Keywords: 27.5,g-one allround,riddler,schwalbe,venture,wtb

650b / 27.5" gravel & dirt tire recommendations for the WI.DE.

Gerard Vroomen - 26-Nov-2019
I've answered this question a few times now via email, so that must mean people want to know. So in an effort to "Work less hard and stay small", why not put it here.

BEFORE I START: The tire size printed on the side is irrelevant, what matters is how a tire fits on your wheels. Sometimes a tire fits much bigger than listed, sometimes much smaller. On top of that, there are production variations. So always check there is enough clearance when you mount a new tire. Every time. On frame and fork. On any brand bike. On any model. Thanks!

"What tire should I get" is a very difficult question to answer, because there are a ton of different places you can ride the WI.DE., different riding styles & speeds and on top of that, a ton of different tires. We can't proclaim to have tried them all (though we have tried a lot), but here we go:

In general Andy and I like Schwalbe. We don't own any shares in that company, OPEN doesn't get sponsored by them (in fact we pay them to buy their tires for our complete bikes). We just genuinely like their stuff.

It helps that they have a lot of choice in 27.5" tires and even their mountain bike tire casings are usually very supple. This is important because for the rougher gravel/dirt riding, you need a mountain bike tire but you still want low rolling resistance. When I say you *need* a mountain bike tire, there are two considerations at play:

  1. You can take a WI.DE. on real mountain bike terrain, so a mountain bike tire makes sense. Of course, if this is all you ever ride your bike on, you'd get a mountain bike (maybe a ONE+ :-). But if you mix terrains, your frame choice will gravitate towards average terrain you cover and thus speed (that's where the WI.DE. comes in). However, your tire choice will gravitate towards the toughest terrain you'll face, (because you're a cyclist, not a hiker).
  2. Good luck finding a lot of 2.25" or bigger gravel-specific tires. There simply aren't many, so you end up with a mountain bike tire anyway.
The one that jumps out for many is the G-One Speed in size 60-584 (that's the ETRTO designation of tire width and rim diameter, also known as 650bx60mm or 27.5x2.35"). The G-One consists of a huge range of tires with small knobs, and the G-One Allround tire in 700c that are 35-40mm wide are great for fast gravel. They're some of our favorite 700c tires for the WI.DE. and the UP/UPPER.

So naturally, when they make that tire in a 650b size, just under the maximum width a WI.DE. can take, and they call it SPEED, that seems like a no-brainer. In fact, this tire is one of the main reasons the WI.DE. was designed to fit up to 2.4" tires. We wanted to ride this tire. But when we did, Andy and I both didn't like it.

It feels super sensitive to correct tire pressure, and pretty much all the time you either don’t have grip or you don’t have nice rolling. It's one of the very few times we've been disappointed by Schwalbe. The good news is, Schwalbe now came out with a whole bunch of new tires that also fit the WI.DE. and that are brilliant.

First up is the G-One Allround. It’s 57-584, rolls fast, has enough grip and works with different tire pressures. You can find it as part # 11600954.

A bit out of left-field is the G-One Bite. Slightly more aggressive knobs than the Allround yet lower rolling resistance on asphalt according to Schwalbe. The feature we don't really like are the side knobs. In general we find side knobs superfluous on gravel tires. If you're hanging at such an acute angle you're about to hit the ground anyway. Even worse, the only terrain where you could achieve such an angle without falling is on asphalt, and the last thing you want is huge side knobs hitting the road instead of smoother rubber. Luckily the side knobs on the G-One Bite aren't that big. A second oddity is that the transition between the center knobs and the side knobs is devoid of any knobs. But these are small details, overall it's a great tire. 

Yet, most people will overlook this tire due to a quirk in the listed sizing. You see, this tire is virtually the same size as the Allround mentioned before, but it is classified as a 54-584 (i.e. 2.1" wide). Many might think it's unnecessarily small for the WI.DE. Or they might think it's perfect for the UP/UPPER. They'd be wrong on both counts, don't try to put this tire on your UP/UPPER as it won't fit. But it's great on the WI.DE., part # 11601057.

The above tires  could classify as big gravel tires, of which as I mentioned before there aren't many. Yet they also have enough profile for moderate mountain biking adventures. However, if you want to get ready for the really tough stuff, Schwalbe has the Rock Razor in 60-584 (27.5x2.35") with part # 11600534.02. Schwalbe calls this a semi-slick, which when viewed through mountain bike glasses sounds OK, but with gravel in mind this is a monster tire. And it is also the one we spec on our WI.DE. complete bike.<

Above I have listed the top level part numbers for each version, but some also come in a version one level down for a nicer price. Once you search for the part numbers on the Schwalbe website you will see all options. Here are the three main contenders, from left to right: G-One Allround, G-One Bite, Rock Razor:




We also like WTB. There's the Riddler, which comes in 700c as a fast gravel tire with good grip. The 700x37c is great for all our bikes, the 700x45c is very nice for the WI.DE. WTB makes very clear distinctions between tire uses, so you won't find the 650b Riddler anywhere near it's 700c cousin. But once you go over to the MTB side, you will find the Riddler in 650b, part # W010-0636. Because it's mountain bike WTB prefers to use inches in its naming. These mountain bike Riddlers have coarser profiles and come in both 27.5x2.25" and 27.5x2.4" versions. As is always the case, actual tire width depends on many factors including the rim width, so just try which one is right for you.

A smaller tire but great for fast gravel, both for the WI.DE. and the UP/UPPER, is the new WTB Venture, part # W010-0825. It comes in a 50mm and a 47mm version, thanks to a little production snafu. Originally WTB made the mold for the 47-584 tire, but then the tire came out big; it was really a 50mm tire. Since this was to be part of WTB's RoadPlus line-up, they really didn't want to go over 47mm and made a new, smaller mold.

By that time however, some bike brands had gotten samples of the 50mm tire, liked it, wanted it, and so WTB was forced to make both sizes available for bike manufacturers. Because 50mm was too big as a RoadPlus tire in their mind, you will see these tires with the odd "Venture 2.0"-27.5" name on the sides. And if you look closely, the ETRTO spec will be 47-584. Likewise, the 47mm version of this tire will have a 44-584 ETRTO spec.

Of course when this 2.0" tire gets spec'd on bikes, eventually consumers want to also buy it in bike stores to replace the tires they've come to like. I hope WTB will make it available for that purpose soon. 

Side story aside, this is a great tire. A fast profile in the center, some side knobs that are slightly more useful than most; they stick up pretty far, so not much of a lean is needed to hook them in the dirt. Of course that also means they tough the asphalt sooner. As another plus, this tire will leave plenty of clearance if used on the WI.DE. with a fender (yes, yes, coming soon, my next update post will be about the fender).

Here is the Riddler on the left and the Venture on the right:

Comments & Questions

OPEN
I'd suggest also maxxis pace or ikon
Post #1 of 30. Posted by Andrea Ferraresi on 26-Nov-2019 03:52:24 GMT in reply to blog [0<--19857]
OPEN
I have the g one bite on my UP on 650b DT Swiss wheels.
Fits fine and a good tyre for muddy UK conditions without too much drag on the road.
Post #2 of 30. Posted by Simon Burbidge on 26-Nov-2019 04:57:11 GMT in reply to blog [0<--19858]
OPEN
I run 27.5 x 2.1 G-One Bites on DT Swiss R500 wheels on my UP classic Large and they fit great. I used to run Maxxis Ikon 2.2 and they fit fine too...same wheels. Wheels are 22mm inner and 26mm outer on 32h 350 hubs.
Post #5 of 30. Posted by LB on 26-Nov-2019 07:33:48 GMT in reply to post #2 [19858<--19862]
OPEN
My classic UP:
For gravel and dry/humid MTB tracks, I'm happy with 650B Schwalbe Thunder Burt 2.1". They look rather similar to the Rock Razor. What would be the difference in performance?
(Due to muddy conditions, in the winter season I have swapped to Rocket Ron 2.25". Fine clearance in front, but quite narrow to the chainstays...)
Post #3 of 30. Posted by Bengt Novik on 26-Nov-2019 05:11:32 GMT in reply to blog [0<--19859]
OPEN
The Thunder Burt has a bit finer tread and Schwalbe rates it more for drier conditions. And obviously it is a bit smaller in volume. but yes, also a very nice tire, as is the Rocket Ron.
Post #4 of 30. Posted by Gerard Vroomen on 26-Nov-2019 05:36:36 GMT in reply to post #3 [19859<--19861]
OPEN
Tread and casing can depend on local conditions, too. In Florida, we have pavement and sand, but really no rocks or mud to speak of. I've found a true slick like the 650b x 48 Rene Herse (formerly Compass) Switchback Hill to be the fastest tire here, and I don't have traction issues unless the sand gets deep. . . tread blocks don't help then anyway. And without rocks, the supple but relatively fragile casings of the Rene Herse tires do just fine.
Post #6 of 30. Posted by Michael on 26-Nov-2019 09:10:09 GMT in reply to blog [0<--19863]
OPEN
Absolutely, in dry conditions most people ride with more tread than they need. Even on Tarmac in the wet, tread doesn't help. But sand gets deeper or muddier, and you learn to love the tread. As you say, it all depends on where you live.
Post #9 of 30. Posted by Gerard Vroomen on 26-Nov-2019 10:39:14 GMT in reply to post #6 [19863<--19866]
OPEN
Michael, I prefer Switchback Hills on my U.P. here in Galveston, too. I'm trying to settle on inflation pressures. I weigh about 170, kitted up, and I'm currently running 28/31. Any advice?
Post #11 of 30. Posted by Steve on 26-Nov-2019 11:04:35 GMT in reply to post #6 [19863<--19868]
OPEN
I'd say it's at least a small amount dependent on your riding style, and more so on the terrain. When our sandy roads are dry and deep, I benefit from lower pressures. When they're damp and better packed-down, I run mine a bit higher. That lovable, indefatigable prince of bike-nerdery Jan Heine has put a lot of thought into tire pressures and compiled his thoughts, which are probably a good starting point: https://www.ren...p.pdf
Post #13 of 30. Posted by Michael on 26-Nov-2019 15:21:08 GMT in reply to post #11 [19868<--19870]
OPEN
That's exactly where I started! But I was only able to follow the philosophy, rather than use the graph for guidance, because the Switchback Hill measures 50mm on my wheels, and the graph only goes up to 37mm. I started with 25/28, and they felt GREAT, but a little squishy in corners at speed. I ride this bike mostly on pavement (both smooth and rough), and never take it onto the beach or onto true sand roads like yours, since I have another bike more suited to that terrain. I would certainly do it if I didn't have the other bike. For "serious" road rides on tarmac (hills, mountains, or fast group rides), I switch to wheels with Schwalbe G-One Speed 30mm tires which, no surprise, are also useful on fast gravel. Here, the Heine graph is a better starting point, but rather than the 50 psi it suggests, I find 35 psi much more realistic, and there's simply no reason to put more than 40 psi in the Schwalbe 30mm tire, at least at my weight. Somewhere, there must be fresher info relevant for the wider, suppler tires on wider wheels that many riders are now running, but I can't find much, so it's trial and error. BTW, on larger gravel, I've found the Switchback Hill wanting. So I think yet another set of wheels is in my future, probably shod with Rene Herse Juniper Ridge.
Post #14 of 30. Posted by Steve on 26-Nov-2019 16:42:59 GMT in reply to post #13 [19870<--19871]
OPEN
Silca recently released a tyre pressure tool which includes tyre sizes up to 65mm, and is adjustable for rider + bike weight, bike type, and terrain type. It's a great starting point, see https://info.si...lator
Post #17 of 30. Posted by Jeff on 26-Nov-2019 19:25:46 GMT in reply to post #14 [19871<--19877]
OPEN
Thanks! This is great stuff, and I'll likely use it for every new tire/wheel combo I try. The Calculator agrees closely with my personal experience on 50mm tires, but was different by 25 psi from what feels right on my 30mm tires. I believe this is because Silca is trying to maximize performance, and what feels right to me on wide tires coincides with what's fastest. On the other hand, on 30mm tires I might be able to eke out a little more speed by inflating to 60 psi rather than 35 or 40. I admit it sounds crazy to say I'm inflating 30mm tires to 35 psi.

In any case, thanks for this info! I plan to weigh myself, kitted up and holding my bike ready to ride, to get a more accurate estimate.
Post #18 of 30. Posted by Steve on 26-Nov-2019 23:17:43 GMT in reply to post #17 [19877<--19878]
OPEN
It is indeed optimised for speed - Silca has been involved in assisting the winner of 8 of the last 11 winners of Paris Roubaix. As they say in their Marginal Gains podcast, optimising tyre pressure is like Icarus flying as close to the sun as possible without melting his wings.

That doesn't mean you can't gain some comfort by giving up a little air pressure and speed.

I was previously using the Quark TyreWiz app, which recommended 62/65psi for 28mm tyres, and 55/58psi for 30mm. It is unclear if that app refers to nominal width or measured width, and does not adjust for surface type, so perhaps it is a 'middle ground' suggestion?

I have run 60psi for 30mm tyres for the last 18 months, with a system weight of 84kg, but have also done plenty of training rides at a more comfortable 45psi. Now I have the Silca tool, I will test the recommended 72psi/74psi and see how that feels and performs.
Post #19 of 30. Posted by Jeff on 27-Nov-2019 00:13:44 GMT in reply to post #18 [19878<--19879]
OPEN
Are you running tubes, tubulars, or tubeless? And I wonder which the Silca Calculator is set up for, and if it matters. Regardless, I'm thankful to have it!
Post #23 of 30. Posted by Steve on 27-Nov-2019 18:54:38 GMT in reply to post #19 [19879<--19884]
OPEN
I'm running Latex tubes on the 30mm Conti GP4000 II road tyres, will try tubeless road tyres when I replace this set.
I was running tubeless on the Rene Herse 700 x 44mm but had a puncture that Dynaplug didn't fix so had to put a tube in, then switched to an all-round tyre size for an overseas trip, figured that would be easier with flying. Will go back to tubeless setup soon. Good question re what the Silca calculator is setup for. I'd imagine the majority are on tubes for road sized tyres, and that is what it is set up for. According to Silca, tubeless will replace tubulars in racing in the coming years, but it will take time for pro team mechanics to make the switch.
Post #24 of 30. Posted by Jeff on 27-Nov-2019 23:56:07 GMT in reply to post #23 [19884<--19885]
OPEN
I have had great luck with Terrene Elwood 47x650 on my U.P. A little louder than my compass barlow pass tires but great for all road conditions. All tubeless by the way.
Post #7 of 30. Posted by Northwoods U.P. on 26-Nov-2019 09:33:00 GMT in reply to blog [0<--19864]
OPEN
Great post, can you repeat this for the U.P. 700. It would be appreciated.
Post #8 of 30. Posted by Brian on 26-Nov-2019 10:21:55 GMT in reply to blog [0<--19865]
OPEN
At some point, absolutely.
Post #10 of 30. Posted by Gerard Vroomen on 26-Nov-2019 10:39:32 GMT in reply to post #8 [19865<--19867]
OPEN
Great Info on the amount of 650b choices.
GV
How can i send you a PM?
Post #12 of 30. Posted by Brian on 26-Nov-2019 14:39:04 GMT in reply to blog [0<--19869]
OPEN
Yep, there's a contact form on the left.
Post #15 of 30. Posted by Gerard Vroomen on 26-Nov-2019 16:46:23 GMT in reply to post #12 [19869<--19872]
OPEN
Did you find yourself sensitive to pressure with the G-One Speed on surfaced roads or on dirt/gravel, or on both? I'm curious because I'm using the 50-584 version and I also find myself very sensitive to pressure but, specifically, sensitive to pressure in the front tyre when on surfaced roads. If the pressure is too low, it feels similar to being stuck in a rut when riding in a straight line and the tyre feels like it's about to collapse when cornering hard. It's also very sensitive to lines painted on the side of the (surfaced) road. On dirt/gravel (which, luckily, I can get to right out the door), I'm perfectly happy with low pressures and don't have the same sensitivity to minor variations.

However, I would make exactly the same observations about other smooth treaded, wide tyres with lightweight, flexible casings - e.g. the corresponding Compass Hill/Pass tyres - so I think it is perhaps a class of tyre versus a particular one that has this issue. Mind you, the G-One Speed is the only tyre of that ilk available in 60-584 and it would make sense if it is even more sensitive than the 50mm version.

Thanks, as always, for your interesting insights.
Post #16 of 30. Posted by John B. on 26-Nov-2019 17:32:30 GMT in reply to blog [0<--19876]
OPEN
Our main issue is that there is no pressure where the tire rides nicely on- and off-road. So you can find a pressure that is nice for one, and a different pressure nice for the other, but not one pressure for both. Of course the optimal on- and off-road pressures are always different, but normally you can find a good middle ground. With the G-One Speed we haven't really been able to.
Post #22 of 30. Posted by Gerard Vroomen on 27-Nov-2019 05:39:33 GMT in reply to post #16 [19876<--19882]
OPEN
I just got my WI.DE and have it equipped with the 2.35“ Schwalbe Rock Razor. The tire is amazing. Fast rolling on paved road, but digs well into muddy ground. Only issue: it is so wide, that I cannot fit the Ass Saver Fenders, even though they are specifically made for the WI.DE (it‘s the detour variant).
Post #20 of 30. Posted by Lars Viebrock on 27-Nov-2019 04:37:00 GMT in reply to blog [0<--19880]
OPEN
The fender will always cut into the space available for the tire. So yes, when you max out the tire size, the fender will be an issue. It also depends a bit on the rim you use how the tire shapes and if there is fender clearance or not, but the tire itself is the biggest factor.
Post #21 of 30. Posted by Gerard Vroomen on 27-Nov-2019 05:37:52 GMT in reply to post #20 [19880<--19881]
OPEN
Thus far, I've used only WTB tires on my Open UP. I switch between the WTB Nano 700x40 and the WTB 700x34 Exposure. I really like the Nanos for most of my riding, unless I'm in a gravel race (e.g., Belgain Waffle Ride in San Marcos, Ca), where the Expsoure 34s worked great. My only gripe however with the Nano x 40s with the UP is that there's barely any clearance between the tire and the seat tube. I raced in this year's Strada Rossa (rainy, wet all day pretty much) and just peeled off plenty of paint on the seat tube due to mud and other "gunk" rubbing against the tube. I think the WTB Nanos are just longer? The width is fine and clears the chain and seat stays fine. Wheels are Enve G23s. Considering a set of 650s Enve g27s to race in these conditions.
Post #25 of 30. Posted by Anthony on 28-Nov-2019 15:46:36 GMT in reply to blog [0<--19886]
OPEN
Yes, the Nano is a very oblong tire. It's wide (most 40mm tires are actually less than 40mm, the Nano is pretty true to size) but more importantly it's very high. So seat tube clearance is a lot lower than most other "40mm" tires.
Post #26 of 30. Posted by Gerard Vroomen on 28-Nov-2019 16:04:01 GMT in reply to post #25 [19886<--19887]
OPEN
Thanks Gerald for that confirmation!
Post #27 of 30. Posted by Anthony on 28-Nov-2019 16:23:37 GMT in reply to post #26 [19887<--19888]
OPEN
This is awesome, as I’m a major tire geek.
I have 3 sets of wheels for my Open UP, and I change out the tires every 100 to 200 miles. If I don’t like a particular tire, it comes off well before 100 miles.

I have tried most of the tires mentioned here except the Rock Razor and Venture, and your assessment is spot on.

The one tire I particularly like for dry gravel roads is specialized pathfinder tires. They feel very similar to WTB Riddler except it feels more robust and durable.
Post #28 of 30. Posted by CP on 29-Nov-2019 11:53:25 GMT in reply to blog [0<--19905]
OPEN
I have punctured the Schwalbe G-One Allround for the 2nd time(2 different tires) and I’m giving up. This tire is rolling great on road and has off-road nice grip. But it is light and weak. I’m going for WTB Riddler or Vittoria Terreno Dry. By the way my front tire is a Challenger.
Post #29 of 30. Posted by Jan Arends on 01-Dec-2019 01:59:39 GMT in reply to blog [0<--19911]
OPEN
Strange, we don't have that experience at all. Maybe bad luck or related to the specific terrain you ride on.
Post #30 of 30. Posted by Gerard Vroomen on 01-Dec-2019 03:03:25 GMT in reply to post #29 [19911<--19912]
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