I loaded up my new wheelset — Mavic XC717 rims, Shimano Deore XT hubs (thanks, 9Toes!) — with a pair of Nashbar Multi-Purpose MTB Tires I’d picked up cheap last year, and headed off on a gravel ramble.
This was the first time I’d ridden dual mountain bike tires on the Long Haul Trucker (previous rides had used an old worn-down Specialized MTB tire on the front, and the stock WTB Slickasaurus on the back).
With the new tread and more aggressive knobs, the ride was rather buzzy on hardpack and asphalt — I could both feel and hear the tires on a smooth surface — but felt great on normal gravel roads. At one point I even took the bike a bit off-road, venturing down a state park access road that was muddy in places, and soft in others, and the tires worked very well there (as you’d expect).
They also worked well for out-of-the-saddle climbing on gravel — a situation where the Slickasaurus would tend to spin out, but where the MTB tires dug in and just kept climbing.
Some pictures from the ride, a 40-mile, mostly-gravel route down to Hillsdale Lake, on a pleasant February day with temperatures into the mid-60’s: