How to choose the best gravel tyres for your bike?

How to choose the best gravel tyres for your bike?

The choice of gravel tyres for your bike can make all the difference, especially when you venture off the beaten track. This is particularly true if you're into gravel biking, where the choice of tyres can influence your riding experience.  

In this article, we'll walk you through the key criteria for choosing the best gravel tyres, help you understand the differences between our models and give you the information you need to make the best choice for your riding style and the terrain conditions you're likely to encounter. Get ready to ride with confidence, comfort and speed on the most diverse and varied of trails! 

What are gravel tyres? 

Gravel biking has taken off in North America, particularly in rural areas where many unpaved roads are covered with gravel, hence the name of the sport. Gravel tyres have been developed to provide increased grip and resistance on these surfaces, while maintaining high rolling efficiency to keep speed on asphalt surfaces. They represent a major innovation in the cycling industry as they allow riders to venture off the beaten track with greater confidence, comfort and speed. 

What kind of gravel cyclist are you? 

When it comes to choosing the best gravel tyres for your needs, it is crucial to ask yourself about the types of terrain you will mainly encounter and the respective proportions of these terrains. This way, your choice will be influenced by your riding profile and your preferences in terms of riding surfaces. 

You mainly ride off-road

If you come from a mountain bike background and don't do a lot of road riding, it's likely that you'll choose a gravel bike to experience more fun and speed on light gravel paths than with a mountain bike. In this case, your DNA is clearly off-road. You enjoy the feel of the terrain under your wheels and aren't afraid of the challenges nature can throw at you. The best gravel tyre for you would be the MICHELIN Power Gravel. It is designed to offer excellent grip and optimum resistance on unpaved surfaces, allowing you to enjoy your off-road rides to the full.

MICHELIN Power Gravel is our recommended gravel tyre if you mainly drive off-road

You mainly ride on the road 

On the other hand, if you are more of a road cyclist who has done little or no off-roading, but occasionally wants to get off the main roads to explore paths and trails, then your DNA is more road oriented. In this case, the MICHELIN Power Adventure would be more suited to your needs. It allows for short escapades off well-maintained roads and it is perfect for those who want a bit of adventure without sacrificing comfort and speed on the road. 

You are a "bike-packing" enthousiast 

If you are planning to go on trips with your gravel bike and want to be able to carry equipment without sacrifying comfort and durability, we recommend either the MICHELIN Power Adventure or the MICHELIN Power Gravel, depending on the terrain you will encounter, favouring sections over 40mm wide. Indeed, a larger tyre will allow you to carry heavy loads without the need to over-inflate it, giving you comfort and a safe experience during your trip.  

You are an "all-road" rider 

Finally, if your riding profile is more of an "all-road" rider, i.e. somewhere between pure road and pure gravel, and you plan to fit large tyres, ranging from 30-40mm, then the MICHELIN Power Adventure would also be the best choice. The DNA of these bikes is to be ridden fast all year long, whatever the conditions, with the assumption that you will encounter bad roads. The MICHELIN Power Adventure, although less specifically designed for gravel, is perfect for this purpose. It offers a good compromise between grip and rolling efficiency, allowing you to ride comfortably and fast on a variety of surfaces. 

Choose the MICHELIN Power Adventure if you mainly ride on the road

What type of bike do you ride? 

It is essential to consider the issue of compatibility, which will naturally lead you to restrict your options. For example, it is possible to change from 50mm to 30mm tyres if your rim accepts this compatibility, but not the other way round. Check the maximum cross-sectional area that the tyre, wheel and frame can accept. In case of any doubt, contact your nearest dealer to make sure that the switch can be made without any unknown consequence. 

Once you are aware of this constraint, you can choose according to your use. If you mainly plan to ride on sporty roads, for instance during training sessions, it is better to choose a MICHELIN Power Adventure with a smaller section (30mm), similar to road tyres and suitable for this use. 

If you are looking for more versatility for your gravel bike, with 80% road use and 20% off-road use to have fun without too much risk of punctures, it is advisable to opt for tyres with larger sections, around 40mm, which will allow you to ride with lower pressures.  

The advantage of having tubeless ready tyres is that you can ride safely with lower pressures without the risk of puncturing. 

The closer you get to mountain biking, the more you should opt for wider sections. For example, MICHELIN Power Gravel tyres can be up to 47mm wide, while MICHELIN Power Adventure tyres can be up to 48mm wide. 

By lowering your pressures, you will be able to regain good grip and better adaptability of the tyre to the off-road terrain you are going to cover. This combination of wider sections and lower pressures is ideal for off-roading. 

The closer you get to mountain biking, the more your gravel tyres' sections should be wider

How can I find out about the compatibility of the gravel tyres section? 

To find out the cross-sectional dimension of the tyres for your bike, you can refer to the ETRTO standard which indicates the appropriate dimensions. This information is usually printed on the sidewall of the tyre.  

For example, the notation "40-622" indicates a 40mm section (width of the tyre) and a 622mm diameter wheel. 

For maximum cross-sections and wheel spacings, it is recommended that you consult your bike's manual, especially for original wheels. However, if you plan to change your wheel in order to benefit from larger cross-sections, it is essential to stay within the specified tolerance limits for your bike. This will avoid potential complications on your rides. 

If you have any doubts or questions, it is best to visit a specialized dealer with your bike and ask for advice. An expert will be able to help you choose the right gravel tyres and inform you about the specific compatibilities of your bike, so that you can enjoy a safe and pleasant riding experience. 

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