Getting the perfect tires for your road bike isn’t as easy as it may seem. It mostly depends on your choices, starting from the desired performance and safety. Another important consideration is the durability of the tires, which is rather obvious, as no one likes to replace them too often if they don’t have to.
But all is not lost. Let’s find out if it’s possible to have it all and the most important factors to consider. Here are five fantastic models to help you find the best road bike tires for your vehicle.
5 Best Road Bike Tires
Continental Grand Prix 5000 Performance Bike
Yes, this is the same Continental as the car tire company. These are one step above the highly popular Grand Prix 4000 (now in the S II iteration) – the Grand Prix 5000. What we have here is not a tire with a couple of upgraded features but a truly revolutionary model.
First, the tread compound codenamed Black Chili is produced only in Germany. This unique compound provides better balance and improved rolling resistance. In comparison to the Grand Prix 4000 S II, this one offers 20% better puncture protection thanks to the improved Vectran breaker.
These tires are made with active comfort technology that absorbs vibrations and smoothens the ride. Equipped with these tires, you can ride your bike on just about any road without worrying about bumps.
Like all higher-end Continental bike tires, these are highly durable. Barring abuse, they don’t show excessive wear easily.
According to Continental, the Grand Prix 5000 is not the fastest or the most comfortable bike tires you can get your hands on. Rather, the focus is on making a set of durable tires with excellent puncture resistance. Think of it this way … what’s the point of having a pair of fast tires if you have to replace them every couple of months?
- Very durable
- Excellent puncture protection
- All-around road tire
- Absorb vibration
Could be slightly more difficult to install
SCHWALBE Durano Black Wire Bead Tire
When you’re looking for road bike tires, do you often come across disclaimers that warn that the tires aren’t suitable for wet roads? Did the manufacturers only say that to cover their behinds?
The truth is that it’s difficult to make, or find, tires that work well in all seasons and road conditions, heavy rain included. Save for the fact that Schwalbe designed this model with that in mind – superior grip on wet roads.
The Schwalbe Durano bike tires are suitable all year round with one catch – or rather, a tip. You can underinflate these tires (not too much) to get a smoother ride and better resistance to flats. Of course, it’s also a way to make your tires last longer.
The Durano comes with a special Race Guard protection belt, a 5mm layer that protects the tire and improves ride comfort. As the name implies, it’s suitable for racing even when the weather is not the most conducive to it.
Last but not least, these may be the best road bike tires for those who are on a budget. There’s no need to spend hundreds of dollars on tires when you can have something that’s close in quality and performance for quite a bit less. These may not be the most durable tires, but with a little care they offer great value for the money.
- Suitable for wet road
- Year-round use
- Race Guard protection belt
Not the most durable tires out there
Continental Contact Speed Bike Tire
The Continental Contact Speed tires are ideal for city cyclists, single-speed cyclists, and fitness bikers. They are perfect for a smooth city ride, and they run particularly well on asphalt. Moreover, they’re also suitable for e-bikes.
They’re more lightweight and flexible than any other Continental road bike tires. That also makes them an excellent choice for kids and youngsters. Also, this model is easy to install, which can be essential if you only have basic tools.
Even though they’re made for city rides, it doesn’t mean that these tires don’t have puncture protection. Like all Continental bike tires, they have excellent protection in this regard, having passed various German tests. They’re covered with a Kevlar-reinforced nylon fabric, which also makes them cut-resistant.
All in all, this is a great road bike tire for city riding, and it offers excellent value for your money. The only downside is that they may not be as good for more difficult and bumpier roads. You may have to step up to a higher-end Continental road bike tire for that.
- Great value for money
- Easy to install
- May not be as suitable for more challenging roads
WTB ThickSlick Comp Tire
The WTB ThickSlick road bike tires are made for people who value safe rides all-year-round. As the name says, they’re thick and slick and they can adapt to all road conditions, from wet roads to anything else that you may encounter on the road.
The manufacturer understands that urban conditions can sometimes be more hazardous and that your tires should be ready for everything. That’s why this model has superb puncture protection, which makes it impossible for glass, pins, staples, or anything similar to destroy your tire.
This model has twice as much rubber than most commercial road bike tires. First, this makes the tire very durable, which may save you a lot of money in the long run. Second, this guarantees a smooth ride, no matter the road conditions. All in all, these may be the best road bike tires for those who have to ride on challenging terrains.
There’s only one downside to these tires, and it’s their weight. Due to the double rubber layer, they’re heavier than most other road bike tires. This can be challenging in certain cases, such as riders who don’t have the power to ride on a heavier bike. However, heavier tires have benefits as well, added stability for one.
- Double rubber layer
- Excellent puncture protection
- Very durable
- Accommodates Smooth ride
- Heavier than most models
Vittoria Corsa Speed G2.0 Tubular Road Bicycle Tire
The Vittoria Corsa Speed G2.0 is the fastest bike tire ever tested! The winner of all time trials at the 2018 Tour de France and Giro d’Italia, it’s not hard to understand that it’s the No. 1 choice of many professional riders, especially for time trials.
The tire weighs only 200g, which makes it one of the lightest and thinnest race tires on the market. Actually, it’s the minimum weight needed to prevent flat tires and other unpleasant surprises. Everything’s designed to allow you to develop maximum speed without compromising safety and stability.
The tire is covered with the Graphene 2.0 compound for the best rolling resistance that allows you to push your speed. Moreover, it has exceptional wet weather grip that will enable you to participate in races irrespective of what the weather is like.
You can’t go wrong with the Vittoria Corsa, just as long as you don’t mind paying for them. However, if you’re a competitive cyclist, you may not have to look any further.
- Very fast
- Lightweight and flexible
- Minimum rolling resistance
- Not as suitable for beginners
Buyer’s Guide: What to Look for when Buying Road Bike Tires?
With so many options, it can be complicated to choose the best road bike tires. Everything depends on what’s vital for you: whether you want fast tires that guarantee high performance or something more durable and resistant. With that in mind, take a look at the five essential factors to consider when making a decision.
Size and Width
There are no universal guidelines for the size and width of road bike tires, as everything depends on your bike. Check and see whether it’s written on your bike. Usually you should be able to find this information on the edge of the wheel. Even better, you may be able to find that information written on your existing tires.
For road bikes, the most common sizes are 700 x 23mm and 700 x 25mm, where the first number refers to the diameter and the second number the width. The diameter is more important as it has to match the size of the wheel, or else it won’t fit your bike. On the other hand, you may be able to experiment with the width (within reason).
If you want lightweight tires that allow you to ride faster, you should opt for something narrower, i.e. 20 to 23mm. But bear in mind that they may not make for the most comfortable ride. If you want something more sturdy and durable, you should look at wider tires (25 to 28 mm) that are more suitable for long rides.
The pressure capacity depends on the size of the tire and also on the weight of the cyclist. If you take a closer look at the outer wall of the tire, you should see its maximum rated pressure.
For most road bikes, the maximum pressure is around 120 PSI. The most important rule to bear in mind: Narrow tires require higher pressure for stability. Also, lighter riders can look for tires rated at a lower maximum pressure capacity.
The tread pattern is one of the most important factors for road safety, and it’s measured in treads per inch (tpi). However, it can be very tricky to choose one that would work best for you. They can go anywhere from 60 tpi to 320 tpi, although 120 tpi is a golden mean you can’t go wrong with.
Lower tpi tires are usually lighter and more flexible. They give you a smooth ride as they conform to the surface of the road. In essence, they are tilted toward performance and speed. The only problem is that they aren’t as durable and you may have to replace them sooner than you planned to.
On the other hand, higher tpi tires are perfect for those who ride a lot and need a tire that won’t fail them.
Similar to tread patterns, the weight of the tire comes down to performance versus durability. Lighter tires are faster and smoother, but they’re not very durable as they can puncture more easily.
As you can see, light tires are great but you have to be prepared for more frequent replacement needs. If you don’t want to bother with changing your tires often, you might want to go with heavier tires. They may not look as fancy as the light ones, but they’re sturdy, safe, and resistant.
There’s a whole subcategory of puncture-resistant bike tires, and more and more cyclists have taken to them. They usually have an extra layer that prevents punctures and the quality of the material used can be reflected in the price.
The puncture protection belt is usually made of Kevlar or polyester. Some other factors to consider are the strength of the material, its TPI grade, and its tread pattern.
Of course, their price is usually somewhat higher, but you’re likely to save money and stress in the long run. Moreover, a lot of puncture-resistant bike tires come with a warranty, which is great if something goes wrong.
As you can see, all of the models above are exceptional, least of all because they come from known manufacturers that you can trust. Choosing the best road bike tires is a personal decision as it also depends on the level of your skill and the weather in your area.
However, if we had to choose an all-around model, that would be the Continental Grand Prix 5000. These road bike tires adapt to all types of road and allow you to ride smoothly regardless of the road condition. They’re very durable and once installed, you probably won’t have to worry about tires for a long time.