xhx
Building up a new bike that pretty much maxes out with 40mm tires, maybe 42mm.  I have a set of Stan's Iron Cross right now that I've used to check tire clearance, and the option to go to a set of American Classic Wide Lightning single speed came up last week.  It got me thinking, how wide is too wide for gravel, how narrow of a tire can you really run on these rims, and how much will the extra width spread the tire and impact its performance on the gravel?

Anyone have thoughts?  I have to admit a 40mm tire on a 29mm rim sounds both cool and goofy.
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tinman
It's really a personal and-or subjective thing.

Example : If riding versus racing is entered into the equation.  

Along with as another example say the answer above was "racing" > one may ask "how long of a race" and likely the tire "max" width would grow with the race distance.

I don't see much use for over 42 on a drop bar Tour/Gravel bike's - kind of beats the point imo 

On flat/riser bar rigid MTB's >2" 

Enjoy the outdoors....
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allroader
You need no more than 3-4 mm of the tire past the exterior of the rim. I have Challenge Gravel Race 38c tires on custom wheels with Velocity Blunt SS rims 26.6 mm internal, 30 mm external. They are great.

Wide rims is one trend that makes perfect sense.
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allroader
Also, the construction and tread of the tire vs the surface conditions (groomed trail, big rocks, mud, dry, sand, clay, etc) are going to play a bigger role in the ride rather than any difference of several mms, unless you compare say 40c to 1.9".
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xhx
allroader wrote:
Also, the construction and tread of the tire vs the surface conditions (groomed trail, big rocks, mud, dry, sand, clay, etc) are going to play a bigger role in the ride rather than any difference of several mms, unless you compare say 40c to 1.9".


I agree.  I'm a big fan of running the biggest tire you can get away with for the roads in KS.  Think I'll pull the trigger on the Wide Lightning wheelset - worst case they move over to my mtb if it just doesn't work with the tires I like.
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