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Best road bike tyres 2021: 10 of the best tyres for all occasions

Cyclist magazine
6 Jul 2021

A guide to the best road cycling tyres on the market and what to look for when buying

Tyres are one of the most important – if not the most important – components on a bicycle as they are first point of contact between your bike and the road.

Your tyres play a part in keeping you upright, they influence your speed and your bike's ride quality and, of course, will be what brings you to a screaming halt when you inevitably puncture.

So choosing the right ones is a very important decision. Ultimately, the perfect set of all-round road tyres will have an ideal balance of rolling resistance, weight, grip and puncture protection. Each will come at the expense of at least one other, so acheiving that is easier said than done. 

Most tyres will come in a range of sizes, usually between 23mm and 28mm, although some brands now offer their designs up to 32mm – an unimaginable size for a road bike not too long ago.

Before upgrading tyres, it is important to see check how much tyre clearance your bike has. Some older frames, or those with rim-brake callipers, may be quite limiting here, with 28mm the most voluminous you'll be able to get away with.

These days, the most popular tyre size is either 25mm or 28mm, which tend to be perceived as offering the best compromise of speed and weight alongside puncture resistance and grip.

However, the current thinking of some is that wider tyres at lower pressures are fastest, although crucially only when paired with wider rims. Several wheel brands – Zipp and Enve among them – are even starting to recommend moving on from 25mm rubber; we investigate that further here if you’re interested.

We also appreciate that tubeless technology is becoming more widely used and available on road bikes, with some brands even supplying bikes tubeless-ready from the box. While some of the options below may be tubeless-compatible, we have put together a more detailed guide to tubeless, how to convert and what the best tyres on the market are here.

Additionally, the tyres listed below are the best on the market for all types of riding, so if you’re after something that focuses on being robust and hardy for commuting and bad-weather riding, then you’ll probably want our guide to the best winter tyres.

10 of the best road cycling tyres

Continental GP5000 clincher: Tech editor’s pick

Buy now from Tweeks Cycles from £34.99

Sizes: 23mm to 32mm  
Weight: 200g to 290g

In 2018, Continental finally updated its ever-reliable GP4000 clincher tyre, releasing the GP5000 and GP5000 tubeless, the German brand’s first-ever tubeless road tyre.

The question upon release was how could you improve one of the most successful road cycling tyres of all time? Well, a new BlackChilli compound was developed for improved grip while a Vectran Breaker layer decreased the risk of punctures. This was all while coming in 12% faster and a claimed 20% tougher than the previous model.

There are faster tyres, there are more robust tyres, but in the Continental GP5000 clinchers, you get the best all-rounder that manages to do everything you need from a set of tyres in all conditions pretty well. Oh, and word to the wise, Continental tyres always measure bigger than their claimed size.

Buy now from Tweeks Cycles from £34.99

Read our review of the Continental GP5000 clincher tyres here 
GP5000 tubeless or clincher, what’s faster? Read the testing here

Vittoria Corsa G2.0

Buy now from Wiggle from £39.99


Sizes: 23 mm to 28mm  
Weight: 225g (claimed)

The Vittoria Corsa has been the tyre of choice for almost every amateur racer for what now seems an eternity. Incredibly fast rolling with reduced rolling resistance, light and supple, they tick all the boxes when it came to smashing it around your local crit circuit.

The only issue that used to bug Corsa users was their penchant for a puncture. Vittoria has attempted to remedy this with the introduction of a graphene compound. This has improved puncture-resistance without negating performance, but these tyres will still not last as long as many of their rivals.

Vittoria has also developed a tubeless-ready version of the Corsa if riding without an inner tube is your thing.

Buy now from Wiggle from £39.99

Schwalbe Pro One Evo

Buy now from Wiggle from £29.99

Sizes: 23 mm to 28mm  
Weight: 275g (claimed)

When released in 2014, the Schwalbe Pro One tubeless was one of the first road tyres to really make a convincing case for using tubeless technology on tarmac and has since led the way in converting people to the dark arts of sealant and tubeless valves.

However, for the non-believers, there is also the regular clincher Schwalbe Pro One tyre which, with its V-Guard puncture protection fabric and Addix compound, ensures a reduction in puncture risk and an assured and supple ride.

Buy now from Wiggle from £29.99

Pirelli P-Zero

Buy now from Wiggle for £39.99

Sizes: 23mm to 28mm  
Weight: 195g to 230g (claimed)

Originally developed as a tyre for Formula 1 cars, Pirelli transferred much of the performance benefits of its P-Zero car tyres into the development of its cycling counterparts and to great effect.

The brand's SmartNET Silica compound which balances a low rolling resistance with increased grip in the tyre’s shoulders and a fair amount of puncture protection. At around 200g per 25mm tyre, they are also suitably light and make for a great option if building up a nippy Gran Fondo or racing bike.

Buy now from Wiggle for £39.99

Hutchinson Fusion5

Buy now from Tweeks Cycles from £35.95

Sizes: 23mm to 28mm  
Weight: 255g (claimed)

The Hutchinson Fusion5 tyres are incredibly impressive. Independent testing from a Finnish company called Wheel Energy found the new 11Storm compound used by Hutchinson to roll 14% faster than the previous iteration and be 11% grippier in the wet.

They are also pretty light, tipping the scales at 255g for a 25mm tyre, and are tubeless-ready, even being sold as part of a set that includes the necessary components to convert from clincher to tubeless.

But, most importantly, the Hutchinson Fusion5 tyres are incredibly affordable at a recommended retail price of just £35.95.

Buy now from Tweeks Cycles from £35.95

Read our review of the Hutchinson Fusion5 tyres here

Michelin Power All-Season

Buy now from ProBikeKit for £34.99

Sizes: 23mm to 28mm  
Weight: 195g to 215g

Little secret for you, the Michelin Power tyres are one of the go-to sets of rubber for the Cyclist editorial team, we are big fans.

As to why, it is because they offer a very solid mix of all the things you really need from a good set of cycling tyres. They are light without compromising puncture resistance, fast-rolling without compromising grip for cornering and, at just over £30, fairly affordable.

We also just like having the Michelin man on our bikes, too.

Buy now from ProBikeKit for £34.99

Read our review of the Michelin Pro All-Season tyres here

Goodyear Eagle F1

Buy now from Tredz for £45

Sizes: 23mm to 32mm  
Weight: 195g to 260g (claimed)

Since their launch at the back end of 2019, Cyclist web writer Joe Robinson has been riding and testing Goodyear’s Eagle F1 road tyres, a set of rubber developed in line with their trusty car tyre namesakes.

Riding the 28mm versions at around 80psi, he is yet to puncture (that could be down to luck), is impressed by their suppleness and has yet to have any problems while descending. He has also taken them off-road on to fairly testing gravel paths without issue, too.

Buy now from Tredz for £45

Specialized Turbo S-Works

Buy now from Evans Cycles for £37.50

Sizes: 22m to 28mm
Weight: 200g to 240g (claimed)

Many other guides will recommend the Specialized Turbo Cotton tyres, we actually prefer the Turbo S-Works options.

While the Tubo Cotton tyres are faster and a great tyre in their own right, we found that the Turbo S-Works with the Gripton compound was a little more assured in cornering, offered what seemed like more puncture resistance and also gave a supple ride feel regardless of how poor the road surface was.

All this while being cheaper and not having tan sidewalls, which while are great at first get grubby very quickly.

Buy now from Evans Cycles for £37.50

Vredestein Fortezza Senso Superiore

Buy now from Tredz for £59.99

Sizes: 23mm to 28mm  
Weight: 220g to 280g (claimed)

Thanks to a 320 TPI handmade cotton casing, Vredestein’s Fortezza Senso Superiore tyres have been able to dial down rolling resistance for a lightning ride primed for racing.

Vredestein admits puncture resistance is not the USP of these tyres, it’s performance that was the focus. So these are definitely a set of rubber for the ‘best bike’ rather than the all-rounder.

Buy now from Tredz for £59.99

Maxxis High Road

Buy now from Tredz for £44.99


Sizes: 25mm  
Weight: 210g

Raced on by the Canyon-dhb team, the Maxxis High Road clincher tyres are expensive but proven in terms of performance.

Maxxis claims that its HYPR compound has reduced rolling resistance by 16% but increased grip by 23%, specifically in the wet. It also says that its K2 Kevlar fabric has notched up puncture protection despite the tyres weighing a respectable 210g.

The only limiting factor is that the High Road tyres are only available in 25mm.

Buy now from Tredz for £44.99

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