I am riding a no-suspension hybrid with rigid reinforced fork and 700c wheels. I go on touring trips with very flexible itinerary. I stay on gravel/tarmac/trail 80% of the time but occasionally I like to link parts of the tour by going off-road or on rough trails.

I currently run 700x35C touring tires and I am very pleased with their performance on good surface. However I would like to get some oversized (preferably foldable) tires that I can pack when touring and put on for a day or two during the tour when necessary. Here are some cases from my recent trips when my 35c's felt "not enough" and I wish I had wider tire:

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Here are few details:

  • Rims are WTB 700C
  • Rim inner width measures just under 17mm
  • I currently run 700x35C
  • Disc brakes, so brake assembly will not be a limiting factor
  • Frame and fork will not be an issue as well (both look like they could accommodate 55+ size and still have plenty of clearance)

Rim inner width:

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Ample tire clearance (pictures taken with Schwalbe Marathon Plus 35c tire in place): enter image description here

Sheldon Brown says I should not go above 37mm... Yet I know that this bike came from the manufacturer with 47c continentals fitted...

Any advice is appreciated. I would like to hear not only what is OK for this particular case but also what are general considerations. How does one decide when tire is too wide and unsafe.


Additional problem that I am facing is that it is hard to find wider 700c tires. For gravel / hybrid tires advertised as 700c sizes go from 25mm up to 37mm.

For mountain bikes (29 inch wheel) sizes begin at 2.25 inches which is approx 57mm.

There appears to be a gap between 37mm and 57mm and it is very rear that one come across a tire that falls in that gap category. Or am I not looking for a right thing?

  • this bike came from the manufacturer with 47c continentals fitted So how did it ride on those 47s? Commented Nov 3, 2019 at 16:02
  • I bought it second hand, it still had continentals fitted. It rode well and felt safe, rolling resistance was noticeable. I replaced them with 35c within the first year as I did not go off-road at all at those times Commented Nov 3, 2019 at 16:14

1 Answer 1


There are loads of 2.1" MTB tyres, and a few 2.0. I've got some WTB nano 2.1s that were on my hardtail when I got it, and I've got a Rapid Rob 2.1 on it now.

But your current tyres look pretty slick. Putting a dirt touring tyre like a marathon mondial on there would certainly help (and that comes in 35, 40, and 50mm widths). Those are OK on road, though slower than I'd choose for all-tarmac use. I take my tourer off road too (though not laden) and have really noticed the difference between the marathon mondials and the slick marathon supremes I switched to (or indeed the marathon plus on my hybrid), even with both at 35mm.

The footnote to the table you link suggests you can go a fair bit wider - in fact my hardtail has narrower rims than my tourer. You're likely to be limited more by the clearance batten the chainstays/seatstays/forks.

The tyres I mention are just examples, based on what I've used.

  • Thanks a lot for response. I think the valuable point you made is that it's not only tire width that matters. I am now looking into more aggressively shaped dirt tires. One example would be Continental Mud King 29" 1.8 tire which happens to be foldable. For my case anything above 2.0 is definitely a no go due to rim width. Even 2.0 is a stretch. I think I will look for 1.9 inch tires with dirt profile. Commented Nov 3, 2019 at 17:54
  • Just for the reference, do you know the wheel rim inner width for the hybrid on which you run 2.1" MTB tires? Commented Nov 3, 2019 at 17:58
  • 1
    The hybrid has marathon plus 35 rear/32 front on 17mm rims. The hardtail has 2.1" rear (the biggest that will fit the frame) and 2.3" front on what I think are 19mm rims. The Mud King looks interesting. You may find the shoulder tread catches on the frame though. I don't know where in the UK you are (Halfords link is a giveaway) but I had Durano 28s on the tourer when I took it on some tracks/mudbaths a week ago in the Forest of Dean, and I don;t recommend that!
    – Chris H
    Commented Nov 3, 2019 at 18:34
  • I have Schwalbe CX Comp (700x30c from memory.) tyres on my hybrid. They roll very well on tarmac, which is where I spend most of my time but also coped with a short section of very wet farm track that I ventured onto recently. So, I'd agree that trying a "semi slick" tyre would be well worth it. Commented Nov 4, 2019 at 15:01
  • With the latest pictures, the mud king should be fine.
    – Chris H
    Commented Nov 4, 2019 at 15:05

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