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Best Road Bike Tires: Top Tubed & Tubeless picks for Riding, Racing & Training

best road bike tires for tubeless and tube type
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You may have found yourself in a bike shop (IRL or online) scouring the road bike tire options and wondering, How the heck do I know which one to choose?

It’s an understandable struggle: There are hundreds of options, a huge range in price points, and frankly, you could make the argument that they all look the same at a glance. But subtle differences can change how your ride feels in terms of comfort and speed.

And nowadays, there’s one more choice to make: Keep the tubes, or go tubeless. For mountain biking, all of us are fully tubeless now. But for road, we’re split about 50/50, for reasons we’ll explain in the FAQ section below.

So, for this buyer’s guide, we’ve split our recommendations into our top picks for both Tube-Type and Tubeless categories…

Best Tubeless Road Bike Tires

If you’re ready to make the jump to tubeless, these are the best tires we’ve been riding. Our criteria were durability, grip, comfort, ease of tubeless setup, and how well they held air over time.

Importantly, we’ve also noted whether they’re officially compatible with “hookless” (aka TSS, Tubeless Straight Side, or Straight Side rims), which we explain in the FAQ section at the bottom of this post.

 BEST ALL AROUND: Schwalbe Pro One 

Schwalbe Pro 1 side best road bike tires

The Schwalbe Pro One tubeless tire is the most supple racing tire that we’ve found, but we also like it for JRA (just riding around). It’s specifically designed to be used as a tubeless tire, which means, thankfully, it’s relatively easy to set up…which shouldn’t come as a surprise.

Schwalbe was one of the first to offer a high-performance, low-weight tubeless road bike tire years before others. And, they claim it’s their best performing road bike tire, bar none, even outperforming the tubular tires their pros were riding.

These tires rate highly in every department – grip, durability, low rolling resistance, and low weight. They even add a 14mm wide puncture protection belt under the tread cap to protect against cuts and pokes. Available with black or tan sidewalls.

  • Size: 700 x 25, 28, 30, 32mm
  • Weight: 280g for 28mm
  • Hookless/Straight Side Rim Compatible: Yes
  • MSRP: $88

PROS: Fantastic traction and ride quality
CONS: Might need a bit more sealant than others

 BEST ROAD FEEL: Specialized S-Works Turbo RapidAir 

specialized s-works rapidair tubeless road bike tires for racing

These are the tires that finally wooed their sponsored pro cyclists off tubulars, offering the supple World Tour race-level performance they needed, with low rolling resistance and just enough puncture and cut protection for peace of mind during competition.

The Specialized S-Works RapidAir tires have an extremely soft, comfortable feel on the road thanks to a comparatively thinner-feeling (yet still supportive) sidewall, intentionally flexible center section, and 120tpi casing. Their Gripton rubber and slightly textured sides corner with confidence and add to the overall smooth feel of these tires.

  • Size: 700c x 26, 28, and 30mm
  • Weight: ~270g (700×28)
  • Hookless/Straight Side Rim Compatible: Yes, with a caveat (see FAQ)
  • MSRP: $80

PROS: Super supple, lightweight, feels really fast
CONS: Less protection than some other tires here


Pirelli P-Zero Race TLR 

Honestly, the Pirelli P-Zero Race could have also been our all-around top pick, too…it’s that good. It’s a regular on several of our personal bikes thanks to its grippy rubber, easy tubeless setup, and ability to hold air seemingly forever.

The ride quality is great, too, if only every so slightly less supple than the Pro Ones. To make up for it, the P-Zero Race TLR adds a full bead-to-bead cut resistant protective layer, making them a tougher tire for only a few grams extra weight.

  • Size: 700c x 24, 26, 28, and 30mm
  • Weight: 295g (for 700×28)
  • Hookless/Straight Side Rim Compatible: Yes, for 700×28/30 sizes only
  • MSRP: $85

PROS: Excellent performer with cut and puncture protection
CONS: Only the larger sizes are hookless-rim compatible

 BEST RACING: Goodyear Eagle F1 


You’ll find Goodyear taking our top “racing” tire spot in both tubeless and tube-type categories. Maybe it’s subliminal, but there’s something about seeing that Winged Foot logo roll up to the start line. Fortunately, their performance backs up their looks.

With road-hugging grip and long sipes to handle a little moisture, these are a reliable race day option when you don’t know what the course will bring. They setup tubeless easy, hold air well, and roll fast…what more do you need? (Read our full review here.)

  • Size: 700c x 25, 28, 30, and 32mm
  • Weight: 315g (700×28)
  • Hookless/Straight Side Rim Compatible: Yes
  • Price: $65

PROS: Easy tubeless setup, excellent high-speed grip
CONS: Heavy compared to the rest

 BEST ALL-CONDITIONS: Hutchinson Sector 

the hutchinson sector 28 is the best all conditions road tubeless bike tire

Want a tire that sets up tubeless easily, holds air really well, lasts forever, and has full bead-to-bead puncture protection without a big weight penalty? The Hutchinson Sector is your tire.

Not only is it super durable and tough enough for the worst roads (and litter-strewn shoulders), it manages all that with great grip and all-weather traction thanks to a dual-compound rubber and small, nubby treads on the sides. Throw in a supple 127tpi casing and you get a great tire that’s comfortable mile after mile after mile.

Still, need convincing? The pros have raced it on Paris-Roubaix’s cobbles, and it’s even rated for light gravel and e-Road Bike use!

PROS: Durable, grippy, comfortable, proven by the pros
CONS: Limited sizes

Best Tube-Type Road Bike Tires

Not quite ready to make the jump to tubeless? That’s fine, there are still a LOT of great tires being made specifically for tubes. These are the favorites from our resident holdouts still running an inner tube.

Note that NONE of these tires should be used on a Hookless rim, and that while they may have lighter weights than some tubeless tires, you’ll be adding about 80-100g per wheel from the tube.

 BEST RACING: Goodyear Eagle F1 SuperSport 

goodyear eagle f1 supersport road bike tire review

While their standard F1 tubeless tire feels a bit meatier, this tube-type Goodyear Eagle F1 SuperSport feels ultra-lightweight, like a good race tire should.

Compared to the tubeless model, the SuperSport version sheds some of the extra rubber to create a race day tire that’s wicked light yet still keeps a small puncture belt under the tread cap. That construction, plus a supple 120tpi casing, gives it a weight of just 180g for the 23mm clincher option. Thankfully, they make wider sizes, too.

  • Size: 700c x 23, 25, 28mm
  • Weight: 210g (700×28)
  • MSRP: $65

PROS: Great for racing, lightweight
CONS: Really meant for racing only, not everyday mileage

 BEST ENDURANCE: Continental Gatorskins 

continental-gatorskin-race best road bike tires

This Bikerumor editor spends a lot of time coaching junior camps that rack up hundreds of miles in the course of each week. And while it’s fine if juniors are flatting on the regular (and they are), it’s less impressive if the coach constantly needs to stop.

For years, I’ve relied on the tried and true Continental Gatorskins, and I kid you not, I’ve never had a flat during a camp. I’ve run these tires until wires are poking out of the casing, and still, they just don’t quit.

Are they the fastest, the lightest, or the least rolling resistance? Hell, no. Will they get you from point A to point B without stopping for a lengthy flat repair? Most likely.

  • Size: 700c x 23, 25, 28, 32mm
  • Weight: 300g (700×28)
  • Tubeless ready: No
  • MSRP: $60

PROS: Relatively bombproof
CONS: Heavier, less racy

 BEST BUDGET: Pirelli P7 Sport 

pirelli p7 sport best road bike tires

The Pirelli P7 Sport uses Pirelli’s Pro rubber compound, adds puncture protection strip under the tread, and uses a tread pattern inspired by the brand’s top-level P ZERO Race… for under $35!

The tradeoffs for this price point are a less supple 60tpi casing (versus 120tpi), and a lack of the extra sidewall cut protection found on higher end tires. But it keeps the sipes to move water away and add cornering grip.

In short, as one editor put it, it’s the perfect all-seasons training tire. Read the full overview here, then grab a set for those base miles.

  • Size: 700c x 24, 26, 28 and 32mm
  • Weight: 310g (700×28)
  • Tubeless ready: No
  • MSRP: $35

PROS: Great price, good grip and durability
CONS: A bit heavy, less supple


BontragerAW3HardCase best road bike tires

The Bontrager AW3 (“All Weather”) is designed to be more flat resistant than other road tires, especially when the going gets rough. They also come in the widest size range out of any tire we have on this list, and the inclusion of a 38mm wide option makes them ‘gravel adjacent’.

Meaning, it’s a great tire if your rides sometimes include a few dirt roads or crushed-stone bike paths…or just a lot of rainy days. It has more texture to it than other road tires, with channels to wick water and dimples to improve traction in corners.

Independent testing by Wheel Energy in Finland found these tires were 78% stronger in terms of puncture protection compared to previous iterations, thanks to an aramid/nylon weave under the rubber tread.

  • Size: 700c x 25, 28, 32, 38mm
  • Weight: 305g (700×28)
  • Tubeless ready: No
  • MSRP: $60

PROS: Impressively flat-resistant, great traction in adverse conditions
CONS: Heavy

Road Tire Buyer’s Guide

Know the tire size. Tires are usually listed as diameter x width. For example, a “700×28” tire will fit a 700c wheel (which is what most road bikes use) and the tire will measure about 28mm wide once mounted. The actual tire width will vary slightly by manufacturer and by the width of the rim it’s mounted on.

Know your wheel size. Most road bikes will use standard 700c (or 28-inch) tires, but double check what size tires are on your bike right now, just to be sure.

Know how wide you can go. Your bike will have a certain tire clearance. Most road bikes can fit up to a 28mm tire. Road riders often use between 23mm and 25mm, though more are shifting to the slightly wider 28mm for more comfort, since wider tires provide a cushier ride and, counterintuitively, can be faster and more efficient, too.

Bikes with rim brakes typically max out at 28mm, but many modern disc brake road bikes can comfortably fit a 32mm tire. Just check with your bike’s manufacturer to confirm before ordering, this spec is usually listed on their websites for each model. Or just Google it.

Know what type of tire you want. There are three types of road tires:

  • Clincher: The most common road tires, these tires require a tube. They’re the easiest to install and change out for different conditions, and often the cheapest option.
  • Tubeless: As the name implies, these tires use a strip of tape on your wheel’s rim plus an ultra-snug fit and some sealant rather than a tube. Originally a mountain bike staple, they made their way to cyclocross and road in recent years. (Tires that are tubeless-compatible can also be used with a tube if necessary, but rarely is the reverse true).
  • Tubular: Some racers still swear by tubulars, tires that are all-in-one with tubes, the tire, plus a casing that is glued to the rim of the wheel. It’s a messy process, and very old-school. Unless you have a compelling reason to use tubulars, stick to clinchers or tubeless.

Consider the roads you ride. If you tend to ride bumpy roads, consider a wider, burlier tire that’s designed with comfort and flat protection in mind. If you do a lot of smooth, fast group riding, you can likely get away with a more narrow tire in a lighter-weight, racier style.

Consider your goals. Do you care about going faster in training, or do you prefer to avoid flats? This isn’t to say that every racy tire will wear out fast or immediately puncture, but the more lightweight and speedy a tire, the less longevity it tends to have.

Check the size twice before you hit Buy. Sometimes sales are too good to be true, and a certain tire might only be on clearance in a size that won’t fit your bike.

Frequently Asked Questions About Road Tires

How much do road tires cost?
You can spend anywhere from $20 to $150 on road tires. As with most things, the best value lies somewhere in the middle: Tires in the $50-80 range will typically have the benefits of a pricier tire without the hefty price tag. You may end up with slightly heavier, less supple tires, but they’ll also likely be more durable and longer-lasting.

Are road tires directional?
Some are, some aren’t. If it clearly has a tread pattern, it likely has a direction. Look for the way the arrows or chevrons on the tread are oriented to help you figure out which way to mount your tire -they usually point forward on the top of the tire- but also check the sidewall for an actual directional arrow to confirm.

Showing French and ETRTO measurements on the Goodyear tires.

What do the numbers on the tire mean?
We explained the tire sizing above, but some tires list their sizes differently. Important to note: Most tires list sizing in French or Inch style, and most road tires will be 700c and 28-inch.

  • French size specification: What you see on most road tires. This is listed as the approximate outer diameter of the tire as well as the width. Example: 700-33c
  • European Tyre and Rim Technical Organization (ETRTO): Sizing is by tire width in millimeters and the inner diameter of the tire in millimeters. Example: 33-622
  • Inch classification: Similar to the French specification, but in inches, which can make it much less precise. Example: 28×1.3

Can I run different tires for my front and rear?
For sure. Some racers and gear enthusiasts might prefer to stick to a matching set, but in general, mixing and matching won’t be a problem. Though unlike in mountain biking where there are potential benefits to a specific front tire and specific rear tire for traction, road riders will not notice a major difference.

What tire pressure should I run?
Tires will have a range of PSI (pounds per square inch) that indicates how much air you can pump into them. The lower you go, the more rubber will connect with the ground, which will give you more traction, comfort, and control. And tubeless tires let you safely run lower tire pressures without fear of pinch flatting a tube.

The higher you go, the firmer your ride will be. While this may feel faster, research has proven that lower tire pressures actually improve efficiency and decrease rolling resistance because the tire can absorb tiny vibrations and imperfections in the road, rolling faster and more smoothly.

Check your tire pressure before rides.

There’s a sweet spot between squirmy and firm, so experiment to see what works best for you. Check out this explainer article from Silca and our Q&A with Zipp about tire pressure for guidelines and a a more scientific explanation of why lower is better.

TL;DR – Most riders with Tube-type tires opt for around 80 to 100 PSI for road rides, depending on body weight. Tubeless riders typically run 60 to 80 psi. If you’re just switching from tubes to tubeless, drop the pressure a few PSI each ride until you find the right pressure for you.

If you need a better, more accurate floor pump to dial in your tire’s air pressure for every ride, you can find a list of our favorite bike pumps here.

Do I need a tube?
With tube-type clincher tires, yes. If you’re set up for tubeless, no. (Though you should carry a spare tube with you on rides in case of a flat that won’t reseal.)

Should I run tubeless?
More and more road riders are switching to tubeless tires. Tubeless tires don’t require tubes and instead use a tape around the wheel’s inner rim to seal off the spokes, then sealant is poured into the tire and the tire is seated, usually using an air compressor or a bike pump with a second chamber in order to add enough air quickly to get the tires to ‘sit’ on the rim of the wheel.

Setting up tubeless tires.

The sealant does exactly what you’d assume it would: Keeps the air sealed into your tire, even if you get a small puncture or you hit an obstacle hard and pinch your tire. They’re less prone to flats because of that, despite the fact that they can be run at lower pressures.

Modern road tubeless wheels and tires are now mostly standardized for fit, making them easier to mount and remove. And most of our recommended tires set up tubeless quite easily. However, there are outliers, and it can be messy, so if you’re not much of a mechanic, you may want to stick to regular tubes while you build your skills. Or have your local bike shop set it up for you.

One caveat: Tubeless tires typically need to be reinflated more often than tubes, possibly before every ride. But the performance and ride quality gains are worth the extra effort.

internal rim profile of zipp 303 hookless road bike wheels

What are “Hookless” rims?
Hookless tubeless rims, also known as Tubeless Straight Side (TSS) rims, are rims with a straight, smooth sidewall on the inside of the rim bed. Where standard clincher rims have a small hook at the top that helps trap the tire’s bead, hookless rims don’t.

While they originated on mountain bike tires where we run lower tire pressures, hookless designs are moving into gravel and road, and that’s a good thing. The rims can be made simultaneously stronger and lighter, and they generally improve the tire’s mounted profile and performance, too.

That said, there are two caveats: First, your tire must be approved for TSS use, and not every tubeless tire is. We listed that spec in our tire choices above, but you should look for that on your tire’s packaging or website to confirm.

You can also check your wheel’s website for lists. Zipp lists the hookless-compatible options here, and ENVE has a list here.

Tire brands like Hutchinson have lists of specific rims that are compatible with their tires, while companies like Schwalbe are a bit more open-ended about it, saying that while the Pro One tires are designed to meet hookless requirements, they’re still only “basically compatible”. And Specialized told us their S-WorksTurbo RapidAir was designed to be universally hookless compatible, but has only officially been tested and approved with Zipp’s latest TSS rims, and then only for some combinations.

Second, TSS rims are ONLY for tubeless use…never install or ride a tube-type clincher tire on these rims. That said, you can install a tube on these rims if you end up flatting and your sealant isn’t doing its job, but ONLY with a TSS-approved tubeless tire. Read our tech story with ENVE and our interview with Zipp for more about hookless rim designs.

What about tubulars?
Nope. (Not unless your team mechanic has mounted them for you and handed you a bike fully equipped with them, anyway. Otherwise, far too much work for minimal payoff for the average rider, and definitely not for training.)

pirelli p7 sport all season road bike tire puncture proof casings layers cutaway

What materials are road tires made from?
The simple answer is “rubber,” but of course, that’s not all. Each tire company will have their own unique synthetic or natural rubber compounds and blends, some designed to be lighter and faster, others designed to be longer lasting.

Two popular ingredients are silica and graphene, both of which help improve grip and durability. Most mid-level and high-performance tires have at least one if not both of these, albeit sometimes with fancy names…but they’re essentially the same base ingredients across all brands.

All tires wrap the rubber around an inner casing, usually a woven nylon fabric. Many tires also have reinforcements using protective materials like Kevlar to help protect you from flats. (Want more? We have a deep dive on tire construction right here.)

What does a tire’s TPI rating mean?
TPI—threads per inch—is used to notate what type of casing a tire has. Most “performance” tires will start at 60tpi, which is great for most riders and has a good balance between suppleness and durability.

Lighter-weight “race” tires can get 120tpi+ casings, which use thinner fibers to increase the thread count. They are very flexible and help the tire deform to match the terrain, so they feel amazing, but they’re expensive and not nearly as cut resistant.

What about tire beads?
Some tires come neatly folded up in a cardboard wrap, while others are open to full size. That’s because some tires have wire beads around the rims that make them rigid, while others have folding beads, typically made of Kevlar or a similar material.

Wire bead tires are cheaper, and heavier…you won’t find any on this list, and likely not on any bike costing more than $450 these days. Folding bead tires are lighter and higher end, but also more expensive. Tubeless tires will always be folded.

How do I know it’s time to replace my road tires?
Most of the time, road tires need to be replaced simply because you have a flat that isn’t fixable. Frequent fixable flats are another telltale sign that the rubber is getting a bit thin, which sometimes reveals itself as a visibly flatter center section. But another way to tell if they’re worn out is if you can see any wire or threads poking out of the rubber. Once you spot that fraying, it’s past time to replace them.

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2 years ago

You have “Best Road Feel” category and you don’t have the Vittoria Corsa in the test line-up? Disappointing. Pretty lackluster performance from a blog I used to trust.

2 years ago

Agreed. One resounding, “duh.”

2 years ago

My 2cent.
1) Gatorskin’s compound is old. It lack silica and other modern additives. That result in compromised wet grip. It doesn’t fully explain high fall rate of triathletes in rain, but popularity of Gatorskin in triathlon may have some correlation with it. I’d recommend Pirelli Cinturato Velo instead.
2) Continental GP5000 hit the very high mark for speed and durability. The tubed version is a lot lighter and less ‘harsh ride’ than tubeless version. It use higher TPI casing in tubed version than tubeless, after all.
Continental tires used to ride like a garden hose. Continental fixed it in GP5000 by adding elastomer insert layer to soften the tire up. Now, it ride like a cushioned garden hose.
3) Schwalbe is indeed more supple than Continental. But it’s still slower and wear faster. https://www.aero-coach.co.uk/time-trial-rolling-resistance-data
4) I don’t have good luck with Goodyear and Specialized durability. But they are not as bad as Michelin Power Competition which get cut super easily.
5) If you use very wide rim, avoid Zipp, Hutchinson, Michelin and old Pirelli Pzero Velo tires. They have narrow center tread and you’ll corner on the side wall.
Vittoria Corsa Control have the widest center tread width vs casing width that I know of. Regular Vittoria Corsa also have relatively wide center tread. However, Vittoria Corsa Speed have narrow center tread.

Antoine Martin
Antoine Martin
2 years ago
Reply to  Hexsense

Can’t believe the GP5000 (TL or not) is not even mentioned. It’s one of the fastest tire in the bicycle world (about a watt more than corsa speed) while being puncture resistant and hard wearing. you can use it for everything road related, racing training, riding along, endurance etc…
In the past i had to swap from race tire to tarining tire and they removed that hassle while removing flat anxiety from racing.
Guess they’re too old to get advertising.

2 years ago
Reply to  Antoine Martin

Yup, it would be too boring to just say “gp5k is still the best tube-type tire this year” every year until gp6k comes out.

No matter how many other tires I’ve tried over the last decade, I always come back to continental. Price, durability, grip in the wet, speed (albeit I can’t determine this one myself)… nothing beats em.

2 years ago
Reply to  Antoine Martin

Yeah, but you can’t get them. I have over 4000 of them on order for 14 months now, and have only received 30.

2 years ago
Reply to  Hexsense

This is great data thank you

rusty chain
rusty chain
2 years ago

Honestly would suggest panaracer gravel king slicks over gatorskins 8 days a week.

2 years ago

No love for the GP5000? BRR and AeroCoach rate it as the fastest reasonable tire (not a TT tire), it is quite durable and puncture resistant. Doesn’t ride bad either.

2 years ago

The linked article which mentions Hutchinson tyre compatibility dates from 2015, but my impression was that there have since been moves towards an ETRTO or ISO tubeless standard for tyres and rims. It has been reported (though not recently) that Mavic were working towards this. Did this standard ever happen, or is it likely to eventually?

The problem with rim compatibility lists is that they usually start and finish with Enve & Zipp, while in practice there are a multitude of rim makers or resellers, in North America, Europe, Asia, etc. An actual standard ought to simplify things as tyres and rims could then be tested for compliance, removing uncertainty.

Finally, I don’t think it’s accurate to say that only tubeless tyres can be made to work on TSS rims. It would be more correct to say that the companies’ lawyers would feel happier that way. The BR editors probably don’t remember this, but before the early 80s most rims lacked bead hooks, and tyres didn’t continually blow off.

2 years ago

How are the GP5000 and Gravelking Slick not in here?

2 years ago

Interesting choice which brands/models are included…

Duathlon Champ
2 years ago

no GP5000?….hmmm.

2 years ago

Grand Prix 5000 Grand Prix 5000 Grand Prix 5000 Grand Prix 5000 Grand Prix 5000 Grand Prix 5000 Grand Prix 5000

2 years ago

At least give the GP5K an honorable mention, or a reason for its exclusion.

2 years ago

Here are my compelling reasons for training and racing exclusively on tubular tyres:
1. The combination of full carbon clinchers, rim brakes and bombing down from the summit of Mont Ventoux to Bédoin or Malaucène at 90km/h does not inspire confidence. You could say that it’s… counterintuitive. So much so that Shimano has never released a full carbon clincher rim brake wheelset and most likely never will.
2. Using tufo tubular tape, a tubular tyre is even easier to install than a clincher with an inner tube. And much, much less messier than a tubeless installation where liquid latex gunk must be poured into the tyre. I enjoy reading clincher tyre reviews where « ease of mounting on a clincher rim » is an issue, just because it comforts my mind in knowing that it’s an issue that I will never have to deal with.
3. I do over 10k km per year on tubulars and I do puncture on rare occasions. When this happens, I know that I can still roll to a complete stop whilst maintaining control of my bike, and that by using my handy pressurized CO2 cartridge mixed with liquid latex gunk I can have my tubular tyre reinflated in a few minutes. For me, having to deal with sticking patches or fiddling around with tyre levers on the side of the road, especially in the winter when my hands are numb from riding, is simply… counterintuitive.
4. I’m an old-fashioned traditionalist fool who hates the look of dropped seat-stays and doesn’t understand why anyone would want to ride a handlebar other than a classic belgian bend.
5. Using the word « counterintuitively » in an odd and seemingly juxtaposed manner is very… counterintuitive.

K-Pop is dangerous to your health
K-Pop is dangerous to your health
2 years ago
Reply to  Czechmate

Congrats, you beat your nearest exhaustive list competitor by 65 words.

2 years ago

I’m feeling rather generous today, so I’m gladly donating all of my prize money from the exhaustive list competition to the K-Pop industry. I have faith that it’ll be wisely used to cut out fatty acids and refined sugars from all of their their preparations, making them less dangerous for consumption by humans, worldwide.

2 years ago
Reply to  Czechmate

Carbon clinchers and rim brakes were prolific. The tiny handful of people who managed to have and issue with tire failure barely qualifies as existent.

Tubulars are just a pain in the ass. They can deliver a great ride feel but good clinchers have closed the gap significantly enough that the hassle of gluing is had to justify. They’re also a little slower than an equivalent clincher but much slower when used with Tufo tape or an equivalent. The thicker the layer of anything between the tire and the rim bed, the more energy it absorbs. Tubular is safer to ride when flat, no argument there.

Tubular is also lighter, but like disc brakes, riders have long since decided clincher and disc are weight worth carrying.

2 years ago
Reply to  Dinger

Sorry mate, but “prolific” use of carbon clinchers and rim brakes is a moot argument for me. The designers of the Titanic also claimed that navigating an iceberg-ridden ocean at full speed and at night was “prolific” and that the risk of sinking was “barely existant”. The day that Shimano releases a full carbon clincher rim brake wheel, I MAY consider switching to clinchers. Meanwhile, I’ll happily and confidently continue to devour alpine descents at 90km/h, on the top tube à la Mohorič, on my beloved Dura Ace C60 and C40 wheels with their tubular tyres, cup-and-cone bearings and titanium freehubs.

Any speed penalty incurred by using tufo tubular tape is merely anecdotal: I’m still waiting for scientific proof or evidence that a tubular tyre mounted using tufo tape is “slower” than one mounted with glue. The weight penalty of clinchers and disc brakes, however, is very much quantifiable, even by the average Joe. I consciously prefer to sacrifice wet-weather braking performance and possibly take an anecdotal speed penalty over a quantifiable weight increase. It’s what I choose. Choice being one of the liberties of our free world, heroically saved from the grasps of evil by our forefathers on the battlefields of history and all that.

I’m an old-school fool but I know that tubulars are headed straight for extinction. Articles and opinions such as the one voiced by the author of the article above, relegating tubular tyres to the vestiges, or dare I say oubliettes, of yesteryear, only accelerate the process. I find this rather COUNTERINTUITIVE since only a few days ago a pseudo-advertisement was published here for the Vittoria x Dugast L’Eroica tubulars. Most certainly a swansong of handmade quality tubular tyres, I must admit they piqued my interest. But unfortunately I don’t own a bike museum where I could display them in a vitrine for all to cherish and admire: at 230€ a pop, it is difficult for me to fathom riding them despite all the joy and bliss that they must procure by doing so.

And this brings us to my final compelling reason for riding exclusively on tubulars. Purpose. I do it on purpose. Because if I look into the abysmal depths of my wretched soul, I find a grain of defiance. The sort of grain that manifests itself when someone asks me “Czechmate, why do you ride tubulars?” The sort of grain that replies “Because I can. And because you don’t.”

2 years ago

Not sure why the “Rumor Gang” overlooked the Vittoria Corsa line-up? It’s a tire that, in my humble opinion, would cross the line first in every category. Just saying. Thank you.

2 years ago
Reply to  M

Another vote for the Vittoria Corsas.

2 years ago

Could not agree with you more, although I do not ride in heavy rain, in such case I still find Gatorskin puncture resistance above use of GP5000 when not in wet conditions. When a GP5000 decides to wear, it goes downhill very fast.

2 years ago

For those who are wondering about GP5000’s, I had two bikes set up with GP4000’s a few years ago. First bike blew out the sidewall on the rear while putting on my gloves to go ride, Was fortunate it wasn’t a fast downhill or curve. Ok, could be just a fluke. Second bike about a month later. Leaving work to go ride. Look down and see a quarter sized bubble on the sidewall of the front tire. 4 Continental tires, 2 sidewall failures. All four tires well within stated pressures on the sidewalls. Will never ride Continental tires. Granted these were GP4000’s, but people gushed over those then just like the GP5000’s now.


2 years ago

What a fail this article is.

O. Tan
2 years ago

Sounds like a paid article as I find the Corsa as the best road feel, though probably not the most durable. GP5k definitely overall

2 years ago

Just here to add to the voices that this article is bupkis. Also here to put up another vote for Vittoria Corsa G2.0s. Best tyre I’ve ridden, hands down. Especially after having 4 GP5ks fail in one month because of the tissue-paper thin sidewalls a few years ago. GP5ks don’t do well in the heat, especially Virginia’s heat, don’t do well with less-than-perfect roads, and any amount of force on the sidewall (even a standard little bit of aggregate that spilled over into the road from someone’s driveway) will heavily risk gutting said wafer-thin sidewall. GP4KS2s were a better tyre, and I haven’t had any of the problems I had with the GP5ks on my Corsa G2.0s.

Crash Bandicoot
Crash Bandicoot
1 year ago

Quit kvetching about the GP5000. It’s a triathletes tire. Good on paper for rolling resistance and wear/puncture resistance but has the grip of a bowling ball especially in the wet. People buy Contis because of group think, they’re pretty crap for racing or hard cornering in comparison with the likes of the Corsa, Challenge Strada, Specialized Turbo, and Schwalbe One. They’re just a one trick pony.

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