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Best winter road bike tyres 2023 — ride confidently in cold and nasty weather

Commute and train year round by sticking a set of the best winter tyres on your road bike

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If you're going to carry on riding outside through winter, then the cold and wet conditions are best handled with something heavier, grippier and more puncture-resistant than your summer rubber... you need a set of the best winter road bike tyres you can afford, and luckily this guide has plenty of options for you to choose from. 

Compared to standard road bike tyres, winter tyres are typically wider, with thicker tread and beefier puncture-prevention under that tread, and usually a bit cheaper — nobody likes trashing expensive tyres. Fixing a flat in the cold and wet is a miserable job, so it makes sense to use tyres with better puncture resistance to avoid it.

> Puncture prevention 101: learn how to swerve flats with these 11 top tricks

Fortunately, when it comes to the best winter road bike tyres, there are plenty of great options out there to prevent your rolling resistance from adding to winter sluggishness.

A set of the best gravel tyres is an alternative option to help you to find more grip and comfort (if your bike has the tyre clearance for them), staying rubber-side-down in the wet, and offering increased puncture resistance with a grippier tread. 

If you're sticking with road tyres though, then here are ten of our very favourite winter road bike tyres!

The best winter road bike tyres

Schwalbe Marathon Plus Tyre

Schwalbe Marathon Plus Tyre

Best winter road bike tyres overall
Buy now for £20.01 from Amazon

Schwalbe Marathon Plus tyres are essentially heavy-duty, ultra-reliable commu-touring tyres that inspire complete confidence.

Yes, they're a bit slower than lighter and less puncture-resistant tyres, but if you're not in a hurry or you'd just prefer not to change a tube by the side of the road on a wet February morning, they're unsurpassed.

Although they're a bit stubborn to fit, overall the Schwalbe Marathon Plus tyres are seemingly bulletproof, roll faster than their girth would suggest and aren't expensive either. For all these reasons, they're still our top choice when it comes to dependable winter road rubber. 

Read our review:
Vittoria Terreno Zero TLR G2.0 tyre 700x38

Vittoria Terreno Zero TLR G2.0 tyre 700x38

Designed for road and off-road duties
Buy now for £31.99 from Bike Inn
Puncture resistance
Perform better off road than their looks suggest
Not the fastest on road

The Vittoria Terreno Zero TLR G2.0 is a slick gravel tyre that's designed for road and smooth off-road duties but is capable of much more.

This is the slickest tyre in Vittoria's gravel range. All of them use a graphene compound in their rubber, something only Vittoria uses in its tyres, claiming that this revolutionary material allows for natural material barriers of rubber to be removed so there is no compromise between speed, grip, durability and puncture resistance.

On the road, they're not the fastest tread-free gravel tyres around but they're incredibly robust, so happily take poor tarmac and potholes in their stride, romp over packed gravel paths and perform far better than you might expect on other rougher surfaces.

Read our review:
Vittoria Corsa Control TLR G2.0 tyre

Vittoria Corsa Control TLR G2.0 tyre

Fast wet-weather option
Buy now for £34.99 from Wiggle
Good grip on wet roads
Speedy on rough roads
Easy tubeless setup
Can't match the speed of the regular Corsas

On the speedy side of things, you’d be hard-pressed to separate the Corsa Control from many summer tyres. They have great wet weather grip and a lovely supple casing that not only aids comfort, but reduces rolling resistance as well if the claims are to be believed. 

This will come as little surprise when you realise that the Corsa Control shares the same 320tpi casing as the more racey tyres in the Italian brand's lineup. The main difference is that these have a thicker rubber tread, which not only boosts puncture protection but also means that these will last slightly longer than the summer equivalent. 

Also, as an added bonus we found the tubeless setup an absolute breeze. Unlike many of the options covered here, these do max out a size 30mm with others available in at least a 32. 

Read our review:
Hutchinson Challenger

Hutchinson Challenger 700x28

Great handling wet and dry
Buy now for £29.99 from Condor Cycles
Good value for money
Rolls well
Not tubeless compatible if that's your thing

These Hutchinson Challengers are a firm favourite amongst some of the world's best Ultra Endurance athletes thanks to their unbelievable durability. Hutchinson claim that you can get 5,000 miles out of one of these bad boys and our testing gave no reason to query that, making them even more of a bargain.

At the time of writing this, the tyre is offered in 25, 28 and 30mm widths and is clincher only; but that being said, we have spotted Hutchinsons-sponsored athletes out trialling a tubeless version, so expect that to hit the shelves soon.

For such a hardwearing tyre it is surprisingly supple, offering great handling wet and dry, and good rolling resistance which makes it easy to recommend.

Read our review:
Panaracer GravelKing Slick TLC

Panaracer GravelKing Slick TLC

Ideal tyre for rough roads
Buy now for £31 from Sigma Sports
Lots of grip
Great on poor roads or light gravel
Fast rolling
Can be tough to mount

The Panaracer GravelKing Slick TLC isn't actually a 'gravel' tyre as such, despite the name, but it excels in any kind of on-road/bad-road scenario. 

This tyre is also very light and has seriously low rolling resistance for the width, making it a very fast tyre no matter the terrain. 

The TLC refers to the tubeless capability of these tyres and there is also a plus version with even more puncture resistance. This particular model comes in all manner of sizes - 700 x 32c / 700 x 35c / 700 x 38c / 27.5 x 1.50 / 27.5 x 1.75 / 27.5 x 1.90 and with either black or brown sidewalls.

Read our review:
Pirelli P Zero Race 4S

Pirelli P Zero Race 4S tyre

Great all-season tyre
Buy now for £44.61 from Ebay
Excellent grip
Easy to fit
Enjoyable ride quality
No tubeless option

Only released in 2022, the Pirelli P Zero Race 4S has been designed for four-season use and is the successor of the P Zero Velo 4S. 

The Pirellis impressed us with their grip in mixed conditions while feeling quick to ride. If you want a summer tyre-like feel all year round, these are amongst the best options around. It’s no wonder that these scored a 9/10 rating and made it into our coveted monthly Recommends show.

At the time of writing this, Pirelli doesn’t offer a tubeless version of this tyre but we’d be very surprised if we make it through 2023 without one being launched. 

Overall, Pirelli's P Zero Race 4S is about as good as it gets for a fit-and-forget year-round clincher road tyre. Certainly, if you're after one with a light, grippy summer tyre-like ride quality.

Read our review:
Goodyear Vector 4Seasons Tubeless

Goodyear Vector 4Seasons tubeless tyre

Reliable and confidence-inspiring
Buy now for £55.25 from Tweeks Cycles
Grippy compound that works well in the wet and dry
Holds pressure well
True sizing when fitted
Nothing really

Stu, who reviewed the Goodyear Vector 4Season tubeless tyres, said that they were reliable, confidence-inspiring and also impressed him with their tubeless compatibility. They also held air like nobody's business and are available in a non-tubeless clincher version, the 'Tube Type', as well. 

Overall, these were surprisingly quick and supple for something that is also robust enough to deal with all the grit and flint being washed out of the verges this time of year.

Read our review:
Continental Grand prix 4 Season

Continental Grand Prix 4 Season

An all-weather classic
Buy now for £36.99 from Chain Reaction Cycles
Light for an all-season tyre
Reasonably supple
Good puncture resistance
Some might not want to pay this much for a winter training tyre
No tubeless version

Our list wouldn't be complete without this classic from Continental. A tough Duraskin mesh and two Vectran anti-puncture layers beneath the tread make this an excellent choice for chilly miles! At 280g for the 28mm version, it's a good weight too, for the rider wanting a fast winter tyre.

Conti's max grip silica rubber compound provides a good level of grip in both the dry and wet so is a good choice for winter and one that we have no problems using in spring and autumn too. If you desire even more protection, then Continental also makes the Gator Hardshell which is a similar tyre but with a third layer of Polyamide in the sidewalls.

Read our review:
Specialized Roubaix Pro

Specialized Roubaix Pro

All-weather training and commuting tyre
Buy now for £27.99 from Tredz
Easy rolling
Excellent all-weather grip
Sharp pricing
Sticking to the minimum pressure requirement means you feel every bump

The Roubaix Pro is marketed by Specialized as an endurance road tyre, so you'd expect it to be long-lasting and hardwearing. It's also, as the name suggests, ideal for mixed surfaces.

The Specialized Roubaix Pro tyres are a great option if you're looking for a dependable winter, training or commuting tyre. With their 120tpi casing and mixed tread design, they offer a responsive ride with assured handling in wet and loose conditions.

Specialized hasn't compromised on the Roubaix Pro's durability either, with the inclusion of its Endurant casing and BlackBelt technology ensuring you can experience miles of worry-free cycling. 

Read our review:
Cadex Classics 28 Tubeless  Designed for long distance, mixed-surface challenges

Cadex Classics 28 Tubeless

Designed for long distance, mixed-surface challenges
Buy now for £64.99 from Cadex Cycling
Easy to seat

Cadex is a high-end, in-house brand belonging to Taiwanese bike behemoth Giant. This Classics 28 Tubeless clincher comes from the same range as the Race 25 Tubeless but, as the name suggests, it's more robust. Available in 25, 28 and 32mm widths, it offers really impressive grip and speed – it's not cheap, though.

Cadex says that a combination of puncture protection, grip and suppleness make a good tyre for the Spring Classics, and our reviewer Jez said two of the three are pretty readily apparent. These are grippy tyres that are outstanding when descending fast on loose, poor-quality tarmac. 

He said: “Back-to-back against another favourite road tyre – the Vittoria Corsa Control G2 – I was measurably faster on the Classics, thanks to the predictable, rock-solid way they cling to the road.”

Read our review:

How to choose from the best winter road bike tyres

Do you need winter road bike tyres?

Traditionally winter is when cyclists swap lightweight summer tyres for tougher winter ones, but with the rise of all-conditions tyres and tubeless tyre technology do you really need to?

Most tyre brands don't actually offer a dedicated winter tyre these days. Instead, look at any company’s tyre range and you’ll see tyres called such things as all-season or all-conditions, terms used to indicate their suitability for use in all weathers and conditions, from the depths of winter to the height of the summer.

An all-season tyre is a good fit-and-forget option as the small tradeoff in weight and rolling speed is more than made up for with the improved puncture protection and extra mileage you’ll get out of such a tyre.

If you’re using a lightweight race tyre there are many good reasons for swapping to a more durable, puncture-resistant tyre for the winter months and saving the fast and light summer option for the warmer months.

What bike tyres are good for snow?

Sticking with a set of the best gravel tyres is a solid option to help you to find more grip, staying rubber-side-down in the wet, and offering increased puncture resistance with grippier tread. 

If the weather takes a turn for the worst, and you want to keep riding outdoors in the snow and ice, studded tyres are an option. The metal studs will grip even the slippery stuff! 

Two examples of studded tyres are the Schwalbe Marathon Winter Spiked tyres and Continental Contact Spike tyres, but you're going to need plenty of room in your frame for these snow and ice tyres and their steel spikes.

Should I change bike tyres for winter?

You'll get more punctures in the winter thanks to the rain, so the first aim of winter tyres is puncture resistance. 

Most manufacturers offer puncture-resistant tyres so there's really no reason not to switch and make your winter riding low-fuss. There's nothing much worse than fixing a puncture when it's lashing down with rain! Such tyres usually have some sort of puncture-prevention layer under the tread and beefier sidewalls to stop sharp objects from finding a way through. 

The best winter tyres feature a thick reinforced breaker belt sandwiched between the rubber tread and carcass. This prevents flints and glass from puncturing the delicate inner tube. The sidewall too can often be reinforced to prevent the potholes and large bits of debris from ripping through.

What tyre pressure should I ride in the winter?

There are lots of variables to consider when answering this question such as the rider weight, bike weight, quality of the roads and the type/width of the tyre. 

In the winter the roads are most likely to be wet and as a general rule, the wetter it is, the lower the pressure you want to run your tyres at. While it might be fine to ride tyres inflated to 120psi during the summer when the roads are dry, it's a good idea to go lower the wetter it is.

All the tyres listed above are available in 25mm width or fatter and you have to take into account the extra tyre volume when setting the tyre pressure - you can run wider tyres at lower pressures. 

Are tubeless road tyres better?

Many of the tyres spoken about above are tubeless compatible.

Almost zero punctures is the biggest advantage of tubeless over a regular inner tube clincher setup, and nowhere is that more of a benefit than during winter riding. Okay, so the installation can sometimes be a tricky old mess, but it’s getting easier all the time with better tyres, rims, tubeless kits and pumps. 

> Fitting tubeless tyres – learn how with this simple guide

Another advantage of tubeless tyres is that you don't need to stop in the freezing cold to fix the puncture. You can continue to ride whilst the sealant in the tyre quickly plugs the hole.

> Check out the buyer's guide to tubeless tyres

Emily is our track and road racing specialist, having represented Great Britain at the World and European Track Championships. With a National Title up her sleeve, Emily has just completed her Master’s in Sports Psychology at Loughborough University where she raced for Elite Development Team, Loughborough Lightning.

Emily is our go-to for all things training and when not riding or racing bikes, you can find her online shopping or booking flights…the rest of the office is now considering painting their nails to see if that’s the secret to going fast…