I'm about to n+1 my bike collection and am aiming for a gravel bike, in a radonneur setup with fenders and fixed-mounted lights, as shown below. (Let's ignore stories about poor LBS support for the brand shown^^)
Basically, I want a dropbar commuter with potential for light gravel riding and bikepacking. So, it'll be primarily ridden on roads, but it should be capable to deal with dirt roads and light trails, I'd definitely consider it for routes that are not ridable on my road bike, even popular cycling routes here often include unpaved segments.
That being said, in this version it comes with a 35 mm slick tyre and set up with tubes, it'll sure roll like a dream on paved roads but I'm afraid that it is not a very pleasant ride offroad or at least prone to punctures, based on my various road bike detours, albeit on narrower 25 mm tyres. Plus, I want to go tubeless since the rims are tubeless-ready, there is potential for up to 40 mm tyres according to the manufacturer.
I'm well aware that this Q&A is not meant for product recommendations but I would appreciate some guidance what type of tyre I should go for. It'll be a lot easier when I know what to look for.
- Am I too concerned about light gravel and a wider slick would still be OK to ride, possibly going to a tubeless setup when the from-factory tyre is worn down, mitigating the puncture risk a bit? 35mm is wider than typical road bike tyres, would lower pressures on a tubeless setup help here?
- If I go for a gravel tyre, should I aim for something with a light/slick tread pattern in the middle or is even a moderate full-nub pattern OK? Not going for KOMs or Strava segments, indeed but it shouldn't be a slug on paved roads, either.
- If not using slicks, will this eat the tyres away or can I still expect decent lifespans? I'm probably riding max. 3k/year and one set of tyres would be OK per season, knowing that my road bike tyres on the rear are usually worn after 5000 km.
- I know, two sets of wheels would be ideal but I'm no big friend of swapping and another set is too expensive in relation to the overall cost of an aluminum bike in this price segment (RSVP 2499€)
I feel that I should add what my expected riding profiles are:
For the commuting part (which might be 50-70% of the yearly distance), it is pretty much community roads and suburban cycleways, so no real urban commuting in a sense that shards of glass or other kinds of debris are a major concern with regards to punctures. The route is part of one of my road bike loops and my commuter on regular, old-fashioned street tires without special puncture protection hasn't had a single puncture riding here, so I could throw on a pure road bike tire like a GP5000 and that would be totally fine.
My gravel riding is yet to be explored and established, to be honest, however, I think, it'll be limited to relatively easy terrain, I'm not intending to take this bike to a gravel race or unsupported event, so it'll be more about taking shortcuts or extended segments of dust and gravel roads in my region here in Austria or on occasional weekend trips, mud or wet grass are an exception I want to avoid, so taking a road detour or avoiding wet days, if possible.
Is this generally a good/bad idea, or overkill? Let's say the price is not too much of a concern for me and I don't have the time and knowledge to build up something custom and I like the tidy and integrated look. The probability of the bike getting stolen at my workplace is rather low, I'll keep my current cheap citybike for pub runs or when I intend to park for longer in crowded city areas. Just trying to adress some things in advance that might be part of a longer answer's prelude. ;)
I hope, this is not too vague of a question for Bicycles SE - thanks for any valuable input!