My wife and I are planning on doing part of the Katy Trail end of August, first week of September. We both have Giant 27.5 Hardtail mountain bikes with Maxxis Re-Fuse tires on them (27.5x2.00). We've never ridden gravel before and are trying to figure out if its something we are equipped to do. Every Sunday, we ride between 40 and 45 miles at one time all on city streets and paved bike trails, so we are no stranger to the endurance part.
My concern is with the mountain bikes in general being a good fit with those tires. All the reviews I've read, strongly recommend using those tires for gravel. But, I would like feed back from those that have ridden the trail.
We are fully equipped with packs, water, and food to ride 20 miles out and 20 miles back from a given location. We are thinking of Staying in Booneville area for 2 nights, riding out west the first day, then head east the second. Travel by car to Hermann (we like the area) and stay a couple nights there, riding out in both directions.
Any bike setup recommendations or equipment recommendations? We do not have clip ons either.
posted Aug 3 2017 9:55PM
- The Martian, Edmond, Oklahoma
You should be just fine. Like you, I don't use clips and it is a really enjoyable ride for 50 miles or so. You will be ready to get off the bike afterwards, but a good night's rest and you are good for another 50 the next day. FYI, there is a total eclipse up there Aug 21 along probably the whole trail. We will be getting about an 85% eclipse here in OK. You might have an issue getting a room along that time, but...
Unless the trail is really wet, riding on it is quite easy. With the slight resistance of the well packed crushed shale (I think) you don' t get to coast quite as much, but the ground is quite level, being a railroad path. A most enjoyable ride. If you go once, I will almost guarantee you will return. We have done about the middle 4/5 of the trail and thus far, the most eventful and scenic is from Boonville to Jefferson City, especially around Rocheport. I am jealous. I wanna go!!!
posted Aug 3 2017 10:57PM
- Jeff Brown, Newalla, Ok
Sorry, I should have told you, I ride a Klein palomino man bike on the trail. Also, you might want to try pulling a bike trailer instead of having everything on your back(unless you are really used to that). Or use paniers (sp?). If you can figure out a way to get hold of me, I have one of two trailers you can borrow.
posted Aug 3 2017 11:04PM
- Jeff Brown, Newalla
What Jeff said.
It is not gravel. Instead, hard packed chat with a couple of relatively smooth dense packed tracks. Stay in the track and out of the loose chat and you'll do fine. In the track, road tires work fine. In the loose stuff anyone can slide out when not paying attention.
Mountain bikes/tires are actually overkill with not so good rolling resistance. Road bikes/tires can take a beating and are not ideal. Hybrid/cross bikes/tire are optimum. We ride both road and hybrid bikes. It's a 1/2 bike/tandem (geometry) issue and not a bike/tire issue for us.
Clip ons are overrated. It's not a race and there are no massive hills to climb where you need the power up stroke on the crank.
Unless you're loaded ($$), its not necessary to make tire or bike changes for a one time trip. For just a couple of days of 40 mile rides, bring what you have and enjoy!
posted Aug 4 2017 8:37AM
I am riding from Machens to Pleasant Hill 14-18 August. I have ridden the Erie Canal Trail, New York recently, a 340-mile crushed rock (mostly) trail, which when wet was boggy and hard to ride. I am hoping the Katy Trail is better. However, I have a Novara Safari Touring bike with 35mm tires and am bikepacking with all my gear. On such trails a tire width somewhere between road bike and mountain bike width seems to work best, about 35mm-40mm. Get good, name-brand tires with puncture protection and bring at least one spare, then you should be fine.
posted Aug 9 2017 12:32PM
- David, Newnan, Georgia
I've ridden the entire Katy Trail many times on 700x32 tires with very little tread. I weigh around 215 lbs. I put in about 75 psi. There's been a few times when I wanted wider tires but that was mostly when the trail was wet.
posted Aug 9 2017 1:03PM
- Jerry Whittle, Belleville