The 5 Best Road Bike Tires [2020 Reviews]

One of the major things that has changed overtime with bikes is the tires available for them. You really want the best road bike tires if you are using your bike on the road. Even road tires for bikes vary a lot though.

Fortunately, whether you are on the search for the best road bike tires for commuting, the best road bike tires for training, or simply the best road bike tires for the money, we have you covered with our picks for the top 5 best road bike tires below!

Don’t forget to also read our guide on How to Choose the Right Road Bike Tires to find out what features you specially want to consider for your own personal needs.

Best Road Bike Tires

 Continental Grand Prix 5000 Performance Bike TireContinental GatorSkin DuraSkin Clincher Bike TiresSCHWALBE Marathon Winter HS 396 Studded Road Bike Tire
editors choice

StyleClincherClincherClincher
Available Sizes700×23, 700×25, 700×28, 700×32700×23, 700×25, 700×28, 700×32700×35
Weight205-295 grams based on size choice205-295 grams based on size choice870g
Customer Ratings4.6 / 5.0 Stars4.6 / 5.0 Stars4.7 / 5.0 Stars

Also see: Road Bike Tires Comparison Table


Quick Answer: The 5 Best-Rated Road Bike Tires

  1. Continental Grand Prix 5000 Performance Bike Tire
  2. Continental GatorSkin DuraSkin Clincher Bike Tires
  3. SCHWALBE Marathon Winter HS 396 Studded Road Bike Tire
  4. Bike A Mile Continental GatorSkin Bike Tires
  5. SCHWALBE Marathon Plus HS 348 Road Bike Tire

Road Bike Tires Reviews

Continental Grand Prix 5000 Performance Bike Tire At A Glance:

  • Style: clincher
  • Also available in tubeless style
  • Available sizes: 700×23, 700×25, 700×28, 700×32
  • Weight: 205-295 grams based on size choice
  • TPI: 110
  • PSI of 85-120 based on size choice
  • Vectran breaker
  • Lazer grip
  • Active comfort technology
  • BlackChili tread compound
  • 2-pack
Our number one pick for the best road bike tire is the Continental Grand Prix 5000 Performance Bike Tire. These tires have an innovative design and specialized features that really put them a step above the competition. These are clincher style tires as you’ll see in our other picks.

road bike tire Grand Prix 5000

Clincher tires are the most popular type of road bike tire due to how easy they are to mount as well as patch if a puncture occurs. Of course, if you do prefer, these tires are available in a tubeless option.

The tubeless tires may be a better option if you are serious about racing. They cost more and are a lot more difficult to put on your bike, but they do have some helpful advantages like lighter weight and reduced rolling resistance.

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Plus, even though they are more difficult to fix if they do get a puncture, they are much less likely to get one in the first place. These are mid-priced tires with a really high-quality design.

Continental utilizes their special BlackChili tread compound for the rubber of these tires. It is a unique blend only made in Germany that balances grip and rolling resistance perfectly.

Another unique feature of the Continental Grand Prix 5000 Performance tires is the Lazer Grip. This is a special Continental feature where micro profile structure is lasered into the shoulders of the tires in small even sections. This helps to keep your tires as one with the road underneath you and greatly improves cornering.

road bike tires Grand Prix 5000

Really increasing the value of these tires, though, is the Vectran breaker inside of them. Vectran is a special high-tech fibre that is very similar to the silk of a spider.

It is created to be very thin and lightweight, yet highly resistant to tearing and puncturing. It greatly reduces the chance of puncture without negatively impacting the rolling resistance of the tires.

These tires have a TPI of 110 with 3 plies meaning that they are very lightweight and flexible with high-quality construction.

Active Comfort technology helps absorb vibrations and make for a smooth and comfortable ride. These tires are available in 4 different sizes and come in at about mid-price among our top picks. They are versatile and high-quality tires great for a variety of users.


Continental GatorSkin DuraSkin Clincher Bike Tires At A Glance:

  • Style: clincher
  • Available sizes: 700×23, 700×25, 700×28, 700×32
  • Weight: 205-295 grams based on size choice
  • TPI: 60
  • PSI of 85-120 based on size choice
  • PolyX breaker
  • DuraSkin sidewall protection
  • 2-pack
Our second pick is another excellent option from Continental. These are the GatorSkin DuraSkin Tires. They are more clincher tires and are available in the same 4 sizes as the Continental Grand Prix 5000. They also weigh the same as the Grand Prix 5000 tires. Although, they have considerably lower TPI of 60 – still with 3 plies.

continental gator skin road bike tires

This means they aren’t quite as supple and high-quality as the Grand Prix 5000 tires, but the lower TPI does increase puncture resistance. Instead of the Vectran Breaker, these tires feature PolyX Breaker. This is a simpler form of puncture protection.

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It isn’t quite as effective as the Vectran Breaker, but is still a high-quality choice that makes a big difference in puncture resistance. It is a tightly woven polyester fabric with a very high fabric density.

One of the best parts of the Continental GatorSkin tires is the DuraSkin sidewalls. These specially designed sidewalls are made for high endurance and longevity.

Thanks to the top-notch polyamide fabric, the casing of these tires is protected against the harshest conditions. Like the other Continental tires on our list, these come in a 2-pack. These GatorSkin tires are actually also the most affordable pick on our list of recommendations!


SCHWALBE Marathon Winter HS 396 Studded Road Bike Tire At A Glance:

  • Style: clincher
  • 700×35
  • Weight: 870g
  • TPI: 50
  • PSI of 35-85
  • Built-in studs
  • Kevlar-reinforced puncture protection
This next incredible set of road bike tries comes from SCHWALBE! These are their Marathon Winter HS 396 Studded Tires and are without a doubt the best road bike tires for snow and really just the best road bike tires for winter overall.

Like our other picks, these are clincher tires. This is important in ensuring that the tires are easy to fix in the case of possible punctures.

best winter road bike tires

Of course, the chance of puncture is reduced in these road bike tires thanks to Kevlar-reinforced puncture protection along the inside of the tires.

There are a few things that make these tires the best winter road bike tires. First off, they are wide with a size of 700×35. This increases the contact patch and creates easier traction for the tires.

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The lower PSI range of 35 to 85 also helps as a lower PSI means more of a contact patch. The features that give these tires their wide contact patch actually even scores them the title of the best road bike tires for rain as it helps reduce possible slipping.

The major thing about these tires that really makes them the best option for bad wintery conditions, though, is the built-in studs.

These little metal studs are found in even intervals all around the tire on each side of the contact patch. They give incredible traction on ice and snow because they help pull the tires forward.

Of course, in clear conditions or even just rainy conditions, these studs can be quite noisy. Other than the noise, though, they aren’t a problem for clearer conditions.

This is nice because if you’re experiencing a very snowy and icy season but get a clear day here and there, you don’t have to change your tires out for those days.

These have a lower TPI of 50 with 3 plies. While that means they are definitely heavier, it also means they are better protected against punctures.

Puncture resistance is particularly desirable in a winter tire as it means you are less likely to be caught in freezing conditions on the side of the road trying to repair your tire.

It is important to note these are relatively pricey and one of the most expensive choices on our list. They definitely are worth the cost for those living in climates where wintery conditions are regularly expected.


Bike A Mile Continental GatorSkin Bike Tires At A Glance:

  • Style: clincher
  • Available sizes: 700×23, 700×25, 700×28, 700×32
  • Weight: 205-295 grams based on size choice
  • TPI: 60
  • PSI of 85-120 based on size choice
  • PolyX breaker
  • DuraSkin sidewall protection
  • Included Inner Tube Presta Valve Set
  • Included reflective safety armband
  • 2-pack
This is another set of the incredible Continental GatorSkin Road Bike Tires! These tires are actually sold by Bike A Mile, however, and offered in a special package deal that really increases the value of your purchase.

In addition to the 2 Continental GatorSkin tires, you also get 2 Presta Valve Conti-Tube inner tubes also from Continental.

continental gator skin road bike tires 2

These inner tubes are a perfect addition to your tire purchase as it is always a good idea to replace the inner tubes if your tires need replacing. You will choose your tire size between the 4 available sizes ranging from 700×23 to 700×32.

Then you will also choose your tube size between 42mm tubes and 60mm tubes. This allows you to get the perfect set best fit to your needs.

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Remember these are really incredible tires from Continental with PolyX Breaker puncture protection made from tightly woven high-quality polyester that does not reduce your rolling resistance.

They also feature DuraSkin sidewall protection that really goes a long way to increase the durability and longevity of your tires.

On top of the tires and inner tubes, you also get a bonus gift! Your set includes a reflective, glow-in-the dark armband for increased visibility and safety in the dark or other conditions of low visibility.

The cost of this entire set is about the same as the SCHWALBE Marathon Winter tires. So, this is a more expensive purchase than a lot of our picks, but it also has a huge value since it comes with the inner tubes and even a small bonus gift for you.


SCHWALBE Marathon Plus HS 348 Road Bike Tire At A Glance:

  • Style: clincher
  • Available sizes: 700×25, 700×28, 700×32, 700×35
  • Weight: 595-900 grams based on size choice
  • TPI: 67
  • PSI of 55-115 based on size choice
  • Reflective sidewalls
  • SmartGuard layer
Our final top pick for road bike tires is this tire from SCHWALBE. This is their Marathon Plus HS 348 Road Bike Tire. It is a clincher tire with a TPI of 67 with 3 plies.

So, it isn’t the lowest or highest TPI on the list giving it some more versatility with good puncture protection and nice quality.

The sizes available for this tire are a little larger than most ranging from 700×25 all the way up to 700×35. Reflective sidewalls make these tires easier to see in low-visibility conditions.

Schwalbe-Marathon-700x25-Allround-Beaded 2

These are more clincher tires meaning that they are very easy to repair if punctures do occur. A puncture isn’t really a huge concern for users of these SCHWALBE Marathon Plus tires, though.

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Not only do they have good puncture resistance thanks to a medium TPI, but they also feature what SCHWALBE calls a SmartGuard layer!

This is a special protective layer that is 5mm thick and is positioned right at the center of the tread of the tire. This means it protects well against anything on the road that may threaten the tire.

The layer is very lightweight and doesn’t negatively affect your rolling resistance. The drawback with these tires is that they are the most expensive of all of our top picks.

They are sold individually rather than in a pair, but when you purchase a pair, they come in at a significantly higher price than the other tires on our list.


Best Road Bike Tires Comparison Table

  PriceStyleAvailable SizesWeightCustomer Ratings
Continental Grand Prix 5000 Performance Bike TireClincher700×23, 700×25, 700×28, 700×32205-295 grams based on size choice4.6 / 5.0 Stars
Continental GatorSkin DuraSkin Clincher Bike Tires$67.00Clincher700×23, 700×25, 700×28, 700×32205-295 grams based on size choice4.6 / 5.0 Stars
SCHWALBE Marathon Winter HS 396 Studded Road Bike Tire
$74.61Clincher700×35
870g4.7 / 5.0 Stars
Bike A Mile Continental GatorSkin Bike Tires$86.99Clincher 700×23, 700×25, 700×28, 700×32205-295 grams based on size choice4.6 / 5.0 Stars
SCHWALBE Marathon Plus HS 348 Road Bike Tire$51.60Clincher700×25, 700×28, 700×32, 700×35595-900 grams based on size choice4.3 / 5.0 Stars

How to Choose the Right Road Bike Tires

The bike is an incredibly versatile invention dating all the way back to the early 19th century. The ways that bikes have been improved upon and modified since then are countless and the bike is now an excellent mode of transportation, an effective full body workout, and a thrilling piece of sporting equipment.

best road bike tires guide

When it comes to road bikes, the tires you choose for your bike are vital to your riding experience. Road bike tires vary in so many ways and each individual feature and specification of the tires has an impact on how the bike rides.

Which road bike tires are best for you is highly dependent on multiple factors including why you’re riding, where you’re riding, and your personal preferences for riding. Below, we have outlined the individual considerations you should be making when choosing a pair of road bike tires.

By taking your time to choose the best road bike tires for your specific situation, you are much more likely to have a positive riding experience with tires that are beneficial to you and your personal goals.

Style

There are a few different styles of road bike tires. The style mostly refers to the basic construction of the tire and how the tire actually goes onto the rim of the bike.

By far, the most popular style of road bike tires is clincher tires. Clincher tires feature wire beading along each side and they hook onto the rim with a completely separate inner tube up inside the tire.

They are easy to install and easy to repair. They are also the most affordable tires and are very versatile. Other tire types include tubular and tubeless. Tubular tires feature a tire and innertube that is sewn together into one piece. This means that you must use a special adhesive glue or tape to attach the tire to the rim of the bike.

It is more difficult and time consuming to install these tires. It also is much more difficult to repair since the innertube is one with the tire.

They are lighter weight, however, which can be preferable when riding fast is a high priority such as in serious racing. Tubeless tires are designed so that the tire sits so snugly against the rim that it requires no inner tube.

Typically a sealant is also used with these tires to ensure no leaks. These are nice because they are lightweight and contain fewer components. However, due to the high cost and being much more difficult to install properly, these are not very popular options.

Size

The size of tires is very important. For these tires, the size is measured by diameter and by width. You will see numbers like 700×23 when you look at road bike tire size.

The first number, 700, refers to the diameter in millimeters of the tire when mounted and inflated. This is pretty standard with road bikes, so you will consistently see 700 as the first number in the tire size.

The second number, 23, refers to the width in millimeters of the tire when mounted and inflated. This width changes among different tires and has a major impact on the way your bike rides.

Smaller widths create smaller contact patches. This means less grip, which may reduce your control. However, it also means a smaller contact patch which reduces your rolling resistance and allows for faster speeds.

Larger widths like 35mm are excellent for creating good traction and allowing you to safely ride in worse conditions, but aren’t very good for going super fast.

You just need to think about what your main goals are for riding and what kinds of conditions you will be riding in when choosing what size of road bike tires is best for you.

Weight

Tire weight is affected by multiple factors like the materials being used to make the tires, the size of tires in terms of diameter and width, and special features like additional puncture protection or even built-in studs.

All of these things determine if a tire weighs more or less. Heavier tires obviously slow you down a bit, but they can have other various benefits like wider contact patches, more durable materials, and even special features.

So, the weight you want in your tires also ultimately comes down to balancing your specific desires in terms of what is most important to you. If speed is your top priority, you need a lighter tire.

If you want a wider balance of features, you can sacrifice some speed for those things and end up with a heavier tire or something in-between.

Threads Per Inch (TPI)

The threads per inch, commonly referred to as TPI, of tires is simply the number of threads that are combined within a one-square-inch area of the tire. This has a huge effect on the tire in terms of weight, flexibility, durability, and rolling resistance.

The higher the TPI, the more supple and flexible the tire is. Higher TPI also means that the tire is more lightweight and has less rolling resistance. Of course, a lower TPI is generally more durable as it is stronger and has a better chance up against possible road hazards reducing the chance of puncture or other damage.

Recommended PSI

The PSI of a tire refers to the pressure of tires by measuring pounds per square inch. Each tire has a recommended range of PSI that the tire should be inflated to. Tires with higher PSI ranges are generally smaller. They require higher pressure to be ridden on.

Higher pressure reduces rolling resistance but tends to create less traction. Looking at PSI ranges and considering your specific riding conditions will help you determine if higher or lower PSI is best for you.

Puncture Protection

Many road bike tires have specific features for puncture protection. This varies a lot amongst different brands and models of tires. Many feature a special layer of material to provide room between the outside of the tire and the inner tube.

This would mean, as long as an object is small enough, that it can puncture the outside of the tire without making it to the innertube preventing any actual problems.

Each brand has their own versions of additional puncture protection, so it is a great idea to compare your options when shopping for the best road bike tires.

Tread Compound

Each tire is made with a special compound of rubber and other materials to create a balance between things like grip, rolling resistance, weight, and more. It is hard to say what exactly you should choose in terms of tread compound because brands keep their compounds secret.

Basically, they make it hard to compare without actually riding on the tires yourself. A great way to figure out what tread compound is right for you is by reading reviews such as ours in the list above.

Built-In Studs

Here is a much less common feature that you can find in certain road bike tires. When tires are made specifically for inclement weather like ice and snow. The studs act similarly to tire chains and give a strong and sturdy traction to the tires through ice and/or snow.

SCHWALBE-Marathon-Winter-Studded-Allround 3

These do add weight and slow tires down, but are well-worth the trade-off if you are regularly riding in wintery weather.

Reflective Sidewalls

Since road bikes are often on the road with other vehicles, visibility is very important. There are many precautions that riders can take for safety in terms of visibility. One of those is to get tires with reflective sidewalls.

This makes the bike much more obvious and visible to others on the road. They aren’t necessary but can be very helpful. Regardless, it is a good idea to take additional precautions to ensure that you and your bike are visible to nearby vehicles.

FAQs

Q: How often should I replace my road bike tires?

The frequency that tires need to be replaced on road bikes varies way too much to give a generalized answer. The best way to tell when your tires need to be replaced is to simply look at them. You can see when they start to look really worn.

If your tires have cuts or gashes in the tread and sidewall or if you are having to do innertube repairs regularly, then it is probably time to replace them. You can also keep your eye out for a flattened middle section of tread and/or squared edges of your tires. Some tires even feature indicators that wear off when it’s time to replace the tires.

Q: Can I ride on winter tires on clear roads?

Yes, winter tires are okay to use even on clear roads. They are slower and can be noisy when they aren’t going through snow and ice, but they won’t hurt anything. If you only need winter tires occasionally, you can choose to simply switch to your winter tires when they are necessary. If you are riding in primarily ice and/or snow, then you can just keep the winter tires in use even on clear days.

Buyer’s Tips for Road Bike Tires

Choosing the right road bike tires is so important to ensure you get the best possible riding experience. With so many varying features to consider, it may be difficult to find the tires that are just right for you. We hope you have found our guide useful for choosing your road bike tires.

Keep in mind that style and size are the most important things closely followed by details like TPI. We feel quite confident that if you look through the reviews on our top 5 list above that you will find a great pair of road bike tires perfect for your needs.

Once you are ready to make your purchase, make sure you choose a great retailer. Choosing somewhere with excellent customer service and competitive pricing can really improve your overall experience and increase the value of your purchase.

Amazon is one of our favorites, of course, because of these reasons and more. Regardless, just make sure you choose a reputable retailer to buy your tires from. We hope your new tires will really enhance your riding experience!

Notice:

OutsidePursuits.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program. OutsidePursuits.com earns fees from products sold through qualifying purchases by linking to Amazon.com. Amazon offers a commission on products sold through their affiliate links.

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