Gravel Bike Tires / 2022 Edition

Frequently asked questions about gravel bike tires

Need more help with gravel bike tires? Here are some commonly asked questions and answers.

What is the best tire size for a gravel bike?

The best tire size for gravel riding depends on how you intend to use your gravel bike.

40mm gravel bike tires balance speed, weight, comfort, and traction quite well. They’re currently the most popular choice for gravel bikes.

The latest gravel bikes are offering clearance for wider tires. Particularly those aimed at adventurous riding are going in this direction.

The wider a tire is, the more off-road capabilities you’ll get. That’s because of the ability to run at lower pressures. Lower pressures increase comfort on rough terrain and reduce the risk of punctures. Additionally wider tires have better grip.

Their disadvantage is, that they’re heavier and a bit slower on less demanding terrain.

If you’re riding on-road and on light terrain, you’re best suited with a tire with 40mm or less. If you’re riding rough terrain a lot and your bike allows it, a 50mm tire would be a good choice.

Can you use 29er wheels on gravel bikes?

Most gravel bikes use 700C wheels. These have the same diameter as 29ers. If the axles allow it you can use 29er wheels on your gravel bike.

What size tires are best for gravel riding?

The slimmer the tire, the higher the pressure you have to use. And with higher pressure comes less friction which makes you faster. If you fancy a fast ride on-road or on light gravel choose a width of 28mm to 40mm with 700c wheels.
If you’re going for more difficult terrain you’re better off with a width of at least 40mm or even better 45mm. If possible you should choose a 650b wheelset which allows wider tires. Wider tires need less pressure and offer more grip and cushioning but less speed on tarmac.

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