Road bike tires for crushed gravel

So we’re making a road trip from MA to Nebraska (sounds like a fun drive, right? Lol) and we’re bringing our bikes. I’m good with any situation with my CX bike, but my wife has a Liv Avail 3 and I’m fairly certain there’s not clearance for not much more than 28mm on it but I could be wrong (it’s a rim brake model from a few years back). We have standard road tires on it now (whatever specialized model came with my Allez That I swapped over to hers). Just curious if anyone can recommend some thinner road tires capable of handling light gravel trails. Had we purchased a bike more recently we could have gone for a gravel bike but she doesn’t ride much so we’re kind of stuck lol

My first thought was gatorskins. Googling found this review, admittedly for a 32:

well it depends on where you’ll be riding! :smiley: I’ve done the Cowboy Trail & it’s a long ole day! I would say ~80% of that trail could be done on road 28’s if you had to. A lot of it is that crushed granite sort of stuff so pretty benign. But there are parts of that trail that are really MTB only. You could do them on a gravel bike but it wouldn’t be fun.

If you’re riding the gravel up there it seems like it’s mostly smaller stuff. I wouldn’t ride any road 28 on it. It’s somewhere between the gravel we all know and sand. More like pea gravel.

Conti Gatorskins or even GP4000sII. Bring flat repair stuff, but the extra tire protection wouldn’t hurt.

Touring tires like the Schwalbe Marathon Plus Should work fine as well.

If you’re riding on the trails near Lincoln and Omaha then you could probably get by with 28s if it’s dry. Could get pretty dicey if there is any mud/ruts on the trails.

I’ve had good luck with the smooth version of the panaracer gravel kings, pretty sure it comes in a 28mm. Tubed and tubeless versions. Gatorskins ride like wagon wheels imo.

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It does, indeed.

I have no problem with GP4000SIi, but would have a serious look at touring tires.

Another option, just rent a bike for the day or two.

Yeah I was thinking the homestead trail going south or the mopac which goes East and is at least partially paved in town. Ive got gravel kings and of course they work well for stuff around Lincoln.

The parts of the trail closest to town will be in better shape. You could get some decent rides through town and then throw in some gravel on top.

Consider giving the Wabash Trail in Omaha a shot if you have time.

Panaracer Gravel King 28s.

They’re durable, fairly cheap, reasonably supple, and have a nice bit of file tread. I’ve ridden a ton of gravel and quite a bit of single track with these on my Tarmac. Not as good as something higher volume but they work, and never a puncture.

I actually run them as a training tire because they’re honestly pretty smooth on the road too.

As long as it can clear a 28, this is your tire: