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Best Commuter Bike Tires

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No one wants to stand at the side of the road on a bitter winter morning, fighting to fix yet another puncture on the way to the office. To keep you on the bike and to get to the office on time you need to think about better tires.

Of all the upgrades you can make to your commuter bike, a set of new tires gives a lot of bang for your buck.

The best tires for commuting combine solid puncture protection, speed, and comfort.

Here we take a look at the very best commuter bike tires and how to choose the right ones for your commute.

Top Picks:

Top 9 Best Commuter Bike Tires Reviewed

1. Schwalbe Marathon Plus Bike Tire (Best Overall & Most Puncture Proof)

Schwalbe Marathon Plus Bike Tire

CHECK PRICE AT REI

  • Tire type: Clincher
  • Bead: Wire
  • Width range: 25mm – 38mm
  • Diameter: 700c

For the best puncture protection without compromising speed, look no further than the Schwalbe Marathon Plus tire. This is achieved using the Smart guard system, a strong subsection of rubber that forces sharp objects back out and away from the inner tube.

There is a lot of great puncture-resistant tires, but none that also effortlessly marries comfort, speed, and grip to give you confidence no matter the conditions. 

Features:

  • Smart guard – innovative puncture protection system that really works.
  • Strong Sidewalls – they even include a dynamo track because tourers love this tire so much!
  • Great handling – even in the wet, these tires will keep you upright.

2. Continental Grand Prix 4 Season (Best For Road Bike)

CHECK PRICE AT AMAZON

  • Tire type: Clincher
  • Bead: Folding
  • Width range: 23mm – 32mm
  • Diameter: 700c

The Continental Grand Prix 4 Season is a great option for cyclists that like to work some training into their regular commutes. It is fast, grippy, and puncture-resistant.

Come winter, most club riders rock up to the café with these tires, and for good reason. Unlike other winter tires, it is lightweight, weighing just a few grams more than its speedy summer counterpart.

They are not the cheapest but their popularity with road cyclists shows that they are great value.

Features:

  • Vectran puncture-protection – great tear resistance for a very low weight penalty. The distinctive brown -mesh sidewalls offer plenty of protection against pothole edges.
  • Performance – Lightweight and low rolling-resistance that is almost on par with its high performance, summer tire, cousin.
  • Grippy – the rubber compound inspires acres of confidence in corners, even in wet conditions.

3. Michelin Protek (Best Urban Tire)

CHECK PRICE AT AMAZON

  • Tire type: Clincher
  • Bead: Wire
  • Width range: 35mm – 40mm
  • Diameter: 700c

For urban commuters that prioritize puncture protection and comfort, the Michelin Protek fits the bill nicely. The 1mm reinforced tread offers protection against the very worst of the debris that is usually swept into urban bike paths.

The tread pattern provides excellent grip on the tarmac even on those rainy commutes.

Features:

  • Puncture protection – the 1mm thick tread will keep you rolling through debris-strewn bike lanes all day long.
  • Comfortable ride – they seem to glide over the typical bumps and ruts that commuters face daily.
  • Great traction – if you like to stay upright, even in the wet, these tires do a solid job.

4. Pirelli Cinturato Velo (best tubeless tire)

CHECK PRICE AT AMAZON

  • Tire type: Tubeless
  • Bead: Folding
  • Width range: 26mm – 35mm
  • Diameter: 700c

The Pirelli Cinturato Velo is the legendary tire-makers entry into the tubeless bike tire world and it is not a bad attempt at all.

You get all the extra puncture protection you would expect swapping to a tubeless tire but also great confidence through the corners and all at a shockingly great price.

Even at low pressure, the aramid puncture-proof layer provides all the puncture protection you would ever need on a typical commute. 

Features:

  • Great performance – given the brands’ experience in the world of motorsport it is no surprise that you can put a lot of trust in these tires out on the road.
  • Puncture Protection – the benefits of running tubeless tires are amplified but the thick 3.7mm tread and the aramid layer.
  • Great value – it is hard to find other tubeless tires at this price let alone offering this much value.

5. Serfas Drifter Tire with FPS (Best For Hybrids)

CHECK PRICE AT AMAZON

  • Tire type: Clincher
  • Bead: Wire
  • Width range: 1.5-inch / 2.0-inch / 32mm
  • Diameter: 26-inch / 27-inch / 29-inch / 700c

If you want to turn your regular mountain bike into something more suitable for the urban roads of your commute, you need the Serfas Drifter. It is a great dual-compound tire that offers puncture protection and grip in abundance.

For hybrid riders unconcerned by marginal gain performance benefits, this tire does its job and does it well. This is mostly thanks to the Flat protection System, or FPS, found between each of the three layers that make up the tire.

Features:

  • FPS – the Flat Protection System is a great foundation for this tire and works well in the urban environment.
  • Dual-Density – strong at the circumference where you need it to be but supple at the side to provide plenty of grip.
  • Versatile – turn your mountain bike into an efficient commuting machine with this reliable and comfortable tire.

6. Schwalbe Land Cruiser (Best for MTB Commuter)

CHECK PRICE AT AMAZON

  • Tire type: Clincher
  • Bead: Wire
  • Width range: 2-inch
  • Diameter: 26-inch

The Schwalbe Land Cruiser gives the best of both worlds. The central profile of the tread pattern is ideal for tarmac but the unique side-pattern is great for some off-road riding.

 This means you have an efficient commuter Monday to Friday and a tough mountain bike at the weekends. It is also a great option if you are lucky to have a commute that takes you away from traffic and onto the trail.

Features:

  • Versatile – designed for on and off-road riding.
  • Puncture Protection – the high-density aramid fibers give sound protection against flats.
  • Sized for MTB’s – great tire for 26-inch wheels.

7. Continental Contact Speed (Best 26-Inch Commuter Tires)

CHECK PRICE AT AMAZON

  • Tire type: Clincher
  • Bead: Folding & Wire
  • Width range: 1.1-inch / 1.25-inch / 1.3-inch / 1.6-inch / 2.0-inch / 28 – 42mm
  • Diameter: 20-inch / 26-inch / 27-inch / 700c

Riders that don’t run standard 700c wheels, rejoice! The Continental Contact Speed is a superb all-roads commuter tire that comes in a huge range of widths and sizes.

As befitted any worthy commuting tire, the puncture protection scores relatively highly thanks to the tread compound and the Safety System comprised of Kevlar layers beneath the tread.

The ride is compliant and the tires do a good job at smoothing out pot-marked tarmac common to most commutes through town.

Features:

  • Huge array of sizes – you will struggle to find a wheel size that these tires are not compatible with.
  • Good puncture resistance – hard-wearing tread and Kevlar layers to prevent punctures.
  • Dynamo compatibility – tourers still running old-school bottle dynamo’s will love this tire.

8. Continental Ride Tour (Best Budget Commuter Tires)

CHECK PRICE AT JENSON USA

  • Tire type: Clincher
  • Bead: Wire
  • Width range: 28 – 42mm
  • Diameter: 700c

Don’t be confused by the name, the Continental Ride Tour is most definitely designed for the demands of commuting.

In trying to compete with the gold-standard Schwalbe Marathon Plus it has achieved great puncture protection whilst just falling short on ride performance. Still, for the price, these small flaws are easy to look past.

Features:

  • Outstanding value – budget tires that still pack plenty of performance on the road.
  • Tough – what it lacks in finesse it more than makes up for in puncture resistance.
  • Dynamo Track – you can’t call it a touring tire and not have a dynamo track!

9. Continental Gatorskin

CHECK PRICE AT AMAZON

  • Tire type: Clincher
  • Bead: Folding
  • Width range: 1.25-inch / 23-32mm
  • Diameter: 27-inch / 650c / 700c

The Continental Gatorskin is one of the most popular winter training tires due to the keen pricing and Duraskin puncture protection.

Without the Black Chili compound used in other, more expensive, Continental tires the Gatorskin grip suffers but on dry roads it is hard to tell the difference.

Features:

  • Great value – their keen price makes them an excellent choice for a set of winter training tires.
  • Puncture protection – strong sidewalls and the Duraskin feature pack plenty of puncture resistance.
  • Lightweight – despite the low price, there is not a massive weight penalty compared to the equivalent, faster summer tires.

The Main Tire Brands Cycling Commuters Use

Continental

You won’t have to stand at the side of the road for long to spot a bike fitted with Continental tires. They are one of the most trusted brands of bike tires, combining 145 years of tire-making pedigree with reliable German engineering.

Schwalbe

Since their formation in 1973, Schwalbe has been raging an ongoing battle against punctures. Its legendary Marathon tire was launched in 1983 and has set the standard for puncture protection ever since.

Michelin

More than just a recognizable logo, Michelin also invented the first-ever removable bike tire way back in 1891.

Pirelli

Legendary motorsports tire maker turns its attention to bike tires with predictably great results, especially their tubeless tires.

How To Choose Tires For Bike Commuting

Puncture Protection

Puncture protection is the number one feature you should look for in a commuter tire. Worry about performance on your weekend rides.

There is no point in having the fastest tire in the world if you have to stop regularly to fix punctures at the side of the road. The time lost fixing one flat tire will erode any time gained on the road with a higher performance tire even if you ride for a thousand years.

Different brands have their own proprietary puncture protection system but most are built around using strong layers between the rubber.

We would all love to commute on butter-smooth roads but the reality for most riders is uneven tarmac and a minefield of potholes. Strong, reinforced sidewalls are needed in these conditions.

Width

Even the pro-peloton are opting for wider tires and you should too for commuting. The extra width means that you can run them at lower tire pressures which ultimately makes for a much more comfortable riding experience without sacrificing a significant amount of speed.

Of course, you can’t just go out and buy the widest tire you can get your hands on. You first need to check that your bike frame can handle a wider tire, especially if you are running rim brakes on your bike.

Grip

Since most commuting is done on the tarmac, the grip from the tire comes less from the tread pattern and more from the actual rubber compound that makes up the tire.

The tread pattern helps to shed water on those rainy commutes but a smooth tire places more rubber on the road and this extra friction helps you stay upright.

Bead/ Folding

Clincher-style tires come in folding and rigid types. The Kevlar strands used in folding tires are flexible making it easy to fold the tire. They are lighter and easier to store (more relevant for any long-distance cycle touring).

The weight saving means that folding tires are typically more expensive but for commuting it is arguable if these performance gains are worth the extra money.

Tubeless Vs Clincher

Tubeless tires have been the standard in the pro-peloton for a few years and are slowly gaining more acceptance amongst recreational riders. They are self-sealing against the rim and don’t require an inner tube.

They are slightly more fiddly to install than regular tires but once on, they give excellent puncture protection and superior ride comfort since they can run at lower pressures without worrying about pinch-punctures. 

The sealant used also helps to automatically repair small punctures on the go so you can limp to the office without needing to stop to fix the wheel.

And there is the rub – they are harder to repair at the side of the road compared to standard clincher tires.

How To Change Bike Tires Quickly

Before finding out how to change a tire at the side of the road, you need to know what tools and spares you need to carry in your saddlebag:

  • Tire levers – Some good quality tire levers make it much easier to get the tire off the rim. Don’t just go for the cheapest option, you will regret it when they break on a cold morning.
  • Inner Tube – Replacing the punctured inner tube with a new one is much faster than patching the puncture at the side of the road. Stuff the old one in your bag to protect the environment and it can be patched back at home and used again.
  • Mini-pump or CO2 cartridge – something to put air back into your inner tube and get going again.
  • Pair of surgical gloves – changing a tire can be a messy affair. A pair of disposable gloves will save your hands and clothes on the way to the office.
  1. For a real-wheel puncture shift the gears to the smallest rear sprocket and the largest front sprocket to make it easier to remove.
  2. Release the Quick-Release mechanism and remove the punctured wheel.
  3. Using the tire lever, remove one side of the tire from the rim. This could be difficult depending on the tire and the ambient temperature so don’t be afraid to use some force.
  4. With one side of the tire removed from the rim, remove the deflated inner tube.
  5. Carefully run your hand through the inside of the tire to check that cause of the puncture is not there. This might be sharp so take care.
  6. Once you are confident there are no longer any foreign objects lodged in the tire place the new inner tube inside the tire. Pumping a little air into the tire helps at this point as it keeps its shape much better.
  7. Lift the edge of the tire back over the rim. Sometimes this can be down using only thumb strength but don’t be afraid to use the tire levers again if needed.
  8. Go around the circumference on both sides of the tire to check that the inner tube has not been pinched between the tire and the rim of the wheel.
  9. Pump up the tire using the pump or CO2 cartridge and then replace the wheel.
Video: How To Replace An Inner Tube

Commuter Tires: FAQs

How Wide Should My Tires Be?

Wider tires, even on road bikes are all the rage. Where the standard a few years ago was 23mm, it is more common to see 25mm and even 28mm on road bikes.

The width of the tire is limited by the bike frame clearance but in general, a wider tire is more comfortable and even faster.

Read More: Commuting with a road bike

What Tire Pressure Is Recommended For 700c Commuter Tires?

The right pressure depends on the weight of the rider (plus any luggage and the width of the tire since wider tires can be run at lower pressures.

On 23c tires, a 90kg rider should aim for around 120psi.

How To Get The Most Mileage Out Of A Commuter Tire?

Sticking to well-treated, smooth roads for your commute should prolong the life of your tire. Avoid locking your rear wheel hen braking.

What Are The Best Puncture Resistant Bike Tires?

Tubeless tires offer great puncture protection compared to standard tires. The sealant used means that they can even self-heal a small puncture and get you to the office without having to get your hands dirty.

Rolling Up!

Getting the right tires for your commute is perhaps the best upgrade you can make to your bike. All the tires here blend great puncture protection with performance to take the stress out of getting to the office.

A lot of riders, especially new riders, fear getting a puncture and having to sit at the side of the road getting dirty. It sucks but it should not be feared and it definitely should not stop you from using your bike to commute.

For great rolling and superior puncture protection look no further than the Schwalbe Marathon Plus. It has earned its legendary reputation and keeping tires inflated is in the company’s DNA.

If you like the idea of going tubeless, the Pirelli Cinturato Velo is a great place to start. Great performance at a great price.

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Bike Push - Mark W
Mark W
I’m a cycling enthusiast, and the founder and chief editor of Bike Push. If I’m not working on this website, then I’m out on the bike clocking up the miles. I want to help others get the most out of cycling.

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