Over 3,000 people will be on hand in just over a week for the biggest gravel event in the world! Whether you're new to the race or an experienced vet, one of the most common questions we get at the shop is about rubber. What tire should you run at Barry-Roubaix? Here are our picks.
"The Killer Gravel Road Race" has become the official signal of spring and draws riders from all over the state and Midwest. It's a tough but fun event, and the mass of cyclists in the tiny town of Hastings, Michigan, is a sight you simply need to see. The terrain offers up a deceptive amount of elevation, and the surface varies widely over the 24, 36 and 62 mile distances.
The Rubber Question is tough to answer, but with road conditions looking fast and favorable, it's the first time in a few years that riders will be more aggressive, and therefore narrow, in their selection.
If you're comfortable on your 'cross bike, the Michelin Jet in a 30mm is a great file tread option and one we've had a lot of luck with in the past. It's 5mm more narrow than what your cyclocross bike probably came with, with less rolling resistance and more grip than you'd expect from a file tread. It's also a great option for people looking to consistently use their 'cross bike as a training bike, long rides, or even mixing in pavement, gravel and even some trails in a single ride.
Another pick for the day is the Continental XKing. It's a 35mm option with much more knob, and if you're leery of riding a 30mm, this is a great choice, especially if the course gets softer as the morning warms up. You'll likely run this no higher than 50psi, while you might be into the 70s with the Jets, but you'll get a more comfortable ride, especially over the longer 36 and 62 mile events.
And for a mountain bike? Running even a slightly narrower tire is going to add up over the big distances. The Surly Knard is one of our favorite tires for all sorts of things, and the 41mm sits well in a wider 29er rim and lets you run a higher pressure. It's a useful tread pattern for gravel and wears very slowly, even in the lighter 120tpi version. It's a tire you can get and keep for your gravel events for years to come, and it's still wide enough to hop off road if you don't feel like swapping back and forth in the 2 weeks between Barry-Roubaix and Lowell 50.
March 28 is a big day in the bike world, and Barry-Roubaix is something everyone should check out at some point. Registration closes March 18, so get in!