Gravel race tires 2024

Didn’t see a recent thread for this. Now that my race calendar is out for the year, thinking I may be targeting gravel, mixed-surface races over Road and XC, so considering upgrading my gravel rubber.

Currently have the Tufo Thundero 40s but they are a couple years old now and have some holes that I have patched as they didn’t seal well.

My current bike (which I won’t be replacing this year) only has clearance for up to 42c tires.

Wanted to get some thoughts on some of the 40-42c options that are <20w on BRR.

I am a bit confused as well from some of the tire talk from DJ and the Bonk Bros. Who seem to suggest the Challenge Getaway and Terra Speed are fragile (they have a higher puncture resistance than my Thunderos (non-HD).

So if you have any experience with any of these or new tires come out, please discuss.

Here is what I’m looking at currently:
Thundero 40s 17.4W, 33 puncture
Schwalbe RS Super Race 16.2W, 33 puncture
Challenge Getaway Pro HTLR 17.4W, 52 puncture
Conti Terra Speed 40 17.8W, 42 puncture

For max size:
Ultradynamico Cava Race 42 18.9W, 46 puncture (might want a little more in terms of knobs at the edges)

Thinking the Challenge and Continental would add some upgraded durability with similar speed but a bit concerned that in reality they wouldn’t be an upgrade in durability, based on some of the discussion I have heard.

I know Dylan and many others love the Pathfinder Pro and I could fit the 42 version but wondering about faster options, haven’t ruled it out though.

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Lots of gravel tire discussion in this thread….

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I like the Terra Speed 40s and they feel fast. Probably 500 miles of gravel and no punctures at all. Not even small ones that sealed (that I know of.)

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How much life is left?

Hard to say but they’re definitely wearing fast.

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My Terra trails felt well worn after 100miles on them

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If you’re willing to consider tires that are mixed, you could go with something a bit faster up front, and better rolling resistance in the back.

The rolling resistance measurements are done on a roller, so they’re going to give you an idea of how the tires would perform on a perfectly smoooth surface but that may not translate as well to gravel or rough roads as it might for very smooth tarmac.

The new maxxis reavers look really fast. I haven’t tried them yet, but i’m planning to start the race season with a reaver in back and a rambler up front on courses where i think i need a bit more grip. Both come in 40mm, i’ll probably ride 45mm front and back for that combo.

The panaracer gravel king ss are also very fast real-world gravel performance and relatively inexpensive. I might get a pair of those for gravel races that include a lot more road.

If you go by BRR results, they didn’t find the Reavers to be very fast at least compared to other tires. Probably within the margin of error with the tasting 0.5 watts faster than the Rambler but likely same compound and construction just a different tread pattern. Maxxis Reaver EXO/TR 40 Rolling Resistance Review

Why do you want to swap out the Thunderos? They test well at BRR and it sounds like you got a few years out of them.

I just got some in 700x48 and plan to run them this year but the weather has kept me on the trainer :grimacing:

They are still at the top of my list, might check the clearance to see if maybe I could fit some of the 44s (the official clearance is 42 but many exceed the recommendation for their bikes). Don’t fit they are overly worn but given one of them does have a patch for a hole that didn’t seal well with sealant, I figured I would look into other options. Sounds like they have much better tread life than the Contis.
If I don’t have extra clearance for a 44, I wonder if the 42 Pathfinders would be worth the increased weight and rolling resistance to have an few extra mms of tire.

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I’m thinking of going with the 45 Terra Speed on the front and the 42 S-Works Pathfinder on the rear. The Pathfinder has a better puncture score than the Terra Speed on the BRR website so I think it might be better on the rear. Also, I’ve read the Terra Speed wears out fast as a rear tire.

I’ve really enjoyed racing on the terra speed. Two issues:

  1. They run narrow. The “40mm” is really more like 38mm on my wheels
  2. Those little knobs wear really fast, like 500 miles life on the rear.

Great tires, but really only to live on a race only wheel set.

“Gravel” means a lot of different things, how much traction do you need? How much puncture protection?

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The 45 Terra speed measures 43.5non 25ID
42 pathfinder measures 45 on 25id

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I’m running Challenge Getaways in 45c (25IW - 47.8WAM) for 400 miles and they are fast, supple, grippy and haven’t had any punctures or leaks so far
I really like them
Only caveat is that I had to double tape and put a lot of sealant as they are quite porous and lose air
I’m intrigued by the Terra Speed, more than the RS, so after the Challenge are worn out I might try those

This would be my choice from your list.

Also, If you can run slicks….RH extra light are the fastest tires out there….you might b able to fit 44mm

One of my friends has a set of the Strada Biancas on for this season, he’s faster than me regardless of tire choice but I’m curious to see how he will find the full slick in corners and more aggressive terrain.

Not sure if I would want to try something that didn’t at least have some side knobs.

I think smoother tires will outperform their real world differences at BRR because they measure using a perfectly smooth roller, so knobs or any unsmooth surface would add more resistance than it would would when used on gravel. They possibly have a similar issue with pressure: higher pressures probably perform better at BRR than they would outside of the lab.

I know this thread kind of died, but I want to throw my 2 cents in anyway…

I used the Challenge Getaway Pros for a little while. I really wanted to love them - fast, sublimely supple, and light - but the sidewalls were very fragile, getting abraded to the point of leaking after just a handful of rides. I also found them vague in the initiation of turns when the surface was loose, which lead me to be more slow and cautious than I am with other tires. Friends I ride with who run Pathfinders have commented on the same issues with turn initiation.

Taking a cue from MTB tire setups, I tried mixed tread patterns to give me the cornering grip I want on the front, while keeping a fast-rolling tire on the rear. My first choice with this approach was a combination of the Pirelli H and M. For both racing and local riding, this proved to give me the results I was looking for - confident grip and efficient rolling speed. The Pirellis are also very durable, but at the cost of some comfort due to a fairly stiff casing. I used this setup at last year’s BWR CA and Bovine Classic, and they were very good.

Always on the search for the next unicorn, BRR’s data inspired me to try a combination of Tufo’s Thundero and Swampero. Both are rated a little more efficient than the Pirelli H and M. I’ve pushed the Tufos through some pretty rough terrain with no issues or noticeable damage. The Swampero gives me all the front end grip of the Pirelli M, and the Thundero has all the speed (or more) of the Pirelli H, but less wheel-spin challenges on steep and loose climbs. An added bonus of the Tufos is less weight and a slightly more supple ride than the Pirellis. The Tufos (40mm) will be my tires for this year’s BWR CA.

I’ve also tried the IRC Boken Double Cross (before I knew about BRR). They are very durable, and grip well in the dirt, but are heavy, and slow pigs on the road.

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I was under the same assumption that BRR’s roller is smooth. When I looked closer, I found that it’s actually diamond plate, intended to somewhat mimic a more realistic road condition.

You should give a front and rear Thundero setup a try, would be interested if you find the Thundero better as a front than some of the others like the Getaway.

I’m planning to stick with Thunderos front and rear again this year.

Hopefully will be switching gravel frames in 2025 (would like something <9kg, with some aero and 50mm of tire clearance to allow 44mm Thunderos with lots of room, downtube storage would be nice too). With that will look at 44mm Thunderos vs stuff like Race Kings and Thunderburts.