Are you looking for the best commuter bike tires? Well, you've come to the right place.
You’ve decided driving to work during rush hour is a little too “Mad Max” for your tastes and you’ve resolved to commute on your bicycle.
You’ll be helping the environment, sure, but the truth is you’re going to arrive at work feeling like a million bucks—and you’ll still have the return journey to look forward to.
If you're in a hurry and don't have time to read my guide then check out Continental's City Ride II Reflex. They have excellent grip and a wide range of sizes
Commuting by bicycle is an increasingly popular option. In many cases, a bike is a viable and attractive alternative to car, bus, or train, but--in a way--the bike itself is only half the machine.
You need to think about tires, too. The right ones can make all the difference when it comes to the safety, comfort, and enjoyment of your ride.
Let’s take a look at our three.
Best commuter bike tires comparison table
56 - 70
40 - 60
Different Color Options
Continental City Ride II Reflex
Continental is a storied German company with a history of legendary engineering and innovation.
In fact, they were the first in the world to introduce a tire with a tread pattern—talk about reinventing the wheel.
Although Continental is most acclaimed for their automotive product line, they also produce high-quality bike tires.
The Continental City Ride II Reflex features a light tread pattern optimized for the unpredictable conditions of city streets. The large contact surface provides excellent grip on asphalt, while the light tread sheds water and provides just that little extra bit of traction you’ll need, should you find yourself on a dirt or gravel trail.
These are available in a variety of sizes, from 700x37 to 700x42, and they inflate to a relatively low pressure (56-70 PSI), which will enhance the comfort of your ride and allow you to roll over obstacles like potholes or low curbs with ease.
The City Ride II also features reflective sidewalls for better visibility and is constructed with Continental’s proprietary “PunctureProTection” system, making flats extremely unlikely.
- Extra puncture resistance to keep you rolling
- Light tread pattern with large grip surface is perfect for urban cycling
- On the heavier side—600 grams
- May be difficult to mount on bikes with fenders
What are customers saying about the Continental City Ride Reflex II
Most riders agree the City Ride Reflex II offers a smooth ride, excellent traction, and near-silent rolling contact with the pavement.
The puncture protection is no joke, according to one New York City rider who has powered through broken glass, crumbling pavement, and assorted debris without sustaining a single flat.
Some riders have complained of difficulty mounting these wide tires, and a few have said that the extra thickness resulting from the “PunctureProTection” material gives them a slightly stiff feel.
Kenda originated in Taiwan over fifty years ago and now has factories and distribution centers worldwide.
They manufacture everything from lawn mower tires to wheelchair tires, but of course we’re interested in their contributions to the cycling world.
The Kenda K838 is 26x1.95 inches and inflates to a recommended 40-65 PSI. The light, zig-zag tread pattern gives you just enough traction for wet roads while keeping rolling resistance to a minimum.
In fact, the K838 is inspired by the traditional motorcycle tire and is meant to provide the best acceleration and speed possible for its class
If you like to make a statement with your bike, you may be interested to know the K838 comes in a few different colors: traditional black, black with yellow sidewall, blue, and red.
- Low rolling resistance, great acceleration
- Optimized for all kinds of conditions—wet and dry, paved and unpaved
- Only one size available—26x1.95”
- No additional puncture resistance
Check out the video by Samoahbay below for a little more information on the Kenda K838
What customers are saying about the Kenda K838
Based on feedback from various cyclists, the K838 lives up to its claim of all-terrain performance, taking riders safely from pavement to gravel to grass without difficulty.
The tread pattern is also credited with good water-shedding ability. The color options are popular with many customers, but of course this has almost no bearing on performance (aside from perhaps catching motorists’ attention more easily).
Because there is no puncture-resistant lining, a few riders have complained of getting flats too easily.
Many companies boast international reach and global influence, but only Vittoria can call itself the world’s leading manufacturer of bicycle tires.
They’ve been leading the field for over sixty years, so let’s take a look at what makes a Vittoria tire worth your consideration.
The Vittoria Evolution is 26x1.9 inch and designed for both recreational riding and commuting. Although it’s only 26-inches, it’s possible to mount it on rims up to 29 inches in diameter.
This tire has probably the most aggressive tread pattern of any product on our list, enabling it to master both wet and dry conditions, as well as both asphalt and light trails. If your commute takes you over rougher terrain, the slightly more dexterous rubber may be a good fit for you.
- Heavy tread for all types of terrain
- Fits a range of rim sizes
- Heaviest on our list—840 grams
- Not puncture-resistant
What customers are saying about the Vittoria Evolution
Cyclists who have opted for the the Vittoria Evolution have praised them as the perfect city tires, offering a smoother ride and less rolling resistance than knobby mountain varieties.
Due to their size and weight, they can be difficult to mount, but the tread seems to be a fan favorite, allowing for a safe, comfortable ride in almost any condition.
Before we get started on the buyers guide, watch the video below by the GCN for some tips on how to commute by bike
Should I get commuting tires?
Good commuter tires should make your ride comfortable, safe, and speedy.
They are generally slick tires with light tread; some offer additional puncture protection for those unexpected obstacles you’ll encounter on your way to and from work.
Like touring tires, commuter tires are a good all rounders, without any extreme characteristics that would scare off casual riders.
Advantages that they have
Perfect balance of tread and rolling resistance – Commuter tires often have a light tread to help you with rainy weather or light-duty off-roading, but overall they’re fairly slick with excellent grip. This translates to great acceleration and minimal rolling resistance.
Puncture resistance – Unfortunately, not all commuting tires focus on flat-proofing, but many of the good ones do. When you’re relying on your bike to get you to work on time and in one piece, avoiding flats is a must.
All-around performance – In a way, there’s no compelling reason not to use a commuting tire. If you ride for fitness or recreation, you’re unlikely to find fault them
Alternatives available to you
Of course, you can use any kind of wheel you like for commuting—mountain, road, racing. Maybe your way to work lies over rocky bluffs, or maybe there’s some other commuting cyclist you want to show up with your blazing-fast racing slicks.
But if you’re looking for a serious alternative to bona fide commute tires, you may want to look at touring tires, which share many of the same characteristics.
Touring versions provide a similar blend of tread and surface contact, little rolling resistance, and excellent load-bearing capability—perfect if you’re lugging a laptop and a change of clothes.
Bicycle commuting is a viable and increasingly popular alternative to the traditional rat race.
Almost any bike can be suited to commuting, but if you’re serious about comfort, reliability, and safety, you’ll probably want to look at a hybrid bike, or one that’s specifically marketed as a city/commuter bicycle.
But that’s only half the issue. You’ll want to make sure you have the perfect tires to match.
Commuter tires keep you rolling in all kinds of weather and help you respond to unexpected road conditions. For its puncture resistance, excellent grip, and wide range of sizes, the pick of our list here is the Continental City Ride II Reflex.
Image Credit Flickr Creative Commons - Gavin Anderson