Is 28mm too narrow?

I ride a 2021 Canyon Endurace CF on the road. I recently upgraded my wheels so my oem aluminum rims are now not used for road riding. What if I put gravel tires on the old rims? Could I then convert my road machine to a gravel machine?

I have rim brakes which limit me to 28mm tires but I might be able to squeeze 30mm ones on. I would have to experiment with that.

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This is a matter of opinion and you can get some 28mm “gravel” tires. I used an old Crammerotti CX frame as a gravel bike with 28mm tires for a few years. It was OK.

But i eventually got a gravel bike with wider tires better geometry for gravel and am much happier with it.

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28mm is pushing it. If it is dry and nice out then you ride 28mm assuming the surface is good.

I have ridden 23 on am aero frame on gravel and done several 100km on a road bike with 25. The quality of the surace matters and more importantly your willingness to put up with the extra vibration. The second part is is your bike handling skill makes a difference if it gets rough. I’m much less willing to do this than 10 years ago.

I doubt you could go wider than 28 with caliper brakes the frame may limit as well. The other part is if your tire has side knobs then even 28s can be tough to fit.

If you are planning on club rides and are willing to ride the shoulder season, I would highly recomend looking for a cross or gravel bike. Salt on the roads destroys bike components really fast. Better to have a cheap bike then ruin a nove road bike. Fenders are also nice for this has it keeps the feet dry, at which point younneed more clearance.

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Some good info, thanks. I have an old hybrid with MTB components but more of a road frame that is currently setup as an urban bike, (fenders, rear rack…). I should be able to put 35mm gravel tires on that and it might be a better way to go to try some gravel.

Definetly, that sounds like the moden adventue gravel bike but with flat bars.

One thing to note that if you are riding gravel when its colder then going slower is better. It lowers the wind chill.

If also say as for “gravel” tires. All you want is something wode enough and a little bit tougher then road tires. You really dont need any tread.

and that should work for most of the club ‘gravel’ rides? Any tire sugesstions?

I really like the donerly x’plor USH. It wears well and I’ve had one puncture in probably 20k of riding over several sets. Take a look and see how little tread they have, effectively a smooth center with file like side tread.

Biggest thing I would try to avoid would be CX specific tires. They will wear a lot faster and are generally more puncture prone due to there race focused nature.

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I did this! I had an old Cannondale road bike with a triple front and bought a set of GravelKings in 28 mm, which is about as big as I could fit, to try out gravel riding before committing to a dedicated bike.

I ended up calling it my “not a gravel bike”! For a lot of riding around here, it actually does pretty well. When the dirt roads are packed down, it’s great. G2G trail, which is pretty smooth – ideal. Where it falls down is loose stuff (like when they regravel the dirt roads) and anything really rough (the Columbia Forest area was pretty challenging).

The problem – you can’t run low tire pressures with 28s, so you get beat up a bit. And, the narrow tires don’t find a lot of traction in the really loose stuff.

I ended up buying a Kona that runs 47x650! Rode a ton of gravel rides this year and really love it.

But – tires are cheap and it’s a chance to try out gravel. If the route sticks to dirt roads that have enough traffic to get rid of the loose stuff and G2G (which is a LOT of local riding) you go a lot of places on a 28 mm tire. If you can manage a 30 mm – even better.


Thanks for the suggestions. I have looked at my rims, brake setup, clearance and fenders and think I can get a set of 35mm in there. I was looking at a set of Panaracer Gravelking SS at MEC earlier today… :thinking: