The 7 Best Bike Tires for Gravel in 2020
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Gravel Tire is a vital component of an adventure bike. Tires are responsible for the stability offered by adventure bikes. They have designs that protect it from rough terrains. Thus, they give your bike the confidence to keep you going in severe riding conditions.
Picking a pair of gravel bike tires amidst plenty of options available in the market today is not an easy task. It takes a professional rider to spot the right gravel bike tire with rugged, durable, and comfortable features all at the same time.
You must consider many factors before you settle for a brand. Factors like tire dimensions, patterns, are essential shopping requirements for gravel bikes.
In this informative piece is the art of buying a gravel bike tire. You will find all it takes to pick out the best bike tires for gravel. Alongside the best bicycle tires for gravel is the requisite information for buying the best gravel bike tires.
Based on numerous factors, including 30 hours of research, consumer reviews, and side-by-side comparisons, the Schwalbe Marathon Mondial HS 428 Bicycle Tire comes highly recommended.
Best Bike Tires for Gravel
Schwalbe Marathon Mondial HS 428 Bicycle Tire
700 x 35
Kenda Small Block Eight Pro Tire
700 x 35
WTB Riddler TCS Light/Fast Rolling 700c Gravel Tire
700 x 37
Mavic Yksion Elite Allroad Tire
700 x 30
Panaracer GravelKing Folding Tire
700 x 28
Serfas Drifter Tire with FPS
700 x 32
MICHELIN Power Gravel Folding Bicycle Tire
700 x 35
1. Schwalbe Marathon Mondial HS 428 Bicycle Tire
First on the list of the best bike tires for gravel is the RaceGuard City/Touring Bicycle Tire from Schwalbe. The tire has a unique design that makes it the right choice for daily commuters. The tire is ideal for all kinds of tracks, trails, and roads.
It is a robust improvement from the Marathon XR predecessor and comes with the Schwalbe Evo technology. The RaceGuard City/Touring Bicycle Tire has a reflective sidewall that makes you stand out even in the woods.
The tire has excellent frictional abilities and grips well when it rains or snows. The tires have good puncture resistant abilities. You can ride through any track and even broken glasses without a puncture. Thus, you wouldn't have to change your tires with this one.
The downside to this tire is the weight. The tires are heavy and may be challenging to fix on your bike. You would have to use a professional bike mechanic to set them on your bikes.
If you don't mind the weight and have a handy bike mechanic, the RaceGuard City/Touring Bicycle Tire will make a great buy. They are durable and very reliable. They offer a good amount of traction on gravel. Thus, they won't slow you down even when you ride through rough terrain.
2. Kenda Small Block Eight Pro Tire
Next on the list is the Kenda Small Block Eight Pro Tire. Eight Pro Tire from Kenda is a unique gravel bike tire with spaced block patterns. The tire has a sleek, round profile for added stability and consistency.
The tire has a dual tread compound feature with L3R Pro tread. These features make Kenda Small Block Eight Pro Tire Ideal for gravel tracks. The tires are swift and dependable. No matter what diameter you opt for, they will not slow down, nor will they hardly fail, especially on dirt and gravel track.
The tire features small Stick-E rubber outer knobs around the profile for reasonable control on gravel tracks. The knobs do not compromise the speed, especially when ridden on difficult terrains.
Another stand out feature of the Kenda Small Block Eight Pro Tire is that it is tubeless. The absence of tubes makes the tire lightweight. Also, it kills off the chances of pinch flats and ensures you are comfortable when riding through rough terrains.
Kenda Small Block Eight Pro Tire is a great option, especially when you wish to get a cut-resistant tubeless tire. They are fast and very reliable. But, they would not provide you any added stability.
3. WTB Riddler TCS 700c Gravel Tire
WTB Riddler Light Fast Rolling Tire is a special gravel tire made from dual DNA rubber. The tires offer ideal riding experience, and it is puncture resistant. The design and materials make it easier to navigate corners without losing speed or balance. The tires feature a cornering knob that does not hinder the movement of the rider.
The tire is lightweight and tubeless. Thus, do not add extra weight to the bike. They enhance the rider's comfort, especially when riding long distances on a gravel path.
These tires can withstand rigorous use on gravel, dirt, and rock without much rolling resistance. The cornering knob is a great feature that helps you get through tricky corners without losing speed or traction. The tires are very easy to step up too. Thus, you won't need a bike mechanic to help you fix them up.
But, there are various substandard imitations of the product in the market. Thus, you have to pay attention to the credibility of the seller, so you don't get ripped off.
Make sure you get the WTB Riddler Light Fast Rolling Tire from a verified seller to avoid buying the fake version of the tire. Once you get the original set, you would enjoy the quality benefit that comes with the product.
4. Mavic Yksion Elite Allroad Tire
If you are not a fan of fat gravel tires, then you should check out the Elite Allroad Tire from Mavic Yksion.
Despite being sleek and lightweight, the Elite Allroad Tire is very rugged. The tire is ideal for all kinds of paths, as it has a slender yet durable design. The Elite Allroad Tire has the 30mm and 35mm variant.
You can install them on a tubeless wheel without seeking the help of a bike mechanic. The tire has a high-cut resistant ability. Thus, you can transit from the tarmac to a gravel track without worrying about a cut.
The tires offer good traction in all kinds of riding conditions without compromising the speed. The tires are the best match for lightweight bikes. They are not so big and would not put your bike out of proportion.
Also, they would add the right amount of weight to stabilize your bike. The tires are also very durable and would fetch you a reasonable distance before you get a replacement.
If you are looking for slim yet rugged gravel tires, then you should check out the Mavic Yksion Elite Allroad Tire. They are durable and would grip well in the wet and dirty path.
5. Panaracer GravelKing Folding Tire
Panaracer GravelKing Folding Tire is a high-quality gravel bike tire. The tire fairs well on gravel, dirt, and rocky/unbarred terrains. They have an ideal design that keeps it going in all weather conditions.
One stand out feature of the Panaracer GravelKing Folding Tire is the protection belt. The protection belt eliminates the chances of glass and rock cuts, especially when riding through with dirt paths in the winter.
Another feature is the ease of installing the tires on a tubeless rim. You don't need a tool to fix on the tires and would not experience bleedings on the sides of the tire.
The tires are great for daily commuters that ride their bikes through rough, stony parts. The extra size provides more stability on your bike. Thus, it enhances your riding experience, making you comfortable through long distant rides.
The only downside to using this tire is that they don't have that thick top design that helps it corner well without losing traction or speed. Also, they don't speed up well on pavements as they do on rough and dirt tracks.
If you are looking at getting a durable tire and don't mind the cornering abilities, then you should check this out. They are suitable for everyday use but not hardcore adventure rides.
6. Serfas Drifter Tire with FPS
Serfas Drifter Tire with FPS is ideal for hardcore race riders that do lots of drifting in dirt and gravels. The tire is a dual purpose drift and gravel tire. It corners well on pavements and rough terrains due to its threads.
Thus, if you are a fast rider that switches from roadways to gravel roads and you don't want to lose speed, then the tires will be a great fit. They fit well on mountain bikes, adventure bikes, and comfort bikes.
The bikes have designs fitted for high end drifting. Thus, it has high puncture resistance abilities for better durability. The tire enhances the comfort of the rider by adding balance and feel to the bike.
The tires do not lose speed on paved roads and are very durable. They can serve as both tube and tubeless tires. It is easy to install and not leak if installed.
Serfas Drifter Tires are good for bike racing and drifts. But, they are not your typical gravel bike tires.
7. MICHELIN Power Gravel Folding Tire
Last on the list of best bike tires for gravel is the MICHELIN Power Gravel Folding Tubeless Ready Bicycle Tire. Michelin is popular for its excellent craftsmanship when it comes to tires, and this model is no exception.
The Power Gravel Folding Tubeless Ready Bicycle Tire has a unique design that keeps it going through rough terrains. The geometry and tread patterns of the tire ensure there is no traction when riding through severe weather conditions.
The tire is easy to install on tubeless wheels, and you don't even need to use any tool. Also, the tires are reliable. They come with the Michelin power protection system that ensures cut-resistant tires. You can ride through broken glass, hard rocks, and dirt without suffering a cut in the wild.
The tire has the Michelin speed module that ensures it doesn't lose speed, especially on dirt. The threads and small knobs make it easy to handle sharp corners.
The downside to this bike tire is its size. It is big-sized, unlike most gravel bike tires. Thus, the tire will add little or no stability to your bike. It is lightweight and suitable for big bikes.
Power Gravel Folding Tubeless Ready Bicycle Tire is a reliable tire. But, it doesn't bring the extra stability associated with gravel bike tires.
Consideration Before Buying Bike Tires for Gravel
Before you invest in a gravel bike tire, there are factors you must consider. Here are the most important factors to consider when buying bike tires for your gravel bike.
The size of your wheels must match the tires you are about to buy. Ensure you cross-check this on the seller's details to make sure you get the exact size of your wheels when making a buy.
The tread pattern of gravel bike tires is different from the other types of tires. Gravel bike tires have large knobs and roughly detailed tread. The tread pattern handles its movement through gravel and dirt. The tread pattern also ensures the bike corners well and does not lose speed when moving through rough terrains.
You should inspect the treads and settle for a pair of tires that suit your daily needs. If you are a daily commuter who moves off-road, then you need tires with less tread to enhance your speed. But, if you ride through mud, dirt, and gravel, you need tires with knobs big enough to make sure you don't lose traction.
The width of a gravel bike tire is a unique feature that adds extra stability and comfort to the bike. Most gravel tires are 2-5mm thicker than the regular bike tires. Movement on gravels and rocks will affect the rider's control. Thus, thick tires serve as an extra cushion and enhance the handling of the bike.
When buying a gravel bike tire, you must consider your purpose before you make such a financial investment. If you already have a big bike, you must get a tire that would complement the bulk.
A tire of 30-35mm in width is appropriate for heavy bikes. They add balance and control to the bike. But, depending on the use, you can either get slim or thick tires for a bike with a lighter frame.
Tire pressure handles the rolling power of your tires. With the right tire pressure, your bike will roll faster. Also, you won't experience flats or discomfort when riding long distances. The average tire pressure for gravel bikes is between 25 to 35 psi.
When you buy a gravel bike tire, ensure to follow the maker's specification and psi to get the best out of your tires. Also, make sure you check and pump your tire regularly. This will make sure you do not run out of air pressure in the middle of a trip.
One of the essential qualities of a gravel bike tire is its endurance through rough terrains. Gravel tires have special features to protect them from wear and tear. Features like side protection belts keep the tires free from puncture and cut. Thus, before you buy a gravel bike tire, you should be able to verify its endurance level.
Also, a gravel tire should be able to hold your weight without losing pressure or going flat after a while. You must consider all these factors before settling for a gravel bike tire.
The durability of gravel bike tires depends on the nature of materials used in its production. Generally, tire makers use high-end rubber with other addictives. A durable tire will last from 3 to 6 months of constant usage before wearing off.
Thus, ensure you verify the nature of materials used for a tire before you make a buy. There are lots of fake sellers online. These sellers clone manufacturer's websites to sell substandard tires. Make sure you buy your tires from a reliable dealer. If possible, buy from the company. This way, you can trust the quality of the sale.
Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs)
Check out some of the frequently asked questions about gravel bike tires.
Q. What tire width is best for my bike?
A. The right width for your tire depends on the frame and the bulk of your bike. If you have a gravel bike with heavy frames and wheels, it's natural you get a pair of wide tires.
But, if your frame is light, you may either have to get a slim tire if it doesn't affect your handling and balance.
Also, if you have a lighter frame and have issues with handling, you should go for wider tires. Another factor that determines the width of your tire is the usage. If you ride through rough roads, you may need to get a wider gravel tire.
Q. Can I use gravel tires on paved roads?
A. Yes. It is possible to use gravel tires on paved roads. Most gravel tires have designs and geometry perfect for long-distance commuting on paved roads. But, they may not roll as fast as road bike tires. If you are comfortable with the balance and comfort they add to your bike, you can go for them.
Q. How long should my gravel tire last?
A. The durability and life span of a gravel tire depend on factors like its material and the frequency of usage. If you use your bike, especially on rough terrains, you should check your tires within 2-4 months. But, if you are a light user, your tires may last up to six months.
Q. How do I buy the best gravel bike tires?
A. With due diligence and attention to detail, you will get the best gravel bike tires for your bike. Ensure to buy the tire from a trusted seller, so you don't lose your investment.
Q. Is it ideal to overinflate gravel tires?
A. Do not over-inflate gravel tires because they are wider. Overinflating your tires will slow down the rolling abilities of the tire. Thus, this would lead to discomfort, especially when you go on a long-distance ride.
Summing It Up
To ride through dirt, gravel mud, and other rough terrains, you need the right pair of tires. Gravel bike tires have unique designs to ensure you don't have to worry about leaving the tarmac for off-road.
They can handle long-distance ride through small rocks and gravels without cutting or going flat. Before you settle for a gravel bike tire, you must consider your needs and riding pattern. Gravel bike tires fair well on paved roads but may slow down your speed.
They are not as smooth and as fast as the road bike tires. Gravel bikes come in handy in paths that would shred regular tires. They are best for rutted and rough trails. Gravel tires add extra stability to the bike. Thus, they increase the comfort of the rider.