Gravel tire rolling resistance tested

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FlatlandClimber
Posts: 2077
Joined: Tue Mar 31, 2020 3:37 pm

by FlatlandClimber

BRR have now tested the GP5000s TR as a gravel tire and it is far and away the fastest gravel tire, also much faster than the GP5000TL.
I have a Hard time calling a tire this thin, this narrow, with no thread, a gravel tire, but that's me.
My most interesting take away:
The GP5000TL (2018) got significantly thicker in material as the size grew, making the tire also more tire resistant but slightly slower. (That's what BRR says, looking at their comparison of different thicknesses of the Clincher version, the 32 still is the fastest rolling).
This apparently didn't happen with the S TR, which makes the model tested here the fastest S TR they have tested till date.
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jromano89
Posts: 19
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by jromano89

yinzerniner wrote:
Sun Jan 16, 2022 7:43 pm
I'm guessing your route is mostly tarmac or somewhat smooth roads vs a long gravel or off-road segment?

But a ~15% improvement is pretty sizable. Using the Silca pressure calculator for switching between 28mm GP5k TL and 40mm terra speed i saw a royghly 10% overall speed loss on tarmac sections, but on a decently long rail trail saw 15% speed gain, mostly due to confidence in not having to avoid every obstacle. So similar results as it pertains to optimizing tires for ride conditions ie horses for courses.
Correct, this segment is mostly worn pavement. Still I was surprised by the magnitude of difference between GP5000s and fast gravel tires. It has me considering a second wheelset for quick swaps. I should also note this is a slightly uphill segment to somewhat negate the aero variable.
Last edited by jromano89 on Sun Jan 16, 2022 11:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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jromano89
Posts: 19
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by jromano89

FlatlandClimber wrote:
Sun Jan 16, 2022 7:54 pm
I have a Hard time calling a tire this thin, this narrow, with no thread, a gravel tire, but that's me.
Out of curiosity, I mounted some spare 32mm plain GP5000s today to compare the size, since the GP 5000 S TR probably is too small even for light gravel.

On a 21mm ID rim at 60psi:
GP5000 -- 31.8mm width and 282g
GP5000 S TR -- 30.2mm width 306g

It was too cold to ride today, but I suspect the speed will be pretty close when I test again this week.

FlatlandClimber
Posts: 2077
Joined: Tue Mar 31, 2020 3:37 pm

by FlatlandClimber

The 5000 is a clincher, right?

30.2mm just isn't a "gravel tire" in my understanding.
It's also not particularly grippy or puncture resistant.
Specialized SW Æthos (2021) 6.1kg
Specialized SW Crux (2022) 7.9kg
Specialized SW Tarmac (2022)
Cervelo P5 Disc (2021) 9.1kg

*all weights are race ready bikes, large frame size.
Sold: SW Venge, S5 Disc, Roubaix Team, Open WI.DE, Émonda, Shiv TT Disc

Marin
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Location: Vienna Austria

by Marin

There are some misconceptions here.

1) Toughness: You often don't need as much puncure protection on gravel since a) there's no glass or steel wire on gravel and b) you're running tubeless. This might not be true if you have very sharp gravel or thorny vegetation, but many locations don't.

2) Grip: On gravel and dry hardpack ("loose over hard") your tread does very little for grip so slicks will work VERY well. Side knobs are on the sides so they don't interfere with riding and are (partly) for show.

tanhalt
Posts: 410
Joined: Wed Dec 27, 2006 6:36 pm

by tanhalt

Marin wrote:
Mon Jan 17, 2022 12:49 pm
There are some misconceptions here.

1) Toughness: You often don't need as much puncure protection on gravel since a) there's no glass or steel wire on gravel and b) you're running tubeless. This might not be true if you have very sharp gravel or thorny vegetation, but many locations don't.

2) Grip: On gravel and dry hardpack ("loose over hard") your tread does very little for grip so slicks will work VERY well. Side knobs are on the sides so they don't interfere with riding and are (partly) for show.
I concur with #1...for #2, not the latter part. Side knobs are VERY useful if any part of your riding includes off-camber sections, or ruts. From personal experience, it can mean the difference between staying upright or experiencing a painful fall as the front tire side-slips.

Marin
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Location: Vienna Austria

by Marin

tanhalt wrote:
Mon Jan 17, 2022 6:13 pm
Side knobs are VERY useful if any part of your riding includes off-camber sections, or ruts. From personal experience, it can mean the difference between staying upright or experiencing a painful fall as the front tire side-slips.

Agreed, but it really depends on the surface. I ride mostly on hardpack forest paths in the dry, and on Austrian gravel roads - in both cases, full slicks are not measurably worse in corners for me.

If it's even slightly wet in the woods, knobs help a lot, but here it gets so muddy so quickly that I switch to either MTB tires or road riding.

NealH
Posts: 518
Joined: Sat May 12, 2007 3:40 am
Location: Triange, NC

by NealH

Keep in mind that just because BRR classifies the 5000s TR a gravel tire, that doesn't mean it was designed to be a gravel tire nor it's intended purpose. I agree with FLC, it's thin and doesn't seem suitable for classic gravel riding. It may be Ok for puttering around on groomed fine crush gravel trails, but not real or classic gravel riding. And Conti classifies it as a road tire.

FlatlandClimber
Posts: 2077
Joined: Tue Mar 31, 2020 3:37 pm

by FlatlandClimber

In America, "gravel" seems to be taken very literally, with there apparently being hundreds of miles of hard pack everywhere.
In Central Europe, most people use their gravel bike as a "go everywhere road bike". That's road and hard pack, but also forest paths, grass and other stuff. That might not hold true for everyone, but every gravel event I've ever been at was very mixed terrain. With Central Europe also getting tons of rain like 9 months a year, a complete slick might be a risky choice.
Regarding puncture protection... I can't really say I agree. Gravel does wear a tire down much more easily than road will. Many thinner gravel tires (like the Terra Speed) get loads of cuts in the tread just by riding gravel. An extra protective layer is definitely needed more on gravel than on road.
Specialized SW Æthos (2021) 6.1kg
Specialized SW Crux (2022) 7.9kg
Specialized SW Tarmac (2022)
Cervelo P5 Disc (2021) 9.1kg

*all weights are race ready bikes, large frame size.
Sold: SW Venge, S5 Disc, Roubaix Team, Open WI.DE, Émonda, Shiv TT Disc

yinzerniner
Posts: 137
Joined: Tue Jun 13, 2017 8:54 pm

by yinzerniner

NealH wrote:
Tue Jan 18, 2022 4:45 pm
Keep in mind that just because BRR classifies the 5000s TR a gravel tire, that doesn't mean it was designed to be a gravel tire nor it's intended purpose. I agree with FLC, it's thin and doesn't seem suitable for classic gravel riding. It may be Ok for puttering around on groomed fine crush gravel trails, but not real or classic gravel riding. And Conti classifies it as a road tire.
Don't think BRR classifies the 32c 5000s TR as a "gravel" tire, but rather they did a comparative test vs other officially marketed "gravel" tires just to show how it stacks up when the variables are the same. They also did the same thing with the 5000s TL, to wit:
The Continental Grand Prix 5000 TL might be a bit of a strange tire to find in the CX-Gravel section, but in the 32 mm size, it appears to be quite popular as a semi-offroad tire. If you've been on our website before, you probably know the Grand Prix 5000 TL is one of the fastest tubeless road bike tires yet still offers quite a good puncture resistance and tread thickness.
https://www.bicyclerollingresistance.co ... 5000-tl-32
FlatlandClimber wrote:
Tue Jan 18, 2022 5:32 pm
In America, "gravel" seems to be taken very literally, with there apparently being hundreds of miles of hard pack everywhere.
In Central Europe, most people use their gravel bike as a "go everywhere road bike". That's road and hard pack, but also forest paths, grass and other stuff. That might not hold true for everyone, but every gravel event I've ever been at was very mixed terrain. With Central Europe also getting tons of rain like 9 months a year, a complete slick might be a risky choice.
Regarding puncture protection... I can't really say I agree. Gravel does wear a tire down much more easily than road will. Many thinner gravel tires (like the Terra Speed) get loads of cuts in the tread just by riding gravel. An extra protective layer is definitely needed more on gravel than on road.
That's the thing - theres no set definition for "gravel" so it's really about the true type and condition of surface and matching the tire to that surface.

MTB has done matching tires for exact surface conditions for years, and I don't see too many people complaining that "mountain biking" as a term doesn't match up with their set expectations. Yes, there's been some backlash to the various bike names but when it comes to tires people know that tread patterns, rubber compound, size, casing type etc make a huge difference in how enjoyable or fast a ride can be.

As for puncture protection again it totally depends on the surface condition. Some peoples "gravel" is pure flint and sharp rocks so it's torture on softer rubber compounds and thinner casings, but other peoples "road" is littered with glass, ruts, potholes etc that are torture for smaller tires that only have ~20-30mm of vertical give before the possibility of the rim bottoming out and cutting the sidewall.

For wear rates it's again totally up to the properties of the compound. The rubber compound on the Terra Speed seems to wear quicker per mile on road vs off, but is fast and has decent grip for various surfaces.

Broad generalizations without specifics help no one.

JMeinholdt
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by JMeinholdt

tanhalt wrote:
Mon Jan 17, 2022 6:13 pm
Marin wrote:
Mon Jan 17, 2022 12:49 pm
There are some misconceptions here.

1) Toughness: You often don't need as much puncure protection on gravel since a) there's no glass or steel wire on gravel and b) you're running tubeless. This might not be true if you have very sharp gravel or thorny vegetation, but many locations don't.

2) Grip: On gravel and dry hardpack ("loose over hard") your tread does very little for grip so slicks will work VERY well. Side knobs are on the sides so they don't interfere with riding and are (partly) for show.
I concur with #1...for #2, not the latter part. Side knobs are VERY useful if any part of your riding includes off-camber sections, or ruts. From personal experience, it can mean the difference between staying upright or experiencing a painful fall as the front tire side-slips.
100% agree. Late last year when I was rolling on Terreno Zero tires (with just a little bit of sidewall tread), I took a mild corner and hit just a tiny by of loose stuff over top of hardpack and went down. Felt like I was sliding on gravel for hours. That stung for a few weeks. I'll make sure to have shoulder knobs from now on. Even if 90% of your route is perfectly fine with 32c road tires, all it takes is one loose corner to end your day.
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warthog101
Posts: 439
Joined: Wed Sep 25, 2013 10:05 am

by warthog101

yinzerniner wrote:
NealH wrote:
Tue Jan 18, 2022 4:45 pm
Keep in mind that just because BRR classifies the 5000s TR a gravel tire, that doesn't mean it was designed to be a gravel tire nor it's intended purpose. I agree with FLC, it's thin and doesn't seem suitable for classic gravel riding. It may be Ok for puttering around on groomed fine crush gravel trails, but not real or classic gravel riding. And Conti classifies it as a road tire.
Don't think BRR classifies the 32c 5000s TR as a "gravel" tire, but rather they did a comparative test vs other officially marketed "gravel" tires just to show how it stacks up when the variables are the same. They also did the same thing with the 5000s TL, to wit:
The Continental Grand Prix 5000 TL might be a bit of a strange tire to find in the CX-Gravel section, but in the 32 mm size, it appears to be quite popular as a semi-offroad tire. If you've been on our website before, you probably know the Grand Prix 5000 TL is one of the fastest tubeless road bike tires yet still offers quite a good puncture resistance and tread thickness.
https://www.bicyclerollingresistance.co ... 5000-tl-32
FlatlandClimber wrote:
Tue Jan 18, 2022 5:32 pm
In America, "gravel" seems to be taken very literally, with there apparently being hundreds of miles of hard pack everywhere.
In Central Europe, most people use their gravel bike as a "go everywhere road bike". That's road and hard pack, but also forest paths, grass and other stuff. That might not hold true for everyone, but every gravel event I've ever been at was very mixed terrain. With Central Europe also getting tons of rain like 9 months a year, a complete slick might be a risky choice.
Regarding puncture protection... I can't really say I agree. Gravel does wear a tire down much more easily than road will. Many thinner gravel tires (like the Terra Speed) get loads of cuts in the tread just by riding gravel. An extra protective layer is definitely needed more on gravel than on road.
That's the thing - theres no set definition for "gravel" so it's really about the true type and condition of surface and matching the tire to that surface.

MTB has done matching tires for exact surface conditions for years, and I don't see too many people complaining that "mountain biking" as a term doesn't match up with their set expectations. Yes, there's been some backlash to the various bike names but when it comes to tires people know that tread patterns, rubber compound, size, casing type etc make a huge difference in how enjoyable or fast a ride can be.

As for puncture protection again it totally depends on the surface condition. Some peoples "gravel" is pure flint and sharp rocks so it's torture on softer rubber compounds and thinner casings, but other peoples "road" is littered with glass, ruts, potholes etc that are torture for smaller tires that only have ~20-30mm of vertical give before the possibility of the rim bottoming out and cutting the sidewall.

For wear rates it's again totally up to the properties of the compound. The rubber compound on the Terra Speed seems to wear quicker per mile on road vs off, but is fast and has decent grip for various surfaces.

Broad generalizations without specifics help no one.
Good post Image

JWTS
Posts: 65
Joined: Tue Jun 26, 2007 10:44 pm

by JWTS

It's worth noting that while the 5000S isn't marketed as a "gravel tire", it's still has a thicker casing and tread than Panaracer's Gravelking TLC, which I've used on some pretty chunky gravel with good results. Obviously, "gravel" means many things, but I've used both the GK's and older 5000TL's in a 32 on doubletrack, forest roads and medium gravel (grade 3/4), and with some line-picking in the rougher stuff, they've both been fine.

That said, the older 5000S in a 32 really looks like the winner here on gravel, due to the extra width and thicker tread. I'm running these on a 24mm internal rim and they're about 34-35mm.

FlatlandClimber
Posts: 2077
Joined: Tue Mar 31, 2020 3:37 pm

by FlatlandClimber

yinzerniner - great post
JWTS - that's cool. Everyone who get along with the 5000s as their primary gravel choice will have a blisteringly fast tire. I just find it difficult to put all these gravel tires in the same "gravel" category.
5000s is a road tire, where the width allows it to be used on light gravel
Challenge SB is a gravel tire, that is good for primarily road and hard pack
Pathfinder is a true dirt/ cross-Country (literal meaning, not the discipline) tire.
Specialized SW Æthos (2021) 6.1kg
Specialized SW Crux (2022) 7.9kg
Specialized SW Tarmac (2022)
Cervelo P5 Disc (2021) 9.1kg

*all weights are race ready bikes, large frame size.
Sold: SW Venge, S5 Disc, Roubaix Team, Open WI.DE, Émonda, Shiv TT Disc

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Singular
Posts: 421
Joined: Mon Jul 27, 2020 8:59 am

by Singular

We've touched on it before - "gravel" as a concept is so wide that it is really impossible to pinpoint what it is. Anecdata; last time I raced gravel, a sly guy lined up on the starting line with a road bike clad in GP4000SII 28s (and received the odd funny look in a sea of RH/GK/WTBs). Only afterwards, I realised he was a seasoned local, had ridden the trial event and knew the beautiful, blisteringly fast gravel roads...and smoked me for 4th.

A GP5000 in 32mm isn't a "gravel" tyre in my book (I'd stretch it to "all-road"), but it surely works well for (some) gravel riding. yinzerniner is completely correct in his/her assessment.

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