The best tubeless road tyres claim a long list of proposed benefits, such as a reduction in rolling resistance, increased grip, greater levels of comfort, and of course, the ability to self-seal punctures.
However, while tubeless has long been the norm in mountain biking, many of today's best road bike tyres are still clinchers - meaning they require an inner tube - mainly because the cycling industry has been slower on the uptake of tubeless technology.
But of course, not all tubeless tyres are created equal. At each extreme, there are tubeless tyres designed to be as fast as possible at the expense of almost everything else, and then there are tubeless tyres designed almost as a fit-and-forget solution to punctures. Therefore, making sure your tyres are fit for the type of riding you’re doing can make a huge difference to your bike and how it rides.
Read on for our pick of the best tubeless road tyres available today, covering all needs from deep-winter use to race-ready performance, or if you're unsure on exactly what to look out for, check out our guide on how to choose the best tubeless road tyres for your needs.
Alternatively, check out our guide to the best winter road bike tyres for increased puncture protection and wet-weather grip, and our guide to the best gravel tyres if you're heading off the beaten track.
Best tubeless road tyres
Best for road racing: The all-weather high performer with impressive grip in both wet and dry conditions
RRP: £65.00 / $80.00 / AU$130.00 / €80.00 | Size: 700x26c, 700x28c, 700x30c | Weight (700x26c): 260g | Casing: 120tpi | Added Puncture Protection: BlackBelt puncture protection layer
The S-Works Turbo RapidAir is the tubeless-ready race tyre from Specialized, whose Turbo Cotton clincher is immensely popular.
It comes in three sizes - 26c, 28c or 30c - all of which are in 700c diameter. It's one of the lighter weight tyres in this list, with the 26c tipping our scales at just 260 grams.
Despite this, in our testing the levels of puncture protection have been impeccable. However, the one downside to the minimalist construction is that the tyre will wear down faster than others, which makes the high initial price even more stinging.
Nonetheless, if you're after a balance of race-ready speed and grip in all conditions, the Turbo RapidAir is the tyre for you.
Want to know more? Check out our Specialized S-Works Turbo RapidAir review.
Best all-rounder: Continental finally joins the road tubeless game
RRP: £65.99 / $94.95 / AU$109.99 / €74.90 | Size: 700x25c, 700x28c, 700x32c, 650x28c | Weight (700x28c): 330g | Casing: 180tpi | Added Puncture Protection: Vectran breaker
For many, the Grand Prix 5000 TL is the last word in tubeless road tyres. They offer a great level of all-round performance in a near fit-and-forget manner.
Independent testing shows it to be very fast for an all-round race tyre, almost on par with time trial tyres that have more limited puncture protection, and with the Vectran breaker and BlackChili compound, the puncture protection on offer is very impressive, and the supple ride feel is a joy to behold.
However, Continental's offering isn't without its faults. The Grand Prix 5000 TL does carry a little more weight than its competitors, around 10 per cent more than the Turbo RapidAir below, for example. And in our testing, getting them onto rims was a difficult task that required more than a little cursing.
Read how these tyres earned four out of five stars in our Continental Grand Prix 5000 TL road tyre review.
Best for easy setup: Updated all-round race tyre with super simple setup
RRP: £69.99 / $88.00 / AU$120 / €69.90 | Size: 700x25c, 700x28c, 700x30c, 700x30c, 700x32c, 650x25b, 650x28b | Weight (700x28c): 271g | Casing: 127tpi | Added Puncture Protection: V-Guard puncture protection belt
The current version of Schwalbe’s popular Pro One tubeless road tyre comes with Schwalbe's latest Addix compound and Souplesse casing that promises decreased rolling resistance and increased comfort over the previous version.
When translated onto the road, that makes for a tyre that rolls well, offers good levels of puncture protection and impressive levels of grip, resulting in a great all-around road tyre. It's not the fastest tyre on this list, but it is impressively lightweight and is durable beyond our expectations.
What's more, the tubeless setup was a breeze, which is less common than we'd like, even today.
Read our detailed review of the Schwalbe Pro One TLE tyres to see how they earned their spot in this guide.
Best for bad weather: The legendary Italian tyre manufacturer's first tubeless road tyre
RRP: £52.99 / $69.00 / AU$84.99 / €59.99 | Size: 700x24c, 700x26c, 700x28c, 700x32c, 700x35c | Weight (700x28c): 325g | Casing: 66tpi | Added Puncture Protection: Aramid breaker strip and bead-to-bead nylon protection layer
The Pirelli Cinturato was the first tyre to use a wrap-around, radial structure. Originally designed for Pirelli’s motorsports use, it’s the design that almost all modern tyres are based on.
So Pirelli knows a thing or two about making tyres, and it shows with the Cinturato Velo TLR. Designed specifically as a puncture-proof road tyre, it has a compound designed for high mileage, an aramid breaker strip beneath the tread and a bead-to-bead puncture protection layer.
It's available in sizes ranging from 25 to 35mm widths, and despite being designed with a greater focus on grip, durability and puncture protection in mind, it still manages to be competitive on weight.
In our Pirelli Cinturato Velo TLR review, Guy Kesteven admitted that there was some trade-off in terms of rolling speed compared to the fastest 28mm all-rounders in back-to-back test rides, but it’s still faster than the Continental Gatorskin, which is the other super-puncture-proof tyre available, and it doesn’t feel as wooden and numb either.
Overall, they are well priced, given their premium performance, especially with their increased lifespan as a result of their durability.
Best value all-rounder: Easy to set up and a solid performance to boot
RRP: £50.00 / $65.00 / AU$90.00 / €65.00 | Size: 700x25c, 700x28c, 700x30c, 700x32c | Weight (700x25c): 280g | Casing: 120tpi | Added Puncture Protection: 1/2 Ply TC Liner
The easy tubeless setup sets these tyres apart. Thanks to the cleverly designed dual-angle bead, the Goodyear Eagle F1 tyres pop over the bead easily and quickly form a tight seal against the rim bed. They inflated on our old Mavic rims with little more than a mediocre track pump.
What's more, once set up, the ratio of performance to price has been excellent. They're not the fastest rolling tyres out there, but their grip, supple ride feel and durability has been impressive, and we're yet to notice a single puncture, even one that has self-sealed.
For more details on how the Goodyear Eagle F1 performed during testing, read our full review.
Vittoria Corsa Speed
Best for time trials: Possibly the fastest road tyre in the world
RRP: £69.00 / $86.00 / AU$134.00 / €87.00 | Size: 700x23C, 700x25C | Weight (700x25c): 232g | Casing: 320tpi | Added Puncture Protection: Ultra-lightweight puncture protection belt
The Vittoria Corsa Speed TLR is designed with one goal in mind, speed. And it's generally regarded as one of the fastest tyres in the world, so if you want to go as fast as possible, you’ve come to the right place.
There’s no such thing as a free lunch however and the trade-off for all this speed is puncture durability, or more accurately, a lack thereof. With Vittoria’s thinnest and lightest casing, and only an ultra-lightweight puncture protection belt, it’s designed as a race-day-only tyre, and is probably best reserved for time trials.
Vittoria does offer its Corsa tyre range in two other variants with incremental increases in puncture protection. The Corsa Control TLR is the sturdiest and grippiest, but heaviest and slowest of the three, while the Corsa TLR strikes a balance between.
Being tubeless, you do of course get extra protection against small punctures, but the tread nevertheless wears out at a fast rate, so don’t expect miracles. Look after it though, and you’ll be setting personal records in no time.
How to choose the best tubeless road tyres for you
Should I get tubeless tyres?
When deciding which tubeless tyres to get for your road bike, first consider whether or not you actually need (and want) tubeless tyres. There are numerous benefits to going tubeless, but even the best tubeless road tyres come with a few negatives that you need to be aware of.
Increased puncture protection
One of the main benefits of tubeless road tyres is increased puncture protection. Since tubeless tyres use a sealant to make the tyres airtight, you also get a level of puncture protection beyond a simple strip of extra material. When an object pierces the tyre, the pressurised air tries to escape through that hole. As it does, sealant is pushed through the hole, it then dries rapidly, plugging the hole and fixing the puncture with only a small loss of pressure. Most of the time, with the kind of punctures you tend to pick up from small bits of glass, rocks or thorns, you might not even notice it happening and can just keep riding along as if it didn’t.
Sealant alone won’t be able to fix larger cuts in the tyre (anything over about 5mm), but you can get dedicated tubeless tyre plugs to fix these holes while you’re out on the road, should you be so unlucky.
You probably still need to carry a tube
If you do manage to get one of those larger cuts that the sealant cannot fix, then you have two choices. Your first choice is to use a tyre plug, which you basically stuff into the hole in order to plug some of the gap, letting the sealant do the rest. Option two, if that doesn't work, is to just fit an inner tube. So even though you're not using tubes in your tyres, you'll probably still need to carry one as a spare, as well as the tyre plug tool.
Ability to run lower tyre pressures
By eliminating the inner tube you practically eliminate the risk of pinch flatting, so you can, therefore, run much lower pressures with tubeless tyres.
The benefits of this are increased comfort, grip and even speed if the roads you’re riding on aren’t perfectly smooth, thanks to a reduction in rolling resistance.
Lower rolling resistance
No road is perfectly smooth, it will always have small bumps and imperfections, and however small they may be, they deflect forward motion upwards as you and your bike roll over it. Each of those deflections causes a small loss in momentum, resisting the wheel's ability to roll. By lowering that resistance, a wheel (and therefore the bike and its rider) will be faster for a given power output. There are a couple of ways that tubeless tyres enable this. First, the lower tyre pressures enable more suppleness overall, meaning the tyre can more easily conform to those imperfections, rather than deflect over them. Secondly, removing the inner tube from the equation means there's no sliding friction between the inside of the tyre and the tube inside, which makes it easier for the rubber to contort around the bump.
More difficult installation
Due to the requirement for an airtight seal, a tubeless tyre will sit tighter onto a rim than a clincher tyre. Therefore, installing a tubeless tyre onto a rim is generally harder to do. The obvious argument is that you shouldn't need to do it very often, because you'll never need to replace a punctured inner tube.
Tubeless tyres can be messy to change
Because they're filled with liquid sealant, when it comes time to remove it, tubeless tyres can cause a mess. If you're in the habit of changing your tyres often, perhaps you choose tyres depending on the terrain/ride/conditions - then be prepared to wipe down your rims and tyres (and probably your floor) after each tyre swap.
Are my wheels tubeless compatible?
Before buying any of the best tubeless road tyres, you'll need to check that your wheels are actually tubeless compatible. Some wheels will say this on the rim sidewall, while others will hide the info on the rim bed beneath the inner tube. If you can't find it on the wheel itself, check with the manufacturer.
If the wheels aren't tubeless compatible, it will be less likely to offer the tight fit needed to remain airtight, and even though you can sometimes get it to seal, you run the risk of it failing later down the line, potentially whilst descending at speed.
What size tubeless tyres should I get?
This depends on a number of factors, including the size of your rims, the clearance offered by your bike, your riding habits, and ultimately your preferences. Of course, we're talking road tyres, so we're going to assume you're riding a bike with 700c wheels, but when it comes to width, there are plenty of factors to consider.
If you're riding all-day epics on a disc brake-equipped road bike, you'll probably have enough clearance to run wider tyres, and would likely benefit from anything between around 28c and 32c. However, if you're riding a rim brake road bike, your brake calipers will limit you to narrower widths.
If you're racing, you probably don't need the comfort of a 32c tyre and would find greater benefit in lower weight and increased aerodynamics of going narrower, but of course, this all depends on the width and shape of your rim, as most modern rims are designed for optimal use with a specific tyre size - which the manufacturer will no doubt be happy to tell you, if it's not already published.
How much puncture protection do I need from my tubeless tyres?
Given all tubeless road tyres are designed to self-seal punctures, you might be forgiven for thinking that you no longer need to worry about the level of puncture protection, but the reality is that they can still be susceptible to damage.
Like tube-type tyres, the best tubeless road tyres come in various forms. Some are designed as a fit-and-forget solution to punctures, while others are almost paper-thin and designed to minimise rolling resistance. These thin tyres will still seal punctures, but as they are more fragile, they will be more prone to larger tears and they will typically wear out more quickly.
Exactly how much puncture protection you need will depend on your riding habits. If you're fitting tubeless tyres for your commute, then durability and high levels of protection will likely be more important than the few watts you're likely to save. In contrast, if you're fitting tubeless tyres to your time trial bike, then thinner, more supple tyres will help you go faster. Those are the extremes, but there are plenty of options that balance speed and protection well.
Which tubeless sealant should I use?
Again, this depends, because the best tubeless sealant comes in various forms. Some are designed to seal very quickly at high pressures, but these will usually dry out more quickly in the tyre.
Others prioritise longevity, meaning they can last for six months and more before drying out inside the tyre, but they will usually be a little slower at sealing the puncture, resulting in a probable need to top the air up before continuing your ride.
How do I fit tubeless tyres?
We've got a guide for that. Check out how to set up tubeless tyres for step-by-step instructions.
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