Dirty Reiver bike choice

trek_dan Posts: 1,366
edited January 2018 in Cyclocross
Did anyone do the Dirty Reiver this year? Would it be better done on a MTB or CX bike? Is there anything technical (I.e technical twisty descents or roots) that I'd struggle with on 32c tyres? I don't own a specific gravel bike so if I used my CX bike I'd be limited to 32c clincher tyres as frame doesn't have a lot of clearance. My MTB is a carbon Epic FSR 29er so not exactly slow but I'd rather be on my CX bike for the fire road sections.


  • w00dster
    w00dster Posts: 880
    Hi Dan,
    I've not done the Dirty Reiver, well not the paid for event anyway. I do ride around Kielder Forest a fair amount and have followed most of the route on a number of occasions.
    Its in April, so variable weather, I'd accept that means its likely to be wet. I would suggest that 32c tyres are adequate, but I really wouldn't want to do it on those myself. I've used 40mm tyres and this was fine, the route itself wasn't technical, but there are some rougher sections where 32mm tyres will be painful. And go tubeless, seriously. Borrow the wheels if you have to, but I wouldn't recommend clinchers.

    http://road.cc/content/tech-news/186623 ... 200km-race

    I've done a couple of Gravel Cross rides similar to the Dirty Reiver on my Trek Domane with 33mm tyres, while this is obviously faster on the fire roads, on the rougher stuff the skinny 33mm tyres really let the body know whats happening. At the end of those rides my shoulders and neck where on fire. I can admit to not really enjoying parts of the ride.

    If I was doing the event just for fun I'd take a MTB, preferably a lightweight 29er hardtail. If I was doing it for speed then I'd be on my Cotic Escapade (47mm with 650B wheels), I don't think I would do that type of event again on a skinny tyre....but that's only because I've done similar and no longer want to go through it again.

    Some links to videos that may be useful:-

    There's also a Joe Norldege (Bike Radar) video where they compare a gravel cross ride using a 29er hardtail, gravel bike and a single speed mtb. From memory the gravel bike struggled on some of the downhill sections and had a number of punctures. Worth trying to find the video though. But obviously lots of guys will use their cross bikes and they will have had a blast. I'm just old and grumpy and now prefer the comfort of a hardtail....

    Hope that helps?!?
  • trek_dan
    trek_dan Posts: 1,366
    Yes, very helpful. I've ridden a few section of Kielder on my CX bike and had no issue. It sounds like tubeless may be the one that swings it so may ride MTB.
  • veronese68
    veronese68 Posts: 27,545
    From my experiences I would agree with Woodster, different surface and terrain I suspect, but I've done the London to Brighton off road on 26" and 29" hardtails and on my cross bike with 41mm tyres fitted. The cross bike was faster for the vast majority and as a result faster overall, but the mountain bikes were far more comfortable. The 29er was the nicest ride. On that particular ride there were a couple of moments that the CX was just plain scary.
  • 32c tyres will get you round the course, but as other have said, not the best choice...you really need a 40c to give you comfort and confidence on the sketchier bits. And, as w00dster said, definitely go tubeless; this year I did it on 40 Schwalbe G Ones, next year I shall be on 2.2 Vittoria Mezcal's.
    “Faster, Faster, until the thrill of speed overcomes the fear of death.” Hunter S Thompson
  • I've done it the last 2 years. CX bike with 40/42c tyres. On 32/33c tyres, you would be under-tyred in my view, Yes, you'd get round but 200km is pretty pummelling ... even if none of it is especially technical, it is hard-going.

    Mate did it on a 29er Solaris, first year on Nano 40c tyres, second year on something with a bit more volume (can't recall exactly what) ... we were pretty closely matched in our times, so its probably horses for courses.
  • trek_dan
    trek_dan Posts: 1,366
    Think I've pretty much decided now its going to be done on the 29er MTB with 1.9" S Works Renegades.