7 Best Gravel Bike Tires Reviewed in 2020
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Your bicycle tires are key parts that must never be ignored. The quality and condition of your bike’s tires will ultimately influence your cycling ability. It’s only reasonable that your quality gravel bike should be fitted with the best gravel bike tires for excellent results.
Gravel bikes can be used effectively in conditions where road bikes and mountain bikes would usually work. However, for the gravel bicycle to successfully move over these terrains, it must be fitted with a reliable set of tires.
These tires would be faced with rugged trails, muddy paths, dry loose soil, and much more – they should be able to conquer them all.
Best Bicycle Tires for Gravel Roads
The best gravel bike tires can be found in different stores around you. However, you won’t be able to identify them if you don’t have some necessary information.
Here we will go through reviews of top-notch gravel road bike tires and gravel MTB tires. Here are our top seven picks:
1. Kenda Small Block Eight Pro Tire
This Kenda Small Block Eight Pro Tire is a wonderful tire that you shouldn’t overlook. It’s an excellent fit for many different trail conditions. The tire’s design features a distribution of 8 little blocks over its width.
Using this tire on a dirt track feels really good because the tire’s tread knobs are able to grip tiny rocks.
The tire’s traction level is great and your bike is able to move forward quickly. The tires are also well-balanced on firm terrain.
Apart from being an excellent fit for cyclocross and MTB in dry situations, it’s also great on many other terrains. It has SCT to protect the tire from puncturing objects and DTC that enhances traction.
2. Challenge Gravel Grinder Tire
The Challenge Gravel Bicycle Tire is another worthy mention in this article.
It has a width specification of 38C and is made with enough treads for navigating bends. The tire also has tread designs along the center that facilitate fast rolling.
In addition to being one of the best bicycle tires for gravel roads, this one is also efficient for cyclocross. It’s a lightweight model and it reduces rolling resistance. However, you should be aware that this tire gets flat quite often.
The tire is made from a natural rubber compound and is able to deliver wonderful results. Compared to the quality it offers, the tire’s tendency to get flat often may not be such a big deal.
3. GRAVELKING SK+ Aramid Tire
The GravelKing tires are well suited for riding on gravel roads. Thanks to the reliable design, they are among the best gravel bicycle tires you can find.
They have treads with the same design distributed across the surface. In addition to working well in dry conditions, this tire is also able to work well in wet and muddy conditions. It’s a versatile product and it will deliver remarkable results on various trails.
It has width specifications between 32c to 50c. This makes it possible for most bikers to find a specification that will properly match their bicycle.
Unlike other products discussed earlier, the makers of this unit have designed it with the same exact treads all over. Both the center treads and those on the edges are the same. This implementation makes it easier to navigate bends and sharp turns.
4. WTB Resolute TCS Road Tire
This WTB Resolute TCS Road Tire is a reliable and versatile product that has been manufactured to satisfy high standards. Its quality features make it one of the best gravel tires today. The tire’s design includes a technical distribution of little square tread blocks.
The blocks are closer together around the middle of the tire to reduce rolling resistance and wider apart on the tire’s shoulder knobs for firm navigation of curves. With such an effective tread design, this tire is surely a gravel bike fit that’s worth your money.
If you’re buying a gravel bike tire, you’d want it to work effectively on various terrains. Thanks to the versatile structure, this WTB Resolute is able to move easily on loose soil, hard-packed ground, gravel roads, and more.
The tire is also able to tackle muddy paths. Take note that the tire’s casing could serve as an impediment on bicycles with limited tire clearance.
5. Vittoria Terreno Dry G2.0 Bicycle Tire
Next on our list of the best gravel tires is the Vittoria Terreno Tire. This tire has significant graphene content and it also has a favorable light weight. It’s high quality and holds out well against jagged biking paths.
Thanks to this unit’s scales, it makes your riding convenient and efficient. The scales are a certain tread pattern that features ramped hexagons positioned on the tire’s center.
The treads are distributed in such a way that muddy trails can be moved over easily. The tire’s center treads supply good traction for braking and reduces rolling resistance.
The tread blocks on the shoulder area, along with those on the edge, also add to the tire’s overall excellence. With this unit fitted on your gravel bicycle, navigating bends is a breeze.
6. Schwalbe Marathon Mondial HS 428 Bicycle Tire
Those who want a tire that will endure lengthy rides should go for this tire. It’s capable of covering as much as 10,000km without suffering much damage.
The Schwalbe Marathon Tire has a design that allows seamless touring of different trails.
In addition to its versatile usage, this tire is manufactured using the latest EVO technology. The material used to make a bike tire would influence its reliability and efficiency. The makers of it have ensured that it’s made from top-grade materials.
The Schwalbe Company is a well-renowned name in the biking community. They make wonderful products from the best materials. This gravel bike tire from them is made with a TravelStar compound that delivers great results for seamless bicycle touring – the TravelStar component improves bike handling. It also includes endurance compounds and RaceGuard technology.
7. WTB Riddler Tire
The WTB Riddler Tire is among the best bike tires for gravel roads. This tire is particularly a great fit for cyclocross biking. Those who are actively involved in cyclocross can purchase this product and enjoy the features it offers.
As for the tire’s width specifications, it features both 37c and 45c widths. These specifications allow the tire to be wide enough for cycling on reduced pressures; they also facilitate stability while biking.
It has a primary center tread with a reliable design. The tread knobs on the edges are more aggressive than the center ones. These treads provide you with sufficient grip to safely navigate bends and sharp turns.
The tire’s design makes it a great choice for gravel roads. The tire is lightweight and it’s able to significantly reduce rolling resistance. If you want a tubeless gravel tire, you can get this WTB Riddler Tire.
How to Find the Best Gravel Bike Tires
This is an important question you need to ask yourself before spending money on some random gravel bike tire.
There are certain factors to take into consideration before determining which products are the best gravel tires for you.
When these features have been considered, you can then proceed to pick a tire that best matches your needs.
Key features to watch out for include:
The visual appearance of your bike tire is an important factor to consider. There are several designs and options to choose from.
Lots of gravel bike tires feature a tan sidewall. There are also various blends of tread and sidewall color.
Maintenance is important if you want your tire and other parts of the bike to look good. The bike should be washed every now and then to remove dirt and preserve the bicycle’s look for a long time.
You should know that it’s easier for damages to be hidden when your bike is dirty. With that knowledge in mind, let it motivate you to constantly clean your bike.
Tire width is another key feature to be considered. Before choosing any gravel bike tire, make sure your bicycle has enough clearance to accommodate the width. Wider widths are more favorable for gravel biking.
The idea behind using wider tires is based on certain energy loss factors. When biking on gravel roads, there’s a high amount of vibration that makes significant amounts of cycling energy to be lost.
Because of that, attention must be paid to the tire’s width. Wider tires create an even distribution of lower tire pressure that consequently dampens transmitted vibrations. This effect allows you to ride at higher speeds.
When a bike tire is wide, it has more contact area with the ground. This creates a wider receptive area for forces generated when navigating bends – balance is improved and sliding is reduced.
Unlike wide tires, those with thinner width are more likely to sink into the loose gravel surface. Wider tires make contact over a widespread area and they won’t sink in like the narrow tires.
The tread on a gravel tire has much importance. These treads influence braking ability and grip. Excess tread knobs aren’t necessary for effective biking.
You should know that your bike’s traction is mostly dependent on the presence of friction between gravel layers. This means that the tire’s treads have just a little influence on the traction experienced when biking along gravel paths.
For this reason, gravel bike tires don’t really have aggressive treads. Intense treading is more useful for providing traction in muddy conditions.
Depending on where and how you ride, your bike tire may often suffer a puncture on the sidewalls. When that’s the case, it’s better to get a tire with fortified sidewalls.
You should know that soft gravel paths won’t cause as much puncture as hard-packed paths. Because of the soft and loose distribution on gravel tracks, objects that could cause puncture are typically forced downwards through the gravel instead of pushing upwards to puncture the tire.
However, these objects are more prone to cause damage to the tire’s sidewall. To be safe, try fitting your bike with a reinforced tire or a tire with a soft sidewall that won’t be too stiff as you ride.
Tube vs. Tubeless
If you take a look at most gravel bike tires, you’ll discover that they’re tubeless types. Tubeless tires provide you with reduced pressure that makes you have a more comfortable experience.
The design of tubeless tires allows tiny punctures to be quickly blocked by the sealant in the tire. This doesn’t work on larger punctures.
The front and rear tires on your gravel bicycle don’t have to be the same exact match. It’s common practice for cyclists to use two different tires for the purpose of getting the best effects.
When you’re sure of your particular needs, you can explore the available tire options on the market and mix two different types that will suit your needs.
The tire fitted at the bicycle’s front end should be able to provide you with a sufficient amount of traction and floating. This means the front tire should have a wider and more aggressive tread structure.
The rear tire should have a thinner width and smooth tread pattern. The purpose is to minimize rolling resistance and maintain balance.
Types of Gravel Tires
There are different types of gravel bike tires available for purchase. Distinguishing between them to decide which is best for you won’t be a problem if you have the right knowledge.
By taking several different brands of gravel tires into consideration and properly observing them, some classifications based on their functions have been made.
There are three main classifications and they are with reference to gravel surface types and knob size.
Small Knob Tires
First, we have the small knob tires. These gravel tires have tiny short-length knobs that are positioned at the center of the tire.
In some cases, the tire’s shoulders have the same exact small knobs while others feature larger knobs on the shoulder.
Small knob tires work better on paved Class 1 and Class 2 paths. These gravel tires have a specification ranging from 35mm to 38mm.
However, a lot of these small knob tires have wider width specifications on contemporary gravel bikes.
The semi-slick gravel tires are void of knobs. Even if they do have knobs, these knobs are small-sized and positioned on the shoulders.
The width of these semi-slick tires ranges from 30-34mm. They also function most efficiently on Class 1 and paved road riding.
Big Knob Tires
The third category is the big knob gravel tire. They have bigger knobs with longer lengths. The knobs are also positioned far from each other. They are best suited for Class 3 and Class 4 gravel roads.
You should know that these 38-42mm big knob tires aren’t a perfect match for all gravel tracks. You won’t be able to move fast if you use them on paved roads, Class 1, and Class 2 paths. They can also be quite uncomfortable.
Looking at the common needs of gravel bikers, it can be seen that most times small knob gravel tires are needed. They are able to tackle a lot of the gravel type surfaces. They are also available in several options.
If you fail to fit your gravel bike with the correct gravel bike tire, you won’t have the best results. Keep in mind that your selection is mostly affected by your own individual needs.
Depending on the surface type where you often ride and other factors like the available budget, you can choose a reliable product that will best suit you.
The Kenda Small Block Eight Pro Tire is our top pick among the rest. It’s one of the best gravel bike tires you can lay your hands on today. It can perform well in different conditions. The tire’s design features a distribution of eight small blocks over its width.
The tire provides enough traction to push you forward quickly. The tires are also well-balanced on hard-packed surfaces.