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BUYER'S GUIDE

46 of the best road bike tyres 2021 - rubber for speed, durability and puncture resistance

How to choose the right balance of speed and durability

Our choice of the best road bike tyres we've reviewed in the last few years - everything from sturdy commuting tyres to super-fast race rubber.

The perfect road bike tyre would weigh nothing, have zero rolling resistance, last forever and make your bike feel like you were floating suspended above the ground. Unfortunately, it doesn't exist, but the best road bike tyres do manage to excel in one or more categories. Here's a selection of the best.

This selection of the best-rated road bike tyres we've reviewed in the last few years, plus a couple of popular classics, covers the range from sturdy commuting tyres to super-fast race rubber. What features should you look for in choosing a road bike tyre?

  • Your choice of road bike tyres depends on the compromise of speed, longevity and puncture-resistance that works best for you.

  • Light, fast tyres — especially in larger sizes like 25mm and 28mm widths — can be a huge improvement to the ride feel of your bike.

  • Standard tyres with separate inner tubes — known as clinchers — are the most common type, but tubeless tyres are gaining popularity.

  • One-piece tubular tyres are now used almost entirely for racing.

  • Anti-puncture belts under the tread reduce flats and in some cases eliminate them almost entirely; they're the way to go for practical bikes.

Contents: the best road bike tyres for 2021

The famous five: the very best road bike tyres

Best overall tube-type: Continental Grand Prix 5000 — £36.50

2020 Continental Grand Prix 5000 tyres.jpg

The Continental Grand Prix 5000 is a hugely popular road tyre and rightly so. It uses the BlackChilli compound, a Vectran Breaker puncture protection layer, and three layers of 110tpi casing for a tyre that pretty much does everything well.

Take these out in the dry and traction is great, but more impressive is the wet weather grip. Tester Steve found them much more confidence inspiring in the wet than the Schwalbe Pro-One for instance, which, although excellent in the dry, has a tendency to slip on moist climbs.

As far as rolling speed is concerned, they feel proper fast and this is backed up by strong results in independent testing. Bicycle Rolling Resistance's results show the GP5000 non-tubeless is not only significantly faster than the old GP4000S II, but nearly as quick as the Grand Prix TT, which should be reserved for just racing.

Read our review of the Continental Grand Prix 5000
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Best overall tubeless: Continental Grand Prix 5000 TL — £48.00

Continental GP5000 Tubeless tyres16.JPG

Continental's Grand Prix 5000 tubeless tyres take everything that is improved with these latest generation tyres and add tubeless compatibility for improved puncture resistance. They're relatively painless to set up and provide excellent performance in all conditions with low rolling resistance, good grip and durability.

German tyre giant Continental revamped its long-running and hugely popular GP4000 tyre last year with the GP5000, and in the process developed its first road tubeless offering. It shares all the same features as the non-tubeless version with updated Black Chilli rubber compound, Vectran breaker, Active Comfort Technology and Lazer Grip.

It's a case of lots of small changes adding up to make an improved tyre, and the good news is that on the road the new tyre has all the hallmarks of the old GP4000, but is better in every way. It's fast, grippy and puncture resistant, simply a very high-quality tyre that has no compromises.

Read our review of the Continental Grand Prix 5000 TL

Best value: Goodyear Eagle Sport — £20.00

2020 Goodyear Eagle Sport 1.JPG

The Goodyear Eagle Sport is an entry-level road tyre from one of the world's big brands, and it delivers well above its price point.

A low-cost tyre that offers 'durability' is often code for a plasticky compound that lasts forever but sends the rider into the ditch on the first wet corner, so it was with some trepidation that tester Neil took the bike out, freshly shod with the Eagle Sports. He writes: "Happily, it was a dry day and the tyres behaved impeccably. The second outing was on sodden roads with localised flooding. Surely, this would be the litmus test... No, after a few cautious turns I began to trust the Eagle Sports to stick to the line and for the whole of the rest of the test period I never had an anxious moment.

"'Aha,' I hear you say, 'but that tenacious grip means the tyres most be slow and draggy.' Again, no. They feel lively from the off and the stats don't lie: up one local Strava climb, the fearsome 'Past the Chinese', I notched up a PB out of 32 passes, without being aware of trying particularly hard. A fortnight later, just to show it wasn't a fluke, I did it again."

Read our review of the Goodyear Goodyear Eagle Sport

Best for speedsters: Vittoria Corsa Speed tubeless — £45.84

Vittoria Corsa Speed G+ mounted.JPG

Vittoria's Corsa Speed Tubeless tyre is a great choice for summer and race use. The casing and tread are much softer than some previous tubeless tyres, giving these a much better feeling on the road.

Tyres can completely change the ride quality of a bike, influencing the way that you can ride in different conditions. These Vittorias – the fastest road bike tyre tested by bicyclerollingresistance.com – offer easy tubeless setup and a much superior ride.

Read our review of the Vittoria Corsa Speed
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Best for commuting: Schwalbe Marathon Plus — £30.00

Schwalbe Marathon Plus tyres

Schwalbe Marathon Plus tyres are essentially heavy duty, ultra reliable commu-touring tyres that inspire unprecedented confidence without feeling sluggish or barge-like, as the 970g weight for a pair would imply. If swerving punctures is your main criterion in a commuting tyre — and let's face it, who wants to fix a flat on the roadside on a wet January morning? — the Marathon Plus is the tyre to go for.

Much of this is attributable to the Smart Guard system. This is essentially a clever subsection of supple rubber designed to force sharps out, rather than drawing them in as deep-treaded tyres can.

Read our review of the Schwalbe Marathon Plus
Find a Schwalbe dealer

Best for bad roads: Rene Herse Bon Jon Pass Tubeless Compatible  — £92.00

Compass 700C x 35 Bon Jon Pass TC

The Rene Herse (formerly Compass) Bon Jon Pass TC Extralight is the lightest and narrowest of its tyres that can be set up tubeless. It's good. Very good. Rene Herse calls it its 'Goldilocks' tyre, and for going fast or far on rubbish British roads or gravel, in all weathers, it is indeed Just Right.

Rene Herse has its handmade tyres manufactured in Japan by Panaracer, but the process and materials are unique to Rene Herse. These tyres indeed cost a pretty penny, but if you want the pinnacle of real-world performance over varied surfaces, they're worth the cash.

Read our review of the Rene Herse Bon Jon Pass TC Extralight

40 more of the best road bike tyres

Michelin Protek Urban — £25.19

Michelin Protek Urban Aramid Protection tyre

Michelin's Protek Urban Aramid tyre offers a fantastic mix of grip, efficiency, comfort and enhanced puncture resistance. For keen commuters and city riders, it's a choice that fulfils all the most important practical criteria while still providing a rewarding ride experience, and all at a very reasonable price.

Read our review of the Michelin Protek Urban
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Vredestein Fortezza Senso All Weather tyre — £26.70

Fortezza Senso Tyre

Tester Cavan writes: ”As the name suggests, the Vredestein Fortezza Senso All Weather tyres are intended for use in all weathers and are one of five models in the Dutch rubber-maker's competition line-up. Over weeks of testing in conditions varying from dry to wet to icy, I have been impressed by their sure-footedness. They've also withstood the grit and the best - or worst - of the pot holes around the south-east.

“Cornering is assured which is another benefit given conditions in the wet can be trickier than normal. The all weather compound has been designed to provide low rolling resistance with super grip in all conditions. They did just that, providing smooth rolling on the flat but when you lean the bike you get just as much assurance. The clinchers were easy to fit but not loose, which also inspires confidence.

“You can't put a price on the confidence that comes from tyres this sure-footed. The lack of nicks or cuts in the rubber are testimony to their longevity too. Yes it could be good fortune but I'd say it was swayed but the decent rubber compound.”

Read our review of the Vredestein Fortezza Senso All Weather tyre
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Bontrager AW3 Hard-Case Lite tyre — £27.99

2021 Bontrager AW3 Hard-Case Lite Reflective Road Tyre 700x32c

Tester Shaun writes: “The Bontrager AW3 Hard-Case Lite is much faster than I've come to expect from such a tyre – an all-weather, reflective urban thing – and extremely puncture resistant. Even at higher pressures they give a compliant, rewarding ride.

“The ride quality certainly lives up to the hype. They accelerate very quickly and are relatively effortless to keep on the boil. Even at higher pressures, I've never found the Bontrager skittish, or willing to step offline.

“Wet, early-season roads are perfect for testing tyres. The AW3s never missed a beat, allowing me to blast along confident and happy. Bovine dung and similarly slippery stuff hasn't presented any unwelcome surprises either. And one pinched tube aside, I've suffered no flats even on some terrible test roads.”

Read our review of the Bontrager AW3 Hard-Case Lite tyre
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Michelin Power Endurance tyre — £29.96

Michelin Power Endurance tyre.jpg

With the tarmac in Britain comparable to a cheese grater, a hardwearing tyre makes sense. The Michelin Power Endurance tyres are grippy, hardwearing and surprisingly fast. However, seriously strong thumbs are required or you might just pinch all the tubes in your shed.

Tester Liam writes: “At the heart of the Endurance tyre is the X-Miles Compound. This hardwearing rubber has been designed to give '20% more resistance' over the Pro4 Endurance. Michelin has also included more rubber along the centre line of the tyre; maybe an obvious feature, but more material takes longer to wear away. The bold claim from Michelin, however, is '200,000 puncture-free kilometres for 200 tested riders'. A very attractive claim for those who value hassle-free miles above all else. I can say that during my test rides, I've encountered no punctures while riding on some pretty shocking roads. In fact, while washing my bike, I checked the tyres for cuts. Not one! I really struggled to even find a blemish.”

“'More grip for greater speed around the bends' – that's what Michelin says about its new Grip Design. It's a simple concept that Michelin appears to have got spot on: as much as I pushed in corners to make these step out of line, they remained ever-planted and tracked smoothly. Even under heavy braking they refused to slide.”

Read our review of the Michelin Power Endurance tyre
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Vredestein Fortezza Senso Xtreme tyre — £30.96

Vredestein Fortezza Senso tyre

The Vredestein Fortezza Senso Xtreme tyres bill themselves, as suggested in the name, as Xtreme (sorry) weather tyres - so perfect then, for three seasons of UK riding.

Tester Martin wrote: “They have managed several thousand kilometres without any punctures nor slide-outs in the wet, despite me donning my old college volleyball knee-pads and seeing if I could lose the front wheel on fast roundabouts. In that respect they have totally won my confidence. Come rain or shine, they have provided comfortable riding, with smooth rolling and decent acceleration and while they are not the lightest tyre on the market, they don't seem to suffer because of the extra weight.

“Tyre wear has been minimal, and while they have a goodly amount of cuts in them, nothing has got through, to cause late-night walks home. Vredestein have implanted their tightly woven polyamide layer not just in the centre strip, but across the whole tyre, ensuring that puncture resistance is increased across the whole tyre - including the sidewalls.”

Read our review of the Vredestein Fortezza Senso Xtreme tyre
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Panaracer GravelKing Slick Tread 38 — £31.00

Panaracer Gravel King.jpg

The Panaracer GravelKing will take some beating on rough roads in this whopping 38mm size. We've already reviewed both the 26mm and the 32mm versions of these tyres and this pothole-conquering, gravel-busting 38mm version in Nile Blue is just as impressive. It's light for a 38mm at 337g, is very easy to set up tubeless and comes in restrained black as well as blue, green and ivory. What more could you want?

These tyres need a lot of space. They are listed as 38mm but when fitted to some new wider rimed Halo Evaura wheels, they came up to closer to 40 (39.52mm) so make sure your frame can take them before taking the plunge.

Read our review of the Panaracer GravelKing Slick Tread 38
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Specialized S-Works Turbo — £32.99

Specialized S-Works Turbo tyre

Very fast and very light, the S-Works Turbos are tyres you'll want to save for race day or an attempt on a sportive personal best. The Blackbelt puncture protection does a reasonable job of stopping small objects from getting through the tread, but the featherweight sidewalls are easily cut. Jo Burt found that a problem when he reviewed them and I've recently had to bin a pair after forgetfully using them on less-than-perfect roads.

On a sunny day, on good Tarmac, though, they're lovely. The 28mm version could be the perfect UK summer tyre, and they're a bargain at this sale price.

Find a Specialized dealer
Read our review of the Specialized S-Works Turbo

Vee Tire Co Road Runner — £34.99 - £39.99

Vee Tire Co Road Runner Tyre

Fast-rolling, supple tyres that offer confidence-inspiring cornering grip, and sensibly priced. Rubbing your thumb over the Road Runner from Vee Tire Co when it's in its box, you just know it's going to be grippy – the compound feels practically tacky against your skin. And it doesn't disappoint once you put tyre to tarmac.

In the dry they really grip well and give you loads of confidence to keep banking the bike over. Mini roundabouts and the like can be taken flat out and we've yet to find their limits of adhesion.

Read our review of the Vee Tire Co Road Runner

Hutchinson Fusion 5 11Storm Tubeless Performance — £33.50

Hutchinson Fusion 5 Tubeless Performance Road Tyre.jpg

The latest tyre from tubeless pioneer Hutchinson might just have knocked the Schwalbe Pro One out of the role of benchmark performance tubeless tyre. The traction of the Fusion 5s out of the box in a range of conditions, especially in the wet, surpasses the Pro One's. Factors like speed and rolling resistance are trickier to compare, but they certainly don't feel any slower at all, and puncture resistance is superb.In a nutshell, they're fast, grippy, supple, durable and easy to fit, and a rival for any other tubeless tyre currently available.

That's down to The new ElevenStorm rubber compound that provides the tread for the very latest version of this tyre. Warning to the wise: there are versions of the Hutchinson Fusion 5 available with Hutchinson's old HDF>5.2 tread compound. They're good tyres, but if you want the latest and greatest, look for the 11Storm.

Going tubeless for the first time? Hutchinson offers a pair of these tyres with sealant, valves and rim tape for £89.00.

Read our review of the Hutchinson Fusion 5 ElevenStorm Tubeless Performance tyre
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Continental Grand Prix 4 Season — £34.40

GP 4 Season 3_4.jpg

These popular puncture-resistant tyres from Conti have a Duraskin® cut-resistant layer from bead to bead, and two extra Vectran breakers help increase puncture protection.

They're billed as suitable for wet weather. Call us pessimistic, but to us, European wet weather tyres means year-round UK use, and the GP 4 Seasons are excellent do-everything tyres.

Read our review of the Continental Grand Prix 4 Season
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Panaracer Race D Evo 4 tyre — £34.99

2021 Panaracer Race D Evo 4 tyre.jpg

The Panaracer Race D Evo 4 is described by its maker as an ultra-durable road race tyre. They’re a bit snug to fit on some wheels, and they aren't tubeless compatible, but if you are after a fast-rolling, grippy road tyre with decent protection then the Race D is an excellent choice.

Tester Stu writes: “I found the Evo 3 tyres quick and grippy, and these Evo 4s are no different. The tacky feel to the ZSG compound really grabs on as you fly through a fast corner or tight roundabout.

“The bike I swapped these onto was originally wearing Continental's GP5000s, one of the best out there when it comes to grip and performance, and I can barely feel any difference at all. They both offer confidence-inspiring grip and impressive speed. The ride quality of the Panaracers is good too – very supple, even at high pressures.”

Read our review of the Panaracer Race D Evo 4 tyre
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Michelin Power Road — £34.99

Michelin Power Road tyre12.JPG

The Power Road is a new top-end race performance tyre from Michelin, available in tubeless and tubed versions. We've tested the tubed type in 28mm width and it's fast-rolling and lightweight with good durability. It's everything you want in a race tyre.

The Power Road is designed to be a very good all-round tyre, described by Michelin as ideal for 80 per cent of typical riding conditions, for training rides to a road race. That sounds like a fit-and-forget tyre for many people, and with 23, 25 and 28mm widths available, there's going to be one suitable for most riders and race bikes.

Read our review of the Michelin Power Road tyre
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Schwalbe One V-Guard — £35.00

Schwalbe One V-Guard tyres

Schwalbe makes the bold claim that its One tyres are the fastest the company has ever manufactured. Our roll-down testing confirms that they're fast and they feel extremely rapid with good traction in a range of conditions, with impressive puncture protection and durability.

They're now available in a wide range of sizes, up to 28mm and in clincher, tubular and tubeless (the link above is for the tube-type version). In normal use, riding the tyres daily in training, the 167km Liege-Bastogne-Liege sportive and a road race, the tyres really impress. It's the sensation of speed and lack of resistance that is most noticeable. In a range of conditions too, they show incredible performance, from sun-baked to rain-sodden roads.

Read our review of the Schwalbe One V-Guard
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Bontrager R3 Hard-Case Lite 700C 32mm — £35.00

Bontrager R3 Hard-Case Lite 700x32c - Mounted.jpg

Wider road bike tyres are gaining an almost unstoppable momentum as people discover they can be both fast and comfortable, and with the emergence of the endurance road bike genre, Rubenesque road rubber is only going to become more common as bikes are designed to fit fat slicks. The Bontrager R3 Hard-Case Lite 700x32c pushes the plump limit to the point where once upon a time it might have been considered a humourously slick cyclo-cross tyre.

The R3 Hard-Case Lite comes in 23, 25, 28 and 32mm widths, and the full fat version here is something to behold, turning your road bike (if the rubber will fit) into something like a SuperMoto bike, although sideways drifts are not required on every corner, however tempting.

Read our review of the Bontrager R3 Hard-Case Lite 700C 32mm
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Hutchinson Sector 28 tubeless tyre — £35.95

Hutchinson Sector 28 tubeless tyre

Hutchinson designed the Sector 28 for the pro teams they sponsor, for racing over the cobbles of Paris-Roubaix. As such it's a big tyre that's tough as well as being light, but it's the comfort that really shines through here. Well, that and the fact that you don't get any punctures. They're not even that much of a pain to fit.

Tester Big Dave writes: “They're really comfy tyres, that's maybe their best feature. Hutchinson recommend a rather high minimum pressure of 87psi; most of the time I ran them about 80 and went as low as 70 with no problems at all. The difference in comfort between these and a 25mm road tyre is immediately noticeable, and welcome. At 295g plus sealant these aren't the lightest tyres out there but you'll save yourself the ~70g of an inner tube, making them competitive, especially for a big tyre. They don't ever feel heavy or slow. Whether a particular tubeless tyre rolls empirically better than a tubed tyre is an argument for the lab, but those gains or losses are normally pretty marginal, whereas the comfort gain is immediately noticeable.

“I haven't punctured them either, and that's with plenty of deliberate excursions into hedge clippings and other detritus, and lots of miles on unmade surfaces too. I have pulled a single solitary thorn out of the carcass, and the sealant (I used Effetto Mariposa's Caffelatex) plugged the hole just fine, a bit of fizzing and bubbling and then no more. That's at worst a top-up from the pump, rather than removing the wheel and tyre and replacing or mending the tube. If you manage to put a hole in the tyre big enough that the sealant won't fix it, Hutchinson do a repair kit but the roadside fix is the same as a normal tyre: stick a tyre boot over the inside of the hole and then bung a tube in; you'll still need to carry one, just in case.”

Read our review of the Hutchinson Sector 28 tubeless tyre
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Michelin Power All Season — £35.99

Michelin Power All Season on rim above.jpg

Since 'four seasons in one day' is a description often applied to the British weather, these Michelin Power All Season Road tyres should be right at home among UK riders. After a typical English June, we're pleased to confirm that the performance is every bit as reliable as Michelin claims.

The All Season is one of three tyres in the Michelin Power range, each promising better performance with less drag than its predecessors, the Pro4 series. In the case of the All Season, it's grip that's the focus of performance claims, and Michelin promises 15% more grip 'on slippery surfaces' but 5% less resistance than the Pro4 Grip. Of course, this is neither here nor there if the Pro4 Grip was a pile of dingoes' kidneys, but back in 2014 our own David Arthur gave them a solid four star rating (read that review here).

At nearly 260g for the 25mm version (slightly less than officially claimed), these are hardly lightweight, but a lot of this is in the thick tread with its Aramid 'Protek +' protection layer. Over the test period I had no punctures and the tyres shrugged off some bad treatment, such as miles of freshly dressed country lanes that had gravel rattling off the down tube.

The only time you should be noticing your tyres when you are out riding is when they are failing you in some way – a puncture, a loss of grip, a noisy tread or a leaden, draggy feel. So perhaps the best thing we can say about these is that I never really noticed them.

Read our review of the Michelin Power All Season
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Schwalbe Pro One tubeless — £37.50

Schwalbe Pro One

The Schwalbe Pro One Tubeless Easy (TLE) folding tyre is up there with the best race tyres on the market. Grippy, fast rolling and simple to fit, with or without a tube, they're a great choice for your race bike. If durability is your main goal, though, you might want to look elsewhere in the range.

As part of its top end Evo Line, the Pro Ones use Schwalbe's Triple compound which is soft and much grippier than the Onestar compound found on the standard non-tubeless One.

Chucking the bike into tight corners or roundabouts at speed shows the level of grip on offer in both the wet and dry, plus the tyres give a really direct feel of the road thanks to the suppleness of the rubber.

Read our review of the Schwalbe Pro One
Find a Schwalbe dealer

Veloflex Corsa Evo open tubular — £38.00

2020 Veloflex Corsa Evo Clincher

The Veloflex Corsa Evo is a supple, grippy and fast-rolling open tubular tyre aimed at training and racing. Its 320tpi casing smooths out rough roads and keeps grip levels constant, while the tread compound is tenacious and confidence-inspiring in all weathers. It's not tubeless ready, but the price and performance are great.

The suppleness of the Corsa Evo is instantly noticeable. It's a tyre that seems like it's literally taking the edge off bumps: what felt like a square-edged ridge before suddenly seems a smoothly ramped lump.

That's obviously a good thing for comfort – especially on local roads with their rain-eroded canyons, gravel dunes and aggressively flattened badgers – but more importantly, it's a good thing for grip.

Read our review of the Veloflex Corsa Evo open tubular

Continental Gator Hardshell tyre — £38.99 - £43.99

Continental Gator Hardshell 700x25c Tyre

The Gator Hardshell is a very durable, puncture resistant and comfortable tyre, at relatively high pressure it is yielding and comfortable for long rides. In terms of a winter training tyre, club runs and for committed commuters this is an excellent tyre.

Tester Andy wrote: “If you are tired of throwing money at tyres for training these are quick and reliable.

“They're not quick enough for racing but if I was planning on a serious fast touring holiday it would be hard to find something else this good to rely on. They should reward you with exceptionally long life, puncture resistance, a very comfortable ride at speed and not least, given my findings and the manufacturers claims, very good value for money over the life of the tyre.”

Read our review of the Continental Gator Hardshell tyre
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Panaracer Race L Evo 3 tyre — £39.58

Panaracer Race L Evo 3 tyre.jpg

Panaracer says the L-for-Light version of the Race Evo 3 is a race day tyre ideal for time trials and hill climbs. They're certainly fast rolling, but with decent puncture protection as well they don't feel as if they need to be reserved for those special events or dry days only. They're good value too.

Tester Stu writes: “Unlike the D and A models which get bead to bead protection, the L has just a central strip of Panaracer's Protite under the main tread, like that found on most tyres of this type. It seems to work pretty well as I haven't picked up any full punctures over the test period, just a few nicks here and there. Considering how wet and gritty the roads have been, I'd say that's quite impressive.

“Really pushing hard into the bends finds the Evo 3s just gripping and gripping without slippage at all, even when the road surface changes or you have to tweak your line. In the dry they are confidence-inspiring and wet weather grip is pretty good too. They'll eventually break away, but you can feel that point coming as they slowly start to lose traction rather than an all-to-nothing.”

Read our review of the Panaracer Race L Evo 3 tyre
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Hutchinson Fusion 5 Galactik — £39.95 - £49.95

2020 Hutchinson Fusion 5 Galactik Tyres Fitted 2.jpg

The Fusion 5 Galactik road tyre is Hutchinson's all-out performance model, and tester Stu is impressed: "after riding them for the last four months I'm going to put them up there with some of the best race rubber I've ever used. They are grippy, roll really well and I haven't had an issue with punctures either. The best thing, though, is that they feel much more supple than the majority of tubeless tyres."

Stu puts the Fusion 5 Galactik's performance down to the grip levels of the ElevenSTORM (or 11STORM as it says on the sidewall) compound. "Tyre companies tend to keep their specific compounds close to their chests, so I can't give you a list of materials from a spec sheet, but what I can tell you is that the rubber feels very soft and almost tacky.

"These tyres really grip in the dry – you can absolutely bung the bike into a roundabout or bend at high speed and just know that it's got your back."

Read our review of the Hutchinson Fusion 5 Galactik
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WTB Horizon TCS 650B tubeless — £44.99

WTB Horizon tyres - 1.jpg

WTB's Horizon TCS is a fast-rolling, super-grippy and super-comfortable tyre that excels on the road and is capable of tackling dry off-road trails to inject some adventure into your routes.

Tyres have been getting wider over the years, and this trend for chunkier tyres and a growing interest in gravel and dirt riding on road bikes has given rise to the return of 650B, an old standard once favoured by French touring cyclists because it allowed bigger volume tyres for more cushioning on rough and badly surfaced roads. (By shrinking the rim size you can use the bigger volume tyre.)

Read our review of the WTB Horizon TCS
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Pirelli P Zero Velo — £39.99 - £46.19

Pirelli P Zero Velo tyres 3.jpg

The Pirelli P Zero Velo tyre marks a very impressive return to cycling for Pirelli after a half-century hiatus. This tyre is fast, comfortable and long lasting, making for a great all-round ride experience on the road.

Out on the road, they are thoroughly impressive at all times, feeling fast and slippery (through the air, not on the road surface!), yet able to take on the often poorly maintained roads that I'm accustomed to in the south west. Cornering in the wet never feels sketchy, and they zip along very nicely on flat roads without giving any unwanted feedback.

I know that they have bad weather in Italy, but I'm still very impressed with how much Pirelli has obviously thought about adverse conditions when developing these tyres. I saw Pirelli testing the wet grip of the tyres on the test track outside of Milan at the launch, and it certainly appears to have paid off.

Read our review of the Pirelli P Zero Velo
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Panaracer GravelKing 32 — £40.00

Panaracer Gravel King -1.jpg

The 32mm Panaracer GravelKing tyres are excellent all-winter rubber for your road bike and tester Dave Atkinson's new favourite all-purpose winter tyre. They're pretty light for a 32mm tyre, they're easy to set up tubeless and they roll really well. Also, they come in a range of natty colours. Well, two. Plus black. Are they gravel tyres? Not really for the UK, in this size. But for winter road riding they're ace.

You might think these tyres look a bit like a plus-sized version of Vittoria's Open Pave with their file tread and green bits. And that's a fair comparison a lot of the time. Okay, they don't have the Open Pave's supple 320TPI casing, but the AX-Alpha Cord construction is still supple and you can run them tubeless which makes them even more so. The extra air in the carcass over a standard road width means there's comfort on tap for filthy back lanes and unsurfaced sections.

Read our review of the Panaracer GravelKing 32
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Panaracer GravelKing Plus TLC 700 x 35 tubeless — £42.00

Panaracer Gravel King + 700 x 35C tyre

The Panaracer GravelKing Plus TLC is ideal if you want a wide, slick tyre for road use but one that is also capable of taking you off the beaten track thanks to its strong build and decent puncture protection. It's a decent price too.

Compared to the standard GravelKing the Plus model has some added puncture protection to increase durability, which has added about 40g per tyre in this 35mm size, but they've retained their very fast and grippy ride.

Read our review of the Panaracer GravelKing Plus TLC 700 x 35
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Michelin Power Road Tubeless 32mm — £44.99

2020 Michelin Tyre Power Road 700 x 32C TL Ready Fitted 2.JPG

At 32mm across, this is the widest of Michelin's Power Road Tubeless tyres, and it matches the skinnier versions for performance and grip while being easier to fit.

Regardless of the pressure, the Power Roads are comfortable tyres. Their four layers of 120TPI (threads per inch) casing keeps the construction feeling supple – not something always found with tubeless tyres. They roll fast too, and thanks to the X-Race compound, grip levels are high both in the wet and the dry.

Confidence-inspiring is how we'd describe them. For such wide tyres they still offer the race feel of their narrower siblings, just with a little more weight, 353g as opposed to 297g for the 28mm option, and 266g for the 25s.

Read our review of the Michelin Power Road Tubeless 32mm
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Challenge Strada Pro Open Tubular — £45.05

challenge_strada_pro_series_tyre.jpg

Challenge's Strada Pro Open Tubular is a super-supple tyre designed for racing on rough roads. It's not the quickest tyre we've ridden, but for the battered B roads of Britain these are ideal for racing, fast riding and even as a summer training tyre.

Read our review of the Challenge Strada Pro Open Tubular
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Challenge Strada Bianca 700C 30mm — £47.99

Challenge Strada Bianca tyre

The Strade Bianche race uses the white gravel roads of Tuscany and this 30mm racing tyre is just what you need for that kind of thing. It's a brilliant all-rounder that's fast enough for nearly any road use, but with hugely improved comfort.

Out on the road they're fantastic. You can run them at hitherto-untried low pressures with little or no danger of flatting them on potholes. They roll extremely well and at 358g they're not heavyweights. It's not like sticking a set of Marathons on. These feel like race tyres, they really do, except loads more comfortable. If you want comfort on long rides but still want to go fairly fast, there aren't many better tyres we can name.

Read our review of the Challenge Strada Bianca 700C 30mm
Find a Challenge Tyres dealer

Michelin Power Road Tubeless — £49.99

Michelin_Power_Road_Tubeless_Fitted_2.jpg

The Michelin Power Road Tubeless Tyre is the company's first foray into tubeless for its road line-up and the results are very impressive. Grip and rolling resistance feel to be right up there with the best of the competition, and while they are a tight fit, once set up they'll see you through whatever conditions you are likely to experience.

Much of what we said about the non-tubeless version of the Power Road, is echoed here on the tubeless version: it really is a very good all-rounder.

Read our review of the Michelin Power Road Tubeless
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Vittoria Corsa Control — £51.00

Vittoria Corsa Control G+ Isotech foldable tyre.jpg

The Corsa Control is the beefed-up version of Vittoria's well-respected Corsa. They're a great alternative to many winter-specific tyres, offering levels of rolling resistance and grip seen on your summer lightweights without compromising durability.

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Read our review of the Vittoria Corsa Control G+ Isotech

Specialized Turbo Cotton — £51.99 - £59.99

Specialized S-Works Turbo Cotton mounted.JPG

Specialized's Turbo Cotton clinchers are some of the best road bike tyres that we've ever had the pleasure of riding. The supple casing and Gripton rubber compound combine to give a fast and smooth ride that is perfect for racing.

Read our review of the Specialized Turbo Cotton
Find a Specialized dealer

Mavic Yksion Pro Road UST tubeless — £54.00

mavic_ksyrium_elite_ust_wheelset_-_rim_and_tyre.jpg

The UST version of Mavic's Yksion Pro tyre is a massive improvement on the previous, frankly indifferent, tyres that Mavic used to ship with their wheels. It's made in France for Mavic by Hutchinson, who know a thing or two about tubeless tyres, and scores well in Jarno Bierman's rolling resistance and puncture prevention tests. You get a pair of Yksion Pros with all of the Tarmac-orientated wheels in Mavic's new Road UST range, from the £269 Aksium Elite UST and up.

The tread is made from the same rubber — Hutchinson calls it ElevenStorm — as the super-grippy Fusion 5 tyres, so looks an awful lot like Mavic is throwing in a pair of Fusion 5s with its Road UST wheels.

The old Yksions seriously lacked grip, especially in the wet, and puncture proofing was pretty poor. These UST versions are way, way better, offering loads of grip even in the wet and and if they do break traction, a little shift in power or body position easily brings them back under control.

Read our review of the Mavic Yksion Pro tyres on Ksyrium Elite UST wheels

Read about Mavic's Road UST wheels and tyres

IRC Formula RBCC tubeless — £57.00

IRC Formula RBCC Tubeless tyres.jpg

IRC’s Formula RBCC Tubeless tyres provide outstanding grip in dry and wet conditions.

Fitting and inflation are straightforward, and once the sealant is in and distributed around the inside of the tyre, all is secure and airtight.

The round-profile tyres sit pleasantly plumply on the rim; and measured with the callipers across their widest point came up at 25.5mm. The large-volume casing certainly holds a lot of air, which is very noticeable in the ride quality. We thought for a while the council had been round fixing the roads, but that was just a dream.

The other great quality in these tyres is the grip. We took them to northwest Scotland for a few days' testing on the steepest, twistiest, wettest, gravelliest, farm-manuriest roads we could find and, honestly, it was all we could do to get them to step out of line. Only when we deliberately braked late and hard into a sharp left-hander at the bottom of a steep hill did we finally coax the back tyre into some sort of skid, and even then it was more of a correction of direction than any cause for alarm. It feels like your brakes have had an overhaul. Most impressive.

Read our review of the IRC Formula RBCC

Zipp Tangente Speed — £57.80

Zipp Tangente Speed tyre

Zipp Tangentes are pitched as race-day tyres with an impressively low 196g weight in a 25mm size. They are very responsive and fast-rolling tyres, ideal for racing and Sunday best bikes.

They have a 220 tpi rubber/nylon casing, and weight is saved with the absence of the puncture belt that features on Zipp's two other tyres, the Course and SLSpeed tubular. We had no flats during testing. That doesn't tell you much - luck has a huge part to play in punctures as much as anything - but the clean tread with a noticeable lack of cuts and marks suggest good durability from the rubber compound.

Find a Zipp dealer

Read our review of the Zipp Tangente Speed

Goodyear Vector 4Seasons tubeless — £58.99

Goodyear Vector 4Seasons

The Goodyear Vector 4Seasons Tubeless Complete tyre – as opposed to the Tube Type – is 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. Its new design makes it a step above the rest too when it comes to tubeless capability.

The Dynamic:Silica4 compound has a tacky feel to it and grip levels are very impressive, giving loads of confidence in fast bends or when tackling roundabouts while keeping up with the flow of traffic.

It works just as well in the dry too. The Vectors have a very similar feel to some of the better summer race tyres in the corners and they aren't far off in the rolling resistance stakes either, they're just a bit weightier that's all. Not that you notice that extra 150ish grams in the real world.

Read our review of the Goodyear Vector 4Seasons tubeless

Maxxis High Road SL — £59.99

2020 Maxxis High Road SL - On Wheel

The Maxxis High Road SL is currently the fastest road tyre Maxxis offers, and is designed purely for speed and grip. It feels really sprightly thanks to a ridiculously low weight, while both wet and dry weather grip is excellent. Limited tread depth means they just don't last as long as other road tyres, though.

The SL takes over as the flagship racing tyre from the old High Road. Some serious weight has been shaved (37g), some TPI gained (up 50 threads per inch to 170) and rolling resistance reduced – Maxxis claims 12%. The High Road SL is available in 23, 25 and 28mm widths and I'm running the latter. They're all for tubed use only, although rumour has it a tubeless version is in the works.

Read our review of the Maxxis High Road SL
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Cadex Classics 28 Tubeless tyre — £64.99

2021 Cadex Classics 28C Tubeless Tires

Cadex is a high-end, in-house brand of Taiwanese 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.

tester Jez writes: “What makes for a good tyre for the Spring classics? According to Cadex, it's a combination of puncture protection, grip and suppleness. Two of the three are pretty readily apparent. These are grippy tyres, thanks to the combination of the RR-S AR rubber compound and a fine file-tooth texture. It's noticeable when climbing 20%+ gradients in the wet, but I found the Classics outstanding when descending fast on loose, poor quality tarmac.

“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 of the Cadex Classics 28 Tubeless tyre
Find a Cadex dealer

Challenge Strada Pro HTLR 25mm tubeless — £75.00

Challenge Strada Pro HTLR 25mm8 (1).JPG

The Challenge Strada HTLR Tubeless road tyre is up there with the most supple road tubeless tyres on the market. The excellent construction translates into very good performance on the road.

What you expect from these tyres is a very supple ride feel, and that's exactly what you get. Once installed on rims with an 18mm internal width, these sat out at 27mm wide and worked well at just under 70psi (62kg rider weight) for the majority of testing. This gave a nice floaty feeling over broken tarmac, plenty of grip on dry roads, and enough speed for group rides, although they don't feel as fast as some.

Read our review of the Challenge Strada Pro HTLR 25mm
Find a Challenge dealer

Rene Herse Barlow Pass TC tubeless tyre — £76.00

Compass Barlow Pass.jpg

The Rene Herse Barlow Pass tyre is a tubeless-compatible (TC), ultra-supple tyre that delivers an astonishingly smooth and grippy ride. If your bike can't fit them, maybe you need a new bike. They're that good.

tester Mike writes: “Taking the Barlow Pass tyres out on a 40-mile loop mixing gravel with tarmac in equal proportions, it is obvious the benefits that large, supple tyres at low pressures bring. At the end of the loop, after months of trying, I smashed a 1km Strava sprint segment, knocking five seconds off my previous best and setting a KOM benchmark for summer that the previous holder is going to be hurting to regain. This is my personal validation of the German Tour magazine results discussed below, that fat tyres are every bit as fast as skinny. The fact that you remain supremely comfortable and have prodigious amounts of grip on hand for cornering and braking adds to the rationale for going wide.

“Going properly off-road into rooted and rocky singletrack, the Barlow Pass was only defeated by 15%-or-more slopes mixed with slick clay or rocks. Otherwise, the super-supple casing deformed around and gripped to trail irregularities with amazing ease.”

Read our review of the Rene Herse Barlow Pass TC tyre

Rene Herse Switchback Hill Extralight TC 650B x 48mm tubeless tyre — £95.00

Compass 650B x 48 Switchback Hill TC.jpg

Tester Big Dave writes: "How wide is too wide? The 48mm Switchback Hill is the widest 650B tyre that Compass makes, and too wide it ain't. It's super-comfortable, fast-rolling, tubeless-compatible, off-road-capable and light. There's really not a lot wrong here. At a time when people are doing roll-down tests to see if it's worth switching to 28mm tyres from 25s, my advice would be to skip a few sizes and fit a pair of these, if you can. They're great.

“With 40psi in the Switchback Hills it was time to take them out on the open road. And what lovely tyres they are. I've completed plenty of riding on the Switchback Hills, including a 300km weekend to and from North Devon on a Sven Pathfinder (with lightweight tubes), and lots of shorter rides on my Tripster ATR around Bath (running tubeless).

"They're massive, and they only weigh 412g a piece; the extralight casing is super supple and they thrum along on tarmac with no obvious penalty over something much, much narrower. I've checked my Strava times; that's not conclusive, but there's no trend to suggest I'm slower, and they don't ever feel slower. They really are quick, these tyres. Compared to the same bike, on the same routes, with 'wide' 30mm Schwalbe G-One Speed tyres, I can't discern any meaningful difference. I'm a bit quicker on my race bike (on 28s), but that's my race bike. It's 3kg lighter.

"They really come into their own on any surface that's less than smooth; that can be gravelly back lanes or a main road with a surface in need of repair. Basically, round here, it translates as: nearly any road."

Read our review of the Rene Herse Switchback Hill Extralight TC 650B x 48mm tyre

Everything you need to know about road bike tyres

Tyre types

There are three types of performance road bike tyres: clinchers, tubulars and tubeless. Clinchers are the regular tyre type you're almost certainly familiar with. They have a wire bead that holds their shape and fits in a hook on the rim to hold them in place.

Tubular tyres have the tyre carcass sewn around the inner tube; the whole lot is then glued to a special rim with a concave surface for the tyre. This is still the lightest way to make a tyre and rim combination, but to repair a puncture you have to unstitch and re-sew the tyre, which puts most people off.

Tubeless tyres, as the name suggests, don't have inner tubes. Air is kept in place by a sealing strip in the rim, and either a liquid sealant inside the tyre or a rubber coating.

Rolling resistance

Two main forces work against a cyclist trying to make progress along the road. Air resistance is the most famous, but the other is the rolling resistance of your tyres, and it's much less obvious.

Rolling resistance arises from the tyre flexing where it touches the road. The rubber and casing flex and unflex, and some of the energy needed to flex them is absorbed in the process and turned into heat in the process known as hysteresis. It's much more obvious where bigger forces and energies are involved; it's why your car tyres get warm as you drive.

A number of factors affect rolling resistance, including the tyre's width (see below), tread thickness and material, casing thickness and material, and tread pattern. Tyre makers spend a lot of time and money experimenting with these factors to reduce rolling resistance. Schwalbe claims to have made 50 prototypes before settling on the design of its One tyre, which is noticeably faster than many of its rivals.

Tyre colours (CC BY 2.0 FaceMePLS:Flickr)

Tyre colours (CC BY 2.0 FaceMePLS:Flickr)

The current best performers for rolling resistance are very light tyres with thin treads and casings. According to testing commissioned by VeloNews by the tyre experts at Wheel Energy in Finland, the best performers at the time were various versions of the Specialized Turbo and Continental GP4000S II. If numbers are your thing, Jarno Bierman's site Bicycle Rolling Resistance is a very useful resource. His testing suggests that the Vittoria Corsa Speed TLR is the reigning monarch of low rolling resistance.

Grip

Grip depends on the rubber compound used in the tread. The rule of thumb used to be that you wanted a compound that contained carbon black — and would therefore be black — for the best grip, especially in the wet. Modern compounds that contain silica are now virtually as good, so if you must have red tyres, look for that in the compound.

Weight

Continental GP4000 on scale

On paper, the lighter a tyre is, the faster it will accelerate. But road bike tyres are such a tiny part of the total weight of bike and rider that it's very unlikely anyone can actually feel the difference between, say, a 250g tyre and a 200g tyre. However, in their quest for light weight, tyre manufacturers use light casing and thin tread rubber layers, which reduce rolling resistance and that can make a tyre feel faster.

That can mean very light tyres are not very durable, or are so thin they puncture easily. You might be prepared to put up with that for the extra turn of speed when racing, or for that special ride in the sunshine on perfect roads, but most of the time you'll want something beefier.

Folding vs rigid

Giant P SLR1 tyre.

Lightweight road bike tyres almost all have beads made from Kevlar, which allows them to be folded for easy storage and transport. Kevlar is lighter than the traditional steel wire bead, but its resistance to stretch can make folding tyres harder to fit. Tubeless tyres almost always have carbon fibre beads whose lack of stretchiness keeps them on the rim.

Puncture resistance

How to fix a puncture step 02.jpg

To stop foreign objects getting through the tyre to the inner tube or the air chamber of a tubeless tyre, tyre manufacturers use various barriers in addition to the tread and tyre carcass. Layers of Kevlar or a related fabric called Vectran are used in lightweight tyres, and when weight is less of a consideration, manufacturers put an extra layer of resistant rubber under the tread. This works well; if you're not in a hurry, tyres like the Schwalbe Marathon are great for round-town peace of mind.

Tread pattern

moto tyre tread (CC BY-SA 2.0 dvanzuijlekom:Flickr)

Unlike this motorcycle tyre, bicycle tyres don't need water-dispersing patterns. (CC BY-SA 2.0 dvanzuijlekom/Flickr)

On tarmac, it really doesn't make any difference to grip what shapes the designer has carved into the tread. Road bike tyres are too narrow to aquaplane at speeds below about 200mph. But the lumps of tread in between sipes and shapes can squirm, and that increases rolling resistance. The best tread pattern is therefore a smooth, slick surface, but with rare exceptions tyre company marketing departments can't seem to get their heads around this. It's possible patterns in the tread can make a difference to airflow over the tyre, which is the claimed reason for the siping on the wides of the tread of some Continental tyres.

Width

Hunt - Measuring tyre width - 1.jpg

Fatter tyres can be run at lower pressures and therefore give a smoother ride, and better grip on bad surfaces. Road bike tyres were almost all 23mm wide for a couple of decades, but that standard has given way to 25mm and even wider in recent years. Those extra millimetres make a noticeable difference in ride feel, and aside from a small weight penalty there's no serious downside.

Many people think fat tyres must be slower, but all other things being equal, the wider a tyre is, the lower its rolling resistance. This may be counter-intuitive, but it's been demonstrated time and again in rolling resistance tests.

For any given tyre pressure, the size of the tyre's contact patch will be the same. But the wide contact patch of a fat tyre has a lower circumference than the long, thin contact patch of a skinny tyre. Because less of a fat tyre flexes, rolling resistance is reduced.

That said, a wider tyre will have more aerodynamic drag, all other things being equal. But the move to wider tyres has led wheel makers to design rims that are shaped to accommodate fat tyres

Tube choice

silca latex inner tube

Tubes can make a significant difference to tyre performance. The thinner, lighter and more flexible the tube, the less effect it will have on rolling resistance. That's why high-end tubular tyres have latex tubes instead of the familiar black butyl rubber. Latex tubes also provide a bit of puncture resistance as they are flexible enough to stretch round a sharp object rather than being punctured by it. However, latex is porous and needs pumping up before every ride.

Tubolito S-Tubo Road-2.jpg

Other inner tube materials occasionally crop up. Polyurethane is the most common and is currently available in tubes from Tubolito, Panaracer and Schwalbe. It has the advantage of being very light and retaining air well, but it's not as stretchy as butyl or latex so needs more precise matching to tyre size. Schwalbe's polyurethane tubes use a BASF plastic called Elastollan which appears from BASF's claims to be stretchier that traditional polyurethane. Schwalbe calls it Aerothan and offers 43g road bike tubes.

Shopping

Road bike tyres are typically a bit cheaper in winter. When the good weather arrives prices go up a bit.

Cafe wisdom: road.cc readers weigh in on road bike tyres

Road.cc's readers are always a great source of knowledge and experience of bike kit. Here's the pick of the comments from previous versions of this article.

srchar: Commuters: the Conti Grand Prix GT is your friend.

Chris Hayes: Three punctures in three rides convinced me it was time to swap my wheel sets over to tubeless. GBP 250 later and I've done 3 sets. Key take outs are: don't try fitting Contis to Mavic Open Pro UST rims: they don't seal well. I eventually gave up and bought some Hutchinsons, which fit well and are great. Also seemed to have problems with Stan's which doesn't seem to work well with road tyres at high pressure (low viscosity maybe?). Switched to Milkit which has a slightly higher viscosity and has sealed well. If you have asymmetric rims then you need a valve adapter. Oh, and it's a big lay out.

eburtthebike: I'm finding it strange that they haven't included the Schwalbe Durano, a very capable tyre, with puncture protection. I've ridden them for years and they are pretty hard to beat for value and longevity.

John Stevenson replied to eburtthebike:

We've reviewed them. They didn't quite score high enough for inclusion in a buyer's guide.

Socrates: Wolfpack. Have used my first pair of these. 1500 miles and not a cut or scratch. Maybe just lucky but so well pleased with them that they will be replaced with the same come that time.

JL77: 38 wheels, 45 tyres... aren't these lists growing too large? Soon you'll have all available products listed. A guide is all about daring to make choices, no?

John Stevenson replied to JL77:

That's a fair point which is why in the latest round of revisions of our buyer's guides we've introduced recommendations of the very best kit for various use-cases. That said, with rare exceptions everything in a buyer's guide has been reviewed and either scored at least 4.5/5 overall or at least 4.5/5 for performance. There's simply a lot of good stuff out there.

half_wheel79: I haven't felt the need to diverge from Conti GP 4 seasons 25mm in the winter for years, just do the job well, few punctures (in fact none this winter which included doing the festive 500 in some atrocious conditions) and still available at a decent price.

Summer bike I switched from Vittoria Corsa G+ 25mm to Vredestein Fortezza Senso Superiores in 25mm and have found them to be absolutely fantastic, the 320tpi carcass just rolls lovely. They also look fantastic in tan wall.

hawkinspeter: I'm surprised at the Schwalbe Pro-Ones being described as having great grip in the wet - I've found them to be awful (fine in the dry).

Stevemoore replied to hawkinspeter:

My brain bleed and fractured cheekbone bear testament to that
 

hawkinspeter replied to Stevemoore:

Ouch! Wishing you a speedy full recovery if you haven't already.

Jeroen: I will speak out of my own experience; I do over 25,000km/year, so I tested a lot of tires. Currently I have a road bike JGuillem with 28mm tires and a Cannondale Topstone with tires between 35 and 37mm.

For road bikes:

  • My favorite tire is Vredestein Fortezza Xtreme weather. Usually I do 14,000km with a rear tire, having on average 2 punctures during its lifetime. Impressive!
  • Second choice is Schwalbe Durano DD. Same wearing and puncture resistance, but a bit more rolling resistance.
  • Also good but not as good as the above: Schwalbe Lugano, Hutchinson Fusion 5

For gravel bikes (I ride mainly the poor Flanders roads and cobbles with it):

GOLDEN RULE: AVOID TANWALL TIRES! Although they look so nice and cool, they ALL have very poor puncture resistance. I had Challenge Strada Bianca, WTB Riddler, Panaracer Gravel King SS, Schwalbe One — all terrible. With Panaracer I had on average 3 punctures/week!

Now I am using Schwalbe Marathon Supreme. They don't look cool, but very puncture resistant, decent rolling resistance and relatively low weight. Love them. But not suited if you do a lot off road of course.

I hope this helps you.

Rapha Nadal: Not too impressed with the newer Vittoria tyres I have to admit. Got some in July and the tread is already starting to come away from the carcass! Should've stuck with Conti's.

kil0ran: For those of you put off by the, er, challenge of fitting Challenge tyres the Veloflex Masters are very similar ride/feel, available in up to 28mm, and go on very easily, even the first time. No issues with removal/refit at the side of the road. And, naturally, they have an on-trend gumwall option (also coloured treads)

I've found mine to be surprisingly resilient, coping with the lanes around here and even some chalky hardpack.

timtak: I have used expensive tyres, e.g. Bridgestone Extenza but while light and tubular-like feel they got flat quick. I now use chainreaction lifeline road at 15usd a tyre and find them to be adequate and very long lasting.

Jetmans Dad: Been running 25mm Gatorskins for the last two and a half years. 3,800 miles (so getting near changing time), not a single puncture, run well, quick and comfortable. Never felt the need to consider changing for something more fancy and intend to stick on a new pair come the Spring.

kil0ran: Gravel King SKs and Gatorskins for me. The SKs are a bit fragile in the sidewall area for my liking but completely awesome on hardpack gravel. Even have good grip in mud with a noticeable tug as they bite. Quiet on the road and don't feel slow.

stub: I use 25mm Ones on one set of my wheels, and they've been superb all year. I use the extralight inner tubes and they roll very nicely indeed. I used to have the Vredestein Fortezza Senso all weathers on all year round and they were fantastic tyres, but when they eventually wore out I opted for the Ones.

I also have the G-One Speed on the CX bike that I use for commuting and some singletrack/country park usage. Tubeless, went on like a dream, quick on the commute. Seeing the sealant spots on my frame after a ride without even knowing anything had happened was eye opening. Absolutely love them, they converted me to tubeless and motivated the purchase of some Pro Ones for my Racing 3 2 way fit. These were incredibly, incredibly tight to fit. The beads didn't ping in like the G-Ones and I don't even want to think about getting the tyres off the rim at any point! I haven't ridden them long enough to really comment but first I was really impressed with the quality and speed of the ride so far.

HLaB: Continental used to be my go to brand but I've not had much luck with the Continental side walls, at worst failing on me within 100miles, and I wasn't impressed with the Continental response to that failure so I switched to Michelin Krylion Carbons at first but now Pro 4 SC and Endurance and Power.

BarryBianchi: If you feel your swearing needs a little refresher work, fit some Marathon Plus' on a Brompton.

StraelGuy: Don't get me wrong, I got a few punctures on the 4 Seasons but their grip in wet conditions was very good indeed.

KnightBiker: I used the Challenge Strade Bianchi 3x on Paris-Roubaix with pretty low pressure and the held up very well, impressed with them and no flats, even though my rims took a beating. If there's a combo of road and gravel/cobbles these tires are the way to go.

The Vittoria Open Pave are good, a bit stiff, but they last long.

I'm very curious for the Schwalbe G-one, the knobby stuff should be very good for the none muddy cyclocross courses.

WolfieSmith: I use Conti GP 23s. Have done for 5 years now. Have a puncture once a year if that. Used to use Michelin Pro Race for 10 years before that but found they wore down very quickly. The Contis last me about between 4-6,000 miles.

I use Gatorskins on the winter bike and again - maybe a puncture a winter with those.

multimodal: I'm rolling good old Conti Gatorskins. Maybe I should try something fancier but I've never found them uncomfortable or slow. Cheap too.

a1white replied to multimodal:

Agreed. I have the hardshell variety. For commuting on a road bike, they are a must. On a hybrid Marathon Pluses will last 1000's of miles.

BehindTheBikesheds: The Continental 4 Seasons should be discounted from this list. It's expensive, rarely come up to its quoted size on a normal rim, for an all year round folding tyre at £30+ a pop they they are lifeless, roll horribly and offer no more puncture protection than other tyres at a cheaper price. I purchased a pair of 28mm and they barely came up to 26mm on my 13mm Mavic Ksyriums.

I swapped them for a pair of folding Giant PSL2s, a full 28mm when inflated on the same rim, have much better rolling resistance, no flats so far and the join is done off centre and has a wear indicator in the compound itself. they're 280g at seem to have more meat in the centre part of the tread, made a noticeable difference on my audax cum tourer.

Interesting that Vee Tire (Vee Rubber as was) entered the market with quality cycle tyres a couple of years ago when they were synonymous with very cheap tires, certainly in the UK. The tyres BITD were actually fine and more than a match for the Michelin World.

Their 'Apache Chief' road tyres come in a 30mm which could be useful for some.

Wonder why they haven't really done anything in the UK, I can't say I've seen any bike shops stocking them that's for sure.

macrophotofly replied to BehindTheBikesheds

I like the Four Season tyres I have on one bike - I have Schwalbe Zeros and GP4000s on other bikes, but when I am riding the bike with the 4 Seasons I can feel the rubber has more grip, especially in the wet. I would agree no more protection than 4000s and that they come away from its size on certain rims (although I can get that to happen on many tyres), but the grip and suppleness of the tyre are outstanding. You are paying for a softer rubber.

drosco: Agree on the 4 seasons. I had no luck with flats and they barely lasted a year before disintegrating. Considering the premium price, I don't think they offer enough. Much preferred Michelin Pro4 endurance for a fast, puncture proof road tyre.

ChetManley replied to drosco:

This. I had 4 Seasons fail after a few hundred miles (side wall tear). Totally unpredictable sizing, poor feel and not all that quick. Michelin Pro 4's I switched to were much better lasted 2 years of commuting and leisure riding.
 

StraelGuy: I also agree. The 4 Seasons gripped well but I still got loads of punctures. I replaced them with the new Michelin Power Endurance which are way faster and have suffered far fewer punctures.

Canyon48: Really strange to see so many negative comments about the 4 Seasons! Had mine since the beginning of the year, ridden them on roads, cycle paths and gravel, haven't had a single issue.

I found them incredibly grippy and smooth rolling, the 28mm came up at 30 mm on my 24mm (outer width) disc wheels.

They are damn expensive though, so I'm expecting them to live for many 1000s of miles! I've got a very good first impression, let's hope that doesn't change over the year  10

NOC40: "it's very unlikely anyone can actually feel the difference between, say, a 250g tyre and a 200g tyre" Really? I reckon I could notice 20g difference on the front tyre on a light wheelset. 50g is huge. But then again a really light tyre might not go faster but it does feel a whole load nicer, especially on the front.

On tread patterns, there is evidence that there could well be aero benefits to e.g. GP4000S style tread around the sides.

FWIW I've ridden Schwalbe Ultremo ZX/Ones for a few years now and love them for both their immense grip and p**cture resistance, even if they have crept up from 180g to nearly 220g these days (measured).

Also latex. You need latex inners. Faster, smoother, lighter, make a great noise, and stones ping out from under your wheels like little bullets  1

HowardR: And a +1 from me on the latex tubes.

Ad Hynkel: For tight b4$t4rd tyre installation, check out "How to fit a Marathon Plus Tyre", youtube video by SpaCycles. All you need... and strong thumbs.

peted76: Pro-Ones over here, fitted on Giant SLR0 wheels no problem fitting with hands or seating with a normal track pump (the secret to seating/pumping them up is a bit of soapy water).

StraelGuy: I run Conti Grandprix GT as my go to summer tyre. Even took them to Lanzarote to put on a hire bike.

rkemb:

Quote: some people even claim they have managed to get these to go up with a track pump

I got two Pro Ones set up tubeless on my Pro-Lite rims with just a track pump with no problems at all. G-ones on non-tubeless rims gave me a bit more trouble but that was due to leaking around the valve, not an issue with the bead seating, and was fixed by tightening up the valve bolt at which point the tyres seated with a track pump.

oldmixte: I have fitted many tyres but fitting new Marathon plus defeated me and I had to get a dealer to put them on, it was interesting to see him struggle as well. They are less difficult after they have been on the bike for a while. No punctures over 2000 miles whereas the tyres that came with the bikes, well known, suffered punctures after 300 miles.

Duncann replied to oldmixte:
New M+ can be pigs to fit, although I've found that carefully kneading the bead down into the well of the rim (i.e. giving it a smaller circumference to stretch around) helps considerably. Works for other tyres too, of course.
TypeVertigo replied to Duncann:
 

I had the same ordeal with my 20" x 1.5" Marathon Racers on my folding bike. The problem is while you try to lever in a section of the wire bead into the rim's bead hook (either by hand, tire levers, or a tire bead jack), it simply walks out of it elsewhere around the circumference of the rim. The above method of kneading bead into central valley of rim works, but by Jove it took more a lot effort with these and that method compared with initial fitting of other tires.

The Marathon Racers also come in 700C x 35 mm and 700C x 40 mm. They're billed as the lightest of the Marathon lineup, although considering their focus as durable hard-wearing tires I don't think that's much to brag about vs. other brands or variants.

Duncann replied to TypeVertigo:

I've seen people use the straps from toeclips to stop the popping out thing. Don't suppose many people have those nowadays though! A ziptie might work though?
 

peakingintwomonths replied to Duncann:

All you need is two thumbs, two straps and 5 mins 32 secs. A mightily impressive beard might help, but probably not essential

tugglesthegreat replied to oldmixte:

After numerous punctures through last winter and spring, I finally went for Marathons. I really didn't want to for the additional weight, so it was a hard choice. I have a commute through some dark places and the last thing you need on a cold, wet and dark night is a puncture.

I went for the standard Marathons i.e. 3mm of puncture protection ones, they are also cheaper, another consideration. They were tight but managed to get them on with not too much problem althought it was the first time I had used a tyre leaver in a long time. I can usually get tyres on and off with no leavers.

Do I notice the weight, yes. Can I still keep up on club rides, yes. Am I changing back to lighter tyres for commuting, no.

Really impressed with these tyres.

oldmixte: Thanks for the comments folks, I should explain that I had no problems fitting 4 Marathon Plus to my road bikes, they had 700x32 tyres but the problems came when I tried fitting the 700x25. I used straps, getting the tyre deep into the rim but to no avail. Recently I had to remove one of the 700x25 and had no problem replacing it. I guess it has stretched a little. There are some video showing the strap method on YouTube.

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