Choosing a road cycling tyre can be a confusing part of cycling. How do you know what you should be running. Having the wrong tyre on your bike can make your bike feel unstable, uncomfortable and handle badly, making you lose confidence. Choosing the right tyre can mean the difference between a good and a bad ride and is very important to the overall handling of the bike.
Firstly identify what you need your tyre to do? Are you using it for racing, touring, training, or using the tyre on a multi-surface, this will help to narrow down the search. You may need more than one tyre of the tyre if you are doing multi-disciplines.
Does Size Matter
The tyre sizes can vary hugely, but most common road sizes are 23mm 25mm or 28mm. Some brands and models will vary in size slightly and what you want is dependent on your personal preference. There is no hard and fast rule on what size tyre you should or shouldn't have. A wider tyre is often deemed more comfortable and is now a common size choice for a lot of cyclists.
Choosing your tyre for summer or winter
Summer and winter tyres will vary in tread pattern, construction and TPI. A winter tyre will have more grooves in the tyre to help disperse water from the tyre to increase grip and eliminate instability when there is alot of lying ground water. The winter tyre will have a higher TPI and may offer increased layers of puncture resistance against dirt, grit and debris.
A summer tyre may have none or very little tread and have a slightly lower rolling resistance. They may also be lighter due to a lighter construction and lower TPI casing.
Clincher, tubeless, tubular?
Nowadays there are lots of choices of set up and this is down to your personal preference. Clincher tyres are still very common and are used with an inner tube. They are easy to repair if damaged but can have a higher rolling resistance to tubeless to tubular tyres.Tubeless tyres are used with sealant in the tyre to 'seal' any punctures whilst on the go. This is great as it does fix most punctures without having to physically repair anything. However, if you do cut the tyre badly then only a tube would fix this until you could get home. Tubular tyres are normally and most commonly used in racing as they offer the lowest rolling resistance and are less likely to roll off the wheel. However, if you do puncture, a tubular tyre is extremely difficult to repair whilst on the side of the road so for this reason they are not commonly used in recreational riding or training.
Race tyres are designed to offer maximum grip and control when cornering at high speeds. They are constructed with softer sticky rubber to ensure you get the most grip and generate the most heat possible when racing. Durability on a road tyre is not as good as their sole purpose is to perform at high speeds for short distances.
General road tyres
These are used for riders who ride weekly or commute and take part in the odd race. They are versatile tyres that are capable in wet and dry conditions. They offer good puncture protection and decent rolling resistance.
These are designed to withstand miles upon miles of riding, often load bearing and on uneven and rough surfaces. They will likely have a higher TPI casing to improve puncture protection. The touring tyre is designed to be used in all weather conditions and most touring riders choose the 28mm option or more, depending on your frame for increased comfort and stability.
Continental Road Tyre Range