Best Road Bike Tire Reviews 2018

Paying little or no attention to an item that has direct contact with the ground is certainly not the smart thing to do. We acknowledge how tedious it can be choosing a bike tire from the numerous options out there. Since you’re here, breathe easy; that problem is solved. We’ve done all the work and have come up with five of the best road bike tire brands along with an item from each. Do keep in mind though, that these brands have other road bike tires you can choose from if you need more options.
Overview
PROS
CONS
SPECS
Tire Design
Standard
Tread Style
TPI
Sizes
Our Top Choice
Continental Grand Prix 4-Season
With almost 150 years of experience as one of the leading brands in automotive products, Continental offers only superior-quality and high-performance products.
Puncture-resistant. Superior grip. Well-balanced design. Year-round usage. Ideal for any road condition.
Soft rubber makes it prone to wear.
Foldable tires; clincher
32-; 28-; 25-; 23-622
Double Vectran Breaker
3/330
32, 28, 25, 23mm
Best Value
Vittoria Rubino Pro III Fold Tire
Since 1953, Vittoria has been manufacturing bike tires with a particular focus on quality and performance so you can go further and faster with less effort.
High-pressure nylon casing. Puncture protection. Low rolling resistance. Durable. Multipurpose. Affordable.
The puncture protection is not protective enough.
Folding clincher
32-; 28-; 25-; 23-622
Thick tread
150 TPI nylon casing
32, 28, 25, 23mm
Schwalbe Marathon Plus HS 348
Schwalbe has been tagged “tire fanatic” because of how committed it is to the manufacture of advanced, efficient, and safe tires.
Puncture protection. Improved traction. Reflective strip. Hard-wearing. Great for asphalt and off-road.
There are some complaints about difficulties getting this tire on the bike rim.
Wire beaded; puncture-resistant
. 25-590
Slick tread
Info not provided
45, 38, 32, 28, 25mm
Michelin Lithion 2 Road Tire
Michelin is one of the oldest and leading brands, specializing in the manufacture of tires. It infuses technology to make them safe and efficient, yet affordable.
Long-lasting. Top-quality. Lightweight. Great grip. Inexpensive. Good rolling resistance. Wear-protected. Turns safely.
A bit tough to install due to hard edging.
Flexible bead
23-622; 25-622
2-tone silica tread
60
23, 25mm
Kenda Street K35 Road Tire
For 55 years, Kenda has been manufacturing high-quality tires with a focus on performance and safety for vehicles of all types and applications.
Wire bead for longevity. Puncture protection. Raised treading. Ideal for paved roads. Solid casing.
Not as pressured as performance tires.
Steel bead; clincher
32-630
Info not provided
90
32mm

(Updated )
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How Do I Choose the Best Road Bike Tire?

Puncture is almost inevitable with tires, which is one reason most riders carry a bike pump. The best bike tires have puncture protection, but some have more protection than others making this one feature that you might want to pay attention to.

Cycling can be a great activity for whatever application you’re getting into it for. How comfortable a bike is comes from your primary point of contact, the seat; bike shoes also go a long way to make pedaling easy. But the bike tires, which translate your pedaling into movement, are what really make cycling pleasurable. You can ask anyone who has tried covering a distance on flat tires.

There are lots of road bike tires out there that are designed to be all-rounders, but you still need to know what you’ll be using the bike for. This is important to help you know how to prioritize the features you’ll be looking out for. For instance, an urban rider that just needs a bike to move from point A to B, will give more attention to traction; a professional cyclist might give priority to the tire’s rolling resistance.

As with almost anything, you’ll also find bike tires that will match your fashion style. Aside from attention to performance and safety, road bike tires come lined with several colors for visibility and aesthetics. How would you like your bike tires to match the vinyl on your bike, or maybe even your helmet?

As you continue reading this guide, you’ll find more information that will help you eventually choose the best road bike tire for the application you need it for.
Price
The price of a road bike tire is relatively reasonable and influenced by size, design, and its materials. A 700c clincher with layers of Kevlar fortified against punctures can cost up to $200. A smaller one with basic protection will still serve you well and can go for less than $20.

There are cheap road bike tires everywhere as well, and it will seem like the real deal on sale. We are telling you categorically not to fall for them. You certainly don’t want a flat for every mile you cover—it takes hardly anything to puncture one of these.
Features
Choosing the best road bike tire can be confusing, especially when it’s hard to pinpoint certain features by merely looking at it. We know what to look out for and are in the business of helping you get your money’s worth. Here are the features of good road bike tires:
  • Tire design
  • Standard
  • Tread style
  • Sizes
  • TPI
Go on and read our detailed explanation of how these features affect road bike tires.
Construction and Design
Type

Some bike tires are designed to be foldable. It’s a preferred choice because it is compact and can be conveniently carried as a spare during long-distance cycling. Some bike tires are tubeless and work pretty much the same way as the tubeless car tires. These tires encounter less flat tires, roll faster, have predictable cornering, and are least impacted by shock. Studded bike tires provide extra traction due to increased friction; the studs make the tires usable on slippery surfaces and reduce the chances of losing control.

Protection from Punctures

Road bike tires are designed with many different compounds that fortify them against puncturing. Many tires have multiple layers of weave to prevent flats even if they get punctured, that way you can get more mileage without having to change tires or patch them.

Safety

Bike tires have everything to do with our safety when riding. This is the reason tires are required to undergo serious scrutiny to be certain the choice meets all standards and are certified safe to use. All good road bike tires should meet the European Tire and Rim Technical Organization (ETRTO) standards which also affect bike tire sizing.
Performance and Ease of Use
Tread

Road bike tires often have grooved treading which helps disperse water on wet roads and provides traction. The tread on road bike tires come in different patterns, which also affect the tire grip in different ways. The smoother the tire surface, the less traction it provides. Road bike tires are meant for smooth surfaces and paved roads, but they still need traction; those used on loose ground such as gravel and dirt roads need it more, however. So, watch out for the treading on the bike tire you want and be sure of how much traction it provides.

Size

Bicycles come in different sizes, so it’s only natural to have different road bike tire sizes. No need to bore you with the figures, be rest assured that any brand you wish to buy from will have a guide specifying the size of tire and the bike type it’d be compatible with. If you really want to be sure the tire of your choice fits, feel free to take measurements of your rim and compare it to the manufacturer’s size catalog.

Threads per Inch

Threads per inch (TPI) of your road bike tire is a measure of the ‘suppleness’ of the tire; that is, how fine or thick the weave of your tire is. Generally, the more supple a tire is, the more comfortable and faster the tire will be and vice-versa. Bike tires with higher thread count mean they are supple. Those with lower count indicate they have more layers and hence more protection against puncture. Again, the TPI of the tire you choose has a lot to do with what you intend to use the tire for.

What is the Best Road Bike Tire?

Now that you know what you want in road bike tires, it’s time for you to move to the next stage. As you read our review of brands and products, do keep in mind the needs you want to be fulfilled. This approach will make it easy for you to choose the best road bike tire for you.
Our Top Choice
You can ride your bike on any type of road with confidence, knowing you’re protected with the Continental Grand Prix 4 Road Clincher which has a DuraSkin layer that makes it puncture-resistant. If you’d like a foldable tire, go for the Continental GatorSkin DuraSkin Tire which also has puncture protection and is designed to be extra durable.
Continental Grand Prix 4 Season Road Clincher – Available in 2 Types and Multiple Sizes

Continental Road Bike Tire C1031428-P – Black-Duraskin


Features
Continental was founded in 1871 in the city of Hanover, Germany and specializes in the manufacture of rubber products, rubberized fabrics, and solid tires. With a clear vision and intense focus, coupled with technological advancements, Continental has become one of the largest suppliers of automotive products worldwide. The company is divided into the Rubber Group and the Automotive Group, and both are further subdivided into 5 divisions. This shows how large and successful this brand has become. All its divisions together strive to improve the driving experience and safety. Driving, in this case, is not only limited to automobiles; Continental shows its passion for rubberized technology with the Grand Prix bicycle tire series.

If you’re the year-long bike rider, you know that the tires you use during summer are not so efficient during winter. With the Continental Grand Prix 4 Road Clincher, you won’t have to bother about that as this tire gives you the best of both worlds. It finds a sweet spot between hard and soft, heavy and light, high and low rolling resistance, which makes it the premium tire to use all year ‘round. So, whether you’re the regular bike trekker moving from point A to B on paved road, or you’re the gravel runner, this premium tire is what you need.

The Grand Prix 4 is hand-made in Germany using 3/330 TPI carcass with two layers of Vectran breaker under its tread. From bead to bead, there is an extra layer of DuraSkin and also the Max Grip silica compound that optimizes the tire for wet and cold conditions. So, the weather isn’t enough to stop you from pedaling wherever and however you want.

This tire is soft, which translates to superior grip and keeps your bike smack-dab on the tarmac. Another good thing about the soft compound this tire is made with is that it doesn’t harden up as much in cold weather. The harder the tire, the lesser the grip. Continental sure knows what it’s saying when tagging this tire an all-year-rounder.

The DuraSkin inculcated into this tire is a super-strong polyamide fiber. It covers the whole carcass which provides some serious protection for the tire, especially on the sides. All this protection is what gives the Grand Prix 4 its puncture-resistant quality. Normally, this many layers of protection would have added significant weight to the tire which increases its rolling resistance. Such is not the case with this one though; Continental found a perfect balance between protecting the tire and still keeping it lightweight enough.
Best Value
For a blend of performance and endurance, the Vittoria Rubino Pro III is a good choice. It has a 150 TPI nylon casing and a durable rubber compound for puncture protection. If you want a tire to serve you well for indoor training, go for the Vittoria Zaffiro Pro Home Trainer Fold Tire which has improved heat dispersion and noise reduction.
Vittoria Rubino Pro III Fold Tire – Available in 3 Sizes and Multiple Colors

Vittoria Road Bike Tire VRPFT-6 – Black


Features
Vittoria is a bicycle tire manufacturer established in 1953 and has its headquarters in Madone, Italy. Since inception, it has shared in the dedication to professional-quality Italian brands are known for. It has a presence all over the world with factories and subsidiaries. Its wide network of distributors and retailers ensures its products are readily available where they’re needed. The brand manufactures bicycle tires for different applications and the Rubino Pro III is an epitome of Vittoria’s expertise.

If you’re looking for an attractive bicycle tire that can offer great speed and a smooth ride, the Vittoria Rubino Pro III Fold Tire is your best bet. It has a 150 TPI nylon casing that lets this tire glide effortlessly on paved roads, making it ideal for street cruisers. It’s also fitted with a fortified rubber compound and has the PRB puncture protection which translates to you getting massive mileage out of this bike tire.

The Rubino Pro III is a well-balanced tire for riders who like to go fast. It has a great blend of rolling resistance, traction, and efficiency. This tire performs best at higher pressures where you get the best out of its rolling resistance. Whether you need a tire for racing or just training, The Rubino III will surely serve you well. This version sports the Kevlar Endura 3D Compound which further extends its durability and performance. Make sure you get the best size for you with a choice of 3 widths: 23, 25 and 28mm. You can get this awesome design in black, blue, honey and black, lime and black, white and black or yellow, so you’ll be zooming off in style in no time.

The following are some other nice products from the stables of Vittoria:
  • Vittoria Rubino Pro G+ Road Tire – It has 3C multiple compound layup to give you different handling properties, and is available in 5 colors and 4 sizes.
  • Vittoria Corsa G+ Graphene Road Tire – It has an Aramid-Kevlar-Cotton weave casing creating a supple tire for a smooth ride and some serious puncture protection.
  • Vittoria 23 Zaffiro III Tire – Has the Aramid Endura 3D tread compound with shallow shoulders for an increased grip, and is available in 3 colors and 6 sizes.
Nothing beats good protection in tires, which is why the Schwalbe Marathon Plus HS 348 Road Bike Tire is a great choice as it uses the Kevlar-MB belt as a shield to protect the tire from punctures. If you’d like a RaceGuard from this brand, go for the Schwalbe Durano RaceGuard Tire which is built using a dual compound and is available in 7 colors.
Schwalbe Marathon Plus HS 348 Road Bike Tire – Available in 6 Sizes

Schwalbe Road Bike Tire 11115348


Features
Schwalbe is a brand of the company Bohle, which has been family-owned since inception in 1922. Schwalbe has its headquarters in Germany and subsidiaries in other major countries around the world. It is self-tagged “tire fanatics” and proves that with the amount of effort and attention to detail apparent in its tires. It specializes in bikes, and more recently in wheelchairs to make riding safer and more convenient. Schwalbe has distributorship in more than 40 countries spread across the world. With its commitment to offer only the best products, Schwalbe is your go-to brand for bike tires.

As the name implies, the Schwalbe Marathon Plus will go with you the extra mile. This tire is made by combining natural rubber with Kevlar fibers to create the SmartGuard puncture protection. This tire is ideal for use on asphalt and off-road as thorns, shards, or goatheads have nothing on it. After a few weeks, you could just routinely check your tires and pull out any shrapnel that might have lodged in the protective shield.

The Marathon Plus is uniquely designed with an outer layer that’s hard-wearing, which interprets to durability and efficiency—no wonder it’s named Marathon. It’s fitted with steel beads which make it even stronger and long-lasting. One advantage of tires without protection is their low rolling resistance; this Schwalbe tire is well-protected yet has a rolling resistance low enough to achieve substantial speeds with minimal effort.

The grooved tread on the outer layer is specially designed to increase traction on this tire. With enhanced traction, you can use this tire on gravel and dirt roads. It would even do well in wet conditions, and the traction becomes obvious when making hard turns. On the sidewall of the tire is a reflective strip which helps with visibility—another good reason to make this choice: Safety.

Don’t forget, this tire comes in 6sizes: 20 x 1.35”, 24 x 1.75”, 700 x 25mm, 700 x 28mm, 700 x 35mmor 700 x 38mm so make sure you get the right size for you!
For a professional-grade tire that’s low on price, the Michelin Lithion 2 Folding Road Tire is a great choice as it has the High Protect Rim System that keeps the bead from wearing against the rim. If you’d like an all-out professional tire from this brand, go for the Michelin Pro4 Service Course Road Bike Tire, which uses a new type of silica to make it even more durable.
Michelin Lithion 2 Folding Road Tire – Available in Multiple Colors and Sizes

Michelin Road Bike Tire 23-622 – Yellow


Features
Michelin is a technology-savvy company that specializes in the design and manufacture of tires for almost any automobile that moves on tires. It contributes to the growth of mankind by supporting its mobility with safe, efficient, and uncompromised quality tires to move people and commodities around. It has production facilities in over 17 countries around the world with presence in well over 170 others. Its proficiency at what it does is unparalleled, which is why in 2016 alone it produced a whopping 187 million tires.

The Michelin Lithion 2 Road Tire is professional both in looks and performance. It has a 2-toned silica construction with a chevron-shaped shoulder and smoothes in the center. It has 60 TPI with lightweight rubber skin walls, which greatly reduces its rolling resistance. This singular feature qualifies this tire for racing as it will pick up much speed with minimal effort. Its light weight also helps its cause at being suitable for sports applications.

We were serious when we said Michelin is technology-savvy. Its Lithion 2 sports some cool technologies such as the High-Density Casing (HDC), which features overlapping carcasses with 240 threads/dm2. This interprets into a sweet balance between comfort and efficiency. Further, the High Protect Rim System (HPRS) is a form of protection for the bead area of this tire from wear against the rim. With this technology, you can rest assured this professional tire will serve you for quite a long time.

Still on the endurance of these tires, the Lithion 2s are quite flexible and will maintain their roundness over a long period, which results in a comfortable ride. There have been reports that some users get thousands of miles on these tires. This tire isn’t just protected against wear, as it’s also protected against punctures with a reinforced crown over its casing. The manufacturer claims that the Lithion 2 has 25% more grip and is 10 times lighter than previous issues of the Lithion models. Now that you know the professionalism of this tire covers safety, it would seem like a great choice.

Michelin makes sure that they don’t miss a detail and so have given you the choice of multiple colors and sizes to chose from. You can purchase the Lithion 2 Road Tire in yellow, blue and black, dark gray and black, red and black, dark gray, black, red or royal blue. Michelin have manufactured this wheel in 23cc, 25cc, 700 x 23mm and 700 x 25mm so you can get the one that suits your needs best.
The Kenda Street K35 Road Tire gives you a balanced ride with its raised center treading for fast riding on paved roads and herringbone treads on the sides for traction. If you’d like a hybrid tire from this brand, check out the Kenda Big City Slick Wire Bead Bicycle Tire which is ideal for both road and trail.
Kenda Street K35 Road Tire

Kenda Road Bike Tire 01271503536


Features
Kenda was founded to manufacture bicycle tires back in 1962 in Yualin, Taiwan. This alone proves its specialty in bike tires and, hence, its integrity. As time went on, it started making tires for motorcycles, farm machinery, trailers, etc. With successes and advancements in technology, it started partnering with multinationals and acquired some companies in order to make better products. Now at 55 years, it has factories in many countries and distributors all over the world making its products available.

The Kenda K35 Street Road Tire, as the name implies, is ideal for paved roads and bike trails. These tires feature a raised center treading for increased speed on straights and herringbone sides for great grip and improved cornering. With this, you can be sure of smooth and safe trekking on your bike along pavement.

The solid rubber casing of the K35 protects it from punctures, while the tan strip on the sidewall helps increase visibility as it creates a vibrant contrast against the tires’ black color. Further, the wire bead significantly increases the longevity of the tire so you’ll have to cover a lot of mileage before needing to change tires.

The following are some other great products available from Kenda that might interest you:
  • Kenda Commuter/Urban/Hybrid Bicycle Tires – These will work great for both front and rear applications. They’re available in 4 sizes and 5 colors.
  • Kenda Kaliente Iron Cloak Folding Road Bicycle Tire – It’s fitted with the Iron Cloak protection and is a super-lightweight clincher.
  • Kenda Street NIMBUS K830 Road Tire – It’s smooth and fast on pavement, with great traction on gravel and dirt roads.

Get the Best Road Bike Tire of 2018!

You’ve done great getting to the end of this article and we hope you’ve got all the information you need to choose the best road bike tire for your needs. In that case, what else are you waiting for? Go make that buy and start riding.

Our Top Choice
Continental Grand Prix 4-Season
Best Value
Vittoria Rubino Pro III Fold Tire
Schwalbe Marathon Plus HS 348
Michelin Lithion 2 Road Tire
Kenda Street K35 Road Tire