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Riding gravel


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May 12, 2020
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So last year I purchased a set of Dunlop roadsmart III tires. Now I’m thinking of riding a little more rural. Not sure these tires are going to cut it as last year I felt pretty loose on freshly graded gravel. I still ride lots of rural hardtop but wondering if I could have bought something with a little more aggressive tread. What do others think of there road tires when getting a little more off road. Thinking cottage and fire road adventures. Nothing too extreme but I still have to cover lots of miles on hardtop. Maybe I can get by on these tires if I improve my riding techniques?? I have road dual sport in the past and those tires just eat this terrain up but give up too much on the hardtop. Opinions welcome and photos of tread types you are riding.
I have a set of Roadsmart 3's on my X-Adv. Previously I had a Michelin Road 5/4 combination, but when I couldn't get them for a while I tried the Dunlops. The bike handles better on the Dunlops, but the Michelins are marginally better in the wet. However I have stayed with the Dunlops.

Just last weekend I was away for a weekend and 900kms on the bike on some very rough roads. It was mostly dry but there were lots of potholes and loose gravel/dust/dry mud. Using 34/36 pressures I felt very confident on the bike especially standing. I could use a more aggressive thread tyre, but then I would lose some of the road performance heeled well over, and that is where I require tyres on this bike to perform. As such the Roadsmart 3 compromise is fine with me.
The Shinko 705 is good for what you want and doesn't give up too much on road. A little slower on initial turn in. If it is dry then the TKC80 large block knobby actually does quite good but I'm betting you would be happier on the Shinko.
i'm probably not experienced enough to feel the difference, but to me the difference between a pure road tire, a 90/10, and an 80/20 tire is negligible for the packed roads (fire roads, national park service roads) that I ride the 10% of the time I'm not on asphalt. Once my current Pirelli Scorpion Trail II's wear out (which are described mostly as a 90/10 tire) I'll likely go back to Michelin Road series for their incredible wet road grip. I don't know that I'll see much difference on the few times I'll be on service roads. I'm much more concerned with wet road grip than service road grip.

For "real" off road work, or sand/loose gravel, I can see having a 50/50 tire would make a big difference.