It’s time to present the very best tyres for both road and gravel riding that made it into road.cc Recommends in 2022.
We’ve separated tyres from the road.cc Recommends Components of the Year 2022/23 awards simply because we’ve reviewed so many over the past 12 months and a significant number have performed extremely well.
We’re covering both road and gravel tyres here, with gravel tyres reviewed by our sister title off.road.cc eligible for inclusion.
The tyres market is super-busy right now, largely thanks to the growth of gravel riding and the adoption of tubeless technology both off-road and on it. You’ll see these developments reflected in the tyres featured below.
How this works
You probably know by now that each month we add the best bikes, clothing, parts and accessories we’ve reviewed on road.cc – and our sister sites off.road.cc and ebiketips where relevant – to road.cc Recommends. Only products that perform exceptionally well make the cut. Below you’ll see the tyres that impressed us most.
We don’t rank components, accessories and clothing into top 10s – which is what we do in our bike awards – but we do offer three types of awards:
Bargain Buy This goes to the product that we feel gives the best value for money.
Money No Object We take price out of the equation for this one; it’s all about performance.
Editor’s Choice This award is won by the product that gives the best combination of performance and value for money.
We don’t necessarily give out all three awards in each category; it comes down to what we feel the components we’ve reviewed deserve.
Okay, let’s take a look at the road.cc Recommends Tyres of the Year 2022/23…
Schwalbe G-One RS tyre, £75
The top-of-the-range Schwalbe G-One RS tyre is focused on gravel racing where speed is a priority. You get an impressive performance from a supple tyre that feels fast yet grips on more surfaces than the low-profile tread pattern might suggest.
Schwalbe says that the G-One RS offers 20% less rolling resistance than the existing G-One R from which it borrows the shoulder tread design, combined with a low-profile X-One Speed centre section.
It is smooth and fast even in the widest 45mm version. On firm surfaces, it feels supple and also communicative, with no surprises, allowing you to push the limits of grip and know exactly when you are approaching them.
On typical British gravel trails, it is confident through the corners with the more pronounced edge tread certainly working. It allows you to fly down descents with as much confidence as with a more aggressively lugged tyre.
The low-profile ridges grip well on wet or dry trails, uphill or down. With the wider size having a high surface area and allowing the use of lower tyre pressures, it exceeded every expectation.
The Schwalbe G-One RS tyre provides you with levels of grip that belie its low-profile semi-slick design. It is fast and can also cope with a range of surfaces and conditions. The fact that this is a low-profile race option means durability isn’t huge but reviewer Matt Page declared it the best gravel tyre he has ever used.
Why it’s here Impressive tyre with grip and speed that belie its low-profile tread pattern
Buy it for £62.99 from Merlin Cycles
Read the review
Pirelli P Zero Race 4S tyre, £62.99
The Pirelli P Zero Race 4S tyres impress with their grip in mixed conditions while feeling quick. If you want a summer tyre-like feel all year round, these are among the best options out there.
These clinchers feature a new nylon puncture protection belt under a 120tpi (threads per inch) casing, which in turn lives beneath the same SmartEVO rubber compound you get with Pirelli’s racier tyres for a summer-tyre feel.
That nylon belt adds some extra resilience over its P Zero Velo 4S predecessor without adding much weight. Pirelli has also remodelled the casing to optimally fit a 19mm internal diameter rim.
Compared to the ‘regular’ P Zero Race, the rubber on the 4S is marginally thicker to boost puncture resistance and longevity.
The SmartEVO compound is the real highlight, offering a massive amount of grip while providing a supple feel. You can really lean on them in the corners, and although they can't perform magic and provide as much grip in the wet as the dry, when the heavens open you get a good sense of sure-footedness.
On a warm, dry day, the low weight and performance-oriented construction results in a quick-feeling ride. They’re not on the same page as the top-of-the-range P Zero clinchers for sheer speed, but they do a fine job of retaining much of the pace and quick handling characteristics.
Pirelli’s P Zero Race 4S is about as good as it gets for a fit-and-forget year-round clincher road tyre, although tubeless fans will need to wait a little longer for this option.
Why it’s here Four-season tyre that values performance over out-and-out resilience – yet is still plenty robust
Buy for £52.69 from Tredz
Read the review
Vredestein Aventura gravel tyre, £49.99
The Vredestein Aventura is a low-weight gravel tyre with a minimal tread that manages to deliver impressive grip on a range of surfaces. It’s fast, smooth and quiet.
The Aventura is Vredestein’s only gravel tyre and comes in three sizes: two 700C widths – 38 and 44mm – and a 50mm 650B. All three use the same 120tpi carcass and triple compound technology. At 450g, the 38mm Vredestein Aventura is lightweight, even for a relatively narrow tyre.
The tyres deliver a swift, smooth and quiet ride on the road and excellent grip on hardpacked trails, rarely losing grip even on the steepest climbs and fastest corners.
The only time reviewer Matt Page felt a slight loss of traction in dry conditions was from the rear tyre when unweighted while braking hard. They also struggle in deep, sloppy mud, which is to be expected given the tight and low-profile tread pattern.
It's hard to fault the Aventura. The 38mm size won’t suit all, but you can go wider if you have enough clearance. Even with this narrower option, though, the grip surpassed our expectations. For such a light and smooth-rolling tyre, it’s certainly enjoyable to ride.
Why it’s here Light, fast and smooth, with grip that surpasses expectations
Buy it for £40.49 from Merlin Cycles
Read the review
Bontrager GR2 Team Issue TLR Gravel Tyre, £52.99
The Bontrager GR2 Team Issue TLR Gravel Tyre is lightly treaded yet fast and light, and still robust enough to cope with pretty much anything you throw under it. This is a great fit-and-forget tyre, as long as it’s not too muddy.
The GR2 Team Issue is designed for fast-rolling performance and biting traction on even the most rugged gravel roads. We rode our test pair over every single road and off-road surface you could imagine and always came out smiling.
The tread pattern looks very much like a micro version of what you might find on a fast cross-country mountain bike tyre. The central pattern means the GR2 is a swift tyre on tarmac. The only time the GR2s struggled on road was on really steep uphill pitches when they felt pretty sticky.
The profile of the GR2 is well-rounded with no square edges or sudden tread transitions, which means you can lean it over with confidence knowing that nothing weird is going to happen suddenly.
It remains reassuringly surefooted when cranked over on both road and off-road, although the shallow tread means it tends to wash out on looser terrain if pushed.
At 414g, both tyres on test came in well under the claimed weight of 435g, which makes them light for this size, and it certainly helps towards their nippy character.
Where the GR2 really shines is in being a gravel tyre that can be taken pretty much anywhere; it has impeccable manners in a large variety of situations, without being a liability at any point. High-grade hardpacked gravel, wooded singletrack, rock-spiked dirt trails… it can handle them all.
Why it’s here Nippy on road and copes with most things off – light and yet sturdy too, a lovely thing
Buy for £43.98 from Swinnerton Cycles
Read the review
Panaracer GravelKing Slick TLC tyre, £49.99
Despite the name, we wouldn’t call the Panaracer GravelKing Slick TLC a ‘gravel’ tyre as such, but it excels in many on-road/bad-road scenarios. It’s also light and has a seriously low rolling resistance for its width, which makes it fast no matter the terrain. Puncture protection is also pretty solid.
This is an excellent tyre that’s ideally suited to a wide variety of surfaces. It’s at its best on rough roads. You get the ZSG (Zero Slip Grip) natural compound which offers low rolling resistance and low wear.
The light weight – 309g per tyre – can really be felt on the climbs. As for speed elsewhere, they certainly feel fast and bicyclerollingresistance.com scores them highly in this regard.
The tread profile is minimal, with no pronounced edges to claw their way through loose stones or mud. On smoother surfaces like towpaths, though, they're perfect and just brilliant on any generally crappy roads. Loads of predictable grip gives you the confidence to attack without fear of coming unstuck.
Why it’s here The ideal tyre for rough roads – very fast, very light and yet robust
Buy for £27 from Sigma Sports
Read the review
Specialized S-Works Turbo 2BR 2Bliss Ready T2/T5 tyre, £55
This is a superb option that’s grippy, fast and easy to set up on tubeless rims. The tan walls also look great, and that always helps
The Specialized S-Works Turbo 2BR 2Bliss Ready T2/T5 focuses on both race-readiness and club runs.
You get a slick central strip (T2) that is designed to reduce rolling resistance and allow you to accelerate quickly and hold top speeds more easily. On either side of this, Specialized has used the grippier T5, which gives the tyres better stability in tight corners and on rougher surfaces.
Specialized has come up with an excellent tyre that finds a really effective balance between speed when you want it and grip when you need it. They corner impressively, giving you a real sense of security and confidence, even at high speeds. Acceleration is also impressive, with these allowing you to spin up quickly and get power onto the tarmac too.
Setting these tyres up tubeless is pretty simple, and you can then run them at relatively low pressures for comfort and smoothness over long rides.
The 28mm version weighed in at 295g each, which is a smidge more than some of its competitors around this price. They certainly don’t feel at all sluggish, though.
Overall, we were impressed by these tyres. They're grippy in corners, fast on the straight, and despite ceding a little weight to their rivals, they're no slouch when the road goes upwards.
Why it’s here Fast, grippy, easy to set up, and a fairly good price too
Buy for £49.50 from CycleStore
Read the review
Rene Herse Umtanum Ridge 650b tyre, £82
The René Herse Umtanum Ridge 650b tyres are a ridiculously fast yet grippy upgrade to any bike that can take them. They're quiet, supple and very confidence inspiring, and the overall performance is outstanding.
The Umtanum Ridge is the same design as Rene Herse’s Fleecer Ridge, just in a different size and range of casings. It comes up small, measuring 52mm on a wide 25mm rim whereas René Herse advertises them at 57mm on a 23mm rim. That’s quite a difference, due to the nature of hand-made tyres using natural rubber. The size can vary from batch to batch.
The rolling is very good on the road. You forget it’s a knobbly and enjoy the isolation from small bumps and surface cracks. With the uniform tread across the tyre, there’s no transition point from slick to shoulder knobs.
The Umtanum Ridge rolls far quieter than a knobbly tyre should too, and at 25psi the comfort is sublime and the grip diving into corners god-like. On the few occasions when we suffered slippage, it was predictable and recoverable.
If you're after a wide tyre for the worst gravel conditions imaginable, one that still rolls stupidly fast and quiet on hard surfaces, the Umtanum Ridge should be high on your list.
Why it’s here Fat, supple tyre for all manner of off-road use, and fast and quiet on-road – expensive, though
Buy for £82 from Sven Cycles
Read the review
Vittoria Corsa N.Ext tyre £64.99
The Vittoria Corsa N.Ext tyres are durable yet fast-rolling and they grip harder than you might expect. They're lighter than the regular Corsa Control tyres and come at a cheaper price point than many of their rivals.
While the more premium options in Vittoria’s Corsa tyre range still use a core-spun cotton construction, the Corsa N.Ext has a nylon casing – something Vittoria claims is more robust and durable. The tread features silica and graphene compounds. It's not only designed to promote better grip, rolling performance and overall efficiency but is claimed to last longer, too.
Setting up our 28mm tyres tubeless was a straightforward affair and they held their pressure well with little air leakage.
In use, there’s not a massive difference in character between the N.Ext and regular Corsa tyres, although the N.Exts are more comfortable in ironing out road imperfections and chatter.
While Corsa tyres have a propensity for succumbing to cuts from flint and glass, the Corsa N.Ext and its triple-nylon layer proved mighty resistant to road debris. We suffered no punctures in 2,800km (780 miles) and a quick examination of the tread at the end of the review period revealed few blemishes.
We used these tyres for everything from circuit racing to a handful of time trials and sections of gravel and they've impressed in all settings. On rainy rides, the tread pattern does well to displace surface water and keep the grip balance neutral.
While they're not as fast as their core-spun Corsa siblings, the Corsa N.Exts still roll impressively well, and they grip like limpets in the corners. The big talking point is what they offer in terms of puncture resistance and tyre wear, which could be more valuable attributes than outright speed to the average rider.
Overall, the Vittoria Corsa N.Ext tyres are just as fast as their chief rivals and possess one of the best puncture-resistant casings on the market. If you're looking for tyres for both training and racing, you can't go wrong here.
Why it’s here Fast-rolling performance tyre with protection levels to match
Buy for £27.49 from Rutland Cycling
Read the review
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