seth929
I'm new to the gravel world. I'm preparing for Dirty Kanza 200 in 4 months. I am building up my gravel bike and have a Mavic All Road Pro 700c wheelset and a Stans Valor Pro 650b wheelset, both will be setup tubeless.

What are people's thoughts on the Pros and Cons of 700c vs 650b for DK200?

It seems that 38-42mm tires are the sweetspot and that sidewall durability is a priority specifically when dealing with the flint rock on the DK200 course. I was thinking of bringing both wheelsets and have the 700s set up for a "standard day" and the 650b set for a rainy/muddy day. Is this a reasonable approach?

What are recommended tire choices for racing DK200 on 700c wheels and also 650b wheels?

Thanks for your help!!
Quote 0 0
Koyote
I've not ridden DK, but am pretty pleased with the Terrene Elwood 700cx40 Tough tires. On my 20mm ID rims, they are about 42mm wide, and have proved durable so far.

Those tires also come in a Light version with less sidewall and puncture protection, but I wouldn't run 'em on the DK route. 
Quote 0 0
CrankShaft
I rode a single set of Donnelly MSO 700x40 tubeless last year at DK200, Almonzo and Heck of the North, plus lots of training. No flats or issues. Them seemed tough enough and fast enough. 

I’m doing the DK200 again this year and trying to decide on a new set of Donnelly MSO, or move to Panaracer Gravel King SK 700x38. They both seem to offer protection and performance.

I saw a lot of Schwalbe G Ones last year, but I have no experience. 
Quote 0 0
DerekJ_MI
Many good choices out there.  Much will depend on the road conditions.  Last year was dry and I used 45 Riddlers and I finished just fine.
Quote 0 0
Wheelsmcgee
DerekJ_MI wrote:
Many good choices out there.  Much will depend on the road conditions.  Last year was dry and I used 45 Riddlers and I finished just fine.


I’ve used the riddler 45s for the DK100 for the last two years, and they’ve been great.  I really like the volume of a 45mm tire coupled with a smoothish center, comfy yet they don’t seem to slow me down too much.  I’ve been running them tubeless, and no flats either year at that race.  

I did have to replace one of the tires early on...apparently it ate a roofing nail, which (due to tubeless sealant being so awesome) I probably rode on for a few weeks...at first I just noticed the tire seemed to be losing a little bit of air each ride.   By the time I noticed the cause, the sidewall was pretty badly damaged.  In any case, maybe a tire with additional sidewall protection would have fared better, who knows.


The pair I’ve been running are now old and worn to almost nothing...I’m thinking of either replacing them with another pair, or maybe the new Donnelly EMP, if I can hold off until they release the 45mm version in the spring.  
Quote 0 0
kriskexplorer
1.  Tubeless. I’ve only had flats when I used tubes. 

2. Tires lots to choose from. I use 38 gravelking Sk. I’ve also used 35’syears ago. 
Quote 0 0
Dr Wankel
Another vote for the Gravelking SK here, I ran 35's last year without issue.  

Well over 1000 miles on them and they still have plenty of life left in them. 
Quote 0 0
seth929
Thanks for all of the suggestions!

How do things change if the course is "muddy"? I'm assuming one would know in advance as a few days rain would be required to make it "muddy"?

In the mud is the 650b a better choice?

What are the best options for a wet muddy day at DK200?
Quote 0 0
DerekJ_MI
seth929 wrote:
Thanks for all of the suggestions!

How do things change if the course is "muddy"? I'm assuming one would know in advance as a few days rain would be required to make it "muddy"?

In the mud is the 650b a better choice?

What are the best options for a wet muddy day at DK200?
When things get muddy you want a fatter or wider tire.  45's or 650b's for sure but it also depends on your bike.  Clearance is a huge issue especially on the lower frame area near the crank.  Mud goes everywhere so the more clearance you have the better.  If things were really bad I'd likely go with 650b Nano's. 
Quote 0 0
Delicious Gravel
Personally, I believe you want a narrower tire when conditions are particularly muddy. With mud, you want a tire to "bite", meaning find something solid to grab onto under the muddy surface. A wider tire makes that more difficult. I'd go GravelKing Mud at 35mm. The additional benefit is more clearance for mud to not cake up on your frame. I also believe there is some truth to using deep dish wheels in mud so the mud that is shed doesn't cake up on the rim/spokes. It more "deflects" off the rim instead.

Overall, and in a perfect world with ample funds, I'd use either a GravelKing SK 38c or Michelin Power Gravel 40c on the lightest [but still stiff and durable] wheels I could find when conditions are "dry" [like one of the new i9 TRA in either alloy or carbon] and I'd use the GravelKing Mud in 35c with a deep dish wheel in the 40-50mm range for those truly sloppy messes.

Again, just what I believe to be true based on experience and learning over the years. Oh, and if you are racing, 700c every time.
Quote 3 0
Renegade
I am running  2.2" Maxxis Ikon on my Cutty.  I can't run 650b.  I have yet to run in mud to see how the tires handle.  What is a good tire in 2"-2.2" range?
Quote 0 0
Koyote
To the OP: People really seem to obsess about tire choice...I've done it, too. But for a long event like DK, I think the only certainty is that you will be on the wrong tires at some points in the day, and on the right tires at other points. 
Quote 4 0
Wheelsmcgee
Renegade wrote:
I am running  2.2" Maxxis Ikon on my Cutty.  I can't run 650b.  I have yet to run in mud to see how the tires handle.  What is a good tire in 2"-2.2" range?


Well, I just mentioned I used the riddler 45s for the past two DK100s...BUT the year prior (my first at DK100) I ran a pair of 2.2 Ikons, on my rigid fat bike running 29er rims.   I used the TR/EXO/3C version and, running tubeless, they were bulletproof.  They were amazing on the steeper, loose-ish gravel hills, where I often passed riders who were unable to maintain traction (or ran out of gears) and had to walk.   However, all in all, I felt like the tread probably slowed me down more than it was worth...I can only imagine they’d be even tougher to put up with on the 200.  It was dry that year, so no input on how they’d handle mud*.

If I had to ride the DK again on that width, I’d like to try something like the Schwalbe G-ones in 29x2.25.  

*as far as mud goes, I hear 2015 was a bad year.   2018 might have been too, but the race officials made a morning-of reroute to avoid a few miles of hike-a-bike.   My total guess is that, if mud is an issue in the future, race officials will continue to try to reroute if possible, because it sucks to have to strategize for a race this long based on a few miles of mud that may/may not happen.
Quote 1 0
Scree
Many local Cutthroat riders run Maxxis Pace 2.1's.  They say comfort=speed on long rides.  
Quote 1 0
Renegade
Scree wrote:
Many local Cutthroat riders run Maxxis Pace 2.1's.  They say comfort=speed on long rides.  


Thanks Scree.  I was looking at that tire as one of my choices.
Quote 0 0
stud.beefpile
I've run Schwalbe Thunder Burts on my Salsa Fargo for the 2017 DK200 and 2018 DK100 (29x2.25 (front); 29x2.1 (rear)).  

According to bicyclerollingresistance.com, they are one of the best MTB tires for rolling resistance.

Lots of reviews complain that they seem fragile, and for their weight, that would seem to be true, but in my experience, it hasn't been.  I got one puncture once on a training ride.  If my sealant had been fresh, it would have been a non-issue.

They are about 500g per tire (comparable with most gravel tires on weight), fast on both pavement and gravel, and impart confidence at speed on downhills.  They are also plush.  With those and a BodyFloat seatpost, I roll in comfort.
Quote 0 0
TrailMasonCliff
I ride Kansas gravel allot and presently my favorite tire and the one I would use if I was to do the DK is the Maxxis Rambler 700c x 40 and I'm a 300lb guy that rides hard. But if you don't want to take the word of a fat guy look at what the top finishers in 2018 were riding Ted King, Katie Keough, Geoff Kabush, Rebecca Rusch. Yep all on Maxxis Ramblers

Everyone on line seems to think the gravel kings are so good because well "kings" but when it comes to Kansas flint they suck. You are constantly pelting yourself and others with tinny shards of flint and you will be wanting to take your shoes off and empty these shards out at the checkpoints but even then you will be cussing the crap in your shoes and possibly giving yourself hot spots and blisters.

What i have found is the Maxxis Ramblers handle and roll just as good or better without the annoying downsides.

Good luck out there.
Quote 0 0
13chiefman
I'm currently riding 700 X 42 WTB Resolute and like them over the heavier Riddler. I think your tire choice also depends on if you are riding the DK200 as a race and trying to beat the sun, or if you are just trying to survive. Since you mentioned that you are fairly new to gravel, I'll assume you are with most of the riders, including me, and just trying to get across the finish line. Go with a wider tire and comfort over speed.
Quote 0 0
bcgravel
Have not ridden the DK200 but i highly recommend the Kenda Flintridge pro tires. A little heavier than most but very durable. 
Quote 0 0
thumper88
I ride Kansas gravel allot and presently my favorite tire and the one I would use if I was to do the DK is the Maxxis Rambler 700c x 40 and I'm a 300lb guy that rides hard. But if you don't want to take the word of a fat guy look at what the top finishers in 2018 were riding Ted King, Katie Keough, Geoff Kabush, Rebecca Rusch. Yep all on Maxxis Ramblers

Everyone on line seems to think the gravel kings are so good because well "kings" but when it comes to Kansas flint they suck. You are constantly pelting yourself and others with tinny shards of flint and you will be wanting to take your shoes off and empty these shards out at the checkpoints but even then you will be cussing the crap in your shoes and possibly giving yourself hot spots and blisters.

What i have found is the Maxxis Ramblers handle and roll just as good or better without the annoying downsides.

Good luck out there.




Well, they absolutely do fling tiny chips of gravel when you're in small stuff, but it's a faint annoyance, not a real downside. They have never flung chips into my shoes at Kanza or anywhere else.
They also have measured out at least in the Gran Fondo test at least to roll faster than the silkshield Ramblers the rock stars you named were rolling. 
So, yeah, you can argue for Ramblers, but that doesn't mean there's something wrong with Gravel Kings, which also have won that race.
Quote 0 0
ApexToApex
I will add my two cents here.

There are a lot of great gravel tires on the market now thanks to the popularity of Dirty Kanza, but I have only worked with two models in the Flint Hills: Maxxis Ramblers and Donnelly MSO, both 700x40. 

Both have been great, but ultimately I have chosen to stick with the Ramblers as they are tubeless and the first rule of DK tires is to go tubeless. In addition I would not go smaller than a 40 simply because of the added stability and comfort - it is a LONG day in the saddle and it adds up when you are riding a more narrow tire. 

The other two tires I know I have heard good feedback on are the Panaracer Gravel Kings and the Schwalbe G Ones - both are beloved by those who ride in the Flint Hills. But I can not speak from direct experience, just from friends who live in Emporia and have put miles on both of those tires.

The best advice I can give is to go tubeless and just do some research, there are so many models to chose from if you find one that is described as good for the Flint Hills, or the Dirty Kanza, or has reviews about durability, you will probably be good to go.
Ride bikes and stay young.
Quote 0 0
sidewinder
I'lll probably run Donnelly X'PLOR MSO 700x40 tubeless
Quote 0 0