There comes a time for every cyclist that they need to replace their road bike tires. In many cases the tires have become worn out, however, in other cases, the tires have been cut, ripped, or shredded due to running over some road debris. Either way, it’s time to get a new set of road tires, the question is which ones? It can be quite difficult to find the best road bike tires considering most people purchase their bike with wheels and tires already included. I, for example, was a bit unsure where to start when I needed a new set of tires. However, with plenty of research and many years of trying different makes, models, and sizes we compiled the best road bike tires in this article.
Best Road Bike Tires –
Continental Gator Skin – Best Road Bike Tires
Number in Pack – 2
Sizes – 700 x 23-32mm
- Extremely Durable
- Highly Rated By Bike Shops
- Superior Puncture Protection
For more than 100 years Continental has been making the best road bike tires. It’s actually the only German company to manufacture its tires in Germany. However, bike tires aren’t the only thing they manufacture, comprised of five different divisions. Continental manufactures tires for cars, trucks, motorcycles, and numerous other products. Nonetheless, their advancements and technology have allowed them to become the best tire manufacturers in the road bike industry. Hence, why the Continental Gator Skin is our number one pick for finding the best road bike tires.
When it comes to road biking the road conditions are ever changing. Therefore, finding a tire that can withstand, potholes, cracks, debris, and offer puncture resistance is going to be a leader in bike tires. This is why the Gator Skin tires from Continental is the number one pick as a leader in puncture protection and resistance. This is only possible due to the PolyX Breaker puncture protection insert technology.
The PolyX Breaker is puncture-defense that is mended from Continental’s car experience. Polyester has been used successfully in vehicle tires for years, and the extremely resistant polyester fiber is woven as crosswire in the tire. As a result, the layer of PolyX Breaker helps to protect against punctures while not causing any resistance to rolling friction.
The second feature that helps prevent any punctures is Duraskin sidewall protection. This allows tires to roll with punctures, this technology can be used under the harshest conditions. Therefore, when you are cycling and you hit a curb, or a pothole the side wall is protected with high-quality polyamide fabric. This helps to protect the tire casing against any type of condition. Overall, with a tire like this, it makes for the best road bike tires when riding any type of road.
The Gator Skin from Continental is best suited for GrandTouring and Touring. It’s not recommended for road racing, however, I wouldn’t let that hold you back. The reason it’s less used for racing as Continental makes better tires that are lightweight and speed tested. However, when looking for a road bike tire that can withstand all conditions and last for numerous seasons, there is no better choice than the Gator Skin.
The tire has an animal like print on it, which gives it the Gator Skin name. However, it’s not just for looks but the tread helps to stay connected to the road in wet, dry, or cold conditions. As a result, the Continental tires is one of the best road bike tires you can find on the market.
Vittoria Rubino Pro – Best Road Bike Tires
Number in Pack – 2
Sizes – 650-700 cm
- Thicker Thread and Casing
- Multiple Side Wall Colors
- Three-layer rubber compounds
With nearly 70 years of experience Vittoria Industries, as one of the leading bike tire manufactures in the industry. Vittoria has produced over 7 million tires since it’s inception. Creating some of the best road bike tires and racing tires available. With production facilities in Thailand, and global sales offices around the world Vittoria is one of the best tire manufacturers. Vittoria even has a few other cycling brands under their umbrella that create a huge impact for cyclists and triathletes. Companies such as 3T and Selle Italia to name a few that are major players in cycling.
The Vittoria Rubino Pro G+ is the best road bike tires available from Vittoria. The tire was designed for training, riding, racing, and any condition you could toss at it. The Rubino Pro is a favorable tire for training and racing as it’s built with long service life, and puncture protection.
Vittoria has fitted and designed the Rubino Pro with an exclusive 3C compound that features their Graphene compound technology. Graphene is a material that derives from carbon and graphite, that is unique to Vittoria. Prior to the discovery of the material, one would have to choose between speed, grip, durability, and puncture protection. However, with Graphene, it allows for a natural barrier of rubber to be removed, and one doesn’t have to compromise between speed, grip, or puncture resistance. Graphene is a very unique material the structure is extremely thin, and one gram can cover 2.630 square meters of a surface. It’s actually 200 times stronger than steel and 6 times more flexible.
Thankfully, Vittoria was at the forefront of using the material as they discovered out how to integrate the material with rubber. As a result, Vittoria tires have a natural barrier of rubber that can be removed and replaced with the strength and benefits of Graphene.
Primarily the Vittoria Rubino Pro was designed to be an everyday road bike tire. If you’re planning a tour through the mountains or countryside. The tire was desired to have enough miles and durability to last the ride. However, with the legacy and technology of Vittori, many people have adopted this as a road cycling racing tire as well. Overall the tire is capable of anything you can throw at it.
I personally have used these as my tire for road training and the tire has done exceptionally well. The wear down is minimal after one season, and the tire has never failed even when going through tough conditions.
Continental Grand Prix 4000s II – Best Road Bike Tires
Number in Pack – 2
Sizes – 700 x 23-28C
- Best All-Around Tire
- Excellent Puncture Protection
- Superior Grip
It’s no surprise when you have a tire manufacturer like Continental, you’re going to have more than one tire that is best for road bikes. Continental has done a great job at listening to their consumers and never stopping when it comes to development. Therefore, they have created the Grand Prix 4000 S II, yes it’s a mouth full and sounds like a race car. However, that’s exactly what it is, a superior tire for racing and touring while still offering excellent puncture resistance.
The Grand Prix is the best tire if you are not looking to compromise, with comfort, low rolling resistance, and puncture protection it’s the best road bike tires for all cycling types. If you plan on doing a couple races, but still mostly ride as a group, then this tire is perfect for that.
First off the puncture resistance is far superior to other models thanks to Vectran. Vectran is a synthetically manufactures fiber, which has an enormous tear resistance at a very low weight. Hence, why this is still a very good race tire even though it offers puncture resistance. Essentially Vectran is a better compound than nylon breaker as it protects against cuts, while not adversely affecting rolling resistance.
The second feature that’s offered in the Grand Prix is the Black Chili Compound. When tires are designed and built they have a focus around three components; grip, longevity, and rolling resistance. Typically, if you choose to improve on one area you decrease the advantages on another. However, Continental has designed their Black Chili Compound that allows for little compromise to these three properties. As a result, you get a tire that offers superiority for speed, grip, and mileage.
When it comes to finding the best road bike tires, you’ll want a tire that can last and be ridden anywhere. Well, the Grand Prix is a tire numerous bike shops have recommended to me over the years for racing and riding. As soon as I put a set on my bike and road, I knew I wanted another set on my triathlon bike. The Grand Prix is a tire that can be ridden in any condition and environment, however, it does an exceptional job when racing. Hed wheels actually recommend this tire to match with their wheelsets.
When you can find a tire that not only is lightweight but puncture resistant as well. You have to give these a shot because it’s hard to find a tire that can stand up to that type of status.
Bonus Section – Best Road Bike Tires For Trainers –
Vittoria Zaffiro Pro Home Trainer – Best Road Bike Tires
Number in Pack – 1
Sizes – Multiple
- Noise Reducing Technology
- Heat Dispersion
- Perfect For Long Trainer Rides
For any road bike season, it usually can come to an end. However, for many in states where winter riding isn’t an option outside the trainer becomes your best friend. Trainers provide cyclists the opportunity to continue training and riding stationary. However, a trainer can cause quite a bit of damage to a road bike tire due to the increased friction. Plus trainers can be quite loud, therefore, many tire manufacturers such as Vittoria have been able to create some of the best road bike tires for trainers.
The Vittoria Zaffrino Pro tires feature some of the best features for trainer rides. First off the tire is designed specifically to perform on a trainer better than any ordinary road bike tire. The thread is designed with one of the strongest casings so it has a very long trainer life. This also helps to reduce the noise that is generated by the trainer contact with the tire. If you have ever road on a trainer for long periods of time it can be quite a loud humming sound. Therefore, having a tire that has a reduction in noise can help.
The second aspect of the Zaffrino Pro tires is that they are heat dispersion tires. Again due to the friction created by contact with the tire and trainer a tire can get very hot and they can tend to get a wear pattern on them. Therefore, with a trainer tire, they are designed to withstand the heat and durable enough to not wear.
The best use of course for this tire is a trainer. It’s not recommended for the road as it’s heavier and built differently. Therefore, you will need to switch the tire or own another wheel to use this tire properly. The tires usually come in a red color making it quite easy to tell when you have your trainer tire on so you don’t forget. With using a tire specifically for the trainer you’ll be sure to have a much longer wear life than a standard road bike tire.
Cycle Ops Home Trainer – Best Road Bike Tires
Number in Pack – 1
Sizes – Multiple
- Ultra Quiet
- Extremely Durable
Cycle Ops began in 1999, and just four years after it’s beginning it caught the eyes of Saris Cycling Group which acquired them. Cycle Ops has been building and designing indoor trainers since their inception. Creating some amazing milestones along the way such as First ANT+ wireless smart trainers, and First Wired Electronic trainers. They have a mission to create seamless designs and constantly improve the indoor cycling experience.
Since a company like Cycle Ops is the creator of the indoor trainer itself. Of course, they have to have an innovative tire that extends the life of a tire when used with a trainer. Therefore, the Cycle Ops tire, which is commonly yellow, was created to pair well with their trainers. The tire was designed to be ultra quiet and very durable. Therefore, when your riding in your garage or house it keeps the humming of the tire under control. Additionally, the tire is designed to withstand the wear and tear of the constant trainer friction.
Similar to the other trainer tire by Vittoria, the Cycle Ops Tire is designed to be used primarily with a trainer. The material is heavier, therefore, making it less suitable for the road. It’s most commonly found in yellow, however, it’s also offered in black as well. If you own a Cycle Ops trainer and are planning some indoor rides, this tire is inexpensive. This way you won’t wear out your best road bike tires, which can be much more expensive.
When Do I Need New Tires –
New Wheelset –
When you purchase a new wheelset, whether that’s a race wheelset or you’re building a bike and new wheels. You’re going to need to find the best road bike tires. There are certain manufacturers that recommend certain tires that work better for their wheelset compared to others. However, most wheelsets, are designed to work with any road bike tire as long as the size is correct.
Keep in mind when you do purchase a race wheelset the last thing you want to do is pair them with a cheap set of tires. Invest in tires that will respond well with the wheelset choices you’ve made.
Puncture or Cracks –
The second most frequent time for purchasing bike tires is in the event of a puncture or crack. Typically, when a road bike tire gets a flat, the tube inside has ruptured and causes the tire to go flat. However, this doesn’t mean your tire is useless. You should first inspect the tire for any punctures, cuts, cracks, or thread coming through. If your tire has anything along those lines you will need to replace them. Even a small crack or cut can increase in size when you are adding speed, pressure, and heat. Therefore, you’ll want to replace the tire as soon as possible to prevent any crashing or further damage.
The last most common time to replace your tires is age. After a few heavy seasons of riding or for some riders even every year is necessary. I typically replace my tires every 1-2 years, they are very inexpensive, and I want to prevent any issues.
How To Prevent Road Bike Punctures –
The last thing you want on a ride is a flat tire. Nothing can drain your motivation or cause more frustration than a flat tire. Therefore, here are some tips to help prevent road bike tires from punctures and flats.
1. Inflate Your Tires –
Many people neglect to inflate their tires before every ride. Depending on temperature changes, a tire can deflate 10-30psi in just a few days. therefore, if you forget or neglect to inflate your tires to max pressure, the tire has a higher chance of punctures and flats. I typically place my bike pump right next to my bike, this way when I’m putting my shoes and helmet on I don’t forget to top the tires off with a little air.
2. Inspect Your Tires –
When riding your bike the tires can pick up a lot of debris or worse collect small cuts or wear. Therefore, inspect your tires before a ride to ensure that the tire construction is sound and doesn’t look like it has any spots of failure. I learned this one the hard way when I first got involved in cycling. I saw on my front tire that there was some material from the construction of the tire sticking out. It may have been cut open during a ride or was breaking down due to age. Regardless, I neglected it for quite a few rides thinking it wasn’t a big issue. I was sadly mistaken, it ruptured at the exact spot of the failure and I was stuck out on a ride without a spare tire.
3. Date Your Tires –
Create a system whether that’s writing on them or creating a note on your phone of the date they were installed. Most people, my self-included forget when I change or upgrade parts on my bike. Therefore if you can time stamp your tires, you can have a better idea of when they need to be replaced. I generally look at the miles I’ve traveled on the tires and the date when their were put on to determine when I should replace my tires.
How To Install The Best Road Bike Tires –
One of the easiest things to learn but often neglected for fear of trying is learning to install bike tires. Many people never learn to change a flat tire, instead, they assume it’s difficult or only a bike shop knows how. However, the more you ride, you begin to understand that flat tires are a normal occurrence and apart of the hobby or sport. Therefore, it’s best to learn how to change a flat tire, or replace your bike tires as it’s nearly the same task.
1. Remove The tire –
The first step in installing new road bike tires is to remove the old ones. To begin you need to remove your front and/or rear bike wheel to make it easier. Next, you’ll need a tire lever to remove the old tire. First, start by prying on the adjacent side of the valve stem to go under the bead of the tire and between the wheel rim. As soon as you get the tool underneath the bead of the tire and can pull it over the wheel’s rim you can slide the lever around the wheel and remove the tire from the wheel.
2. Install A New Tube –
Once the tire is removed, you can install a new tube and tire. You first want to put one side of the tire on the wheel. To do this you typically use your thumbs and fingers to pull the tire onto the wheelset. Next, you can inflate a tube so it has shape and can be installed into the wheel and tire.
3. Install the Tire –
The last step once you have a tube and new tire with one bead on the wheel is to finish putting the second bead around the wheel. With the same tire lever, you will need to pull the bead of the tire back on to the wheel without puncturing the new tube. A good tip is to start on the opposite side of the valve stem this way when you finish the tire is already seated.