One of the main design objectives for the Honey All Roads model was to allow for clearance for high volume tires. Tires effect how a bike rides on so many levels. When we set out to develop a bike that would shine on all types of roads and that could handle everything that it encountered along the way, we knew wide, higher volume tires would be the key to handling gravel, broken pavement and even roots. There seems to be much discussion about what a "gravel" bike is lately. We don't really call the All Roads a "gravel" bike, although it shines on gravel courses. We rarely encounter true gravel roads here in New England. We have a mix of dirt roads, single track, broken path and pavement. The rides we thought of when we created the All Roads included lots of woods riding and pavement. The popularity of gravel riding has really opened the flood gates for what you can do as far as tire selection. Before gravel riding became so popular you had to rely heavily on cyclocross tires. With the recent UCI rules barring tire width beyond 33 mm it really limited the tires that were available for those looking to ride off road beyond the constraints of cyclocross racing. CX racing is great, and the type of riding we like to do can be tackled on a cross bike. But its not the best solution for all types of riding. The biggest issues are tire clearance (most racing CX bikes don't have enough clearance to fit a tire bigger than 35 mm) braking and geometry.
We have been experimenting with Clement Cycling's range of tires. The beauty of their range is that you can go from riding a 40 mm one day to a 33 mm the next to a 28 the next. It really is perfect for the All Roads. The All Road is a very versatile bike. There has been a lot of talk about the perfect tire for riding dirt. A lot of it is about rider preference and road conditions. Clement had an interesting post on their Facebook page recently that is worth sharing.
From Clement Cycling:
In the next week we are going to outline why we do not simply re-purpose our CX designs (or resize MTB) for gravel. One thing we know quite clear is that a traditional file (pyramid) pattern is toast after 400 miles on a dirt road. You have to think it, the dirt road, acts like sandpaper. We have designed the Clement X'Plor series from the ground up for dirt, gravel and commuting with a serious group of sounding board riders providing a wealth of feedback. The X'Plor series is quite adapt to changing surfaces and can be ridden hard...7 out the top 10 finishers at Dirty Kanza were on board with Clement X'Plor tires.
I found this interesting for many reasons. The first thing that stands out is that most of us tend to gravitate towards CX tires when choosing a tire to ride gravel roads. But as Clement stated above, gravel roads and CX courses are very different. It makes perfect sense, and I have noticed the wear factor on CX tires when I have ridden them extensively on dirt roads.
The weekends riding was such a needed reminder of just how great riding mixed terrain can be. The snow is melting. And with it receding we will get our dirt roads back. In the coming weeks we will have more in-depth reviews of the types of tires you can choose for your All Roads and which perform best for the specific course profile.