Gravel Wheel Questions

I have an older set of DT Swiss 1100’s 62mm deep (pictured below) I’m thinking running on my gravel bike as a 2nd set. I have two sets of road wheels that roll and corner better than these so, this is just for fun. The front internal rim width is 17mm while the rear is 20mm. Two questions:

  1. Can I safely run a 40mm tire with those internal rim widths?

  2. I ride in AZ so it can get pretty chunky. Will rims this tall fail easier than say my 25mm Nox hoops if I bottom out?

These are hooked tubeless compatible. Thx!

Have you checked for any specs limits from DT Swiss and the tire maker? Either may list a basic guide on sizing for tire to rim and such.

Personally, I’d avoid 40mm on a 17mm internal as I think the “light bulb effect” would be noticeable and may lead to odd performance in side loading and off-center impacts.


I’m with Chad.

What’s your normal wheelset/tire combo?

Do you have a need for a narrower gravel/all-road setup? Like a 32mm file tread or similar.

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Agree with the consensus re: 17mm being too narrow for gravel tires. It’ll work, but they’ll lack support.

Re: danger of deep wheels. I don’t think they’re more susceptible to bottom-out damage, but that’s a lot of rim sidewall exposed to rocks and riders. Have you seen how thin-walled deep rims are?

FYI, they’ll also ride pretty stiff.

Big fan of aero wheels for gravel (I use AR4.5s) , but those seem too deep and too narrow.

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DT manual says it possible up to a 47 (with a 17mm innternal). Recommended is a 23 and 25…lol.

Normal setup is a Nox 25mm carbon hoop with 40mm Conti Terra Speeds at the moment.

I don’t need another set. I just can’t sell these for much money and they don’t perform as well as my other road wheels so I’m just messnig around with them. Maybe they’d be good for a BWR type event with a 32-ish.

Yep for sure. That was in my head…the walls are just paper thin and more prone to damage from loose rocks etc…Agree and the stiffness. It might really suck if too chunky.


Crazy in my mind, but I guess they know best???

I tried searching the Conti site but it doesn’t seem to offer specs of any use here.

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Lets not forget that it was only about ten years ago that even most mountain bike rims were 21mm or less… Stans had the 21mm ZTR Crest, and Velocity had the Blunt 30mm, which were both considered pretty wild… 18mm or 19mm internal wasn’t at all out of the norm, even on high end wheel sets back then. There is nothing inherently dangerous about running a fat tire on a narrow rim, but you’re certainly not gaining any performance, especially aerodynamically on 62mm deep wheels.

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I have an old set of FLO45s hangin out since I got new road wheels and had a similar thought to make them fast gravel wheels. 17mm internals (16 something measured) as I planned to put 35mm tires on them. Got in touch with FLO and got their blessing for the combination. Had one semi-mounted and didn’t look too ridiculous. Back burnered the project when I was thwarted by the tires I planned on using being old and sealant crusted and not wanting to seat properly plus needing yet another roll of tubeless tape to match the super narrow inner width.

Moderate story shorter a similar spec from another manufacturer said sure fine on the combo so maybe someday.

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I get your point, but since I have direct experience with a Stan’s 17mm IW wheel running a 38mm Bontrager LT2 (IIRC) tire, I can say that it was NOT an ideal combo for my needs at least. There was a huge change in overall feel compared to similar grip 33mm CX0 & CX3 tires I ran with those wheels. There was noticeable wobble and instability in the largest tires from that shape issue.

Those combos aren’t “dangerous” and I never made that claim or even implication. I specifically mentioned “odd performance” and I stand by that from my experience above. He asked for our thoughts and I gave mine.


Via some searching, I found several resources that may be worth a look, despite not finding one via Conti in my first try.

Per the chart, the proposed 17mm IW + 40mm tire are “Compatible”. But it’s clear to see a trend where the “Optimal” is seen starting at 19mm width.

Similar from American Classic

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I wasn’t targeting you by any means, just making a statement(of my thoughts). I’d bet in 2014 we were all riding our 2.25" mtb’s on 17mm wheels, with tubes, at 40psi. We didn’t know any better, and there weren’t other options… That was my point.

  • OK, but it sure looks that way when you quote me directly, then respond in a way that seems very connected (to my reading at least).
  • That is likely true, but that didn’t make it a good thing either. I would never choose a setup like that with what I know today. We know far better ways to mix and match sizes, pressures and use cases.

Just mounted these GK 38’s (with tubes) to see what it would look like. It’s not as bulbous as I was expecting…

Here with the Nox on the rear mounted with the Terra Speed 40’s…


Ravel bike…The GK38’s pumped to 40psi fit on the Emonda!?! Crazy. :rofl:Hmmmm…

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The word “fit” doing a lot of heavy lifting there :grin:


No doubt it’s tight but, that looks tighter than reality. The top of the fork is tighter. Anyhoo, I’m not serious about riding 38’s on this. Just thought I’d see as long as I was messing around with the other bike. Ii think 35’s (depending on the tire) might be ridable. For sure 32’s which IIRC Trek says 28’s are the max…

Put 38 slicks on that bad boy and hit the gravel…I’d use that setup at some local gravel races like Rough Road.

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