Commuter bikes need to ensure their tires can withstand all that comes with both city and urban riding.
You may well think that they do not need to be as hardy as, say, a mountain bike, because you aren’t traversing rocks, dirt, and mud, right?! We understand that thought process, however, it is actually super important that the tires on your commuter bike are very durable.
This is because commuter bikes are used daily, often twice a day for relatively long distances. This is opposed to mountain bikes that may only be used at the weekend for a few hours on the trails.
The constant use of a commuter bike means that the tires can get worn down easily, and may need replacing far more often than that of a mountain bike. We have decided to compile a list of five of our top picks for the best Commuter Bike Tires around, reviewing each of them separately with a pros and cons list.
To help you further, we have also given you a very informative guide at the end of the article, detailing exactly what you should look for from commuter tires.
Does this sound like what you need?
Maybe you have just started commuting on a bike to work and have been wondering about the tires on your bike.
Maybe you plan to get new tires soon and just want to know the best ones out there.
We highly recommend you keep on reading to find out more!
OUR TOP PICK
OUR TOP PICK
The first tire on our list is the Schwinn Replacement Bike Tire. This tire comes in a range of sizes and options, meaning you can find the exact tire for your needs.
The type that we would recommend for commuting is the Hybrid/Standard tires, however, it is your personal choice what tires you decide on as it will depend mostly on the terrain you will be commuting on.
The Hybrid/Standard tires have the perfect amount of traction and grip for traversing pavement as well as more rocky terrains, meaning it is perfect for those that encounter a variety of surfaces when they ride.
Whilst the tire does not offer puncture proofing per se, the deep grooves in the tires can catch any rocks or pieces of glass before they damage your tire, and many of the reviews from other buyers of this particular tire have said that they have been impressed with how well they fare in terms of being puncture resistant.
It is a tube tire, meaning that there is an inner tube that gets inflated, rather than a tubeless tire. The width of this tire ranges from 19mm - 29mm. This makes it the perfect tire choice for those commuters who favor speed above all else.
As they are on the thinner side, you can expect a little less grip than thicker counterparts.
- Available in a range of size options, as well as bike options depending on whether you want a hybrid, off-road, or mountain bike suited tires
- The grooved treads give a good amount of traction
- The treads also make it harder for the tires to procure a puncture
- They are durable and wear well
- They are also relatively simple to install
- They do not offer as much puncture resistance as perhaps other tires would as they do not have a dedicated protective layer
The next tires we just had to share with you for your commuter bike are the Continental Gatorskin Bike Tires.
These are a whole world away from the first tires on our list, and are, in our opinion, very much on par with them and a worthy runner-up even with their differences.
There are a large number of size options to choose from, meaning you can find the perfect tire to fit your wheel rim. The width of these tires comes in two choices, 23 and 25. This means that they are designed with speed in mind, just like the first tires on our list.
They are a good choice for commuters who tend to stick to road and pavement traveling given that they do not have deep grooves in them for as much grip and traction as other tires. Nevertheless, they are very durable tires, made from a black carbon mixture.
They Are also scuff and cut resistant too, reducing the likelihood of a puncture. It is a good tire choice for someone who uses their bike for both commuting and training, as it lends itself well to both.
The shoulders of the tire have excellent grip, whereas the center is more smooth, great for reaching high speeds. They are a tube tire, too, which is important to note as people have different preferences.
- Hardwearing and durable material that can suit both road biking and commuting use
- The thinner tires width means that these tires are great for those commuters in need of speed
- There are many size choices to choose from, depending on your rim size on the bike
- The tubed tire is a preference for lots of commuters as they tend to be easier to replace
- They have good enough grip for commuters who will mostly be riding in towns and cities (on paved roads as opposed to gravel and dirt)
- They are not designed for trail and mountain biking, so those riders who have to commute on these terrains should choose another option
The next set of tires on our list is the fantastic all-rounder from Continental. Their Contact Plus Bike Tire is specifically designed for city and trekking use.
What we liked most about this tire set is that they have puncture protection. They feature the Extra Puncture Belt which is a technology that ensures a high level of protection against punctures caused by rocks, glass, and rocky terrain.
This technology also gives protection against sidewall abrasion. They have high tread to ensure you get good grip and traction when riding. They come in at 27-28mm in width, meaning they also provide you with good amounts of speed, cutting your commuting time down as much as possible.
They are tube tires like the others on the list so far.
- A good tire if you want to use your bike on different terrains as it can easily handle city riding as well as trekking
- It features Puncture Protection built-in to the tire
- High tread for excellent grip and traction
- Good speed due to the 27-28mm width
- They are a little tough to install as they fit tightly to the rim
The Schwalbe Marathon Plus is yet another worthy contender when it comes to the Best Commuter Bike Tires.
This model has excellent performance and durability thanks to the SmartGuard layer that is included in them. This SmartGuard layer provides excellent protection from glass and flints, minimizing the risk of punctures.
The SmartGuard layer has been designed using a flexible rubber to resist all of the harmful pieces that could cause a flat or a puncture.
One worry that people have for tires that come with Puncture protection like this is that they will not be as fast or as smooth to ride.
However, this particular model does not have any increased resistance and rolls just as well as a tire without protection.
The tires are tube tires and are not recommended to be used for tubeless tire bikes.
- Excellent protection against punctures due to the SmartGuard layer
- A smooth ride, even with the extra layer for protection
- The tires last for many, many miles without needing to be replaced, so you can be assured of the longevity of them
- Some customers have called them “pretty much indestructible”, and other words along these lines
- Some buyers may find them a little tough to install, and then remove when the time comes. This is because they fit so tightly
The last commuter bike tire on our list is yet another by the brand called Continental.
This model is very similar to the Contact Plus City/Trekking Tire we reviewed further up the list.
The difference is that this tire has been designed with a few more terrains in mind, which makes it perfect for those commuters who will be using the bike in the countryside, forest, and meadow paths.
It has an excellent universal tread which also makes it perfect for tarmac. It comes with an added protective layer to protect against punctures which is made from natural rubber.
It is a tubeless tire with a width of 26 or 28 depending on what size you choose.
- An excellent choice if you will be traversing a variety of terrains.
- Protective guard to stop punctures from occurring and to deter thorns, rocks, and glass from sticking into the tires
- The width of the tires promises great speed
- Some customers have noted that it doesn’t seem to do as well in sand as they’d hoped.
Buyers’ Guide to Commuter Bike Tires
To Tube, or Not to Tube...That is The Question
On your search for tires, you may well find many articles about tubeless tires. They have become increasingly popular amongst mountain bikers specifically, and now manufacturers offer both types of tires.
Road bikers and commuters are also becoming more interested in tubeless tires. They each have their own positives and negative points, and ultimately it is down to you.
Tube tires are the typical choice, the ones that tend to come as standard on commuter bikes. They are a tire that has a tube on the inside that gets inflated. These tires are super easy to replace if you do get a flat or a puncture, but they are more susceptible to both of those ailments.
Tubeless tires are, as we are sure you have guessed, tires without tubes. They are less likely to get punctures, but they are far harder to replace, especially if you are doing so yourself.
They are hard to actually fit on to the rim in the first place, and the sealant that is used in them to help prevent punctures needs to be replaced often as it has a use-by date. They are also tougher to hold air than their tube-y counterparts.
As we say, it is a personal decision and it depends on what your needs are.
Both types of tires will be good for commuting, so weigh up the information we have given to come to the best decision for yourself. It should be noted that tube tires are far more common, and all of the tires we have included are tubed.
Treads - Do They Give You Traction, Grip, and Control?
Some of the most important considerations to make are related to the treads of your tires.
You will want to ensure that they give you ample amounts of grip, traction, and control. When you are commuting, you tend to do it year round. This means it is likely that the climate conditions may change with the seasons.
You need to make sure your tires can handle puddles, wet mud, snow, ice, and super dry pavement or roads. Grip and control go hand in hand. You need the tire tread to give you a good grip to ensure you have maximum control over your bike when braking.
Without an adequate grip on the tire treads, breaking will be far harder, and it may even be potentially dangerous as you will not be able to stop as precisely, making you feel out of control.
As a rule, the grips of a bike should be able to dig into the surfaces you are riding on, rather than just gliding over it. A good grip also comes with tire pressure, ensuring the tires are not pumped too full as a softer tire will allow for an easier brake.
The grip also comes into play when you need to take corners, especially sharp corners. Without a good grip on your tires, you may end up skidding and getting yourself into an accident, especially if the roads are slippery.
Traction is also a very important consideration to make when you are purchasing tires for your commuter bike. It is very similar to grip, in that it allows you to have a little more control, even when riding over a suddenly slippery surface, such as a road with rain on it. Traction pulls you can, ensuring you don’t skid ahead.
With all this in mind, ensure your tires have at least a light tread if you will be riding on a solely paved surface. If any part of your commute features more uneven terrain, you will want far more tread in your tires, maybe even the same amount of tread as a mountain bike depending on the terrain.
It all comes down to your own commute and the surfaces it takes you on.
Anyone who has been cycling their commute for more than a few weeks will surely already know about the sheer amount of puncture that can happen! Who would have thought that a mostly paved commute could result in so many punctures?
Nevertheless, they do happen, and there are things that can be done to help with that! You can choose tires that come with added puncture protection. This is especially important if any part of your commute involves traversing more rocky terrain, or goes through a park.
It can also be very important in cities, especially if your commute takes you through alleys or streets that tend to have broken glass laying around a lot.
Look for tires that have synthetic materials as a coating to provide that extra protection from punctures. It may not protect your tires completely, but most of the damage will go to the protective layer first, protecting your tire underneath.
If they do not have a specific layer for protection, look for tires with deep grooves that will not only provide a good grip but will also help catch any pieces of glass or rocks before they damage the tire.
The width of your tires will depend on your needs, as well as the size of your bike wheels. Generally, commuter tires can range from around 26 to 28mm, with some being even thicker than this.
Before you purchase any you need to make sure that the tires you want are the right fit for your bike. For example, you don’t want to choose tires that are extremely thick if they won’t fit into your frame.
Consider the fact that wider tires offer more grip, whereas thinner ones offer better speed as they are more streamlined.
We hope you can see now just how important it is to get good quality tires for your commuter bike.
As we said at the beginning, we totally understand if you once thought that the tires you needed did not need as much grip as a road bike or mountain bike.
However, as we are sure you can see, it is actually far more beneficial to get tires that offer an excellent amount of grip and traction to ensure you have the best control possible on your commute.
Remember to also take into consideration the width of your tires, remembering the basic rule that weir tires give better grip but thinner ones offer more speed.
Always check the requirements of your particular bike too, to ensure that your chosen tires fit the rim.
Also consider whether puncture protection is needed for your tires, which will of course depend on the terrain you are traversing most often.