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Traction Action: Choosing the Right Tires for Your OBED Gravel Bike

May 17, 2024

Traction Action: Choosing the Right Tires for Your OBED Gravel Bike

Race and adventure season is here; you're ready to ride. And the fun part is happening; you're building your new OBED gravel bike online. Everything is set; the size, the color, crank length. But then you have a choice of tires. What to do? Panaracer Gravel King? Maxxis Rambler? 38c? 40c? 45c? What even is that? Isn't a gravel tire just a gravel tire?

Nope. Ah, tire choice. While some brands don’t really communicate its value (let alone give you options), OBED brings you everything to make your bike yours in every way, and tire choice is key to that experience.

Gravel riding is a nebulous creature; some of us are rolling on the flat winding LoBo trail outside Boulder, Colo., on a commute from home to work. Others are racing high in the Rockies at SBT Gravel on the famed rolling Champagne Gravel it’s known for. Still, others are smashing rocky singletrack in Scottsdale, Arizona, or rolling over rooty, wet forest carpet under the canopy of trees outside Seattle. You can run a tire… but is it the right tire for your terrain? Let’s put it this way: when was the last time you saw an F1 car running knobby 4x4 tires at Monaco? Or NASCAR slick tires on a massive rock crawler truck? To put not too fine a point on it: there is a right tool (and a wrong tool) for the job; tire choice is important.


At OBED, we aim to empower riders to customize their bikes according to their unique preferences and riding environments. That's why we offer a range of tire options, allowing you to tailor your OBED GVR or Boundary to suit your specific needs. Whether you're a seasoned gravel racer seeking maximum speed or a trail enthusiast craving off-road thrills, the right tire exists… and we can have it included as part of your OBED build.

So… what’s the right tire? Factors such as terrain type, riding style, and personal preference all play a crucial role in determining the most suitable tire for your adventures. Let's delve into the two primary categories of gravel tires offered by OBED Bicycles: low-volume file tread and knobby, high-volume tires.

For riders who frequent groomed dirt roads or smoother gravel paths, low-volume file or diamond pattern tread tires are an excellent choice. These tires (like the Panaracer Gravel King X1) feature a minimal tread pattern, which reduces rolling resistance and enhances speed on smoother surfaces, yet has light knob strips on the shoulder for a bit of cornering grip. The lower volume provides a more responsive feel—ideal for riders who prioritize speed and efficiency over fire roads.


Whether you're embarking on long-distance gravel races or spirited group rides on well-maintained roads, low-volume file tread tires (or tires with a smooth center strip for low rolling resistance) offer a winning combination of performance and versatility. These tires are also quite suitable for road rides with friends (though they may require a bit more work than your friends running smaller, faster-rolling tires).

If your gravel adventures take you off the beaten path onto rockier, more technical terrain, knobby, high-volume tires, like the Maxxis Rambler, in a larger 45c volume with plenty of footprint are the way to go. These tires feature aggressive tread patterns and increased volume, providing enhanced traction and stability on rough surfaces. Whether you're tackling steep climbs, navigating rocky descents, or conquering loose-over-hard trails, knobby tires (which can run in volumes up to 48c on 700c wheels) excel in demanding off-road conditions. With their superior grip and shock absorption capabilities, these tires inspire confidence and allow riders to push their limits with greater control and precision.


You now know the options, so now it comes down to considering where you live, where you race, and the kind of riding you do. Before placing your OBED gravel bike, take some time to assess your riding style and the terrain you encounter most frequently. Consider the type of surfaces you'll be riding on and the level of traction and stability you require. By selecting the right tires for your OBED gravel bike, you can ensure that your ride is optimized for peak performance and enjoyment—no matter where your adventures take you.

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Size Guide

View our size charts below to see what size is best for you. After purchasing your new OBED, our product team will reach out to you to confirm your order and sizing information to be sure you have selected the optimum size.

If you're on the border of two sizes, the right size may depend on certain body measurements and your riding style. Feel free to contact us at any time regarding sizing questions - our product specialists are experienced with finding riders the right fit by cross-referencing your information with our fit database.  

If you're not transferring measurements from a similar bike, to get completely "dialed in" for maximum performance, we recommend you see a reputable professional bike fitter that can fit you to your new bike.

GVR / Boundary / Baseline / Borough Size Chart

 XS

5'1" - 5'6"

S

5'4" - 5'9"

M

5'7" - 5'11"

5'10" - 6'2"

XL

6'1" - 6'5"

 

RVR / RVR SLi

 XS

5'0" - 5'4"

S

5'3" - 5'7"

M

5'6" - 5'10"

ML 

5'9" - 6'1"

L

6'0" - 6'4"

 

Seclud Size Chart

 S

5'3" - 5'8"

M

5'7" - 5'11"

5'10" - 6'2"

 

* Sizing to be used as reference only