If you are looking for the best road bike tires that will enhance your performance, you probably have an idea of what you want. It needs to be super-fast, weigh nothing and offer protection from blow outs!
The problem is, the perfect road bike tire is yet to be invented, but the best road bike tires come pretty close. You can find many terrific options that excel in at least one or two of these qualities. Following are a few of our top picks suitable for the road cyclist with a need for speed.
But first, which features of the modern road bike tire are you most interested in? There are options that are more conducive to training, commuting and high-performance tires for racing and competitive events.
Key Features of the Best Road Bike Tires
Different Types of Road Bike Tires:
There are three important tire types that you should know about; these are the clincher, tubular and tubeless varieties.
- Clinchers – The regular type most of us are already familiar with are clinchers. These tires are generally a bit heavier than tubular tires, but much more user friendly. They are also less expensive. In this review we strictly review clinchers, but we want you to know there are other options available.
- Tubular Tires – have an inner tube sewn in and even glued into the tire that is then glued into a special rim type. While this is a lighter option than others, the process of changing and fixing these tires can be off-putting.
- Tubeless Tires – as the name implies, do not use an inner tube but hold air pressure with special sealing strips and liquids inside and out. These type of tires have become extremely popular for mountain bikes, but have not quite made it to the road biking scene.
Important Features in road bike tires:
Road Racers are always slimming things down, the logic being to reduce the even smallest weights and thereby decrease energy output.
Light tires are made with lighter casing and thinner rubber treads. The small advantage can be crucial in a triathlon or a road race, but they are likely unnecessary when training as the are more prone to punctures and blowouts.
- Puncture resistance
To stop sharp pointy objects from doing damage to the tire, manufacturers use tough Kevlar or Vectra to add support to the tires and keep them lightweight. An extra layer of resistant rubber will be added to certain lighter tires to increase durability.
- Rolling Resistance
Rolling resistance refers to the energy absorbed by the tires as they stretch and flex when they make contact with the road. As the rubber and casing in the tire flex and un-flex, some of the energy is being absorbed and turned into heat —the lower the rolling resistance the higher the energy efficiency of the ride.
A wider tire can be used with less air pressure, making the ride smoother and also improving grip. This is good for commuters and casual training. The typical road tire is 23mm wide, but the standard has been changing to a 25mm variety. There is a small weight addition, but the most noticeable difference will be the way the bike feels when riding and the improved speed they allow.
The best grip is derived from the addition of carbon black into the rubber during manufacturing, which makes the best gripping tires black. These tires can offer the most grips on slick wet surfaces. Modern advances in tire manufacturing have produced colorful tires that use silica as a gripping agent. If you want pink or green tires, be sure they contain silica.
Best Road Bike Tires Review
For the serious professional looking for high-performance output and great mileage, the Gatorskin Duraskin Tires from Continental offer a great deal. The top-quality polyamide fabric greatly reduces rolling resistance and offers effective puncture protection.
Innovative design features smooth centers and firm grips on the shoulders for precision steering on those tight corners. Improved grip makes this tire option ideal for slippery or uncertain terrain. Cycling enthusiasts can expect a longer life expectancy from a specially designed wear-optimized tread compound that just won’t quit — like the serious cyclist.
With improved grip and long-lasting durability, the Gatorskin Duraskin is one of the best road bike tires for all kinds of purposes. Semi-Pro and Professional riders will love the precision steering and reduced rolling resistance. Commuters will find the durability and puncture protection especially applicable to their needs.
The Rubino Pro III tires from Vittoria are the latest edition from the extensive Rubino Tire family. The Pro III has been designed for increased performance and comfort on the road. The type seen here are folding tires, meaning they use a lighter material to form the bead. Kevlar can be difficult to install but provides many advantages on the road.
The Kevlar 3D tread compound offers increased control on slick or wet ground making this a good choice if your route cuts through hard-packed trails or gravel roads. Count on the advanced PBR puncture protection to keep you safe from blowouts while on the rough road.
In the end this is a great choice for any cyclist. The effective Prism Vector Tread also provides a technical advantage to tight cornering and control.
This conventional clincher-style road tire provides durable support and quality performance to a great many cycling styles and skill levels. The Schwalbe Lugano Tires feature an innovative tread compound that reduces the roll resistance and can significantly improve riding performance.
But the true value of the Lugano Clincher tires is the specialized puncture protection and control efficiency from quality material and design. The highly-developed Lugano tires have a puncture protection layer made of high-density nylon, preventing the vast majority of debris from causing a blowout while riding.
This protective layer is not an additional feature but built into the fabric of the tire, so you won’t experience any loss to performance. These tires also offer improved safety from wide lateral bands that create an especially effective grip on slippery road ways.
For training and racing purposes the Schwalbe Lugano’s have proven their worth. Those looking for the best road bike tires for competition or training will find the durability and energy efficiency of the Lugano Tires by Schwalbe perfect for their needs.
Long miles of hard and heavy pedaling require a tire every bit as tough and enduring as the rider who will use it. For this reason, Michelin, the reputable manufacturer of tires for all automotive needs, has designed the perfect road bike tire and called it the Pro4 Endurance.
Pro 4 Endurance tires are designed for the demanding cyclist out to enhance performance. The cutting-edge Bead2Bead breaker ply technology provides seamless support from punctures and blowouts throughout the entire tire.
But, a top performance tire is not only about puncture protection; this tire is very lightweight and offers minimal rolling resistance despite hefty protective features. A dual-compound tread ensures precision control on different terrain types.
This bike tire option from Michelin is designed for the serious pro looking to stack on miles with no flats. In the end, you couldn’t go wrong with the Michelin Pro4 Endurance Tires.
The Kenda Kaliente offers the determined road racer the last word in puncture protection. High-quality materials and experienced design makes the Kenda Kaliente option especially attractive to the road racer navigating unfamiliar terrain.
Kenda’s patented Iron Cloak Protection greatly enhances durability and improves performance. This Iron Cloak Aramid protective layer runs below the surface of the tread with improved Bead2Bead technology. This also improves the structural integrity of the sidewalls which reduces the amount of energy lost on rolling resistance.
Kenda Kaliente’s Road Racing Bike Tires features the typical clincher design which is a big advantage in repairs and maintenance. Constructed of a specially formulated L3R Pro Racing Compound, these racing tires are lightweight and offer improved tread life while further reducing rolling resistance.
These are also the lightest clinchers produced by Kenda and arguably the lightest you will find at such high quality. For the aspiring long-distance trainer looking to build speed and performance with as little hassle as possible, the Kenda Kaliente’s are the best road bike tires you can find. Commuters cycling through the urban scene will enjoy the incredible durability and low-maintenance that these tires provide; truly the best option all around.
Best Road Bike Tires Review
|PICTURE||NAME ROAD BIKE TIRES||PRICE RANGE||RATING (1-5)|
|Continental Gatorskin Duraskin Tire||$30-$85||4.5|
|Vittoria Rubino Pro III Folding Tire||$25-$50||4.4|
|Schwalbe Lugano Clincher Road Bicycle Tire||$15-$35||4.3|
|Michelin Pro4 Endurance Tires||$28-$65||4.3|
|Kenda Kaliente Road Racing Bike Tire||$37||4.3|