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Daily Archives: October 19, 2017

Hold the Phone on those 28mm Slicks on Dirt Roads!!!  A Surprising Ride on the Gravel Bike

When my wife and I brought home our gravel bikes, we did so knowing we were getting better rubber for them, immediately.  The bikes come with 700c x 28mm Espoir Sport tires – the Espoir is a paved road tire, or so I assumed.  A friend of mine even commented about the “lack of hair” on them when I published my post on bringing the bikes home.

Well, I ordered the hairy tires yesterday and I’ve got a while before they come in… and I’ve got a brand new bike with eight miles on it, sitting in the bike room….  No chance I’m leaving it in there till the new tires come in.  None.

I expected to be sliding all over the place once I hit the dirt so I stayed on the hard pack… Then I hit a few bumpy patches, as dirt roads do indeed have bumps, so I got over into the loose slop on the side of the road.  I braced myself and scooted my butt to the back of the saddle – and didn’t wobble a bit.  I sat normal on the saddle, nothing.  Stable.

It made no sense.  You’re supposed to have knobby tires on dirt roads.  Right?

I had to get into the serious loose junk, 3-5 cm deep, before the bike got a little squirrelly – but at that point, even knobby tires won’t do much anyway.

The Espoir sports were so good I’m actually considering canceling the order for the new tires.  Its going to be years before I need another set if we stick with the original tires.

To be fair, the Espoir tires aren’t exactly treadless slicks, either.  They do have a tread:

Espoir Sport Tread.JPG

One, especially this “one”, wouldn’t assume that the little bit of tread on those tires would be worth anything on a dirt road, but all I can think of is the advantage my wife and I will have over everyone else riding knobbies…

Interesting indeed.  As is always the case in these cycling situations, more research is necessary.  MUCH more research.