Dollar for dollar, nothing has as big an effect on the performance of your bike as your tires, and there are heaps of new models hitting the market that all aim to maximize traction and rolling speed, while simultaneously minimizing wear and weight.
Not surprisingly, many of the new models are aimed at mixed-surface riding — it is the hot segment of cycling right now, after all — with fresh tires from Schwalbe, Continental, Challenge, and WTB.
There is also progress being made on the road side, too. We recently highlighted the new
RapidAir from Specialized and the revamped Pro One range from Schwalbe, for example, and Goodyear announced at this year’s Eurobike show that it’s moving further upscale in terms of performance after the middle-of-the-road Eagle All-Season model that debuted last year.
Continental seems to be going after Schwalbe’s ultra-popular G-One Allround with its new tubeless-ready Terra Speed gravel tire, which features a similar tread design of tightly spaced, low-profile knobs. Continental is offering the new Terra Speed in four sizes: 650x35b (390g), 650x40b (400g), 700x35c (400g), and 700x40c (420g). Suggested retail price is €58.
The new tubeless-ready Continental Terra Trail gravel tire features a similar center tread as the Terra Speed, but with bigger shoulder knobs and a more squared-off profile to help improve grip in loose corners. Continental is offering the Terra Trail in just two sizes, at least to start: 650x40b (440g) and 700x40c (460g).
The new Schwalbe G-One Ultrabite is aimed at gravel riders that are willing to sacrifice some rolling speed in favor of improved grip on loose surfaces. It’s logically only offered in bigger 40mm and 50mm widths for 700c-diameter wheels.
The new Schwalbe G-One Bite is a sort of toned-down version of the G-One Ultrabite. The center tread is lower-profile and more tightly packed, and the shoulder tread isn’t quite as pronounced. None of the tread blocks are linked to adjacent blocks, either.
Schwalbe was pushing its eco-friendly message pretty hard at this year’s Eurobike show, including highlighting tread compounds that are made from renewable and recycled materials.
Schwalbe also uses recycled rubbers for some of its reinforcement layers.
Schwalbe was proudly touting the recyclability of its butyl tubes. But you know what? Everyone else’s butyl tubes are recyclable, too, so please find a facility that will accept them instead of just tossing them into the trash. Or better yet, patch your tubes that only have small punctures instead of replacing them with new ones all the time.
Challenge is taking tubeless more seriously these days, with a fleet of new options for both gravel and cyclocross. The new casings are still handmade, but now feature thin butyl coatings on the inside to help with air retention, and a light latex coating on the exterior sidewalls for abrasion resistance.
Challenge is boldly claiming that its comparable tubeless road tire records “22-25% lower rolling resistance” than Vittoria’s Corsa Graphene TLR.
Goodyear’s road bike tire range is moving further upscale in terms of performance. The tread of the new Eagle F1 is intended for everyday use, and is built with a mix of natural and synthetic rubber compounds that are infused with both “amorphous silica” and graphene. Goodyear claims (of course) that this yields lower rolling resistance, better grip, and longer wear than competing tires. The more racing-oriented Eagle F1 SuperSport features similar technology, but with a thinner tread cap and narrower breaker belt to reduce weight. Although Goodyear was bullish on tubeless technology with its initial range, it’s interesting to note that these two new road tires are tube-type. The Eagle F1 is offered in 23mm, 25mm, 28mm, 30mm, and 32mm widths with claimed weights ranging from 195g to 260g. The Eagle F1 SuperSport will only be offered in 23mm, 25mm, and 28mm sizes, with weights ranging from 180g to 205g.
WTB’s versatile Byway gravel tire was originally only offered in a single 650x47mm size, but there are now 700c versions in 34, 40, and 44mm widths, all with black or tan sidewalls. Retail price is US$60.
This tread design already existed in WTB’s range as the Exposure, but it’s now been renamed as the Expanse. Either way, the semi-slick center tread offers a fast roll on smooth tarmac, while the subtle shoulder tread helps prevent sliding out on hardpacked dirt surfaces. It’s a tread design I’ve found to work quite well in the past.
Looking for a high-volume tubeless-ready slick? WTB has got you covered with its Exposure 36.