How to choose the best road bike tyres

There are many different kinds of road bike tyres to choose from, all with a wide variety of features, technologies and price points. We’ll cover everything you need to know to help you choose the best road bike tyres for your riding style, whether you’re riding for fun or racing for a spot on the podium.

What types of road bike tyres are there?

Most bikes come with tube-type tyre set-ups that rely on an inner tube to hold air. For most riders, this is the best place to start when looking for replacement tyres. Some higher-performance tyres may be tubeless ready, meaning they don't need to be used with tubes. Instead, they can 'go tubeless' by combining them with tubeless-ready wheels and sealant for a boost in performance. There are also tubular tyres, used mostly by professional road racers that have a tube sewn into the tyre.

Clincher tyres

Clincher road bike tyres are some of the most common. They mount to a standard hooked rim and use an inner tube to hold air pressure.

Tubeless clincher tyres

Tubeless clincher road bike tyres are a variation of a standard clincher tyre that eliminate the need for an inner tube. These virtually eliminate flats as the inner tube is replaced with a liquid sealant designed to seal small cuts and punctures as soon as they happen.

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Tubular tyres

Tubular road bike tyres are only compatible with tubular wheels as they combine the inner tube and tyre into one and are glued onto the wheel with a special glue. Tubular tyres are generally reserved only for use in high-performance racing situations.

Road bike tyre clearance

A wide road bike tyre grips better, and allows you run lower tyre pressures for a smoother ride over rough roads. The best way to find the width that works best for you is to try a variety of options, while also keeping in mind that not all tyres are compatible with all bikes. It’s important to check around the entire wheel and tyre to make sure there is adequate clearance between all parts of the frame and front fork. Rim width can also affect your tyre width, so just because a tyre is marked as a 28 mm wide tyre, doesn’t mean it will actually measure 28 mm wide on every rim.

Road bike tyre pressure tips

A recommended road bike tyre pressure range can be found printed on the side of all tyres.The amount of air in a tyre has a large effect on the performance of your tyre. Too much pressure will sacrifice traction, and too little pressure will sacrifice tyre tyre support. You’ll get the best performance out of your tyres by setting them up at the recommended pressures.

If you decide to put on wider tyres, remember to adjust your tyre pressure. Personal preference plays a large role here, but wider tyres tend to have more overall volume and perform better at slightly lower pressures than narrower tyres.

Recommended tyre pressure chart

Bontrager road bike tyre tread guide

R series

A race-ready line of tyres focused on performance, durability and speed that can also handle the rigours of everyday riding.

AW series

All-weather tyres with outstanding grip in wet or dry conditions and perfect if you're faced with a road full of debris.

T series

A strong, supple line of tyres with recessed tread for multi-purpose riding in dynamic weather with a durable compound that gives long tread life for training, touring or recreational riding.

Bike tyre anatomy

Although tyres may seem like simple rubber objects, they are actually super complex technological marvels! They’re made with special casings, rubber compounds, tread patterns and even puncture-protection technologies, all designed to ensure that you have an amazing ride.

Learn more about the parts of a bike tyre

Bontrager road tyre technology

Hard-Case Lite Puncture Protection

The lightest weight line of defence that features a belt directly under the tread, preventing glass, thorns and other road debris from penetrating the tread and puncturing the inner tube.

Hard-Case Puncture Protection

Three-way, lightweight puncture protection, featuring the sub-tread breaker belt found in Hard-Case Lite, plus a second anti-cut bead-to-bead casing and anti-pinch sidewall support to help prevent pinch flats from obstacles like potholes.

TR-Speed rubber compound

A proprietary rubber compound that's faster in the lab and on a variety of road surfaces.

Built for you

Bontrager prides itself on making quality, innovative components and thoughtful accessories with a rider-first, no-compromise mentality. Whether you’re looking for a replacement part, upgraded components or a fresh set of wheels, every Bontrager product is built to make your next ride better than your last.

Be confident in your decision

If for any reason you’re not satisfied with a Bontrager aftermarket purchase, return the item, along with the original sales receipt to the original place of purchase within 30 days for an exchange or refund. Think of it as a 30-day test ride.

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