32s on another bike and it was at the limit of my bike handling abilities on the gravel around here...
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
If overall, lower rolling resistance is a higher priority than loose gravel bite, I think your choice of these is pretty clear. It's the Challenge Gravel Grinder 38 which has aggressive treading on the sides for cornering bite, but is relatively smooth in the middle with tiny nibs to give you a little traction, but should roll nice.
Yeah, I really like the look of those tires, I was concerned that they were a bit light and potentially cut prone, though.
 

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I've only ridden the X'plor MSO 40 and some 32mm slicks (touring type). For riding gravel I would without question go with the X'plor and even on pavement I found the 32mm to be not much faster.

On the flats or climbing the skinny tires are not bad but going downhill at speed the 40's are a huge improvement. Not to mention the super nice ride on lower pressure. I would go with the 120tpi over the 60tpi for the improvement in ride and decreased rolling resistance.
 

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The size really depends on what type of gravel you are riding, there's obviously a pretty wide range from improved road type well graded fine gravel to 3 and 4 inch creek gravel not well graded.

I have a few hundred miles on a set of Clement MSO 40s and no complaints at all with the wide range of gravel I've been on including steep climbs (over 20% grade) with no flats. They make a 36 mm tire now too that are tubeless capable (the 40s I have aren't). The 40s obviously have more rolling resistance than a 25mm road tire, but I can't complain on rolling resistance.

I'm switching to a WTB NANO set up tubeless for an upcoming ride due to the type of gravel (flint) and expectation to have flats the sealant should take care of - the 40mm MSOs aren't designed to be tubeless.
 

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I have a pair of Challenge Gravel Grinder Race 38 mm tires that I just used for a 2 day 80 mile gravel race. Great for all around climbing, technical descents, gravel, mud and rough or smooth pavement. No flats so far. I used 55 psi.

Last year I used Clement X'Plor MSO 32 mm for 2 gravel races and did experience a sidewall cut.

I am now a fan of 38-40 mm tires for gravel grinder Roubaix races.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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I've been running some 700x40 Schwalbe Marathon Mondial tires tubeless on Stans rims for a few years now and love the setup:





Around 30psi, rides nice on pavement, gravel and dirt. I have almost 5K miles on the one tire and it's still got loads of tread. I've only had one flat and that was on pavement, took a nail through the tread and out right next to the bead. It would not seal up due to the flexing there, although I may end up patching that tire or putting a tube in it.
 

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The Nano is a great choice for gravel in terms of comfort, traction, and durability. A lot of it comes down to user preference and on what terrain you care the most about. It looks like you care the most about comfort and durability on gravel so the Nano is a good choice.
 

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I weigh 155. Your point is a good one, overly knobby 40mm tires might be overkill. The idea of extreme comfort and rock solid grip at hour four does sound nice to me, though. I did 65 miles on semi-slick 32s on another bike and it was at the limit of my bike handling abilities on the gravel around here...
Perhaps a little smaller than you're looking to go but I really like Challenge Almanzo tires. The grip doesn't look like much but I've found it really good on all sorts of trails, gravel, muck ect.

PSI has a lot to do with handling and grip too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I ended up ordering a set of the Clement X'Plor MSO 36mm tubeless. Kinda pricey but I decided tubeless was a priority. Also, this give me room for fenders. Thanks everyone!
 

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I ended up ordering a set of the Clement X'Plor MSO 36mm tubeless. Kinda pricey but I decided tubeless was a priority. Also, this give me room for fenders. Thanks everyone!
That sounds like a great choice! Would love to hear a report after you've ridden them.
 

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I've been running the Happy Medium in 40 set up tubelss. I have not hed any issues. They are some fast rolling grippy tires but seem a little thin. When it comes time to replace I will be running the Nano.

 

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I've been running Challenge Chicane 33mm CX tyres on my gravel bike which as far as I can tell are just about a skinnier version of the Gravel Grinder. They are fantastic on gravel and rolling along on the road, however not a great fan of them when trying to corner on paved roads once you get them layed over onto the side tread. The tyres slide and squirm everywhere and are downright treacherous when cornering in the wet. I know that isn't there prime use, but if you are planning on a mix of road riding on them, something to think about.

Something else that I would be keen to look at is the Schwalbe G-One in 35 or 40c
 
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