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Want to head off-road? Here are 12 wide gravel adventure tyres

The growing appetite for gravel and adventure bikes and the riding these bikes allows have fuelled an increase in the availability of wide gravel-specific. This guide brings together a variety of 30 to 45mm tyres designed for tackling mixed terrain with a focus on off-road capability.

All about the adventure

What's the difference between gravel and adventure? Not much… The two terms are essentially interchangeable. The US has a popular gravel bike racing scene but it’s been slow to catch on in the UK, mainly down to our lack of endless miles of gravel roads, though there are a few new events that are tapping into this appeal such as the Dirty Reiver, the Dorset Gravel Dash and others. What has caught on over here though on is the desire for adventure, with long distance rides over varying terrain and bikepacking becoming increasingly popular. Events like the Transcontinental Race have certainly helped, putting the adventure back into cycling.

Mason Bokeh - riding 3.jpg

Mason Bokeh - riding 3.jpg

Manufacturers have been quick to cotton onto this desire for bikes that offer more capability to expand riding horizons more than regular road bikes allow. Gravel and adventure bikes can accommodate bigger tyres, the geometry is influenced by endurance bikes, they offer the versatility of a touring bike and there are disc brakes for all-weather control. These traits make a gravel and adventure bike perfect for a wide range of riding, including commuting, touring, Audax, winter training and are ideal for beginners. And the bigger more aggressive tyres provide more comfort and make it possible to get away from congested roads and into the sanctuary of the open countryside. They can be ridden anywhere, and they’re adaptable and versatile.

Read more: 16 of the best 2017 gravel & adventure bikes

Growing tyre choice

And with the growing bike choice comes a growing tyre choice. The tyre you choose can dictate the sort of riding the bike can be used for. Choosing the right tyre comes down to the style of riding you have in mind. Mostly road? You want a smoother tyre that emphasises low rolling resistance. Want to ride predominantly off-road? A tyre with an aggressive tread pattern to provide grip in dirt, gravel, grass and mud is going to be preferable. And there are many tyres that attempt to bridge these two extremes, with a smooth centre section and bigger shoulder knobs, to provide road and off-road capability. The tyres in this guide lean towards off-road riding where grip on grass, gravel, mud and dirt is important, but most also offer the rolling speed you want for hardpack and tarmac roads, to provide that essential versatility.

Mason Bokeh - fork clearance.jpg

Mason Bokeh - fork clearance.jpg

How wide you go comes down principally to what your bike will accommodate and how wide you think is right for the riding you're doing and terrain you're tackling. At the time of writing a 38-40mm tyre is a very popular width for gravel and adventure riding, but there are many options between 30-34mm if clearance is tight on your bike, and you can go up to 50mm if you have space and want the biggest volume. We're mostly concentrating on 700c tyres here, but there's a growing interest in the smaller 650b size, which provides the benefit of a bigger tyre volume with roughly the same outside diameter as a 40mm tyre on a 700c rim.

Read more: Is 650b the future for road bikes? road.cc investigates

This article will guide you through the many choices available. We’ll update it frequently as new tyres are released.

Schwalbe G-One — £30.99

schwalbe-g-one-tyre.jpg

schwalbe-g-one-tyre.jpg

German tyre company Schwalbe hit a home run when it introduced the G-One. The close-packed circular knobbly tread, round profile and sticky tread compound give them prodigious levels of grip on all sorts of surfaces. As with all Schwalbe tyres, they’re tubeless and we’ve never had any problems sealing them on a wide range of rims. It’s available in 35 and 40mm widths.

Read our Schwalbe G-One Review

Halo Twin Rail Dual — £24.99

halo twin rail.png

halo twin rail.png

The Halo features two central rails (hence the name) along the centre section for fast rolling speed on the straight with raised square blocks of alternating size on either side. A dual compound rubber maximises cornering grip and rolling resistance, with softer rubber at the edges and harder rubber in the centre. They’re directional tyres with a puncture protection system and come in 38mm width only.

Challenge Gravel Grinder — £32.40

01938_Gravel_Grinder120_low.jpg

01938_Gravel_Grinder120_low.jpg

Challenge offers a couple of gravel tyres but this one is actually named for the riding it’s intended for. It combines tall and long shoulder knobs for cornering grip and a low profile dimpled centre section for fast rolling speed. It’s available in 33 and 38mm widths.

Clement X’Plor MSO — £30.98

MSO_40_1.jpg

MSO_40_1.jpg

Clement has designed the X’Plor MSO for mixed conditions with a smooth rolling centre section and bigger shoulder knobs, but it looks more aggressive overall than the Challenge Gravel Grinder. It comes in 32, 36 and 40mm widths and regular clincher and tubeless varieties.

Hutchinson Overide — ~£42

hutchinson-overide-tyre.jpg

hutchinson-overide-tyre.jpg

The Overide is a brand new tyre from the French company and is its first debut into the burgeoning gravel and adventure bike market. It comes in 35 and 38mm widths and Hutchinson has opted for a very smooth tread design with low profile diamond shaped blocks of alternating size. It’s tubeless-ready with a dual compound construction.

Maxxis Rambler — £46.99

Maxxis Rambler

Maxxis Rambler

The Rambler is Maxxis’ first gravel-specific tyre and it comes in both 38 and 40mm width options with a tightly packed tread design, including ramped centre knobs for improved rolling speed when on the smooth. The side knobs have been spaced out more to improve cornering traction in the loose.

Panaracer Gravel King SK — £29.99

Panaracer Gravelking 700x32c 2.jpg

Panaracer Gravelking 700x32c 2.jpg

Panaracer has been quick to offer a wide range of suitable gravel tyres, and it keeps on adding new options. It offers tyres with a smooth file tread pattern up to more aggressive tread pattern such as the one pictured above, and a wide range of widths from 23 to 43 and 700c and 650b options. It’s recently added the first mud-specific gravel tyre we’ve come across and there are new tubeless options being added this year.

Read our Panaracer Gravelking 32mm review

Specialized Trigger Pro 2Bliss — £40

specialized-trigger-pro-2bliss-ready-700x38-tyre-top.jpg

specialized-trigger-pro-2bliss-ready-700x38-tyre-top.jpg

Specialized has a number of gravel and adventure bikes in its range now (Diverge and Sequoia) and so it has designed the Trigger for dealing with mixed terrain. Tightly packed diamond shape blocks make up the centre section for a fast rolling tyre on tarmac and hardpack dirt roads, and more widely spaced shoulder blocks for leaning the bike over and steering control. The Trigger is available in four widths, 33, 38, 42 and 47mm.

Read our Specialized Trigger Pro review

Surly Knard — £32.99

Surly Knard 700 x 41.jpg

Surly Knard 700 x 41.jpg

Surly’s Knard has a closely spaced tread pattern for providing speed over varied terrain, and there’s enough grip for loose and slippery trail conditions. The tread pattern comprises aggressive square blocks with only the edge knobs being rectangular to allow for lean and grip in the corners. Surly offers the Knard in a variety of wheel sizes, including 650b, 26 and 29in, and a 700x41mm.

Read our Surly Knard review

Vee Tire Rail — £37.99

Vee Rail Tyre -1.jpg

Vee Rail Tyre -1.jpg

Vee Tire is a relatively young tyre company but its Rail gravel tyre has been gaining quite a few fans in the UK. It’s a 40mm wide tyre that the company has said is designed for speed, and it features a low profile tread design with forward pointing arrows and larger shoulder knobs. A dual compound tread construction and tubeless compatibility complete the details.

WTB Riddler — £31.99

wtb riddler

wtb riddler

WTB has taken its mountain bike tyre called by the same name and shrunk it down to 37 and 45mm widths for gravel and adventure bikes. A fast and low profile tread pattern across the top of the tyre should provide good rolling resistance, whilst aggressive shoulder knobs deliver cornering grip.

Teravail Cannonball

Teravail Cannonball

Teravail Cannonball

Teravail is a US company, the home of this whole gravel bike explosion, and its Cannonball is one of three gravel tyres it offers. This one is designed for dealing with any “coarse gravel” and features a closely packed tread pattern, with slightly raised bigger centreline block, and more widely spaced and longer blocks on the edge of the tyre. It has a tough construction, is tubeless ready and is available in 38mm width.

David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.

12 comments

Avatar
TypeVertigo [380 posts] 4 months ago
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The "SK" on the waffle-tread Panaracer Gravel Kings stands for "small knob," as opposed to the herringbone tread on the normal 28 mm Gravel King. FYI

Avatar
Boombang [40 posts] 4 months ago
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"As with all Schwalbe tyres, they’re tubeless and we’ve never had any problems sealing them on a wide range of rims. "

Not quite true, they do a 'Performance Line' for some models which require tubes.   The G-One and X-One for example can be bought either tube or tubeless.

The Schwalbe website is still remarkably unclear about this, I've mailed them but they don't appear bothered (basically like a twat I tried to fit my X-Ones tubeless for hours before working out the version I had needed a sodding tube).

Avatar
Luv2ride [87 posts] 4 months ago
1 like

I see the WTB Nano's have been overlooked.  Ive found them to be seriously good gravel tyres, especially in their TCS tubeless guise.  

Avatar
dgmtc [29 posts] 4 months ago
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I have two wheelsets for my 'gravel'/adventure/winter bike (on-one bish bash bosh with ultegra hydro), one has g-one's in 35mm on them for wet road riding (with guards) and hardpack offroad stuff and the other one has WTB Riddlers on them, 45mm on the front wheel and 37mm on the rear wheel (not enough clearance for 45's).

The G-one's are very fast but lack grip on looser stuff; the Riddlers are slightly slower (parly because of lower pressure and extra weight, esp of the 45mm front) but way better grip with the cornering knobs.

Other tyres I have looked at are the Ritchey Megabite 38mm and I am looking forward to the Vittoria Terrenos (Dry, Mix and Wet)

Avatar
Geraldaut [32 posts] 4 months ago
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TypeVertigo wrote:

The "SK" on the waffle-tread Panaracer Gravel Kings stands for "small knob," as opposed to the herringbone tread on the normal 28 mm Gravel King. FYI

 

yes, I just got the normal one, at 32mm, very reasonably priced at 19 EUR (at PBS). Fantastic confort and good grip at everything non muddy!

Avatar
kevvjj [247 posts] 4 months ago
0 likes
Boombang wrote:

"As with all Schwalbe tyres, they’re tubeless and we’ve never had any problems sealing them on a wide range of rims. "

Not quite true, they do a 'Performance Line' for some models which require tubes.   The G-One and X-One for example can be bought either tube or tubeless.

The Schwalbe website is still remarkably unclear about this, I've mailed them but they don't appear bothered (basically like a twat I tried to fit my X-Ones tubeless for hours before working out the version I had needed a sodding tube).

Agreed. Basically, the price is a give away. If it's around £20-25 it ain't gonna be tubeless ready.

Avatar
reippuert [72 posts] 4 months ago
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TypeVertigo wrote:

The "SK" on the waffle-tread Panaracer Gravel Kings stands for "small knob," as opposed to the herringbone tread on the normal 28 mm Gravel King. FYI

 

True - love my 40mm SK and tubless they are as easy as thye get - also love my Panaracer made 35mm Compass Extralights (very simlar to non SK's, just even more subtel, tubeless compatible and evne lighter at 297g)

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grmtylr [5 posts] 4 months ago
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Luv2ride wrote:

I see the WTB Nano's have been overlooked.  Ive found them to be seriously good gravel tyres, especially in their TCS tubeless guise.  

 

I'm surprised about that as well, they've been pretty much the go-to gravel tyre for many people for a while now. Thye're cheap, easy to set up tubeless and grip well.

Bloody good tyres, especially when you can get them for about £20 each.

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fraew [2 posts] 4 months ago
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I can put my 2c in and get behind the Clement MSO X'Plor tyres - I rode the 120 TPI, 40mm clincher version of them on my CaadX 105 Disc for Tour Aotearoa last year, a 3100km mostly offroad adventure brevet from the top to the bottom of New Zealand.

Since then I've probably put a further 3-4000km and i'm yet to get a puncture, despite the tread wearing very thin at the back!

They're excellent on gravel, hard-pack beach (we rode the length of '90 mile beach' on day 1), most single-track (I was a bit iffy on the wet, rooty trails... not much of an MTBer) and they absolutely motor on sealed roads.

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Initialised [323 posts] 4 months ago
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For me the best gravel tyre is the Thunderburt, trouble is you need 50mm - 54mm clearance to fit it. If only it got shrunk to 35mm...

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CanAmSteve [256 posts] 3 months ago
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I've been using the Schwalbe G-Ones (35mm) and Panaracer Gravel Kings (42mm) for a while now. No issues with the G-Ones except a tight fit. The Gravel Kings have a propensity to pick up small flints and chips. This is annoying as on a tow path as it sounds like a machine gun with all the chips thrown against mudguards. Also had one puncture on the GKs from a flint - made it home but had to patch the tire later - would not hold high pressure 

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kil0ran [458 posts] 2 months ago
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Conti seem late to the game here. Having just lost a GravelKing SK to a sidewall snakebite are there any gravel tyres out there with Vectran-style sidewall protection?