12 Best Commuter Bike Tires for 2021 (Top Brands Reviewed)

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A lot of us commute with our bikes daily for work or other responsibilities. But seldom do we think about the tires that get us there. You would be surprised how much your riding experience can improve just by getting a suitable set of tires. The right tires can drastically enhance speed, comfort, and safety while cycling.

There is no commuter category for bike tires. For commuting, you can use a wide variety of bikes. These include road bikes, touring bikes, urban bikes, and even cyclocross bikes. Because of this, it is quite challenging to select the right tires. Well, this article will provide you with all the information you need when buying new tires, including reviews for the best commuter bike tires available.

Buying Guide: Commuter Bike Tires

1. Bike Tire Anatomy

Other than the tube, the structure of a clincher and a tubeless tire is pretty much the same. They consist of four main parts – casing, bead, tread, and sidewall.

  • Casing: This is the foundation of a tire to which everything else is joined. It is a densely woven fabric, usually made of nylon, silk, or cotton. The casing is rated in terms of TPI (threads per inch) value. A low TPI means thicker threads and stronger puncture protection, but a higher rolling resistance as well. The opposite is true for high TPIs which have finer threads.
  • Bead: The bead of a tire is what holds the tire to the rim. It is made of steel (wire bead) or kevlar (folding bead) and runs along the inner circumference of the tire on both sides. The air pressure inside pushes on the bead and it hooks into the inner ridge of the rim.
  • Tread: The tread is the outer rubber that comes into contact with the ground and provides traction. It could have a 3D pattern with knobs sticking out, or it could be completely smooth. The pattern varies according to the intended use.
  • Sidewall: This is the outer part of the tire that does not come into contact with the ground. Consequently, it consists of only a thin layer of rubber. The thickness will vary depending on the kind of tire.

Tire anatomy

Image: Tire-anatomy

Image Source: maxxis.com

2. Tire Type

Regardless of the bike, you will encounter one of three types of tires – Clinchers, Tubeless, and Tubular. Each type is built differently and offers varying performance.

  • Clinchers: These are the most common type of tire you will find, and nearly all bikes have these tires. They make use of an inner tube inflated with air that lies between the wheel rim and the tire. The tire itself is held onto the rim by the tire beads. The reason they are so popular is that they are easy to fix when you get a flat. All you have to do is pry off one side of the tire and replace the tube. They are also easy to install and have low rolling resistance.
  • Tubeless: Recently, tubeless tires have gained popularity, especially with road bikes, after their success with mountain bike tires. These tires get rid of the tube and air is instead filled into the space between the tire and rim. You will experience far fewer flats. Puncture flats are dealt with with the use of a liquid sealant poured into the tire. Most of the time the hole is sealed up before you even notice. While pinch flats are eliminated entirely due to the absence of an inner tube. However, tubeless tires require specially designed rims to provide an airtight seal, and notoriously difficult to install.
  • Tubular: This kind of tire uses a tube as well. But unlike clinchers, the casing is fully wrapped around the tube and sewn shut, giving it a ‘tubular’ shape. The tire is then attached to the rim using glue or double-sided tape. While these tires offer many benefits for professional road racers, they are not recommended for commuting purposes.

Tire types

Image: Tire-types

Image Source: slowtwitch.com

3. Tire Width

The width of the tire plays a major role in the performance of your bike. Wider tires are generally better since they provide better grip, comfort, and durability. Furthermore, they can be run with a lower pressure which adds to the comfort and shock absorption. However, the wider a tire is, the heavier it will be and the more aerodynamic drag it has. Although, these two factors do not really affect commuters too much.

The sweet spot for commuting tire widths is between 28 and 42 millimeters, which is more than a road bike tire but less than a mountain bike tire. Before buying a set of tires, be sure to check whether your bike is compatible or not. The width you can use may be limited by the rim width, frame clearance, and/or the brakes. If you are unsure about these factors on your bike, then consult with the seller or a bike mechanic.

Size marking

Image: Size-marking

4. Wheel Diameter

Most road, touring, or urban bikes are fitted with 700c wheels which translates to a diameter of 700 millimeters. So, as long as you buy a tire of this size, most of you should be fine. However, there are some with 650c, 26”, or 29” wheels. Just be sure to measure your bike wheels beforehand. Some of you may own only a mountain bike and wish to use that for commutes. In that case, you should replace the wide, knobby tires with something more suitable. MTB wheels usually have sizes of 29”, 27.5”, and 26”. For reference, a 700c tire should fit just fine on a 29” wheel.

Common Bike Tire Sizes

Size (wheel diameter)ETRTO/ISO size (mm)
26”559
27”630
27.5”584
29”622
650b584
650c571
700c622

5. Puncture Protection

Manufacturers usually incorporate puncture protection into a tire in the form of using special materials underneath the tread, reinforcing the casing fiber, or simply thickening the tread. Whichever method is used, it is important to note that extra protection will also translate to a heavier and slower rolling tire. In addition, you can keep the pressure of a tire high to reduce the chances of a flat. For absolute protection, look for tires that have some sort of safeguard for the sidewalls as well.

The conditions you ride in will also determine how much protection is necessary. If you cycle through paths that may have broken glass, sharp rock, or nails, then go for as much puncture resistance as you can get. On the other hand, if you ride long distances on smooth roads, then it’s better to keep your tires light and easy rolling.

Flat tire

Image: Flat-tire

6. Tread Pattern

You might think that more aggressive tread patterns will have a better grip, and they are for mountain biking. But surprisingly enough, this is not always the case. In fact on smooth tarmac, the smoother a tire is the better (given that an appropriate pressure is used). This is because large knobby treads lead to less contact area and hence, less traction. Therefore, the kind of terrain you encounter on your commute will decide what sort of tread pattern is suitable. If you happen to come across some dirt or gravel paths, then tires with light tread patterns are enough.

Tread patterns

Image: Tread-patterns

7. Compound

Rubber compounds on a tire can vary quite a bit and they also have a significant effect on the performance of the tire. The exact mixture of raw materials used is closely guarded by the respective manufacturers. In general, compounds differ in hardness which is sometimes measured in terms of durometer. The lower the number, the softer the rubber and vice versa.

Softer rubbers have a greater grip as they can conform better to the ground. In contrast, hard rubber is more durable and rolls with better efficiency. Many high-end tires feature a dual compound. These have a harder rubber along the middle to decrease wear and rolling resistance with a softer compound on the sides for cornering traction.

Our Top Pick(s)

We have curated this list of products by rigorously testing each tire and evaluating how they performed in terms of traction, rolling resistance, puncture protection, durability, etc. We have also taken into account other factors, such as the price. Out of all the tires, we have picked the Continental Gatorskin for our ‘Overall Best Choice’.

Continental Gatorskin

The top tire for urban and touring cyclists | Overall Best Choice

The Continental Gatorskin is a high-quality tire made for touring, road cycling, and even racing. This tire is our top pick due to its impressive overall performance. The grip, comfort, durability, and rolling speed are all top-notch. There is also a wide range of sizes available, so you cannot go wrong with this tire.

  • Tire Type: Clincher
  • Recommended Use: Road, commuter, touring, racing
  • Diameters Available: 700c, 650c, 27”
  • Widths Available: 23c, 25c, 28c, 32c, 1 ¼”, 1 ⅛”
  • Size Tested: 700 × 25c (ETRTO 25-622)
  • TPI: 3/180
  • Bead: Folding/Wire
  • Weight (g): 245
  • Max PSI: 120
  • Casing: PolyX Breaker
  • Protection: DuraSkin
  • Color: Black

 

A quick glance at our list of the best commuter bike tires that we have selected:

TireWeight (grams)Our Ratings
Continental Gatorskin24593
WTB ThickSlick26092
Continental RIDE City85090
Schwalbe Marathon Supreme HS 46956089
Schwalbe Marathon Plus90089
Kenda K841A Komfort69088
Kenda K83873787
Continental CONTACT Plus Travel93087
Serfas Drifter City95086
WTB All Terrain54086
Kenda Kwest61585
Continental RIDE Tour54082

12 best commuter bike tires you can buy today

TirePreviewTypeUseDiameters AvailableWidths AvailableBeadWeight (grams)
Continental GatorskinContinental GatorSkin DuraSkin Folding Tire, Black, 700 x 28ccClincherRoad, commuter, touring, racing700c, 650c, 27”23c, 25c, 28c, 32c, 1 ¼”, 1 ⅛”Folding/Wire245
WTB ThickSlickWTB ThickSlick Flat Guard Tire, 700x25cm BlackClincherRoad, commuter, touring700c, 26”, 27.5”, 29”23c, 25c, 28c, 1.95”, 2”, 2.1”Wire260
Continental RIDE CityContinental Ride City ETRTO (32-622) 700 X 32 Reflex Bike Tires, BlackClincherRoad, trekking, gravel, e-bike700c, 26”32c, 37c, 42c, 47c, 1.75”Wire850
Schwalbe Marathon Supreme HS 469SCHWALBE Marathon Supreme HS 469 HS Speed Guard Cross/Hybrid Bicycle Tire - Folding - 28 x 2.0Clincher / tubelessRoad, commuter, touring, e-bike700c, 26”, 27.5”32c, 35c, 40c, 1.6”, 2”Folding560
Schwalbe Marathon PlusSCHWALBE Marathon Plus HS 348 Road Bike Tire (20x1.35, Allround Wire Beaded, Reflex)ClincherRoad, commuter, touring, e-bike700c, 16”, 20”, 24”, 26”, 27.5”25c, 28c, 32c, 35c, 38c, 1.35”, 1.5”, 1.75”, 2”Wire900
Kenda K841A KomfortKenda K841A Komfort 26x1.95 Steel Bead Black TireClincherRoad, commuter, touring, off-road26”1.95”Wire690
Kenda K838Kenda Tires K838 Commuter/Cruiser/Hybrid Bicycle Tires, Black, 26-Inch x 1.95ClincherRoad, commuter, touring, off-road26”1.95”Wire737
Continental CONTACT Plus TravelContinental Country Plus Travel ETRTO (37-622) 700 x 37 Reflex Bike Tires, BlackClincherRoad, commuter, touring, e-bike, light off-road700c, 26”37c, 42c, 47c, 1.75”, 2”Wire930
Serfas Drifter CitySerfas Drifter Tire with FPS, 26 X1.5-InchClincherRoad, commuter, gravel, off-road700c, 20”, 24”, 26”, 27.5”, 29”32c, 1.5”, 2”, 2.2”, 2.25”Wire950
WTB All TerrainWTB All Terrain TireClincherCommuter, touring, off-road, gravel700c, 26”32c, 37c, 1.95”Wire540
Kenda KwestKenda Tires Kwest Commuter/Urban/Hybrid Bicycle Tire - 700 x 35c, BlackClincherRoad, commuter, touring, gravel, off-road700c35cWire615
Continental RIDE TourContinental Ride Tour City/Trekking Bicycle Tire, 700x42ClincherRoad, commuter, touring, gravel, e-bike700c, 12", 16", 20", 24", 26", 27"28c, 32c, 37c, 42c, 47c, 1 ¼”, 1 ⅜”, 1 ½”, 1 ¾”, 2 ¼”Wire540

1. Continental Gatorskin: The top tire for urban and touring cyclists | Overall Best Choice

Continental Gatorskin
  • Tire Type: Clincher
  • Recommended Use: Road, commuter, touring, racing
  • Diameters Available: 700c, 650c, 27”
  • Widths Available: 23c, 25c, 28c, 32c, 1 ¼”, 1 ⅛”
  • Size Tested: 700 × 25c (ETRTO 25-622)
  • TPI: 3/180
  • Bead: Folding/Wire
  • Weight (g): 245
  • Max PSI: 120
  • Casing: PolyX Breaker
  • Protection: DuraSkin
  • Color: Black

Features & Considerations
  • High Speed Rolling: The low-profile, smooth tread and the rubber compound keeps the rolling resistance low and makes it suitable for road racing.
  • Extra Protection: The PolyX Breaker casing with the tightly woven fiber and the DuraSkin protection for the sidewall ensures a long life for the tire.
  • Folding Bead Available: You can get this tire with either a folding bead or a wire bead, whichever is your preference.
  • Lightweight: Even the heaviest version of this tire weighs only 430 grams. This provides comfort and high speed while cycling.
  • Multiple Size Options: This tire is available in numerous sizes that can be mounted on just about any road bike.
  • Reasonable Price: The price of this high quality and high-performance tire is surprisingly low.
  • Wear Durability: The tire features a rubber compound that wears very slowly, thus increasing the life of the tire.

Some Weaknesses
  • Smooth tread makes them less grippy outside urban roads.

The Continental Gatorskin is simply one of the highest performing tires that you can buy for a road bike. Firstly, you can get this tire in a lot of different options. Multiple sizes and even wire/folding bead choices are available. We tested the 700 × 25c version with a foldable bead. Right off the bat, we were impressed with how light this tire is. The tread is pretty smooth and you can keep the air pressure quite high in this tire. All of this makes it a very fast rolling tire. This means alongside regular commuting, you can race with them as well.

The Gatorskin is also very durable. It has a good quality casing with densely woven polyester fiber which is also used in car tires. The sidewall is well-protected too with a DuraSkin layer. Our tester has gotten hundreds of miles on this without experiencing a single flat. However, this is a clincher type with an inner tube, and so pinch flats are still a possibility. Other than that there are no real downsides to using this tire for commuting purposes. Moreover, they have a fairly reasonable price.

Continental Gatorskin Bike Tire

Continental Gatorskin Bike Tire

2. WTB ThickSlick: No-frills, sleek design w/ twice the rubber than other tires

Sale
WTB ThickSlick
  • Tire Type: Clincher
  • Recommended Use: Road, commuter, touring
  • Diameters Available: 700c, 26”, 27.5”, 29”
  • Widths Available: 23c, 25c, 28c, 1.95”, 2”, 2.1”
  • Size Tested: 700 × 25c (ETRTO 25-622)
  • TPI: 27
  • Bead: Wire
  • Weight (g): 260
  • Max PSI: 100
  • Casing: Comp/Flatguard
  • Compound: DNA rubber (60 durometer)
  • Color: Black

Features & Considerations
  • Puncture Protection: This tire is covered with an extra thick layer of WTB’s DNA rubber compound which is rated at 60 durometer.
  • High Speed Rolling: The hard rubber and smooth surface keeps the rolling resistance at a minimum and allows for fast-paced cycling.
  • Lightweight: The weight of this tire is very low which further allows for high speeds and also for less effort while pedaling.
  • Value for Money: Among the tires we have tested, this one has the best price when compared to the performance and quality.
  • Multiple Sizes Available: There is a wide range of sizes available for this tire that can fulfill the needs of every rider.
  • Customizable: You can choose from 2 colors as well as 3 types of casings – Race, Comp, and Flat Guard – according to your riding style.

Some Weaknesses
  • Not much protection from cuts and abrasions.

The WTB ThickSlick, in our opinion, delivers the best bang for the buck if you are looking for a road/commuting tire. Its performance is comparable to that of the Gatorskins, but they come at a lower price. This tire does not have any tread pattern and the DNA compound is a relatively hard rubber. Consequently, you get very little rolling resistance. To our surprise though, the grip is not bad at all for urban use, even in the rain. What further improves speed and comfort is the low weight and the high PSI capacity.

The ThickSlick comes in various sizes and with what WTB calls ‘levels’. These levels basically have different thicknesses for the rubber. We bought and tested the 700 × 25c size with the Flat Guard level. This spec has around twice the rubber thickness as most other road tires. Hence, the puncture protection is incredible. Even if you roll over sharp objects, they won’t usually reach the inner tube. If we had to nitpick, we would’ve preferred an extra layer underneath to protect the sidewall better.

WTB ThickSlick Tire

WTB ThickSlick Tire

3. Continental RIDE City: Robust tire for both on-road and off-road use

Continental RIDE City
  • Tire Type: Clincher
  • Recommended Use: Road, trekking, gravel, e-bike
  • Diameters Available: 700c, 26”
  • Widths Available: 32c, 37c, 42c, 47c, 1.75”
  • Size Tested: 700 × 37c (ETRTO 37-622)
  • TPI: 3/180
  • Bead: Wire
  • Weight (g): 850
  • Max PSI: 65
  • Protection: EXTRA PunctureBelt
  • Color: Black/grey/cream

Features & Considerations
  • Highly Versatile: Not only is this bike suitable for normal road use, but it can also handle gravel paths and light off-road trails as well.
  • Affordable: Considering the quality of the tire, this is a very inexpensive product. Hence, anyone can afford to purchase it.
  • Extra Protection: This tire is highly resistant to punctures and abrasion thanks to the integrated EXTRA PunctureBelt protection.
  • Good Traction: The tread pattern and wide contact patch allow for good grip in both urban and light off-road paths.
  • Multiple Sizes and Colors: Continental offers various sizes, and for each size, you can get the tire in either black, grey, or cream.
  • E-Bike Ready: This tire is rated E-25, meaning it can be mounted on e-bikes and used for a maximum speed of 25 km/h.

Some Weaknesses
  • It has a moderate amount of rolling resistance.
  • Not too lightweight.

The Continental RIDE City is a high quality, multi-purpose tire. It also comes at a price that is suitable for those on even the tightest of budgets. It features an inverted tread which provides great traction for both tarmac roads and gravel paths. For the 700 × 37c size we tested, the tire makes a decently large contact area with the ground. The rolling resistance is not too high but not too low either. The RIDE City is also rated E-25, meaning it can be used on an e-bike with a maximum speed of 25km/h.

This tire is also built to last. Our testers always make sure that any product is pushed to the limit, and this one was no different. After hundreds of miles, there wasn’t much damage to be seen on the tire. The EXTRA PunctureBelt technology adds an extra layer of rugged rubber under the tread and sidewalls. This ensures protection from cuts and punctures. Whichever size you get, you get to pick what color you want the tire to be. Black, grey, and cream are your options.

Continental RIDE City Tire

Continental RIDE City Bike Tire

4. Schwalbe Marathon Supreme HS 469: Stylish and nimble profile design w/ tubeless option

Schwalbe Marathon Supreme HS 469
  • Tire Type: Clincher/tubeless
  • Recommended Use: Road, commuter, touring, e-bike
  • Diameters Available: 700c, 26”, 27.5”
  • Widths Available: 32c, 35c, 40c, 1.6”, 2”
  • Size Tested: 26” × 2” (ETRTO 50-559)
  • TPI: 67
  • Bead: Folding
  • Weight (g): 560
  • Max PSI: 65
  • Casing: V-Guard/MicroSkin
  • Compound: Addix/OneStar
  • Color: Black

Features & Considerations
  • Tubeless Version: You can get a tubeless version which is more expensive, but eliminates the chances of pinch flats.
  • Lightweight: The construction of this tire is very lightweight which results in higher speeds with less pedaling effort.
  • Good Traction: The moderate tread and triple compound can bite well into the ground even when the conditions are wet.
  • High Rolling Efficiency: Not only is the tire grippy, but it is also fast rolling. This combination is made possible by the triple compound used.
  • Numerous Specs Available: These tires are available in multiple sizes, two casing options, and two compound options.
  • E-Bike Ready: You can use a pair of these tires for your e-bike. It is rated for speeds of up to 25 km/h.

Some Weaknesses
  • This is quite an expensive tire.
  • Tread is a little thin and a bit more prone to puncturing.

The Schwalbe Marathon Supreme HS 469 is probably the best tire if you are concerned with having the least rolling resistance possible. With this tire, it felt like the bike could just keep rolling and rolling. The tire is also quite lightweight thanks to the construction and the folding bead. All of this meant that you can reach high speeds with less effort. The tread, especially the sidewalls have been made a little thin to reduce the weight. However, the V-Guard casing does a good enough job to protect the tire for regular road use.

The Marathon Supreme has surprisingly good grip, considering that low rolling resistance usually means less traction. Schwalbe has manufactured this tire with the OneStar triple compound to achieve this. You can also get the tire with the Addix compound as well, which is not as good but is cheaper. Also, if you’re willing to spend a bit more, there is a model that is tubeless instead of a clincher type. With this, the number of flats you experience will be greatly reduced. Finally, this tire is e-bike ready as well.

Schwalbe Marathon Supreme HS 469 Tire

Schwalbe Marathon Supreme HS 469 Tire

5. Schwalbe Marathon Plus: Thick internal rubber layer and anti-aging sidewalls

Schwalbe Marathon Plus
  • Tire Type: Clincher
  • Recommended Use: Road, commuter, touring, e-bike
  • Diameters Available: 700c, 16”, 20”, 24”, 26”, 27.5”
  • Widths Available: 25c, 28c, 32c, 35c, 38c, 1.35”, 1.5”, 1.75”, 2”
  • Size Tested: 700 × 35c (ETRTO 37-622)
  • TPI: 67
  • Bead: Wire
  • Weight (g): 900
  • Max PSI: 85
  • Compound: Endurance
  • Protection: SmartGuard
  • Color: Black

Features & Considerations
  • Superior Protection: The tire has a 5mm SmartGuard layer under the tread which protects the inner tube from nearly all kinds of objects.
  • Low Rolling Resistance: Despite the bulkiness of the tire, it has very high rolling efficiency and fast-paced cycling is no big deal.
  • Solid Grip: The well-designed tread pattern along with the Endurance compound ensures that the tire has good traction with the road.
  • Anti-Aging Sidewall: The tire will last a long time before any cracks appear on the tread or sidewall
  • Multiple Sizes Available: There is a wide range of available sizes, including a 16” diameter which would be suitable for BMX.
  • E-Bike Ready: This tire is rated as E-50. Therefore, it can be used on e-bikes at speeds of up to 50 km/h.

Some Weaknesses
  • This tire is heavier than most road tires.
  • Installation is a bit difficult.

The Schwalbe Marathon Plus is a seemingly bulletproof tire. Under the tread is a 5mm thick layer called the SmartGuard layer. This layer is thick enough to protect the tube from nearly all sharp objects commonly found on the road. Even when our tester deliberately tried, he could not cause a puncture without difficulty. Additionally, this layer is made of recycled rubber from old products. Another function that the SmartGuard fulfills is keeping the rolling resistance at a minimum.

A disadvantage of the added thickness is the extra weight. Compared to other road tires, the Marathon Plus is pretty heavy. We bought the 700 × 35c version as our test model and just to warn you, mounting it takes a little time. In terms of performance, it rolls fast as mentioned before, and it has good traction as well. We can thank the tread pattern and compound selection for that. You can mount this tire to your e-bike as well. Moreover, there is a wide range of sizes to choose from and the price is reasonable.

Schwalbe Marathon Plus Tire

Schwalbe Marathon Plus Tire

6. Kenda K841A Komfort: Hybrid tire for light trails and street use

Sale
Kenda K841A Komfort
  • Tire Type: Clincher
  • Recommended Use: Road, commuter, touring, off-road
  • Diameter: 26”
  • Width: 1.95”
  • TPI: 60
  • Bead: Wire
  • Weight (g): 690
  • Max PSI: 65
  • Color: Black

Features & Considerations
  • Highly Versatile: Not only can you use this tire on the road, but also on gravel paths and light off-road trails as well.
  • Affordable: Considering the durability and quality, this tire offers a very good value for money. Hence, everyone can afford to buy it.
  • Long-Lasting: This tire will last for a few years at least due to its high resistance to punctures and abrasion.
  • Good Traction: The tread pattern and wide contact patch allow for superb grip whether you are on the streets or fire trials.
  • Excellent Cornering: The knurled side knobs provide a very good bite for precise control during a tight turn.

Some Weaknesses
  • Available in one size only.
  • Rolling efficiency is not that great.

The Kenda K841A Komfort is a great hybrid tire that can be used both on the road and off-road. It has a semi-aggressive tread pattern that can grip well on light, dry trails. Cornering is especially good due to the addition of the knurled side knobs. Being a 1.95” wide tire, there is a lot of air volume and the contact area with the ground is also pretty big. This further helps with traction. Furthermore, it is not overkill for city roads. It is not too heavy and rolls just well enough for comfortable daily commutes.

Other than traction, the K841A also has impressive longevity. There are no special technologies or internal layers mentioned by the manufacturer, but this tire is built to last. After its testing was completed, we noticed that the tread hadn’t worn down much at all. Also, there wasn’t a single incidence of getting a flat throughout hundreds of miles of use. The biggest letdown is the single 26” × 1.95” size they come in. However, if your bike can fit this size and you frequently travel both on roads and off-road, then this is the perfect tire for you.

Kenda K841A Komfort Tire

Kenda K841A Komfort Tire

7. Kenda K838: Great choice for converting your MTB into an urban tourer

Sale
Kenda K838
  • Tire Type: Clincher
  • Recommended Use: Road, commuter, touring, off-road
  • Diameter: 26”
  • Width: 1.95”
  • Bead: Wire
  • Weight (g): 737
  • Max PSI: 65
  • Color: Black

Features & Considerations
  • Multi-Purpose: The tire can be fitted on a mountain bike and used for both urban commuting and light off-road cycling.
  • Good Grip: The traction provided by the tread and compound remains impressive in various kinds of terrain.
  • High Speed Rolling: More than anything, this tire is designed to have very low rolling resistance for cruising at high speeds.
  • Great Durability: Built like a tank, this tire can handle most pointy objects without puncturing or slashing of the tread.
  • Water-Shedding Ability: The specially designed grooves on the tread are very good at effectively channeling water away to improve grip.

Some Weaknesses
  • This tire has a price that is too steep for many.
  • Available in one size only.

The Kenda K838 should be your go-to tire if you want to convert your mountain bike into an urban tourer. Having been modeled after motorcycle tires, this tire has a very high rolling efficiency for fast-paced road cycling with less effort, while providing excellent traction of tarmac. Additionally, due to the wide profile and tread design, it performs decently well on the trail as well. Therefore, this is a very versatile tire. The tread also has water-shedding grooves to improve grip in wet conditions.

One thing to keep in mind is that it can only fit a 26” bike. Unfortunately, other sizes are not available. A lot of people might also be steered away from this tire by the high price and slightly higher weight when compared to the K841A Komfort. Both are very similar tires. However, the K838 has an advantage when it comes to flat protection. The K841A itself is a very sturdy tire, and neither model showed any damage during outdoor testing. But when trying to deliberately puncture them, the K838 fared better.

Kenda K838 Tire

Kenda K838 Tire

8. Continental CONTACT Plus Travel: Multi-purpose tread design for trekking tours

Continental CONTACT Plus Travel
  • Tire Type: Clincher
  • Recommended Use: Road, commuter, touring, e-bike, light off-road
  • Diameters Available: 700c, 26”
  • Widths Available: 37c, 42c, 47c, 1.75”, 2”
  • Size Tested: 700 × 42c (ETRTO 42-622)
  • TPI: 3/180
  • Bead: Wire
  • Weight (g): 930
  • Max PSI: 73
  • Protection: SafetyPlus Breaker
  • Color: Black

Features & Considerations
  • Highly Versatile: You can get great use out of this tire on all sorts of terrain including asphalt, pavement, gravel, dirt, etc. It is also e-bike ready.
  • Solid Protection: It utilizes SafetyPlus technology which combines an internal rubber layer and a dense, elastic fiber to prevent cuts and flats.
  • Excellent Traction: The high-quality compound and semi-aggressive tread pattern can bite well into various types of surfaces.
  • Good Cornering Ability: The side knobs are more pronounced than other commuter tires and offer precise steering control.
  • Multiple Sizes Available: This tire is available in two different sizes and a few different widths to suit the needs of a wide range of users.
  • Affordable: This product is quite cheap, especially considering the high level of performance it delivers.

Some Weaknesses
  • Slightly high rolling resistance.
  • The weight is a bit heavy for road bikes.

The Continental CONTACT Plus Travel is another multi-purpose tire for those who commute through urban roads on weekdays and like to go trekking on the weekends. There are various sizes that you could get these in. We tested out the 700 × 42c version. At 930 grams, it is a bit on the heavier side. However, its versatility is incredible. Our tester rode a pair of these tires for his daily commute which involved going through paved roads, dirt paths, cobblestone, and up and down curbs. Almost zero problems were encountered on all types of surfaces.

Admittedly, the tire does not do as well on sand, but that shouldn’t be an issue for the majority of commuters. The CONTACT Plus Travel is also highly reliable. It proved to be highly resistant to cuts and abrasions as well as punctures. In fact, it is rated for up to 25 km/h on e-bikes. To top it all off, the tire can be bought at a very affordable price. The only downsides are the weight and the slightly higher than ideal rolling resistance.

Continental CONTACT Plus Travel Tire Tire

Continental CONTACT Plus Travel Tire

9. Serfas Drifter City: Dual compound inverted tread for flexible use

Sale
Serfas Drifter City
  • Tire Type: Clincher
  • Recommended Use: Road, commuter, gravel, off-road
  • Diameters Available: 700c, 20”, 24”, 26”, 27.5”, 29”
  • Widths Available: 32c, 1.5”, 2”, 2.2”, 2.25”
  • Size Tested: 29” × 2”
  • Bead: Wire
  • Weight (g): 950
  • Max PSI: 65
  • Protection: Flat Protection System (FPS)
  • Compound: 68 durometer center/58 durometer sides
  • Color: Black

Features & Considerations
  • Multi-Purpose: Whether you’re on tarmac, pavement, or even gravel, this tire performs decently well on all of them.
  • Fast Rolling: The inverted tread pattern provides very low rolling resistance without making many sacrifices on the grip.
  • Flat Protection System: This technology features an armored casing underneath that can protect against nearly all kinds of sharp objects.
  • Low Cost: Buying this tire is highly worth it due to its relatively affordable price and impressive quality.
  • Various Sizes Available: Multiple diameters and widths are available for this tire to cater to the requirements of different riders.
  • Good Cornering Ability: The tire features softer rubber on the side treads which has better friction and allows you to turn with control.

Some Weaknesses
  • It does not handle too well in dirt paths.
  • This tire is pretty heavy.

The Serfas Drifter City is a great option for those who like to mix it up and ride on and off-road. This is exactly the type of riding that many commuters go through on a daily basis. This tire can handle itself well on gravel or limestone paths. It corners pretty confidently as well. On the road, however, it truly excels. The rolling is smooth and requires little pedaling effort. This versatility is brought about by the inverted tread and the dual rubber compound. The center tread is made of hard rubber with soft rubber on the sides.

The Drifter City will most likely last a long time as well. It features a tough casing called the Flat Protection System (FPS) which does very well to prevent punctures. Other reasons to buy this tire are the low price and the wide range of sizes available. The tire is a bit heavy, and it’s definitely not the best for dirt or mud. But for mostly city-use with the occasional off-road detours, this is simply one of the best tires you can get.

Serfas Drifter City Tire

Serfas Drifter City Bike Tire

10. WTB All Terrain: For anything from daily commuting to long distance off-road touring

WTB All Terrain
  • Tire Type: Clincher
  • Recommended Use: Commuter, touring, off-road, gravel
  • Diameters Available: 700c, 26”
  • Widths Available: 32c, 37c, 1.95”
  • Size Tested: 700 × 37c (ETRTO 37-622)
  • TPI: 60
  • Bead: Wire
  • Weight (g): 540
  • Max PSI: 70
  • Casing: Comp
  • Compound: DNA compound
  • Color: Black

Features & Considerations
  • Great Versatility: This tire is great for use on long-distance rides and can handle pavement and hardpack trails equally well.
  • Lightweight: The design and construction of the tire keep the weight minimal and allows for low effort cycling.
  • Excellent Cornering: The widely spaced and tall outer knobs provide impressive traction with the ground on tight corners.
  • Good Rolling Speed: The tightly spaced knobs of the inner tread allow the rolling efficiency to remain high.
  • Affordable: This is one of the least expensive commuter tires that you can get for this level of performance and quality.

Some Weaknesses
  • Not as resistant to punctures as the other tires.
  • Braking traction is slightly low.

The WTB All Terrain is, as the name suggests, a truly all-terrain tire. It may not be the best for road racing or mountain biking, but it can handle pretty much anything in between. It rolls smoothly on pavement and has more than enough grip even in the rain. While on gravel paths or fire roads, it provides reliable traction. Turning with this tire is particularly good. However, we did notice that they require a bit of stopping distance when slamming on the brakes for an emergency stop.

The tire is remarkably light as well, considering their hybrid design. There are three sizes available and we got the 700 × 37c model for testing which weighed only 540 grams. This low weight builds on the low rolling resistance to further increase ease of pedaling. One drawback is that this tire is more prone to punctures, compared to the others on this list. We experienced a couple of flats, but keep in mind that this is after hundreds of miles, and we always push the limits. The affordable cost more than makes up for this.

WTB All Terrain Bike Tire

WTB All Terrain Bike Tire

11. Kenda Kwest: Smooth rounded tread w/ water-dispersion grooves

Kenda Kwest
  • Tire Type: Clincher
  • Recommended Use: Road, commuter, touring, gravel, off-road
  • Diameter: 700c
  • Width: 35c
  • TPI: 60
  • Bead: Wire
  • Weight (g): 615
  • Max PSI: 85
  • Color: Black

Features & Considerations
  • Multi-Purpose: You can mount this tire on your bike for your commutes on the road or for your adventures on country trails.
  • Reasonable Price: The price is very much within the budget of most people looking for a set of replacement tires for their daily use bike.
  • High Speed Rolling: More than anything, this tire has been designed to provide low rolling resistance for cruising without much effort.
  • Decent Grip: Even though this is a fast-rolling tire, it does have very good traction as well for road and light off-road use.
  • Water-Shedding Ability: The specially designed grooves on the tread do a great job of channeling water out the edges and improve grip.

Some Weaknesses
  • Available in only one size.
  • The quality of the rubber is not as great as on the other tires in this article.

The Kenda Kwest is very similar to the K838 in terms of design. The tread pattern is almost identical and performs in very much the same way. It contains the same kind of water-shedding grooves that clear away water. This gives the tire enhanced grip on wet roads. However, the width is slightly smaller. But this is not that big a deal since the reduction in traction on off-road paths is almost negligible. Although, we would’ve liked it to be available in a few more sizes and not just the 700 × 35c size.

Rolling efficiency is probably this tire’s strongest point. Combined with the fact that the tire has a reasonable weight, you can take this tire for high-speed rides with only a moderate amount of effort. Other reasons to buy this tire are the low price and the wide range of sizes available. The tire is a bit heavy, and it’s definitely not the best for dirt or mud. But for mostly city-use with the occasional off-road detours, this is simply one of the best tires you can get.

Kenda Kwest Bike Tire

Kenda Kwest Bike Tire

12. Continental RIDE Tour: Budget option for daily multi-terrain use

Continental RIDE Tour
  • Tire Type: Clincher
  • Recommended Use: Road, commuter, touring, gravel, e-bike
  • Diameters Available: 700c, 12″, 16″, 20″, 24″, 26″, 27″
  • Widths Available: 28c, 32c, 37c, 42c, 47c, 1 ¼”, 1 ⅜”, 1 ½”, 1 ¾”, 2 ¼”
  • Size Tested: 700 × 28c (ETRTO 28-622)
  • TPI: 3/180
  • Bead: Wire
  • Weight (g): 540
  • Max PSI: 102
  • Protection: EXTRA PunctureBelt
  • Color: Black/grey/cream

Features & Considerations
  • Versatile: Whether you’re on smooth paved roads or rough gravel paths, this tire performs decently well on a wide range of terrain.
  • E-Bike Ready: Rated as E-25, this tire has a high enough performance level to be used on e-bikes for fast-paced commuting.
  • Extra Protection: This tire is highly resistant to punctures and abrasion thanks to the built-in EXTRA PunctureBelt layer.
  • Highly Affordable: This tire has the lowest price among all the tires reviewed in this article, making it ideal as the budget option.
  • Wide Range of Sizes: This tire is available in a huge range of sizes, from 700c/28” all the down to 12”.

Some Weaknesses
  • Tread wears out quicker than the other tires.
  • Rolling resistance is not as low compared to the tires.

The Continental RIDE Tour is another multi-purpose tire for those who commute through urban roads on weekdays and like to go trekking on the weekends. There are various sizes that you could get these in. We tested out the 700 × 28c version. At 540 grams, it is a bit on the heavier side. However, its versatility is incredible. Our tester rode a pair of these tires for his daily commute which involved going through paved roads, dirt paths, cobblestone, and up and down curbs. Almost zero problems were encountered on all types of surfaces.

Admittedly, the tire does not do as well on sand, but that shouldn’t be an issue for the majority of commuters. The RIDE Tour is also highly reliable. It proved to be highly resistant to cuts and abrasions as well as punctures. In fact, it is rated for up to 50 km/h on e-bikes. To top it all off, the tire can be bought at a very affordable price. The only downsides are the weight and the slightly higher than ideal rolling resistance.

Continental RIDE Tour Bike Tire

Continental RIDE Tour Bike Tire


F.A.Q.s

Q1. Are airless bike tires good?

Ans.: The answer to this question depends. Airless bike tires are made of proprietary foams formed into shape and require no air, hence the name. They have both advantages and disadvantages. Take both the good and the bad into account and decide whether they are worth it.

ProsCons
Zero chances of getting a flatUpfront costs are higher
Saves money in the long run since replacement tubes are not neededHave significantly more weight
No need to carry tubes or a sealantLabor-intensive installation
Lasts much longer than normal pneumatic tiresGreater rolling resistance, increasing pedaling effort
Some models are recyclableLess comfortable ride due to lack of natural suspension from air

Q2. When to replace your bike tires?

Ans.: Many bike tires have a groove or dot in the tread which gradually wears away with use. This wear indicator acts as a guide as to when you should replace your tires. Although, some tires may not have them. Nevertheless, there are a few things to always look out for. If you notice any of the following, you should immediately get a replacement.

  • Excessively worn down tread pattern (if present).
  • Repeated flats or leakage of air.
  • Deep gashes or cuts on the tread and sidewall such that you can see the casing fabric.
  • Any lumps or bulging on the tire.

Tire gash

Image: Tire-gash

Q3. Wire bead vs Folding bead

Ans.: There are two types of beads, namely wire beads and folding beads. Wire beads are made of steel wire and they are inexpensive. However, wire bead tires are heavier and slightly trickier to mount on a wheel. Folding beads are made of flexible kevlar material and hence, can be folded and easily carried. They are lightweight but more pricey. Regardless, the bead material does not have any particular effect on the performance of the tire.

Q4. What is the optimum commuter bike tire pressure?

Ans.: When it comes to tire pressure, a balance must be reached to achieve a good grip, comfort, and rolling speed, while avoiding flats. High tire pressures will let you pedal fast and reduce the chance of pinch flats. Conversely, low pressures allow enhanced grip and comfort while riding. Typical values for road bike tires are between 80 and 130 psi. For mountain bike tires, it is around 25-35 psi, and hybrid bike tires usually have between 40 and 70 psi. Ultimately, the perfect tire pressure varies widely according to terrain, the intensity of use, rider’s weight, etc. Make sure to take your time and do some trial and error. Eventually, you’ll find that sweet spot.

Tire pressure

Image: Tire-pressure

Conclusion

As you have seen there are various factors to consider before purchasing tires for commuting. But with all the information we have delivered, you should be somewhat of an expert now. Additionally, If you choose one of the tires we have mentioned, then you won’t regret it. Whatever your needs or preferences, you are sure to find a suitable bike tire to make your all-important commutes as pleasant and as safe as possible.

My name is Dion Lewis. I’ve been cycling since my childhood. When I was in high school, I started racing in our local competitions. In my college life, I took a part-time job in a bicycle shop and I learned how to repair and maintain bicycles professionally. Though I love racing, mountain biking is another thing I do frequently. My friends, neighbors, and colleagues treat me as an avid rider and take my suggestions while they plan for a new bike or bike gear.

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