I use my CX bike everywhere – one time with road wheelset and like road bike, second time with “terrain” wheelset and as gravel, in forest, meadows and fields. Very difficult things with this second adoption are tires. It isn’t mountain bike with front damper, with very wide tires. Our body, our arms are responsible for taking strokes. There is also traction problem – we must use tires, which will be good in all conditions in which we cycle. And we can’t use MTB tires in gravel or CX bikes, there is not enough space for that. The choice is not easy, but I decided to write small review of tires which I use.
First time: economy line
After a lot of questions, a lot of reading, reviews and tests, I decided to use Schwalbe X-One Allround tires. It’s 700x33c, CX-specific tyre, good for many surfaces and also for mud. First time I used economy, performance line – with inner tube. It isn’t good choice, because I wanted to use as low pressure as possible, to improve my comfort. Performance line is cheap, but not good for tubeless: not compatible, Schwalbe doesn’t recommend this, co I didn’t try. But there were some issues with punctures – first after 3-4 rides.. It isn’t good result. I had to use higher pressure, comfort was average. So I say no, it isn’t good option.
Second: tubeless setup
Second attempt was with Evolution Line – MicroSkin TL Easy version. Should be much better. There problem was tubeless setup. It was my first time! Wheelset had been prepared for that – DT R460 rims with Stan’s NoTubes tape. I bought Trezado sealant and also presta valves for tubeless. The Tyre tire is put on rim very well. First time I tried to inflate the tire using standard, stationary pump for bikes and without sealant. No, it didn’t work. Then I went to gas station and use compressor with “empty tyre”. Still fail. I thought, that I will not do this without service. But… then tried pour some sealant into tyre, spin it and use compressor again…Success! I can pump tyre, everything was ok. With second tyre and didn’t use compressor – put on rim, pour sealant and then use stationary pump – and second success. I think Schwalbe “tubeless ready easy” is real easy setup. If we have good rims of course.
Schwalbe X-One Allround TL specs:
Recommend pressure: 2.80 – 4.80 Bar (40 – 70 psi)
Weight: ~370 g
Results? It’s great tyre!
What about driving experience? It isn’t wide tire, because I use 700x28c in road wheelset, but it’s amazing – not only gravel, but also grass, snow or mud – it was great on all these conditions. These tyres are good for wet and dry surfaces, and also very fast on road. The tread knobs are soft, so I afraid that it can wear quickly on road, but after 200-300 kilometers there is nothing bad. I tested them on road, but also heavily on forest (on cross duathlon route) and gravels – no punctures here. Traction? I think very good for such tyres – I think is better on sand or mud than heavy MTB tyres. Few words about comfort: I use something about 45 PSI now and it’s good. I will try decrease pressure to first 35 and ten 25 PSI. If there will be no issues, should be very comfortable for forest cycling.
My experiences with CX tyres aren’t great – I used Continental CX Speed, CX Race and these Schwalbe X-One tyres. The last ones are definitely the best, but there may be better choices. If you run most gravels, without mud, better option may be something like G-One tyres (with 700x35c and also 700x38c sizes) – with much smaller knobs, but also should be faster on roads. Currently I am very happy and can recommend X-One’s. Feel free to describe your experiences with gravel or CX tyres.