Best Road Bike Tires: Reviews Of All Our Favorite Sets
Without quality tires and wheels on your bicycle, you are either going to be heading nowhere fast… or you might be riding an indoor exercise bike. The best road bike tires will support your riding style, give your bike stability and balance, and allow you to effectively tackle your preferred terrain. Which tires are the best option for you today?
Best Road Bike Tires
|Continental GatorSkin DuraSkin Tire|| 4.5 || $$
|Continental Grand Prix 4 Season Road Clincher|| 4.4 || $
|Bell Road Tire with Kevlar|| 4.2 || $
|Vittoria Rubino Pro III|| 4.4 || $$$$$
|Vittoria Zaffiro II Wire|| 4.4 || $$
|Continental Ultra Sport II Bike Tire|| 4.2 || $$
|Kenda Tires Kwest Commuter|| 4.3 || $
|Schwalbe Lugano Puncture Resistant Road Tires|| 4.4 || $
|Michelin Lithion 2 Road Tire|| 4.1 || $$
|Michelin PRO4 Endurance Bicycle Tire|| 4.4 || $$
What Are the Different Types of Road Bike Tires?
If you’re looking for a high performance tire for your road cycling needs, then in a perfect world, it would weigh nothing, last until the end of eternity, and have no rolling resistance whatsoever. Unfortunately, this isn’t a perfect world, so the perfect tires and wheels don’t exist for road cycling. By understanding the different types of tires that are available, however, you can come pretty close.
There are three standard tire types when you’re looking for the best road tires.
- This is your standard road bike tire. It contains a wire bead and holds shape well. You fit it into the wheel with a hook on the rim so you have a stable riding experience.
- This type of tire has an inner tube that is surrounded by a stitched outer shell. Then the manufacturer will attach the tire to the rim to create a concave surface. This makes for a lightweight tire that gives you top speeds, but it is also virtually impossible to repair a punctured tire without replacing the entire wheel.
- This is the type of road bike tire that doesn’t have an inner tube. Air pressure is maintained through a sealing strip that is built into the rim of the wheel.
No matter what type of road bike tire you choose, you’ll need the best tire reviews to determine how they will perform with air resistance and rolling resistance. Some tires flex when being ridden, while others create more wind resistance due to their size and shape. This is why the best road bike tires tend to be thin, somewhat large, and more firm than other cycling tires.
What Features Do the Best Road Bike Tires Have?
The primary feature that most cyclists look at when shopping for the best road bike tires is grip. The grip of the tire and wheel depends on the tread design and materials. Look for silica compounds or carbon black for the best grip options. Most tread patterns on bicycles are smooth since hydroplaning isn’t really an issue, so don’t be fooled into paying a higher cost for a tire because it has a fancy tread pattern on it.
Unless you plan to be traveling at 150 miles per hour on your bicycle. Then you might need a water-dispersal tread pattern.
Once that is settled, you’ll also want to consider these additional features when looking for the best road tires to meet your needs today.
- Tire Weight. Lighter tires will accelerate faster. You just don’t want to have tires that are too lightweight because this will make them more prone to punctures and road damage. Unless you’re racing and need superior speed levels, look for a good mid-range weight tire to achieve the best possible results.
- Folding Tires. Many tires are firm and rigid, intended to be in their circular shape until they wear out. Consider a folding tire, which usually has a Kevlar bead, to improve storage, transport, and durability.
- Puncture Resistance. Some road bike tires include resistance barriers within their design, often supported by the wheels, to stop common forms of road damage. No tire is 100% puncture proof, but putting an extra layer of rubber or Kevlar into the design of the tire can help you get home after a recreational ride.
Road Tire Width: What You Need to Know About the Best Bike Tires
Road tires have had a standard width of 23 millimeters for quite some time. This allows the tire to have a fairly smooth ride while still giving the cyclist a solid performance. The issue with the thin tire, however, is that on a poor street surface, there can be a dramatic reduction in grip. For this reason, 25 millimeters has become the new standard size of road bike tire – and you’ll find wheels that support larger sizes as well.
The reason behind this change is pretty simple: a larger tire can operate at a lower PSI, which means better grip and smoother rides.
So to determine what your road tire width should be, you need to consider the circumstances that will be present in your typical cycling session. Wet climate riders should look at wider tires, as should riders who may encounter gravel roads or prefer to ride their bikes on park trails.
If you’re a commuter or like to cruise down the street on your bike to run errands and such, then a thinner tire will be the better choice.
If you’re just purchasing the tire on its own, you’ll find that most road bike tires are between $15-$50 each.
It’s the wheels which really add to the cost. A standard road bike wheel may be over $100. Since you need a set, that means a minimum $200 investment. Some wheels come with the tires included, but that is not a standard option.
So most cyclists should expect to pay a minimum of $300 for a complete set of tires and wheels, though some may find cheaper pricing.
Here’s Our Reviews:
Road Bike Tires: You should always carry a spare tire with you when you ride. This is the #1 mistake most beginners make. Punctures can happen anywhere. With tires like these, you’ll be able to take along a replacement and start riding right away.
This is a robust tire that can handle 4 seasons of riding with ease. Whether you’re training or touring, you’ll find that this tire provides confident and stable handling in virtually all weather conditions. There is also a Vectran insert provided to help provide an added layer of puncture protection. It’s available in 23mm, 25mm, and 28mm widths for your convenience. If you want the best all-purpose tire for your road bike, then we highly recommend giving this option a strong look.
This 27-inch road bike tire has included a Kevlar layer to give you extra strength and puncture resistance with every ride. We liked the carbon steel bead that’s equipped to this tire, giving you the option to fold it without damaging the product for easy transport and storage. If you’re looking for a solid spare to take along with you, consider this tire as a top option if you ride with this size of wheelset. The grip is sure, balance excellent, and the price is right where we like it. You won’t be disappointed by what this tire can do.
This tire provides one of the best rides to date. Thanks to the 3D tread compound that’s integrated into this tire, you’ll receive an improved ride in wet conditions. The tread life on this tire is also noticeably longer for those who put a lot of miles on their bike. There is some limited puncture protection included with this tire option as well. It receives our recommendation, however, thanks to its ability to corner confidently so you can maintain your pedal stroke and rhythm.
We like this road bike tire as one of the best options for those who ride commuters, city bikes, or some cruisers. Looking beyond the unnecessary water dispersion grooves for the tread, we found the fit to be nice for a variety of riding opportunities. It worked just as well on a flatland trail as it did on a city street, especially when equipped to a hybrid bike. The overall ride is smooth, you have color options available to you, and the price isn’t going to hurt your checkbook any.
These road racing tired know how to get the job done. Though we see them more as a training or fitness option, those who like a nice, leisurely ride around the neighborhood will appreciate these tires as well. They have a lower rolling resistance, wider lateral bands, and puncture resistance built into the tire. You might not be competing in a time trial event, but some commutes feel like a time trial, and these tires aren’t going to steer you wrong. At this price, you’re purchasing two tires and tubes – a great value purchase.
The best road bike tires will provide you with a quality riding experience. Find a spare or equip your bike with a solid wheelset that meets your needs today and you’ll open up a whole new world of cycling to explore.