Best winter road bike tyres

11 top-rated road tyres for winter training and commuting

This article first appeared on BikeRadar

Winter training and commuting is hard enough without worrying about fixing a flat with frozen fingers on a dark road. Fortunately there's never been a better selection of winter road bike tyres combining trustworthy all-weather performance with everyday survivability, and to make your life easier we've rounded up some of the best winter road tyres available.

The key to these real world advances has been the combination of technologies from seemingly very different areas. Tyre compounds and layups developed for racing use in wet conditions deliver a balance of late braking, hard-turning grip and rolling speed.

Puncture protection technology has also come along a great deal (we certainly don't miss puncture protection strips) and is now largely inspired by multi-ply composites used originally in bulletproof vests — you can now have a barrier between road debris and your inner tube without feeling like there's wood in your tyres.

We've split this guide into three areas: lightweight winter tyres, heavy duty winter tyres, and gravel tyres.

While it may be tempting to go for the heaviest-duty tyre you can handle lugging about, puncture proof tyres really have got a lot better in recent years, so it's worth delving into our longer reviews to see whether one may work for you.

If you're still regularly plagued by punctures, it may also be worth investigating whether or not a tubeless setup could work for you. Even adding a bit of tubeless sealant to your inner tubes can help.

If you're looking for a faster summer tyre you may be interested in our roundup of the fastest clincher tyres available on the market, as tested at Wheel Energy in Finland.

What to look for when buying winter tyres

Tread: Deep treads moulded in motorbike and car tyres help to squeeze water from under the tyre in really wet conditions. Bicycle tyres simply aren't wide enough to aquaplane at normal speeds, so are largely unnecessary on smooth surface. Regardless, lots of riders naturally trust treaded tyres more than slicks, whatever the science.

Protective layer: The tyres here all use some kind of protective sheet under the tread to stop sharp objects puncturing the inner tube. Trying to balance extra protection but still allowing the tyre to be flexible and supple enough to roll quickly and comfortably is hard. Some tyres also include protective layers in the side walls to stop cuts.

Size: The bigger the carcass, the more air between you and the road. This means the inner tube is less likely to get pinched and punctured. Fatter tyres feel more comfortable, afford more control on rough surfaces and oodles of tests have shown they often roll better than narrower ones.

Compound: The real key to grip is the compound of the rubber; a soft compound tyre will be very grippy, but will wear fast and have a higher rolling resistance. Harder compounds are fast rolling and wear well but are slippery. This is why many tyres have a dual compound that is harder in the centre than on the shoulders.

Best lightweight winter road tyre

If you value performance over out-and-out puncture protection, one of these hardy yet fast tyres are likely for you.

Schwalbe Durano

BikeRadar score: 5/5

Price: £38.99 / $52.49 / €45.99 / AU$66.99
Weight: 219g
Size tested: 25mm

The Durano is the standard against which all-weather tyres are measured. Its tread life and puncture proofing performance receives regular praise from our most hibernation-adverse testers.

At 219g in its 25mm wide guise, it's also as light as some summer treads. While the full RRP is a little off-putting at first, the tyre is regularly available with a chunky discount.

Plus it's available in a rainbow of funky colours, so what's not to like?

Continental Grand Prix 4 Season

BikeRadar score: 4/5

The Grand Prix 4 Season is common OE spec
The Grand Prix 4 Season is common OE spec (Cycling Plus / Immediate Media)

Price: £54.99 / $73.99 / €64.49 / AU$93.99
Weight: 276g
Size tested: 25mm

Ahh, the venerable Grand Prix 4 Season. This is one of the more classic winter tyre options out there and is quite common as OE spec — and with good reason!

The DuraSkin carcass has been proven to be incredibly resilient to tears and punctures without sacrificing too much comfort or speed, and the supposedly winter-specific rubber compound performs very well in wet conditions.

At full RRP, the Grand Prix 4 season is a little pricey, but it can often be found online with a healthy discount.

And just for the sake of clarity, it's worth pointing out that this tyre is very different from the legendary Grand Prix 4000S II, a much lighter weight, performance oriented tyre.

Vredestein Fortezza Senso Xtreme Weather

BikeRadar score: 4/5

The Fortezza uses a wet weather specific compound (Cycling Plus / Immediate Media)

Price: £46.99 / $67.49 / €58.49 / AU$85.49
Weight: 246g
Size tested: 25mm

Designed explicitly for riding in foul weather, Vredestein's Fortezza Senso clinchers feature a lightly patterned tread and a compound that is said to have been designed specifically for riding in the wet.

Our 25mm test tyre weighed in at a respectable, but not that feathery, 246g.

The Senso also features 'Full Protection' — this means that a woven, puncture resistant polyamide layer protects the whole tyre, not just the central tread.

Hutchinson Intensive 2

BikeRadar score: 4/5

While a little greasy out of the box, the Intensive is a great option once worn in (Cycling Plus / Immediate Media)

Price: £24.99 / $33.99 / €29.49 / AU$42.99
Weight: 224g
Size tested: 23mm

We found the Hutchinson Intensive a little slippery out of the box, with the tyre lathered in a residual coating of silicone from moulding.

But once worn in, the tyre showed its true colours — this budget-conscious tread is impressively grippy and has a seriously impressive wear life.

Puncture protection is pretty good to boot, so boosts the tyre's already good value. 

Panaracer Race Type D

BikeRadar score: 4/5


The Panaracer Race Type D borrows the super grippy tread from the brand's summer tyres (Cycling Plus / Immediate Media)

Price: £39.99 / $55.00 / €46.00 / AU$67.95
Weight: 261g
Size tested: 25mm

This winter training tyre takes the proven traction of Panaracer's Race family and overlays it on a much tougher, reinforced carcass.

The 25mm version rides surprisingly smoothly for an armoured tyre, but is a bit of a pain to get on and off — make sure you pack your tyre levers!

The dual compound tread also provides decent performance in the wet and dry, but rolling resistance isn't the best in class.

Michelin Pro 4 Endurance 4

BikeRadar score: 4/5

The Pro 4 Endurance builds on the well loved Krylion
The Pro 4 Endurance builds on the well loved Krylion (Cycling Plus / Immediate Media)

Price: £40 / $47 / €46 / AU$69
Weight: 243g
Size tested: 25mm

The Pro 4 Endurance replaced the popular Krylion with promises of extra grip without compromising longevity, secure handling and easy speed.

The new dual rubber compound has certainly proved to be sure-footed enough for a knee down approach to dirty, wet descents and it rolls well too, with the generous carcass meaning smooth float and sustained speed on rough tarmac despite a bead to bead puncture-proof layer.

We previously rode the Pro 4 Endurance right through spring and found that the compound certainly resists cuts, abrasions and general wear and tear better than the old Pro 3.

Maxxis Radiale

BikeRadar score: 4/5

The Radiale doesn't have the most generous carcass, but is still very grippy (Cycling Plus / Immediate Media)

Price: £63.19, international pricing unavailable
Weight: 212g
Size tested: 23mm

Maxxis's Radiale construction race rubber is phenomenally confident and quick in wet conditions, but it's low in height and tall in price.

Using a radial rather than cross-ply carcass construction makes it amazingly supple for such a shallow tyre and it glides over rough surfaces and maintains momentum beautifully as long as you dodge bigger bumps and holes.

The overhanging triple compound tread with sipe cuts gives outstanding wet weather grip while still feeling race fast. Bead-to-bead reinforced durability is proving impressive too, and wear rates are perfectly acceptable.

Best heavy duty winter road tyre

If you like to use your road bike for commuting, ride on particularly bad or debris strewn roads or just hate punctures, one of these heavy duty tyres may suit your needs.

Panaracer RibMo

BikeRadar score: 4/5

While very heavy, the RiBMo is a great option if you ride on particularly bad roads (Cycling Plus / Immediate Media)

Price: £39.99 / $55 / €46 / AU$68
Weight: 351g
Size tested: 25mm

The Panaracer RibMo (Ride Bicycle More) tyre is actually marketed as an urban/commuting tyre, but makes a perfectly good, albeit slightly sluggish, training tyre — no surprise given the 25mm version we tested weighed in at a meaty 351g.

The tyre is available in both folding and wire bead versions, but we'd always recommend going for the considerably lighter folding version. If you plan on using the tyre, make sure you pack a set of solid tyre levers as the super-stiff sidewall can be a bit of mare to get on and off the rim.

Schwalbe Marathon Racer

BikeRadar score: 4/5

If you like to ride over thumb tacks for a laugh the Marathon is probably for you (BikeRadar)

Price: £31.99 / $55 / €46 / AU$68
Weight: 453g
Size tested: 40mm

If you like to ride on really poor roads — like, really poor — or want to use your road bike for commuting, you may want to consider one of the options from Schwalbe's enormous Marathon range.

The super beefy tyre has a super thick tread and hefty, well reinforced sidewalls — sidewalls that are also embedded with a reflective strip and a dynamo track of all things.

The Marathon Plus — a true behemoth of a tyre at over 700g — is also available, but you really have to be riding in some extraordinarily bad conditions to need these on your road bike.

We actually tested the 40mm of the Marathon Racer and it isn't available in a huge range of sizes, but most modern disc equipped bikes should be able to squeeze the 30mm version in.

Best winter tyre that's also good for gravel

If you see yourself indulging in the odd gravel dalliance, or just want a tyre that will perform well on loose surfaces without being too sluggish on the road, you may want to consider one of these gravel tyres.

Hutchinson Sector 28

BikeRadar score: 4.5/5

While very light, the Sector 28 isn't afraid to stray off the beaten path

Price: £54.99 / $73.99 / €64.49 / AU$93.99
Weight: 282g
Size tested: 28mm

The Sector is a super plush, 28mm wide clincher that was created by Hutchinson as a tubeless alternative to one of its popular racing tubulars.

The lightly treaded tyre can easily handle light gravel dalliances without feeling overly draggy on the road — this is largely down to its pliable 127tpi casing and low weight.

Set up tubeless you can get away with riding the plump tyres at much lower pressures than would be possible on a skinnier one, so should help to smooth out even the worst potholed back lanes.

At a relatively-light 282g, the Sector could also probably live beneath the 'fast winter tyre' category if you ride on lots of rough, broken roads.

Clement Strada LGG

BikeRadar score: 4.5/5

The LGG is a great all-round tyre that isn't afraid to get dirty (Russell Eich / Immediate Media)

Price: £34.99 / $46.99 / €40.99 / AU$59.99
Weight: 260g
Size tested: 25mm

We tested the lighter, dual-compound 120tpi version of the Strada LGG and found they handled gravel with ease without feeling overly draggy on the road.

Cornering capability isn't up there with the very best racing tyres, but you're less likely to be going full-sideways in the winter anyway.

If you go for anything other than the rather handsome tan wall version, you're a fool. The tyre is available in 25, 28 and 32mm version and we recommend you get the fattest tyre you can fit into your frame and fork.

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