As gear-loving cyclists, we sometimes take our bike tires for granted. But without our hard-working, trustworthy tires on our bikes, we wouldn’t be able to ride in inclement weather, tackle big hills, and zip down mountains on two thin pieces of rubber.
And they’re only getting better.
We’re in a golden age for bike tire innovation, led by about a dozen companies, each trying to create the ultimate tire.
This article lists and ranks the best bike tire brands today.
You’re familiar with their popular lineup of car tires, but Continental is one of the top bicycle tire makers on the market. Continental offers all cyclists a range of tire options, from road to mountain biking and commuting.
Road cyclists prefer the brand’s Grand Prix series. Recently, the Grand Prix 5000 was updated with tubeless wheelset compatibility, which was much appreciated by cyclists. It’s called the Continental GP5000 S TR, where TR denotes tubeless ready.
In terms of durability, the puncture resistance of this tire is good. It’s also the perfect combination of fast and grippy. If you’re looking for an all-season tire that can do it all, the GP5000 S TR, although expensive, is your tire.
More reading : Continental GP5000 S TR Review
When it comes to research and development, there may not be a company more dedicated to discovering the latest bike tire technology than Vittoria. The Italian company has constantly pushed the envelope when it comes to innovation.
Vittoria applies graphene to all of its tires, filling the space between the rubber molecules. This improves performance, especially speed. The Vittoria Corsa G2 holds speed well thanks to its graphene compound.
Don’t expect those pretty tan sidewalls to stay clean, though. Experienced and professional cyclists will undoubtedly appreciate the speed of these tires, but casual riders may find them too finicky.
For the more casual cyclist who’s craving a tire that can last longer, and a recreational ride, Schwalbe is your brand. They’re not known for racing or mountain biking, although they sell tires in those product categories. Instead, they’re known as reliable commuter tires that are extremely puncture resistant.
These are my favorite Schwalbe tires :
- Schwalbe Pro One is the brand’s flagship tubeless tire for racing.
- Schwalbe Marathon has excellent puncture protection and grip on roads, but not so much when off-roading.
- Schwalbe G-One has good braking traction but is average when taking it around corners.
Schwalbe’s mountain biking tire lineup has improved in recent years. The Nobby Nic lineup features a unique design that improves traction and relatively large gaps between blocks for easier self-cleaning. These are tires that brake very well and can handle intense downhill riding.
Tubeless tires guide
If speed is what you desire, then you should check out Pirelli. The Pirelli name exudes excellence and is consistently been recognized as an ultra-high-performance brand thanks to its decades of experience in Formula 1.
The Pirelli P Zero Velo is one of the best road tires you can buy on the market today. They’re comfortable to ride on, despite thin sidewalls, they’re very resistant to punctures, and the grip is everything you need. And, of course, it’s fast with excellent rolling resistance.
The Pirelli Cinturato Velo is the brand’s best-selling road bike tire thanks to its extra puncture protection and excellent ability to handle tight corners. The best part is its mid-tier price.
While Specialized is best known for its high-end lineup of road bikes, the company’s tire lineup is also quite impressive. Specialized is slightly above a mid-range tire.
The Specialized Turbo Cotton is one of the fastest and grippiest racing tires on the market. If you’re looking for speed, pick up the Specialized Turbo Cotton.
Specialized trail tires, like the Butcher GRID, are excellent when it comes to grip and durability. Surprisingly, the price for these tires is reasonable. Specialized tires tend to be wider and heavier, slowing you down.
Goodyear is another famous car tire brand that also manufactures bike tires. Goodyear offers a full range of bike tires. Most recently, the brand upped its game with a series of high-performing road and gravel tires.
The road tires, known as the Goodyear Eagle F1, are most intriguing. The tires use DynamicGSR, a combination of graphene and silica, to grip the road. That popular combination of the material allows them to have a really strong grip, no matter if it’s wet or dry while rolling fast.
These tires aren’t immune to punctures, but Good year is currently working on releasing an updated version that can help in that department.
Professional cyclists have been racing on Michelin tires since 1891 when Charles Terront used Michelin rubber in the Paris-Brest-Paris class, a 1,200-kilometer competition. Michelin was so impressed with the performance of their tires that they organized a race from Paris to Clermont-Ferrand and intentionally scattered nails across sections of the road to show the durability of their rubber.
Michelin ultimately became a more prominent name for the automotive, but it’s still quite relevant in bicycling today. In 2018, the brand inked a two-year deal with the professional cycling team Cofidis to exclusively use the French tire manufacturer’s lineup of racing tires.
Michelin has more recently started getting into manufacturing innovative mountain biking tires, and the cycling community has been quite impressed.
Pro biker Sam Hill has raced on Michelins at the Enduro World Series, and in 2017, Adrien Dailly was riding on prototypes of the brand’s now-popular Wild Enduro tire.
Bike tires buyer’s guide
With more than 50 years of experience, Japanese bike tire maker Panaracer develops some of the best bike tires in the world.
If you’re looking for a high-quality all-weather tire, the Panaracer Evo 4 offers excellent rolling resistance, a solid grip, and a nice feel. Even better, they are super tough on punctures thanks to the increased protection the company has added over the years. Yes, this impacts your rolling resistance, but for most everyday cyclists, you won’t even notice it.
Panaracer also makes solid tires for gravel grinding. Check out the Panaracer Gravel King tire if you’re in the market for new trail tires. They’re extremely tough against punctures but not as smooth as competitor tires in the same price range
Maxxis started in Taiwan as a small manufacturer of bicycle tires in the mid-1960s. Today, they’re the largest manufacturer of bike tires in the world.
Over the past 50 years, the brand has expanded into other markets, including tires for ATVs, lawnmowers, and light trucks, but bike tires remain its bread and butter. Maxxis is considered mid-range when it comes to quality and price. It started as a budget brand but upped its quality game over the years.
While Maxxis makes a full lineup of bike tires, it’s best known for its mountain biking and Enduro tires.
The Maxxis Ikon is one of the most versatile cross-country tread patterns on the market today. As a racing tire, it’s fast. And the high-volume casing helps prevent punctures. I think the durability of the sidewall is most impressive, allowing you to take tight turns without concern.
If you’re a trail rider, the Maxxis Rambler is quite fast for its class. If the trail is flat and straight, you can easily expect to eclipse the 20mph mark
When it comes to mountain biking tires, there’s none better than WTB.
Founded in 1982 in California, WTB’s lineup of mountain biking tires is impressive. They feature excellent traction, strong braking qualities, and an uncanny adhesion when climbing rock slabs.
Check out the WTB Cross Boss for gravel and trails. Beware, these tires are big and heavy. Road riders should consider the WTB Byway, a tubeless, versatile tire that can handle the slickest of roads and occasional gravel and dirt.
Alex Lee is the founder and editor-at-large of Mr. Mamil. Coming from a professional engineering background, he breaks down technical cycling nuances into an easy-to-understand and digestible format here.
He has been riding road bikes actively for the past 12 years and started racing competitively in the senior category during the summer recently.