anthonylane
I've got my first ever gravel event (Heck of the North, Two Harbors, MN) in October and am looking to treat myself to some new tires for the occasion. I don't know exactly what the terrain will be, but I have heard it's a mix between hard-pack, loose gravel, mud (if it rains), and some grassy trails. A bit of everything.

I have read a lot of positive things about all of the tires I'm considering, right now price vs value is the decision factor.

I would also like to run these tires daily for commuting, and longer, faster paced weekend rides so weight + rolling resistance is a consideration.

Here's where I'm at...

1. Clement MSO 32 or 40 (can't decide if I should go with the 40's or go smaller with the 32's) $42.99
2. Clement USH 35 $38
3. Panaracer Gravel King SK 35 $40
4. Challenge Gravel Grinder 38 $47.99



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RoverAl
I vote for the Clement Ush 35 good all rounder, the clement strada 32 is worth looking into
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Mikerw0
Also consider Kenda Flintridge Pro or Happy Medium
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bobknh
Another thing to consider is tubed or tubeless. IMHO, tubeless is the way to go. Many non tubeless rims can be converted with good tape, valves, and sealant. Although some non tubeless tires can also run tubeless with good sealant like Orangeseal Endurance, since you are buying new tires, you might as well buy a tubeless ready tire.  You can run them with a tube, and convert to tubeless sooner or later. I would recommend sooner. I think that all the tires on your short list are or have a tubeless version. I would also add the 40mm Maxxis Rambler TR to that list. Very positive review from JOM at Gravel Cyclist, and I can add that my bashing about on NH dirt and gravel for the last month or so on this rubber was just as good.
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anthonylane
bobknh wrote:
Another thing to consider is tubed or tubeless. IMHO, tubeless is the way to go. Many non tubeless rims can be converted with good tape, valves, and sealant. Although some non tubeless tires can also run tubeless with good sealant like Orangeseal Endurance, since you are buying new tires, you might as well buy a tubeless ready tire.  You can run them with a tube, and convert to tubeless sooner or later. I would recommend sooner. I think that all the tires on your short list are or have a tubeless version. I would also add the 40mm Maxxis Rambler TR to that list. Very positive review from JOM at Gravel Cyclist, and I can add that my bashing about on NH dirt and gravel for the last month or so on this rubber was just as good.


Fair points. I cannot justify the price of tubeless at this time. Budget bike. No plans to upgrade anything on this bike. 

That being said, I'm stuck. I've never ridden serious gravel outside of crushed limestone, so I have doubts about the performance of a smaller, 32mm tire in comparison to something larger. On the flipside, I have doubts about how much I will like to ride a 40mm on the road. Seems huge, seems slow. 

Right now 90% of my riding is commuting on pavement, but there are plenty of options to ride railroad beds with chunky rocks and gravel, as well as little single track and off road trails. 

So my question is this do the advantages of having a larger tire outweigh the fact that I don't ride gravel or off-road all that much? Is a smaller 32-35mm tire really at that much a disadvantage over the 40mm? 
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RoverAl
The 35c is a nice compromise you can ride the rough stuff but more slowly and with reduced pressure. In your case where 90 % is smooth sailing , I think the larger 40 c would slow you down. With a 32c I found myself tip toeing thru crushed shell smallish gravel and were ok in hardpack. Then zipped along on paved.

With a 40c I could zip thru most anything gravel with the right PSI but when I hit the pavement, it is noticeably slower.

The Clement 35 USH is an excellent tire, well made, the 60 tpi rides nice, has a smooth center section for cruising and at lower pressures handled gravel well.

I rank it right below the Schwalbe G-ones I put about 1500 miles on a set and hesitantly switched to  G-ones 35c which I ride now for mixed. I road the USH a fair amount with tubes too. Tubeless they are better performers but even tubed they were very good. I think it would be the fastest out of the tires on your list. I have no experience with the challenge or panaracer tires.
 Many riders have multiple sets of tires and switch when needed.

It is a great all around tire but don't take my word for it look around and read what others say and you will see many people have the same results. 
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deepakvrao
I' going to b following this thread too. Wife and I have just ordered gravel bikes. Till now we have never done any off road rides, and have been used to 23-25mm tyres for road. Recently switched to 28mm tubeless on our road bikes and we love them.

Not sure at all whether 35 mm would be easy for what we plan, which is mainly hard pack off roads.

Our bikes are coming with 40mm tyres Kenda Flintridge and Happy Mediums. Will try them out and then see whether to swap to narrower tyres.
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AlanEsh
http://www.heckofthenorth.com/#prettyPhoto

I wouldn't ride that with anything less than my 41mm Knards.
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cjdaking
I have really enjoyed my Clement MSO 36s. Once you're ready to convert to tubeless (and you will), they perform great. Should also work great with tubes in the short term
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Lbc
I rode heck in 2014. I ran it on conti cyclocross speed 40mm they inflate to 38mm on a 23 rim. It rained and the grass sections/Boulder field were brutal but the proper gravel roads were fine I'm currently running 35mm and I agree with above^ its a great balance of stability and speed. That being said I'm running 33's at gravel worlds this year so... They're all good. i personally prefer the tread of the gravel grinder tyre but I'm biased it's very similar to what im used to.
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anthonylane
That's good to know Lbc. Thanks for the input all. I ended up buying a set of Gravel Kings in 35. At $40 per, compared to $65 for the tubeless MSOs, I couldn't justify not based on all the positive reviews.
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RoverAl
Follow up with your take on the panaracers, not a whole lot here on tires <40 
Always good to read user reports.
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anthonylane
RoverAl wrote:
Follow up with your take on the panaracers, not a whole lot here on tires <40 
Always good to read user reports.


I'll be sure to follow up with my thoughts, they should see a good bit of action and variety in the coming months. 
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bobknh
deepakvrao wrote:
I' going to b following this thread too. Wife and I have just ordered gravel bikes. Till now we have never done any off road rides, and have been used to 23-25mm tyres for road. Recently switched to 28mm tubeless on our road bikes and we love them.

Not sure at all whether 35 mm would be easy for what we plan, which is mainly hard pack off roads.

Our bikes are coming with 40mm tyres Kenda Flintridge and Happy Mediums. Will try them out and then see whether to swap to narrower tyres.

Quick comment on wider tires -- yup, you don't need them --- until you NEED THEM! Most of the times I ride on maintained dirt and gravel roads. And yes -- I could definitely get by with narrower tires -- even 25 mm road tires. But every once in awhile I'll hit a washed out section of road with either 3" deep lose sand or big chunks of 2" gravel that the town put down as a temporary repair; then I'm really glad to be wearing my Maxxis Rambler 40 mm TR tires. Recently, we've had some heavy thunderstorms. Roads have become corduroy and quagmire in places. Again, unless you have great skills, you'll find wider low pressure tires a must.
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cyclecuse
bobknh wrote:

Quick comment on wider tires -- yup, you don't need them --- until you NEED THEM!


This!

Wide, high volume tires do not need to be slow, on pavement or otherwise. More than width or volume, speed (or lack of rolling resistance) has much more to do with tread, finding ideal inflation pressure (the 'spring'), and sidewall stiffness (the 'damper'). I.e. the suspension kinematics of the whole system.

Don't fear the fat!
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reanimated
Here is my 2 cents for what it's worth - use the Gravel Grinder.  I say this because I believe in most of the conditions you described it will range from excellent to adequate, while on pavement it will be supreme and I believe faster rolling than the other tires you mentioned. The only time I ever felt sketchy on the Gravel Grinders is in sand or some junk that is a lot like sand.

I have hit the deck hard twice since I got my Tamland, one resulting in a shattered collar bone, and both times were on wet pavement, not the scary loose stuff we always worry about. I have come to believe there is a hidden danger in any ride or race that will include possibly wet pavement. We tend to choose tires based on the worst gravel or dirt section, but those tires might be the most treacherous on wet pavement.  The gravel grinders are now the only "gravel" tire I trust on wet pavement because of their sticky compound and cyclocross style minimal file tread pattern as opposed to a narrow raised center section or some other design that is great cornering in dirt but leaves you with nothing on pavement.  Well, that's what I tell myself anyway -- it's something to think about. Plus they roll fantastic and are quiet. If I had to pick only one tire and also use it for commuting and road rides, it would definitely be the Gravel Grinder. Get yourself some Challenge latex tubes to go with them too.
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Bluetick
For what it's worth, I've been riding on the Clement strada 28s on my colnago graveler. For mixed pavement they're good if the gravel isn't too gnarly.  But for tougher gravel rides I switch to Vittoria terrano dry g+ tires. They're slower but surer. But they are hell to put on a rim.  So I just bought a pair of Panaracer Gravel king sks. I'll keep you posted.
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mosinglespeeder
I've used the challenge gravelgrinder 38 tubed, and they are rock solid, decent rollers, and reliable.

I'm however changing over to tubeless, panaracer GKs 35mm, so will be able to testify later how it goes.

Agree that there are a lot of options out there, many opinions,  I tend to gather all that up and go with trends of them all

I don't believe there is a right answer, maybe wrong ones with tires, but many good choices

which is a good thing for gravel
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Pipeliner

Rode Rambler 40s last year, have been on Rambler 45s this year. For context, I weigh 240 so keep that in mind. The Ramblers are a great all around tire. We deal with quite a bit of fluffy, sandy spots as well as deep, fresh gravel that has been applied to road. Occasionally some mud too, where They surprised me with the traction.

I ran 40/32psi tubeless with the 40s and now 35/26 with the 45s. I have had one puncture I used a plug on but no other issues that the sealant didn’t take care of in about 1300 miles of riding 90% gravel roads.

I don’t have experience with the other tires you are looking at but can sure recommend the Ramblers.

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chas
IF the GK-SK are $25, does that help?  They might be sold out, but...
http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/parts/panaracer-tires/panaracer-gravelking-sk-700x38.htm 
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Alex_C
anthonylane wrote:


Fair points. I cannot justify the price of tubeless at this time. Budget bike. No plans to upgrade anything on this bike.  


Tubeless can be done on the cheap. I've cut stems from old tubes and used gorilla duck tape for the rim.
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chas
The Ramblers are pretty much as fast as a slick.  I ran 32mm Conti-4 season and 40mm Ramblers, and there was not too much difference between them speed wise.

Good point on the wet stuff.   I find the Schwalbe Alround to be amazing on wet pavement (and even in snow).
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biglmbass

Gone

chas wrote:
IF the GK-SK are $25, does that help?  They might be sold out, but...
http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/parts/panaracer-tires/panaracer-gravelking-sk-700x38.htm 

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shiggy
biglmbass wrote:

Gone

I was able to put them in my cart
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