With winter nearly upon us, and spurred by this forum
discussion, it’s a good time to take a look at the current tubeless
options for the winter. Swapping lightweight race tyres for sturdier
rubber is a sensible idea for riding through the winter, with extra
puncture protection and tread compounds designed to provide more traction
in the wet. With the rise in popularity of tubeless, there's a growing
choice of winter-specific tubeless tyres, we've rounded up eight for your
Let’s get the why bit out of the way first, just in case you’re not
already a fan. Almost zero punctures being the biggest advantage 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 tyre with better tyres,
rims, tubeless kits and pumps. This guide below takes you through the
tubeless installation steps and shows it doesn't need to be all that
I’ll happily admit to being a road tubeless convert. My personal tubeless
epiphany came during one cold and wet winter ride many years ago. Riding
along a busy road the rear tyre suddenly burst a leak. Fortunately, the
sealant in the tyre quickly plugged the hole (and thanks to mudguards I
was suitably protected from a stripe of gunk up my back) and the escaping
air quickly stopped with only a small pressure drop. Importantly, I didn’t
need to stop while this incident occurred and continued the ride.
What are your options?
Despite the clear advantages of tubeless tyres, the choice is still
somewhat limited, though it does get a bit better every year. There’s
still a reluctance from some tyre brands to go near it, while others have
fully embraced it, willing to invest in the technology to make it a viable
alternative to regular clinchers.
What do you want from a winter road tyre? You want extra durability
compared to a summer race tyre, with a carcass and tread that is more
resistance to the debris that can litter wet roads during the winter
months. You might want a bit of extra width, provided your bike has
clearance, for additional comfort and the benefit of lower pressures.
Tread materials for winter tyres are often modified to provide better
traction when the going it slippery.
Nine tubeless winter tyre options
Ritchey has gone inverse with the tread on its Alpine JB WCS Stronghold
tyres to create a tyre that grips on light gravel and rough sections of
broken country lane while also offering a smooth ride if you want to get a
shift on on the tarmac. A very impressive all-round tyre choice indeed.
You'll need room in your frame for 35mm tyres to fit the tubeless version
of the Alpine JB WCS Stronghold, as the 30mm version is only available
with a conventional casing.
IRC might not be the most familiar tyre brand in the road bike market at
the moment, but its Formula Pro Tubeless X-Guard road tyres offer
exceptionally good performance, with easy tubeless installation and great
durability. The price does put them at the top end of the tyre market,
Traction is impressive, too, whether in the dry or wet, but it's the
latter where they IRC tyres pull ahead of the latest generation Schwalbes.
The IRCs feel more predictable and planted in the wet, and handle fast
Most of the Bontrager wheels are now tubeless-ready, and to complement
them the company has started adding tubeless tyres to its range, and there
are now quite a few to pick from. The R3 Hard-Case Lite TLR is its
flagship road tubeless offering and is designed to be durable thanks to a
butyl liner providing the reliability you want and need in the winter.
It’s available in 24 and 26mm width options.
We haven’t tested this tubeless tyre yet, but have tested the regular
clincher version - you
can read that review here
If you crave more width, the cheaper A2 Hard-Case Lite TLR tyre is
offered in extra 28 and 32mm width options, and if your bike has space for
them, those are probably the ones to pick for winter riding.
The Roubaix Tubeless tyre from Specialized is pitched as an all-rounder
and we reckon it has all the right ingredients for a reliable winter
cycling tyre. Of course, we haven't tested it yet but that's something
we'll be aiming to address very soon. Why we think the tyre will be good
for winter cycling is because it uses the company’s Gripton compound,
which we’ve found to be very grippy in a range of conditions, dry and wet,
with shoulder sipes to increase traction through the corners. It features
a 180 TPI casing with an Endurant flat protection and comes in 25mm width,
weighing a claimed 295g.
The Fusion 5 is a brand new tyre from the French company that pioneered
Road Tubeless many years ago, and with three models to choose from the All
Season 11Storm looks the ideal choice for surviving a winter of cycling.
road.cc has tested the Performance
version of this tyre.
We were highly impressed with the ease of tubeless installation, traction,
rolling resistance and durability. The All Season version has a specific
tread pattern designed to improve wet cycling performance and has Kevlar
reinforcement to prevent punctures.
The new tyre is available in 25 and 28mm widths and weighs a claimed 325g
for the former.
The new Zipp Tangente RT tyre, available in 25 and 28mm widths, isn’t
expressly designed as a winter tyre but tubeless goes a long way to
reducing flats and the company has added a “water-siping tread pattern” to
these new tyres, though there is evidence to suggest such grooves on a
road bike tyre are largely pointless.
Further boosting their puncture resistance is a polyamide layer under the
tread. The tyres are reasonably light, 292g claimed for the 25mm tyre and
302g for the 28mm version.
Not all bikes are going to have space for 30mm wide tyres, but if your
bike does, these new Yksion Elite Allroad tyres from wheel specialist
Mavic look like being a good option thanks to the tubeless-ready
construction and bead-to-bead polyamide casing reinforcement.
The tyres also have a tread pattern designed to ramp up traction in
adverse conditions, with side grooves for extra cornering grip on dirt and
loose surface roads, while the centre section is smooth for fast rolling
on the hard stuff.
Not so much a winter tyre as an adventure and gravel tyre, but we’ve been
impressed with the rolling speed of this dimpled tyre on the road, and if
the roads are covered in mud thanks to local farmers then they do offer a
compelling benefit over narrower slicks.
Once you're off the good roads and onto the average ones – and we have
plenty of them around here – any conceivable difference in rolling speed
is easily outweighed by the comfort of the big air chamber, and the fact
that you don't have to ease off and pick your line: just batter on
through. I've not managed to put a hole in them that the sealant hasn't
immediately coped with. Plus you can take them off-road as well, and
they’re right at home on the canal towpaths, bridleways and trails like
the South Downs Way.
There's now a road version of the G-One Allround pictured and reviewed
above, called the G-One Speed. It comes in a narrower 30mm width with
V-Guard protection that could be a good choice for more road-based riding,
providing your frame has space for them.
Throwing a bit of a curve ball into the short list here, the fat WTB
Horizon is another possible contender. Granted, it won’t fit all bikes and
it might require a new set of wheels, but if it fits this is a durable,
grippy, comfortable and fast rolling tyre that might, as the name
suggests, open up new horizons…
It’s a 47mm wide tyre which is simply massive compared to everything else
in this article, but on a 650b wheel (an old French standard resurrected
by the mountain bike industry) the outside diameter is roughly the same as
a regular 700c wheelset.
The tread pattern is mostly slick save for a few grooves and chevrons on
the shoulders, and the grip is impressive in the wet. They instil bags of
confidence on treacherous roads covered in water, mud or wet leaves.
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David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.