What are the Best Bike Tires for Commuting?

The main feature of a decent pair of commuting tires is the grip. Tires that are meant for winter and commuting purposes should be very reliable and quick, as you don’t want it to take forever until you reach your destination. Before going over some of the best tires for city riding or commuting, we want to see some of the characteristics of such a product, so that you can make an informed shopping decision.

Best Bike Tires for Commuting Comparisons

Brand

Details

Our Rating

Continental Ride City ETRTO

  • Size: 700c
  • Weight: 1 lb. 12.2 oz.
  • Recommended PSI: N/A

KENDA Kontact K841 Bicycle Tire

  • Size: 20 x 1.5 x 20 inches
  • Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Recommended PSI: 40 - 65

Serfas Drifter Tire

  • Size: 26.2 x 26.2 x 1.8 inches
  • Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Recommended PSI: 45- 65

WTB All Terrain Tire

  • Size: 25 x 2 x 25 inches
  • Weight: 610 grams
  • Recommended PSI: 45 - 55

Schwalbe MARATHON PLUS TOUR Tire

  • Size: 26 x 2.00
  • Weight: 2.42 pounds
  • Recommended PSI: varies depending on the tire width and body weight (for a 25 mm tire and 185 lbs., recommended pressure is 100 PSI)

Schwinn Bike Replacement Tire

  • Size: 26 x 1.95
  • Weight: 2 pounds
  • Recommended PSI: 40 - 65

Continental GatorSkin DuraSkin Tire

  • Size: available in a wide range of sizes
  • Weight: 1 pound
  • Recommended PSI: 100 - 120

Commute Tire Characteristics

On a general note, tires that are suitable for commuting should be durable, provide you with riding comfort and have a good grip. There are several types of tires that serve this purpose: from cyclocross to touring and road tires. As a rule of thumb, it’s good to know that touring tires are really great for commuting purposes, as they allow the rider to cycle comfortable while giving him/her time to enjoy the scenery.

Types

When you’re out shopping for good commuting tires, there are 3 main types that you’ll come across. First of all, you have the clincher tires. When you purchase a new commuting bike, this is probably the type of tire that’s pre-installed on it. 

These tires are characterized by a tube that rests between the tire and the rim. This tube is inflated, and it holds the air necessary for your future rides. Should your tire become punctured, this tube can either be patched or replaced. This specific tire type comes with a steel/Kevlar fiber bead located on the side, which holds the tire in place.

The second category is represented by tubeless tires. Just as the name suggests it, these tires don’t have a tube, but they connect directly to the wheel. Tubeless tires require a sealant that makes sure the tire isn’t exposed to flats. These tires run better on lower pressure, as this helps improve traction and the rider’s comfort. However, tubeless tires require compatible wheels, so they won’t work on just any type of bike.

Last, but not least, we have the tubular tires. They are not the best choice for commuting, since they are designed to offer performance for road riders, so we won’t insist on their characteristics any further.

Grip

If you plan on using the bike for commuting on the road, tread patterns are not a necessary feature. More treads on a tire means less contact with the ground, which eventually leads to less grip. So, if you want good grip, don’t buy a tire with treads, but also use a lower pressure tire. Softer rubber provides you with a better grip, but has a shorter lifespan compared to hard rubber compound tires. Thankfully, there are tires that combine the best of both worlds, by gathering dual-compound treads that integrate a hard center strip enhanced by soft inclusions for easier cornering.

Resistance

It’s important to have a tire that’s puncture resistant. This is will mostly depend on the construction of the tire. Most tires will use a combination of synthetic-coated fibers that make the tire more resistant. However, take note that tires that have greater puncture protection will also be heavier and may slow you down. It’s also important to keep the tires at the optimal pressure in order to avoid punctures.

Width

A newly purchased bike already comes with the correct set of tires. However, there tires will eventually require changing, as they wear out the more you ride them. In this case, it’s important to know which is the correct width to look for, as it can drastically influence your riding style. Commuting tires are generally wider compared to road tires but are narrowed compared to MTB ones. 

You should look out for tires within the range of 28c to 42c, as they provide you with a better grip, while also ensuring comfort on daily commutes. Opting for a larger tire will require pumping less pressure into it. The tire’s width has to be compatible with the bike’s rim.

Construction

When you are looking to buy a tire that’s good for commuting, you should first understand what the main elements of such a tire are.

Tubeless and clincher tires have beads that keep them close to the rim. These are typically made from Kevlar or wire: the former is most common on expensive tires while the latter is generally found on cheaper ones.

Then there is the casing. This represents the foundation of a tire and it helps connect the beads together. Their other role is to make sure the tire is resistant to stretch, and that air is tightly sealed inside the tire as it comes in contact with the road. Casings are usually made from silk, cotton or nylon and they are measured in TPIs. In terms of characteristics, each type of casing has both positive and negative aspects to it. Tires that have a TPI lower than 60 are extremely resistant against puncture, but they have poor rolling resistance. On the other hand, tires with TPI greater than 120 have good rolling resistance but are more prone to end up being punctured.

Sidewalls are also part of a commuting tire’s construction. Sidewalls are the part of your tire that doesn’t touch the ground, and, for this reason, they are also thinner compared to the rest of your tire. The sidewall generally contains important information about the tire, such as its size and recommended pressure.

Other Important Features

  • As you already know, there are 2 most common valve types: Presta and Schrader. Presta valves are generally found on more expensive bikes and they are narrower compared to Schraders. The latter type is more specific to lower end or recreational bikes and they are the same as the ones found on car tires. Since there 2 valves are different, you will need to make sure that tire accessories, such a pump or a separate pressure gauge, match the valve on your tires.
  • Since commuting is something you do throughout the whole year, you might want to consider the acquisition of accessories such as mudguards and fenders. They will shield you when crossing puddles, protecting you from mud and grime. However, before buying any of these, you need to consider the impact they could have and the max tire size. Without sufficient tire clearance, you might not want to get mudguards.
  • Commuting generally means that you have to face traffic. In this case, why not opt for reflective sidewalls? This are very useful on poorly lit roads, as they make you more visible in traffic.

Top 7 Best Bike Tires for Commuting Reviews

Continental Ride City ETRTO

  • Size: 700c
  • Weight: 1 lb. 12.2 oz.
  • Recommended PSI: N/A

Continental makes some of the most awesome commuting and road tires we’ve ever seen. This particular model features puncture-resistant construction that’s given by the Extra PunctureBelt rubber breaker, combined with sidewalls reinforced with rubber. You can opt for the 700 x 32, 700 x 37 or 700 x 47 size. The City model performs well on long and smooth roads, but isn’t afraid to take on road debris, if needed.

Pros

  • Suitable for E-bikes.
  • Feature a durable Extra PunctureBelt for more puncture protection.
  • Has a safety level of 5 out of 6
  • Good for smooth roads, but also gravel paths.

Cons

  • Not very much sidewall protection.

KENDA Kontact K841 Bicycle Tire

  • Size: 20 x 1.5 x 20 inches
  • Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Recommended PSI: 40 - 65

The K841 is a bike tire with a generous number of wide-space knobs that should be able to perform well even on wet pavement. They provide good rolling resistance, which ensures a decent amount of speed. The side knobs are there to provide good cornering control and they feature a light casing that includes a folding bead. Since this is mostly a commuting tire, it isn’t very suitable for off-road or mountain bikes.

Pros

  • Great for light trails and commuting.
  • The case is lightweight.
  • Sidewall tread provide good cornering control.
  • Very good price.

Cons

  • Not suitable for difficult roads, covered in debris.

Serfas Drifter Tire

  • Size: 26.2 x 26.2 x 1.8 inches
  • Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Recommended PSI: 45- 65

Ideal for commuting, the Serfas Drifter is made from multiple rubber compounds that ensure a smooth ride on a highly durable product. The combination of both soft and hard rubber compounds will make sure that you can gain a decent speed, without compromising the lifespan of your tire. Featuring a FPS protection system (which is short for Flat Protection System), the tire is extremely puncture-resistant. Meanwhile, the dual density tread is there to make sure that cyclists feels comfortable when riding. The tire is available in a wide range of sizes (26 x 1.5, 26 x 2.0, 27.5 x 1.5, 27.5 x 2.0, 29 x 2.0, 700 x 32mm), but the recommended size for commuting is 26 x 2.0.

Pros

  • Integrated armor casing with FPS to ensure puncture-resistance.
  • Extra-durable rubber compound that enhances product durability.
  • Tread design that reduces rolling resistance.
  • Suitable for commuting, but can also handle gravel and dirt.

Cons

  • The extra armor add a lot of weight to the tires.

WTB All Terrain Tire

  • Size: 25 x 2 x 25 inches
  • Weight: 610 grams
  • Recommended PSI: 45 - 55

The 26 x 1.95 all-terrain WTB tire is a very good choice for commuters. The tire is constructed as to make sure that the bike performs well when in contact with hard surfaces. The dense tread features independent knobs that push the WTB to cross over dirty terrain without experiencing any major drawbacks. In fact, the WTB seems to perform well in a lot of conditions, as it allows the cyclist to cross over loose sand or on wet pavement. The rolling resistance is a bit higher compared to other similar models, but you should still be satisfied with the provided traction.

Pros

  • Provide a good amount of traction.
  • Performs well even in colder seasons.
  • Suitable for all kinds of terrain.

Cons

  • Tire is a little tacky.

Schwalbe MARATHON PLUS TOUR Tire

  • Size: 26 x 2.00
  • Weight: 2.42 pounds
  • Recommended PSI: varies depending on the tire width and body weight (for a 25 mm tire and 185 lbs., recommended pressure is 100 PSI)

We’ve already established the fact that a good commuting bike tire needs to be as puncture-resistant as possible. The Schwalbe Marathon Plus is definitely one of those tires. The treads marks are aggressive enough to make sure they can handle rough terrain, which makes them ideal for touring, as well as commuting. Of course, there are some sacrifices to be made. In this case, you will have to put up with more than 2 pounds of weight. Along with the tire, you will also receive a set of caps for Presta valves (Schrader is available only upon request) that will make sure air retention is solid.

Pros

  • Good traction on a wide variety of surfaces.
  • Tubes are included.
  • Extremely resistant to puncture.
  • Features a SmartGuard protection to shield the tire against shards of road debris.

Cons

  • Very heavy.

Schwinn Bike Replacement Tire

  • Size: 26 x 1.95
  • Weight: 2 pounds
  • Recommended PSI: 40 - 65

The Schwinn tire is also a strong competitor that’s looking to prove it can resist puncture and become the next best tire for bike commuting. It features a combination of Kevlar treads and folding wire bead to make sure that it’s resistant and resilient. The shallow knobs on the tread make it an ideal pavement and road tire, while also being able to handle a little bit of dirt. The steel breads are there to make sure the product won’t easily fail under pressure. When you’re riding on pavement, you will notice less rolling resistance, but there somehow is enough grip to get you through muddy trails. Beware, these aren’t your average MTB tires, but they should perform just fine on a beginner’s trail.

Pros

  • Easy to mount.
  • Extremely affordable.
  • Great for street riding and light trails.

Cons

  • Very heavy tire.

Continental GatorSkin DuraSkin Tire

  • Size: available in a wide range of sizes
  • Weight: 1 pound
  • Recommended PSI: 100 - 120

The GatorSkin is probably the best tire with puncture protection that we’ve seen today. The name was given by the concept that the shell of tire is as tough as reptilian skin, capable of withstanding debris and whatever obstacle rough terrain may throw down your path. Considered to be one of the best racing tires, it is also one of the most durable ones as well, since it features DuraSkin and PolyX Breaker sidewall protection. The PolyX Breaker technology promises a bike tire that’s as solid as a car one. Made with polyester fiber that’s woven crosswide, the tire has good rolling resistance without compromising the durability of the product.

The DuraSkin technology bring out the best sidewall protection, creating a tire that’s suitable for performance riding, as well as touring and commuting. The tire is available in folding versions, as well as in wire bead ones, to provide you with a variety of options that are best suited for your bike. The GatorSkin performs as well as you’d except a tire in its price range to perform. There are no issues with inflation, air leaks or the overall comfort of the cyclist. They are capable of resisting tricky commuting roads, even thorns and gravel terrain without any issues. Due to its generous width, the GatorSkin tire has enough pavement contact to make it easy for you to pedal at very good speed and with minimum resistance. It’s an ideal purchase for those who want to make a larger initial investment, but have peace of mind on the long run.

Pros

  • Features DuraSkin sidewall protection.
  • Integrated PolyX Breaker technology for better puncture resistance.
  • Suitable for touring, commuting, but also performance riding.
  • The durability of the tire doesn’t affect its speed.
  • Good traction on wet roads.

Cons

  • Hard to mount on carbon wheels.

The Bottom Line

If you’re willing to spend some extra money to make sure you end up with a durable and performant tire, the Continental GatorSkin is your best choice. As you may have noticed, the product falls on the premium side of bike tires and there are other models that are way more inexpensive. Even if they all promise puncture-resistance, the GatorSkin has actually proved that it has the technology to back up its promises.

The DuraSkin and the PolyX Breaker technologies are combined to make sure that the tire is solid, but the sidewalls aren’t neglected either. Surprisingly enough, all this sturdiness doesn’t add to the tire’s weight, which means that it’s perfectly suitable for performance riders, as well as for those who are looking for a good set of tires to help them get to work every day. Since it’s important for a commuting tire to be puncture resistant, this is one of the many conditions that the GatorSkin meets. Being available in a variety of sizes, you will most likely find one that’s suitable for the wheels of your current bike.

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