Finding the right road tires for your bike is just as important as finding the right shoes for your feet, if not more so. So, what are you to look for when shopping for the best road bike tires? If budget is something you don’t have to worry about, then the single most important criteria you need to consider is what type to get. Roughly speaking, there are two types of bike tires, depending on how they are designed – wire bead tires and folding tires.
Top 4 Best Road Bike Tires Comparison
The former have steel wires making the inner base that go along the tire. These are heavier due to the steel wires and invariably have fewer treads. Conversely, the latter are made not with steel wires, but of Kevlar. This makes them much lighter and allows manufacturers to put more treads. This results with extra longevity and a better general grip during the ride. Of course, as the name suggests, these tires can be folded and packed underneath the seat, the handlebar bag or saddle bag in case you need to replace a tire on the road. The wire tires are good if you want to add rolling weight to your bicycle, whereas folding tires are lighter and more convenient; plus, they have a better grip.
Reviews of 4 Best Road Bike Tires
1. Continental Gator Hardshell Duraskin Urban Premium Wire Beaded Bicycle Tire
The long-windedly named Continental Gator Hardshell DuraSkin Urban Premium Bike Tire is the wire bead cousin to the Hardshell DuraSkin Folding Tire. Consequently, they share some of the features, such as their considerable longevity, enhanced puncture resistance, as well as decent price. Granted, it’s a bit on the heavy side, but this is somewhat offset thanks to the lightweight DuraSkin that protects it from abrasions, cuts, and punctures. Working in conjunction with the Poly-X Breaker, the DuraSkin layer provides some exceptional protection from thorns or glass shards, though it’s not indestructible. So, if you want to prolong your tires’ life expectancy, do try and avoid the worst sections.
The tires also feature a reflective sidewall, which goes a long way to improving your visibility at night or in adverse lighting conditions. Size-wise, you can pick between four variants.
The tread pattern on the Gator Hardshell Wire Bead Tires also contributes to the longevity of these puppies as it reduces the risk of collecting debris by deflecting it. Yes, the whole tire is a bit on the heavy side, and that may prove some difficulty if you have a lot of uphill on your rides, but the tires are more than able to tackle any terrain, and you won’t have to worry about broken glass, thorns or other assorted whatnots on your daily commute.
2. VREDESTEIN Fortezza Tricomp Folding Bead Road Cycling Tire
The VREDESTEIN Fortezza Tricomp Folding Bike Tire is the thing you get when you want quality. Sure enough, they’re far from being the cheapest bike tires on the market, but they’re damn close to being the best road bike tires, as of yet. As the name suggests, this is a folding bead type, with SPL (Sportex Protect Layer) under the center tread for extra puncture protection. Moreover, these come with the proprietary CCS (Curve Control System) that helps the tires maintain their shape during cornering, providing better grip and more secure feel.
The recommended inflation pressure is an impressive 145 PSI, though you can max it out at 175 PSI. The Fortezza Tricomps are great clinchers, making them your to-go pick if you want versatility under your… seat. They’re great for amateurs and pros alike and can be used for daily commute or regular exercise, even some light touring and racing. Speaking of which, the tires are somewhat heavy, especially compared to a pure race tire, so don’t expect to be winning any Gran Prix any time soon.
If you’re not afraid to shell out some serious dough to get the utmost quality, definitely go for the VREDESTEIN Fortezza Tricomp. They’re pretty lightweight, and should handle any terrain with ease. Although, they do feel a bit sluggish, which makes them less than ideal for races. On the other hand, they’re great for daily commute or exercise,
3. Vittoria Rubino Pro III Fold Tire
The Vittoria Rubino Pro III Fold Tire is one of the best values for money you’ll come across looking for the best road bike tires these days. Of course, the price will vary, depending on the size and style. Speaking of the latter, the Rubino Pro III comes in six distinct flavors – black, honey/black, red, blue, white/black/white and yellow, so you should have no troubles finding one that matches your favorite outfit.
The tires are made of Kevlar Endura 3D compound, which gives an improved life expectancy to the treads and the tire overall, as well as enhanced grip in inclement weather. Moreover, they are hardy and can hold up to 125 PSI of air pressure. Still, depending on your weight, you’d want to go between 90 and 110 PSI, for optimal handling and smooth feel.
These are folding tires, and they’re much more supple and responsive than their wire bead counterparts, and even other folding bead tires in the same price range. Consequently, they give you a smooth, bump-free ride. They’re great for amateurs and pros alike, thanks to exceptional robustness and puncture resistance. You should be able to gain up to 2 or 3 mph cruising speed, and tackle corners like a champ without worrying about slipping. Granted, there’ll still be some skidding when braking, but cornering is no problem. They’re not the ideal racing tires, but they’ll do more than well for daily commute or exercise.
4. Panaracer RiBMo PT Tire with Wire Bead
The Panaracer RiBmo PT Tire is one of the best budget-happy solutions for your road bike. This is a wire bead model, so they’re a bit on the heavy side, which adds some rolling weight and a bit more stability. Granted, the tread count is less than impressive, but you’ll still get a good grip for cornering thanks to the oval-ish shape of the treads, sort of like the pointy bit of an egg.
These are great tires for everyday use, though they are a bit of a pain to mount. Still, you’re almost guaranteed to ride for months on end without needing to change it, so it sort of evens out. They come in 8 variants, depending on the size, so before you order up, check with an expert (if you’re not in the know) or yourself (if you’re a pro) which one you need. Another thing you should keep in mind – these tires are decent for some light racing, but if you want to go pro, then you might find them a bit too heavy and lower pressure than a pure race tire.
Panaracer RiBMo PT Tire with Wire Bead is the perfect tire for your daily commute, even some light touring. They’re hardy and durable, though not indestructible. Still, the puncture resistance is quite effective, and these tires could give even considerably more expensive models a run for their money. Granted, these are not the most responsive tires out there, nor do they have the best grip. However, if you need a reliable tire that will perform flawlessly on… less than ideal roads time and time again, this is the thing to go with.
Before we conclude this review, a word to the wise – most sellers will list the price for a single tire, so factor in this piece of info whenever you’re shopping, and always ask, just to be sure. Now, as far as recommendations go, each individual review has one, but let’s briefly recap.
All of the tires are great for daily commute or regular exercise, but if we had to pick the best road bike tires, it would be the Panaracer RiBMo PT, mainly due to the best quality to pricing ratio. The VREDENSTEIN comes at a close second, but as far as grip goes, it’s second to none, at least on this list. Continental’s Gator and Vittoria’s Rubino share the honorable third place. Either way you go with the last two, you’ll get your money’s worth. For more colors, go with the Rubino, but for longevity, go with the Gators.