In this article, you will learn what to check when buying a new set of road bike tyres to get the best performance.
One of the most important ways of maximising your biking experience is to upgrade your road bike tyres. A quality tyre can significantly decrease the number of punctures you pick on the road, increase your grip, and reduce your rolling resistance.
Choosing the best road bike tyres requires knowing the most important characteristics. You can choose from a wide range of options on the market with features such as improved grip, low weight, puncture protection, and low rolling resistance.
Most of the time, you can’t have all these elements in a single brand, except in some rare cases. The majority of tyres with low weight and low rolling resistance have low puncture resistance, while the more puncture resistant tyres tend to be heavier and deliver a comfortable ride.
Wider tyres provide improved grip in the corners and lower rolling resistance but are slower and slightly heavier in acceleration.
Experienced cyclists know the importance of changing tyres with for the season. In winter, they go for tyres with better grip and puncture protection, while they prefer lower resistance in warmer months.
Here is a review of our top winter and summer road bike tyre options, as well as features to watch out for when shopping for new road bike tyres.
The Fastest Road Bike Tyres to Ride in Summer
The Fastest Road Bike Tyres to Ride in Summer
Continental GP4000 S II road bike tyres
The GP4000S II is one of the most popular race tyres that delivers spectacular rolling resistance and puncture protection that ensures you can ride safely on perilous UK roads. It also provides excellent aerodynamics when used on a wider rim.
Panaracer Race A Evo 3 road bike tyres
This tyre offers sufficient puncture protection and a fast ride due to its low rolling resistance.
Hutchinson Fusion 3 Kevlar ProTech road bike tyres
The Fusion 3 is a light tyre that offers excellent grip and enough barrier against sharp objects. It provides high performance and durability, though the price tag is on the luxury side of things.
Michelin Pro4 ENDURANCE V2 road bike tyres
If you are looking for a road bike tyre that offers adequate puncture resistance, speed, and endurance, these Michelin tyres are your best choice. The grip is also excellent.
Bontrager R4 320 road bike tyres
Here is one of the fastest tyres on this list. It offers excellent rolling and corners perfectly. But despite the price tag, they don’t last long.
Vredestein Fortezza Senso All Weather Clincher road bike tyres
The Fortezza Senso offers excellent performance in wet weather conditions, provides adequate puncture resistance, as well as improved grip, ride quality, and speed.
Challenge Elite Open road bike tyres
These are agile tyres but are low on puncture protection due to their fragile build. But it can take you far enough to get a repair if you suffer a flat as it fits snugly on the rim.
Michelin Power Competition road bike tyres
An excellent substitute for the Michelin Pro4 Service Course, they are puncture resistant. However, they might not be the best tyres in wet riding conditions.
Vittoria Open Corsa G+ road bike tyres
One of the best racing tyres on this list. The tyre contains Graphene, provides excellent puncture protection and is super-fast.
Puncture Resistant Road Bike Tyres for Winter
Hutchinson Intensive 2 road bike tyre
The Intensive 2 features a durable bead that makes fitting them on the rim extra hard. The tyre's reinforced hard skin reduces the grip and may cause slippage during climbs.
Continental GP 4 Season road bike tyre
These tyres provide increased durability and versatility as they offer excellent puncture protection, and improved grip in the wet, even on slippery roads. The only downside is the hefty price tag.
Schwalbe Durano road bike tyre
These tyres from Schwalbe provide excellent riding experience. The RaceGuard protection belt makes it a bit harder to ride, but it still delivers adequate puncture resistance and improved grip. Also, they are long-lasting.
Types of road bike tyre
The three types of road bike tyres on the market include the tubular, tubeless, and clinchers. Each has its merits and demerits.
Tubular road bike tyres
Tubular tyres come with an inner tube sewn into the tyre, which is then attached to the wheel with a rim tape or glue. Most racers prefer this tyre due to its lower weight and rolling resistance, but it can be a nightmare when you puncture.
Tubeless road bike tyres
Unlike tubular tyres, tubeless tyres hold the tyre's pressure by fitting firmly to the rim. A sealant is used to fill the tyre to plug any cut or holes in the rubber. Tubeless tyres provide excellent puncture protection, but it can be hard to fit it to the rim.
Clincher Road Bike Tyres
Clinchers are the preferred choice for most road riders. Clincher road bike tyres sport a bead on the tyre's exterior that fits under a lip on the rim and a separate inner tube. The critical feature of this tyre is the ease of changing the inner tube when it is punctured.
Rolling Resistance and Puncture Protection in Road Bike Tyres
The three important features to look out for in road bike tyres are puncture protection, rolling ability, and grip levels. The reality is that you can’t have the three at the same levels in a tyre as an increase in one requires decreasing others.
To increase puncture protection, road bike tyre makers need to add an extra layer which protects the tube from foreign objects. The toughness of these layers increases the weight and build of the tyre.
Your job is to identify the most important feature you need in a road bike tyre. If you will be riding on perilous roads, especially in winter months- puncture protection is key, but if you would be racing on a closed circuit, grip and rolling resistance are important features.
Road Bike Tyre Width
25mm tyres are popular among road riders as they corner well and offer lower rolling resistance. However, narrower tyres provide less riding comfort but offer lower rolling resistance and faster riding during the summer.
Wider tyres offer more comfort, grip, and puncture protection but are heavier. They are ideal for winter cycling.
Swapping road bike tyres for the season
During the summer when the weather is good, and the roads are clean, you want a fast racing tyre. However, racing tyres are thin to reduce weight which also reduces puncture protection.
Winter brings bad weather and treacherous road conditions. Larger tyres increase grip and comfort, and provide adequate puncture protection, though less speed.
Choosing terrain-specific road bike tyres
Choose tyres suitable for your road condition. If you are a town commuter, you are likelier to encounter broken glass, and road debris-you need sturdy tyres with adequate puncture protection and longevity.
Price of Road bike Tyres
The price of road bike tyres depends on the manufacturing technology, weight, and quality. Cheap tyres often lack puncture protection, grip, and feature a heavier steal bead which makes fitting and removing from the rim a big hassle. It’s better to go for high-quality tyres that offer adequate protection, grip, and longevity. The price will be worth it in the long run.
Tyre Wear and Tear
Watch out for changes in your tread as it can help prevent punctures and increase the longevity of your tyres. It’s important to clean your bike regularly and inspect them before riding as this can help you find flints or broken glass that haven’t completely penetrated the rubber.
Some tyres feature wear markers that disappear gradually as the tyre wears. You should consider getting new tyres if yours don’t have wear markers.
No matter the number of precautions you take, you will get a puncture at one point. Always have with you a set of tyre levers, two tubes, puncture repair kit, a mini pump, as well as a business card in case you suffer a complete blowout. That way, you can manage emergencies as they come.
By the Vogue Cycling Team