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I am living in London, but moving to a suburb where my commute would take me through a park. Being rainy England, the track can get quite muddy and my current tyres don't seem to be suitable. What features should I look for in a tire for this purpose? The bike in question is am aluminum Trek Checkpoint. I currently have 32mm Continental Gator Hardshell tires, which are slick tires with puncture protection.

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    Hi, welcome to bicycles! You don't give us much to work with here. What kind of a bike do you have, what size rims and tires? – DavidW Dec 12 '19 at 17:37
  • Hi David, Thanks! 700c wheel with 32mm gator hardshell. Riding a Trek checkpoint AL – BREAD Dec 12 '19 at 17:52
  • Questions seeking product/service/learning material recommendations or item valuations are off-topic because they tend to become obsolete quickly. Instead describe the situation or specific problem you are trying to solve, or try chatting about it in The Velodrome. – Daniel R Hicks Dec 12 '19 at 18:05
  • @DanielRHicks I read it more as a request for a suggestion on optimal tire size. – DavidW Dec 12 '19 at 18:18
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    Do people typically ride through the park when it's muddy? Riding while a trail is wet will increase trail erosion, which makes it harder to maintain the trail. – Weiwen Ng Dec 12 '19 at 19:09
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Generally, wide tires have lower rolling resistance than narrow ones, and they will be more comfortable due to cushioning. Hence, there's an argument you could go all the way up to a 45mm tire, the maximum I think your bike will clear.

For performance-oriented road riders, aerodynamic considerations might come into play, but these are probably irrelevant for you.

If you’re running tubeless for the flat protection benefits, that may be an additional argument for a wider tire. We know that tubeless tires don’t work as well on performance road bikes as they do on mountain or gravel bikes. This is likely because of high pressure and relatively small volume. A punctured 25-28mm road tire at 70-90 PSI deflates very fast. A 40mm gravel tire at 30 PSI deflates more slowly. I have a hunch that if you want to run tubeless, wider is better, all else equal.

If you want to run mudguards (aka fenders), you may need to limit the size of the tires you fit. It's best to maintain adequate clearance between the fender and tire. If there is too little clearance, you can get a branch sucked between the tire and the fender, and this can break the fender. I don't believe there are any other practical tradeoffs in going to a wider tire. You'll increase your coefficient of aerodynamic drag, but this is probably of little consequence here. I didn't see if Trek's stated tire clearance is 45mm with fenders or without; I suspect the latter. If so, then I suspect 38-40mm tires will fit and still provide a very nice ride.

  • My thought was to suggest the widest possible tire that would fit, but I wasn't confident about making that argument well, and didn't have the time to do the research required to find out what that would be. :) This is exactly the answer I think the question needs. – DavidW Dec 12 '19 at 19:55
  • When I was riding muddy, grass tracks I just had to hang on, I tried most brands but settled on a road tread center with knobs on the shoulders. The issue with mud is while knobs will give you more traction when pulling away they always clog up and you end up with essentially a slick muddy tire, it's worse with guards on as you end up locking the wheels when the mud gets stuck between guard and wheel. Best option here for the OP is avoid the mud as much as possible – Dan K Dec 12 '19 at 21:00
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    Jan Heine's argument seems to be good, since some tyre manufacturer produce similar tyres. Examples are, Conti Terra Speed and Schwalbe G-One bite. WTB (Resolute), Donelli, Challenge, and Pirelli (Cinturato) appear to rely on knobs forming a ridge in the centre. However, the knob pattern looks like it is well self cleaning. – gschenk Dec 12 '19 at 23:48
  • Hello Weiwen, Thanks a lot for the detailed reply! I will study it and hopefully make the most informed of decisions. – BREAD Dec 13 '19 at 9:40

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