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Reply to Tire Widths for riding the KATY

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Reply to Tire Widths for riding the KATY
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Rusty from Quincy, IL on 10/20/2020 12:02:34 PM:
What recommendations on tire widths? We have Trek 7.3FX's with 32mm or older Mountain bikes with 1.5 to 1.9" tires Have a ride coming up in the Defiance area. Any suggestions/warnings/advise is appreciated. Thank you

 
Kendra from St. Louis on 10/20/2020 1:18:24 PM:
I usually ride 28s with no issues. Every once in a while when I hit some deeper gravel I think a wider tire might be better, but I don’t suspect you’d have any issues with 32s as long as you keep your eyes open.

 
Anonymous on 10/20/2020 2:38:13 PM:
Narrow tire. Slick or inverted tread. Less rolling resistance. More fun. To each his own, but wide tires and mountain bikes are overkill on the Katy.

 
brad wilson from st louis on 10/20/2020 5:01:16 PM:
The tires you have sound fine. There are often sections with deep, loose gravel that are hard to negotiate (for me and people I ride with). If it has rained, the trail can be very soft and a narrow tire will sink in. And sometimes there are cracks, holes, branches, dead animals, and other debris that'll be easier to handle if you have wider tires. Last weekend I went with a friend who is an experienced cyclist and rode the east end of the Katy from near St. Charles to Machens. I used my MTB with 2" semi-slick tires pumped to about 55psi. He rode his new gravel bike that had 37mm, semi-knobby tires pumped to about 80psi. I had no problems with deep, loose gravel, branches, debris, etc. He was OK, but was glad he wasn't riding his other bike with 25mm road tires. He thought it would've been better if he had reduced the tire pressure a bit. You own hybrid and mountain bikes. It doesn't sound like you are pushing for top performance. Ride the 32mm or 1.5-1.9" tires and have a good time.

 
Anonymous on 10/20/2020 6:20:24 PM:
Dead animals are easier to handle with wider tires? You’re kidding.....right??

 
ArkyKenny on 10/20/2020 6:46:01 PM:
Almost anything from 28mm to 2” will work. I have used 32-42mm. I think tubeless gravel tires about 38-40mm wide are the way to go: They stay out of the ruts, stay on top, provide float/suspension, roll over the rough stuff, etc. Anyone who says 40mm gravel tires are slow......hasn’t ridden a modern gravel bike. Nobby MTB tires are preferred over skinny 23-25mm road bike tires. If all I had was a mountain bike, I’d go find some semi-slick tires about 1.75” wide.

 
Doug from Bluffton on 10/20/2020 6:48:22 PM:
Oh absolutely! Especially turtles and armadillos, they can really knock you off your line.

 
ArkyKenny on 10/20/2020 6:50:36 PM:
Almost anything from 28mm to 2” will work. I have used 32-42mm. I think tubeless gravel tires about 38-40mm wide are the way to go: They stay out of the ruts, stay on top, provide float/suspension, roll over the rough stuff, etc. Anyone who says 40mm gravel tires are slow......hasn’t ridden a modern gravel bike. Nobby MTB tires are preferred over skinny 23-25mm road bike tires. If all I had was a mountain bike, I’d go find some semi-slick tires about 1.75” wide.

 
Gary from Near Tebbetts on 10/20/2020 11:03:30 PM:
It’s those dang squirrels that run across the trail and into your spokes that you need to keep a lookout for, tires size doesn’t matter then. :-)

 
Jerry Whittle from Belleville on 10/21/2020 8:02:40 AM:
I've ridden the Katy end-to-end 8 times on 700x32 tires. They were fine even given my 215 lbs weight (not counting the bike). Last month I rode it again with my wife on a tandem using 26x2.125" tires. There were a few places where things were 'mushy' and the trail was perfectly dry. These places were where the trail had been repaired due to the floods a few years ago. The worse was the fresh repair just about a half mile from Machens. I also have a gravel bike with 650B x 47 tires. It's overkill for the Katy and I'll probably go down to something in the 40 range when I replace them. Finally I have ridden my road bike on the Katy with 700x25 tires. I wouldn't recommend it. The ride is much rougher plus less stable and that's around the St. Charles area which is much more packed down compared to places out in the boonies. I know one rider who has done things like Paris-Brest-Paris (1200 km in less than 80 hours) who did the entire Katy on 700x25 and said that it was a big mistake as it beat him up.