26 inch gravel / do it all tire options

Dear educated smart people

First of all lots of love to the creators - we did the same thing with discourse for the bike polo community, amazing stuff :slight_smile:

Sooo I am a complete noob who wants to build five mini gravels with 26 inch wheels for smaller people (if someone wants to tell me why smaller wheels for smaller people isn´t a thing please enlighten me)
Checking out tire options its looking pretty shit though…I´d love some slick tires, ideally tubeless and around 42mm wide, not too light and not too heavy. For a proper comfy do it all bike thats going to be used on roads mostly.

Seems like between wire bead conti contact speeds and 74 dolla rene herse naches passes there is nothing in 26 inch. Please tell me im wrong :slight_smile:
Id also love to discuss the idea of the bike in general, really dont get why it isnt done more often. Cuz for anything thats going to be used on tarmac mostly anything slacker than 73 degrees just feels unnecessarily sluggish to me and 700cs on small frames just f your geometry choices…especially with bigger tires.

<3 cheers

some noob

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Seems like 26" is now for utility type bikes or touring bikes. You’ll mostly find heavier tires from Schwalbe, Vittoria, and Continental in the 26x1.75 or 26x1.5 sizes. If you want performance, go with the Rene Herse.

It makes perfect sense to use 26" tires for smaller drop bar bikes. It’s just not popular, so tire makers don’t offer good performance options.

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My 26er has Billy Bonkers, it’s a good tire for gravel and you can find it around $45-50.

I agree that tire choices for 26in wheels is diminishing and I fear it will continue to do so.
There are some options from China if you are up to it.

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Schwalbe used to have some high performance 26in tires:

I can’t find any that meet your need thought, but I didn’t look too deep.

I think its a great idea, smaller riders always get pull the wrong direction with the bigger better longer slacker lower trend. I know two riders who had serious injuries becuase of toe overlap on their gravel bikes. I wish there were more viable 26in options.

As you found out, the 26in ecosystem has dried up. Not only are tires kinda crappy, expensive, and unavlaible, the rims are very out of date as well.

When I was doing the research for XXS gravel bikes, I concluded the most viable option are 650b wheels with smaller gravel tires (<40mm wide). There are only a few companies that makes narrow 650b tires, since most companies assume you are downsizing to 650b to run mini MTB tires.

Schwlabe makes the One in 35 and 40mm

Conti makes the Terra Speed in 35mm

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I really love Schwalbe Big Apple tires (26x2.2) and Schwalbe G-One AllAround. I’m pretty sure I’ve seen G-Ones in 26" before.

Big Apple is great for pavement with occasional gravel, G-One is great for gravel, and OK with pavement. The G-One’s last forever.

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The maxxis DTH is the same weight as Rene Herse endurance casing and imo the maxxis will last longer. The narrowest they make is 2.1”/53mm.

It may be worth looking into the bmx race ‘cruiser class’ tires. I’m sure there are some light and fast options available.

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I’ve set up friends commuters with the 2.15" Maxxis DTH. Great tires for the price and roll well. Not officially tubeless ready is the only downside but folding bead so I’m sure they’d go eventually.

Panaracer make Gravel Kings in 26 x 2.1 (53mm). Tubeless ready and not that heavy at 590g.

Because 26" was always a MTB size it’s mostly 26 x 2.1-2.2 ish tires. Since the OD of that size is very close to 650b x 42c it may be worth considering going that route instead.

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As you’ve already found, 26x1.75 (44mm) Are pretty few and far between.
Rene Herse Naches Pass & Panaracer Pasela are probably the only two I’d recommend for your use case.

There are a ton more options once you get up to 26x2.1 but at that point the overall diameter is equivalent to 650x40 and you are better off designing the bike around that size since there are tons of options in that size range!

Check out my Google Sheet for a list of all the tubeless tire options in 26x2.1-2.3 and 650x42-49

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Thanks all :))
Yeah forgot to mention Pasela and just found out there is a marathon supreme which is 440g at 42mm, slick and looks quite alright! just have to find out how to remove the reflecting band thingy

Will defo post pics if / once I make it to an actual finished bike

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If you’re looking for good 26" tubeless gravel rims, below are the best/lightest options I’ve found

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27.5 is only 1/2" bigger radius than 26 (26 is just mislabeled, sort of) so unless you’re talking about riders under 5’ tall, I’d just do that, pretty good options for tires for any purpose you want.

If you want 26", the Ritchey Tom Slick has been the road tire of choice for that size for a long time. They make 1" and 1.4" I believe, which will cover both pure road and gravel riding nicely. I think these days they only make the 30tpi version which is a bummer, but they are still a great option.

Panaracer makes a couple 60tpi 26x1.25 called the T-serv and RibMo that I know nothing about. Schwalbe makes the Kojak, too, but I also know nothing about it except that it’s a folding bead.

-Walt

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I’m currently using these tires

Rene Herse Rat Trap Pass (standard casing) - probably more expensive or delicate than you seem to be looking for, but these are the best 26" tires on the market right now IMO. They are transformative.

Schwalbe Big Apple - These are not bad for a more puncture-resistant city bike tire. They feel smooth to me. I had them on a gravel bike (replaced by the RTPs) and now have them on my cargo bike. Really enjoy them.

Maxxis DTH - I would place these slightly below the Big Apples in terms of sluggish feeling. Pretty subjective, I know.

Tioga Powerblock - I have the fewest miles on these (like 300) but they feel pretty good. They are a BMX race tire for what that’s worth. Some people really like them. They are definitely not bad, just not sure yet. Possibly more lively than the DTH.

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A little wider than you want but the Panaracer Homage tire may be worth considering.

thats really nice <3
but all my bikes get 2nd hand stuff and in the 26 realm its especially amazing what people are throwing out for no cash :slight_smile:

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RibMo is the tire of choice if you want miles and no punctures. im a messenger and at some point everybody was switching over to them. pretty heavy duty though (they have a pyramid shaped section when new and you wear them down to about 2/3rds of original weight)

I might be too picky here but I really want slicks in less than 2 inch- as @PineCycles mentioned, above 2inch Id rather just get 27.5ers. im also thinking a 40mm tire must be to a 60kg person what a 50mm tire is to someone weighing 75.
And id like to keep rotational weights low. I think id settle for naches pass but ive seen some pictures that made me really unsure…i’ve had the panaracer pacenti pari-moto on a 27.5er bike, they are basically what id like, except that I had to resort to putting an old tire inside the new ones because otherwise id get a flat per week. and im scared it could be the same for rene herses just with higher stakes :grimacing:
any experiences?