6 Best Gravel Bike Tires Compared & Reviewed 2021

We all know that there is a good deal of terrain during a ride through gravel roads that takes a toll on both you and your tires. The best way to overcome this is by choosing the most suitable tire that can withstand all kinds of challenges a gravel road throws at you, and that tire exists.

In this article, we are going to go over a selection of gravel tires to choose from, but before that, we are also going to share the features you want to consider before purchasing your tire.

TLDR – Top Pick

The best bike gravel tires we recommend is the Continental Gatorskin Bike Tire.

Continental Ultra Gatorskin Bicycle Tire (700x25, Folding, Black)
Continental Ultra Gatorskin Bicycle Tire (700x25, Folding, Black)

    Last update on 2021-01-19 at 07:00 / Commission Earned / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

    Features You Need To Consider

    Be it so that the gravel road is an obstacle with no simple solution. There are too many things to consider, a combination of the condition of the roads, your capabilities, your preference, your riding experience and so much more. Even when your choice of tire works perfectly, another cyclist might feel the complete opposite.

    But despite personal preferences, here are some important features you need to have in a solid gravel tire. 

    Compatibility

    A tubeless tire works well on gravel roads. Although it’s not a necessity, we really recommend it. Most gravel tires for sale are available tubeless. Tubeless tires and sealant are a perfect pair, remember to get it when purchasing your tires.

    Sealant is applied to the tires so that it can automatically seal punctures – caused by rocks, twigs, and other hazards on the gravel – during your ride. Other than being compatible with sealants and gravel roads, a tubeless tire will allow you to ride at a low tire pressure. Giving you more comfort and grip. 

    Tread Pattern

    If you want more grip, then you want more tread. A file tread or fat slick is preferable if your route comprises mostly roads and light gravel. If you are looking to ride on harsher terrain, a deeper tread will help you get through it. Wider and deeper knobs on the tire help clear mud in wet conditions, side effects include feeling heavier. You can also prepare a different tire for winter and summer. 

    Size & Volume

    Your options are 700c wheels and 650b wheels. 750c wheels can carry more momentum, offer less rolling resistance, and have superior rollover capabilities. On the other hand, a 650b wheel can accommodate higher volume tires, offer more grip, and absorb bump shock better. 

    Again, always check compatibility with your bike, make sure you have room in your fork and rear triangle. If you have a fender, you want to also take that into consideration.

    We recommend the 650b wheel so you have a wide tire. This tire works great at a lower pressure and also offers other features capable of creating a smooth ride over jagged terrains. 

    Durability

    Aside from how often you ride your bike, the endurance of your tires will highly depend upon the compatibility between the materials used for the tread and sidewalls and the ground you ride it on. Softer rubber will deliver more grip but is easily worn out. 

    Be aware of where you will be riding. Yes gravel, but is it rocky, smooth, wet, muddy? A tire suited for smoother roads will not work well through rougher terrain, and vice versa. Knowing your region will help you immensely in choosing the best gravel tire for better durability. 

    The Best Gravel Tires For Bicycles Reviewed

    Prepare your bike for your rockiest ride yet. Be sure to aim for safety as well as comfort. Despite personal preferences and the varying gravel, here are our reviews for our recommendation of gravel tires.

    Feel free to dissect into the features, pros and cons, before purchasing your gravel tire. Remember, tires wear out, so you can always buy more later. 

    1. Continental Contact Plus Bike Tire 

    Key Features:

    • Available in black and other colors
    • Available in 24”, 26”, 27”, 28”
    • Promises extra puncture protection
    • Ranks 9th as best bike tire
    • Comfortable over bumps

    The continental contact plus summarizes the continental contact, continental contact speed and continental ride city. Although it is heavier, it supports touring over any kind of road at a considerable speed. It also comes with an extra puncture belt, which works to provide extra protection against potential punctures. The wheels also provide excellent grip to ease your control over any kind of terrain. 

    This wheel is also suitable for ebikes, even though it’s on the heavier side. It’s extremely safe and offers low rolling resistance, therefore saving more battery power. So it really comes down to your preference. 

    If you’re looking to replace your old wheels and get more comfort riding over bumpy roads, this is the tire you can try out. And it’s still pretty great even when you’re using it over smoother roads. All you need to do is find the correct size for your bike. 

    Pros:

    • Also supports urban commuting
    • Quality value for the price
    • Great grip, supports speed turning
    • Not slower even though it’s heavier

    Cons:

    • Not tubeless ready
    • Difficult to install and remove
    • Considerably heavier when paired with ebikes
    • Sizing issues if you buy in India
    Continental Contact Plus ETRTO (32-622) 700 x 32 Reflex Bike Tires, Black
    Continental Contact Plus ETRTO (32-622) 700 x 32 Reflex Bike Tires, Black

      Last update on 2021-01-19 at 07:00 / Commission Earned / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

      2. Continental Gatorskin Bike Tire 

      Key Features:

      • Available sizes are 23c, 25c, 28c, 32c
      • Made with durable carbon black mixture
      • Developed with polyester fiber
      • Excellent wear tread compound and promise longer usage

      The tire itself is made with carbon black mixture, polyx breaker, duraskin and has an optimized tread. The key components, along with dura skin (which acts as sidewall protection) make the tire very protected against potential punctures and harsh terrain. All that and it can still offer minimal rolling resistance. The Gatorskin tire is made to last a long time. 

      The design itself is made to be smooth at the bottom and grippy at the sides. The materials used to build this tire are often found on messenger bikes, touring bikes, and so on. You will be comfortable when using this wheel and don’t worry about getting used to it because it will last you a long time. Once it wears out, it’s time for you to try out another wheel, or get another one of the continental Gatorskin bike tires. 

      Pros:

      • Easy to install
      • Slick but still has grip
      • The thick rubber offers a softer ride
      • Reasonably strong when compared to other tires

      Cons:

      • Can still be punctured
      • More vulnerable over wet roads
      • Product may arrive defected
      Continental Ultra Gatorskin Bicycle Tire (700x25, Folding, Black)
      Continental Ultra Gatorskin Bicycle Tire (700x25, Folding, Black)

        Last update on 2021-01-19 at 07:00 / Commission Earned / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

        3. Panaracer Tour Tire 

        Key Features:

        • Dimensions: 26 x 26 x 2 inches
        • Main material: rubber
        • Maximum fill 5.9 BAR or 85 PSI

        This tire comes with a reflective band on each side, which acts as a great safety measure during darker lights. These tires are standard touring and urban commuting tires. They are suitable to ride over medium level gravel terrain. The thickness and safety may not be as good as other tires, but if rode upon the right road they can last. 

        They come with wire bead construction and work with standard presta valves. If you see a V when standing in front of the bike, it means that it has been installed properly. 

        It’s best to say that these tires are suitable for you looking to commute over rougher asphalt. It may even be suitable for your weekend rides over smooth gravel roads. Either way, it’s best if you expect that the puncture protection is not as strong as the other tires. 

        Pros:

        • Great compared to MTB tires
        • Great durability for commute use
        • Great price for value
        • Easy to install if the sizing is right

        Cons:

        • Can still puncture
        • May bust with too much air pressure
        • You may smell odor from the rubber
        • Difficult to fit with your rims
        panaracer Tour Tire with Wire Bead, 700 x 35C
        panaracer Tour Tire with Wire Bead, 700 x 35C

          Last update on 2021-01-19 at 07:00 / Commission Earned / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

          4. SCHWALBE CX Comp

          Key Features:

          • Suited for medium level gravel
          • Wire bead tires
          • Size: 700 x 38 C

          The Schwalbe CX Comp is economical and great for your every day commute. This tire will not survive rougher gravel terrain. It will also not be comfortable because of its semi-slick profile. Even so, these tires still offer sufficient grip. 

          Their sidewalls are also thin and they weigh less, which reduces rolling resistance. However, there is still some rolling resistance and you might not like that. The maximum load at its maximum pressure is 80kg. Their maximum pressure is 2.5-4.5 Bar or 35-65 PSI. 

          Remember to make sure that these tires are compatible with your bike, but even then, installing them might take more effort. Once installed properly they should be ready to accompany you during your ride. They are a great mix between a road bike tire and a mountain bike tire. So essentially great for city use.

          You might want to look at something else, if you’re looking to cover exceedingly rough gravel.

          Pros:

          • The width gives more comfort
          • Has a solid grip
          • Great value for the price

          Cons:

          • Is open to the possibility of puncture
          • Not as fast compared to others
          • Shorter age span
          SCHWALBE Unisex's CX Comp Cycle Tyre, Black, Size 700 x 38
          SCHWALBE Unisex's CX Comp Cycle Tyre, Black, Size 700 x 38

            Last update on 2021-01-19 at 07:00 / Commission Earned / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

            5. Gravel King 

            Key Features:

            • Available in two colors
            • Made of multi-use gravel tread
            • Size: 700 x 32c
            • Weighs 320g
            • Max PSI: 30-95

            This is a folding tire, so when you unfold it you need to form it into its shape. It’s great for those of you looking to tackle a rougher, dry terrain. The performance on wetter gravel is not as good. It also struggles to resist picking up rough objects on smoother surfaces. The potential for puncture is greater on smoother surfaces. 

            The tire is created with excellent grip and low rolling resistance. Even so, you want to be careful because the sidewalls don’t hold up well and that’s where the potential for puncture is greatest. 

            Don’t forget to combine the tire pressure and other settings to ensure a smoother ride. This tire will fit great with your weekend adventure bike. The Gravel King is considerably durable, as long as you don’t puncture it along the way. 

            Pros:

            • Grip is impressive
            • Aesthetics (personal preferences)
            • Excellent for hard packed gravel
            • Great on grass and drier conditions
            • Low rolling resistance

            Cons:

            • Puncture resistance is not impressive
            • Not suitable for city commuting
            • Sidewalls don’t hold up well against rough terrains
            • Is not tubeless ready
            Sale
            Panaracer GravelKing SK 700 x 32 C Knobby Tread Aramid Folding Tire, Black/Brown
            Panaracer GravelKing SK 700 x 32 C Knobby Tread Aramid Folding Tire, Black/Brown

              Last update on 2021-01-19 at 07:00 / Commission Earned / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

              6. WTB Riddler

              Key Features:

              • Suitable for cross-country, all mountain, dry and damp road, hard packed and sandy road
              • Built to minimize rolling resistance
              • Available in two colors (black and tanwall)
              • Available in two sizes (700c x 37mm and 700c x 45mm)

              The WTB Riddler is made to stand a range of conditions and still maintain exceptional speed. These tires will give you comfort and grip throughout your ride. You will have a great riding experience over dirts and gravels. Even though it’s great for gravel roads, it does not limit your riding experience over smoother terrain. All round versatile. 

              The Riddler 37 is a better choice for gravel grinding and drier courses, while the Riddler 45 is better for rough gravel road or drop bar backpacking. This product is standardized tubeless with tread compounds. 

              The dual DNA feature is a mix of strength, traction, and efficiency. The tire is structured with firmer rubber along the middle to ensure lower rolling resistance and durability, while the sides are softer to provide more grip and control. Even so, the tubeless features show some flaws. You might need to put in more sealant. 

              Pros:

              • Excellent price for value
              • Low rolling resistance
              • Very fast
              • Great on dry gravel roads

              Cons:

              • The tubeless set up has flaws
              • Leaks
              • Difficult to install
              • Products may arrive defected
              Sale
              WTB Riddler 700 x 45c Light Fast Roll (tan sidewall)
              WTB Riddler 700 x 45c Light Fast Roll (tan sidewall)

                Last update on 2021-01-19 at 07:00 / Commission Earned / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

                Our Top Pick

                The overall winner, I’d say, is the Continental Gatorskin Bike Tire. Even though it’s not completely punctured proof, it’s a great contender and will serve you nicely touring over all kinds of gravel roads. You have to be more careful over wetter roads, but you need to do that with any tires, regardless. Aside from the rough exterior, this tire still aims for speed and that’s what you’ll get.

                Stay safe on your rides, and even if one tire fails, it could be a splendid chance for you to experiment on another. At the end of the day, there is no perfect tire and your needs today may differ in the days to come. The most important thing is to keep on riding.

                Continental Ultra Gatorskin Bicycle Tire (700x25, Folding, Black)
                Continental Ultra Gatorskin Bicycle Tire (700x25, Folding, Black)

                  Last update on 2021-01-19 at 07:00 / Commission Earned / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

                  Perry
                  Perry
                  Hello, my names Perry and I've been a freelance writer for the past 5 years and a cycling enthusiastic since I can remember. I love the road, but my main passion is mountain biking.