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How to choose your Gravel Bike tyres?

Choosing the right Gravel Bike tyre

As with other types of tyres, a Gravel Bike tyre is chosen according to the type of riding and the terrain. As most Gravel Bikes have no suspension, the choice of tyre will play a very important role in the behavior of the bike to maintain a high level of comfort and grip on the trails.

The 3 different profiles of Gravel Bike tyres:

  • Tyres for 80% use on smooth asphalt roads and very fast rolling tracks.
  • Versatile tyres, which are generally composed of a center tread to maintain good performance and sidewall studs to provide grip on slightly technical trails.
  • Studded tyres, which will be similar to XC mountain bike tyres, with studs throughout the tyre.

Ultimately, the choice depends on the ratio of road to trail being ridden. The Gravel tyre is a mix between a road bike tyre and a mountain bike tyre.

Wheel size of a Gravel bike:

Even if today the standard on road and gravel bikes remains 700c (wheel diameter), it is not uncommon to find bikes with 650b wheels. If you think about it, for a bike adapted for roads and trails, it's even more agile! Mountain bikers know that a 650b bike is fun and more playful than a bike with 700c wheels. On the other hand, 700c wheels will have a higher pedaling efficiency and will be more efficient to overcome obstacles. The choice to go with 650b is also related to the fact that we can mount wider tires without reducing the frame clearance. (Distance between the tyre and the frame).

Gravel Bike tyres width:

As mentioned, with 650b wheels you have the possibility to mount wider tires than on 700c wheels. A wide tyre provides extra comfort on rough trails, more traction when climbing and finally more grip when descending and cornering.

For 700c wheels, it is possible to select a tyre width of up to 45mm and 60mm for 650b wheels. Be careful, as mentioned before, you have to follow the manufacturer's recommendations before buying to avoid reducing the frame's clearance and then receiving projections or accumulating mud on the frame.

Pressure of a Gravel Bike tyre

A complicated and divisive issue. As a general rule, the rougher the terrain, the lower the pressure. You have to find the right pressure balance regarding your riding and the type of tyres you're using. But you have to keep in mind that a low pressure tyre provides more comfort and traction on dirt.

Tubeless tyres for Gravel Bikes

Of course, riding on dirt and pebbles increases the risk of punctures. Tubeless is a technology that has been used for many years in mountain biking, an excellent way to avoid pinches, thorns and other problems. Tubeless also allows to reduce (again) the pressure of the tyres and thus gain in grip and comfort. However, be careful not to go to the extreme low pressure, at the risk of damaging the rim on certain shocks. In mountain biking, new anti-pinch foams have been used for some time. They allow to reduce even more the tyre pressure without damaging the rim. We could imagine this on Gravel Bike wheels in the near future.

The best Gravel Bike tyres