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The top 10 best 27.5 touring tires

In this article I’m going to delve deep into the best 27.5 touring tires.

To create this list I’ve taken the best of the best tires from both the gravel riding discipline and the more traditional cross-country riding.

Cross country is more than perfectly adequate to serve as a perfect touring tire. It encompasses tire characteristics of grip, traction, durability and speed. The same goes for gravel bike tires, though in general they are slimmer tires with less pronounced knobbies.

So depending on the type of frame you have or riding conditions you generally find yourself riding, you might prefer one tire over the other. For obvious reasons, no matter what tire you choose, all represent the cream of the crop and will perform up to par.

I’ve also added tires that can be used in pairs, both front and back, to simplify your setup. You can also go up a size in width in the front, because that’s the tire which will need to have the most grip.

Though I understand that touring might not be the same as finishing a cross country race day, nobody likes a sluggish bicycle. That won’t happen with these tires. With a single exception (looking at you Schwalbe Marathon), these tires are still very light on their feet with solid rolling resistance characteristics.

That’s about what I have to add as an introduction. So without further ado, here’s my list for the best 27.5 touring tires.

Continental Terra Trail

Continental Terra Trail
Continental Terra Trail

If summer gravel riding is one of your favorite pastimes the Continental Terra Trail will prove to be a more than adequate companion.

It’s a typical allround gravel tire that scores well with respect to puncture protection, grip, and weight. But stay away from muddy trails, for the tread will clog up quickly and with it any grip you might be looking for.

That’s fine so long as muddy rides are not your forte, and even if it was, you’d rather stay dry. The tire excels on dry hardpack, gravel, and fire roads.

Kenda Alluvium Pro

Kenda Alluvium Pro
Kenda Alluvium Pro

The Kenda Alluvium Pro is a great summer gravel bike tire for dry conditions with just enough bite to tackle rougher conditions, should you encounter them.

A traditional-looking gravel tire has a rather smooth center tread and raised side knobbies. Such a design ensures a low rolling-resistance when going straight, but increased cornering confidence when you find yourself on rougher and twistier roads. The Alluvium pro has such a design and as such is a great allround option, that performs well enough when you start to demand more from your bike.

With its single ply casing it shouldn’t be the most puncture resistant when compared to its heavier brother the Kenda Flintridge Pro, but really rough and or wet and muddy conditions is not where you should take this tire anyway.

Maxxis Ardent Race

Maxxis Ardent Race
Maxxis Ardent Race

The Maxxis Ardent Race is a great option to mount as a very grippy dual XC setup, an aggressive XC front tire, or a lightweight, fast-rolling trail tire.

The triple compound provides a fast-rolling center with softer and grippier side knobs for added traction and cornering confidence.

In dry conditions the traction will prove to be outstanding. In wet conditions the small close-knit knobs can get packed with mud. So you’ll need to resort to a different tire if you want to ride year round without swapping tires.

Maxxis Crossmark II

Maxxis Crossmark II
Maxxis Crossmark II

The Maxxis Crossmark II is fast-rolling, dry condition, XC or gravel tire with the shallow center knobs and minimal side knobs.

It’s designed for speed on dry hardpack when going in a straight line, with the most minimal tread pattern you can find within this mountain bike category.

The hard-wearing 60 TPI dual casing and EXO reinforced sidewalls make it an excellent companion for long gravel and/or touring rides as well. Especially if you want to have the flexibility to veer off the beaten path yet still ride with confidence.

Maxxis Ikon

Maxxis Ikon
Maxxis Ikon

The absolute cross-country king in Maxxis’ lineup. The Maxxis Ikon has near perfect all-round tire characteristics, which makes it an excellent option for diverse road and trail conditions. Though it’s categorized obviously as an XC tire, it’ll also perform superior for bikepackers and gravel riders.

That being said, this is a racing tire, which means it’s light. But the reliable EXO compound, also used for harsher enduro racing, also means you’ll enjoy this tire for many miles.

As with any tire with this type of tread, it’ll perform well in dry conditions. The 26 inch version has both a 2.35 and 2.2 inch width option. You can run this tire both front and back, and might opt for the wider version in the front for some added grip. Especially if you expect some portions of your ride to be particularly rough.

It’s undeniable that the top-of-the-line products of Maxxis are superior to many if not all of their competitors. And the Maxxis Ikon shows it, with a perfect blend of weight, speed, grip, and protection.

Panaracer GravelKing SK (TLC)

Panaracer GravelKing SK (TLC)
Panaracer GravelKing SK (TLC)

The Panaracer Gravel King SK has become my favorite gravel tire on the market. In my mind there are two brands that stand out from the crowd, and those are american-made WTB and their Japanese counterpart Panaracer.

I’ve been a longtime fan of Panaracer. When the gravel-craze took hold of the bicycle industry, they created the tire that would serve as the de facto standard for gravel tires with the GravelKing SK. It has just the right weight, just the right tread pattern, just the right puncture protection, and all wrapped up in a beautiful package, both in black and tan-wall options.

Deservedly so, the Panaracer Gravel King SK is in my mind the true fit-and-forget, all-weather, all-season option for gravel aficionados. But will serve those bikepackers and hard-riding daily commuters just as well.

Schwalbe G-One Allround

Schwalbe G-One Allround
Schwalbe G-One Allround

The allround in the Schwalbe G-One Allround refers just as much to its application as to its tread pattern.

It’s a fantastic grippy tire meant for riding in dry conditions. It has a pattern rather than easily discernible knobbies, making this the fastest allround gravel tire of this list. That’s why it performs exceptionally well on tarmac as on gravel.

The Super Ground carcass is found on tires that need to perform well in various conditions, and offers great rolling-resistance, durability and weight characteristics. The ADDIX SpeedGrip compound obviously favors speed above traction.

The tread pattern, the compound and tire carcass, all of those components make this one helluva speedy gravel tire for dry conditions.

Schwalbe Marathon Plus MTB

Schwalbe Marathon Plus MTB
Schwalbe Marathon Plus MTB

The Schwalbe Marathon is the ultimate allrounder in the tire department and one of the best-selling tires on the market. So the German brand decided to make a MTB-specific version of this tire: the Schwalbe Marathon Plus MTB.

Although it looks like a knobby tire, if you look close enough you can see that the center tread will let you run smoothly across pavement. And just like the standard Marathon is meant for commuting and touring, the same goes for this one.

It’s a heavy tire when compared to some of the XC racers. But the biggest plus for hauling all that extra weight is that in terms of puncture protection, this tire has no equal. The reason is pretty simple. Schwalbe stuffed a 5mm strip underneath the center tread, made from highly puncture resistant rubber. And as simple as that sounds, it’s extremely effective in preventing punctures.

So for those of you who want the risk of flats nearing zero, this is the tire for you.

Vittoria Mezcal

Vittoria Mezcal
Vittoria Mezcal

Another cross-country crossover well-suited for bikepacking is the Vittoria Mezcal. The single 2.1 inch width version available for 26 inch tires, has a very low-profile tread pattern to improve rolling-resistance.

The 620 grams for a single tire is very light. And it’s this tire that has been on several cross-country championship bikes. So as far as speed is concerned, it’s extremely fast.

But for bikepacking you’ll need much more than speed. You want longevity and durability. Vittoria Mezcal uses their proprietary graphene enhanced 4C compound. It prevents the knobs from squirming on the hardpack, which in turn increases speed and durability.

The Mezcal is most at home on hardpack, but does perform well on other surface types. But like all of the other tires mentioned here, you will run into issues when encountering mud. The knobs are simply bunched too much together.

The Vittoria Mezcal makes for a fast and durable dual setup.

WTB Resolute

WTB Resolute
WTB Resolute

The WTB Resolute is an allround all-weather all-season gravel bike tire, or so WTB claims.

And this claim does make sense, with WTB basically applying a baseline of solid gravel tire characteristics into this product offering.

It’s both a lightweight tire which enhances acceleration. And it sits in between slick tires and the aggressive tread pattern of the WTB Sendero, ensuring good grip and traction in all kinds of conditions, while going in a straight line or in corners, going uphill or downhill.

So does that make the WTB Resolute one of the best all-rounders in the gravel department. The answer is a resolute yes, pun intended.

Specifications 27.5 touring tires

Name
Size
ETRTO
Weight (gr)
Tread color
Sidewall color
Compound
Puncture protection
Tire bead
TPI
Buy at Amazon
Schwalbe Marathon Plus MTB
27.5×2.10
54-584
1200
Black
Black
ADDIX
wired
Schwalbe Marathon Plus MTB
27.5×2.25
57-584
1270
Black
Black
ADDIX
wired
Maxxis Ardent Race
27.5×2.20
56-584
714
Black
Black
3C MaxxSpeed
tlr
120
Maxxis Ardent Race
27.5×2.35
60-584
730
Black
Black
3C MaxxSpeed
tlr
60
Maxxis Ardent Race
27.5×2.60
66-584
878
Black
Black
Dual
tlr
Maxxis Crossmark II
27.5×2.25
57-584
735
Black
Black
Dual
tlr
60
Maxxis Ikon
27.5×2.20
56-584
590
Black
Light Tan
Dual
EXO
tlr
Maxxis Ikon
27.5×2.20
56-584
668
Black
Tan
Dual
EXO
tlr
Maxxis Ikon
27.5×2.20
56-584
630
Black
Black
3C MaxxSpeed
EXO
tlr
Maxxis Ikon
27.5×2.35
60-584
700
Black
Black
3C MaxxSpeed
EXO
tlr
WTB Venture
27.5×1.85
44-584
586
Black
Black
Dual DNA
tlr
60
WTB Venture
27.5×1.85
44-584
555
Black
Tan
Dual DNA
tlr
60
WTB Resolute
27.5×1.65
42-584
440
Black
Tan
Dual DNA
tlr
60
Continental Terra Trail
27.5×1.60
40-584
430
Black
Cream
BlackChili
ProTection casing
tlr
3/180
Continental Terra Trail
27.5×1.90
47-584
460
Black
Black
BlackChili
ProTection casing
tlr
3/180
Schwalbe G-One Allround
27.5×1.50
40-584
450
Black
Black
ADDIX SpeedGrip
Super Ground
tubeless
Schwalbe G-One Allround
27.5×2.25
57-584
650
Black
Black
ADDIX SpeedGrip
Super Ground
tubeless
Kenda Alluvium Pro
27.5×1.80
45-584
514
Black
Black
Single
tlr
120
bio vanseijen

Johan van Seijen

FoundeR Restoration.bike

Johan van Seijen is the founder of restoration.bike. His passion for cycling in general, and restoring older bikes turned into a website to share his knowledge with a broader audience. Starting out on his father’s road bike and riding classics as the Amstel Gold Race and Liege Bastogne Liege he has shifted his attention to trail, XC, and gravel riding since. No matter how much he loves writing about everything related to cycling, nothing beats actually using his ever-expanding bicycle collection.

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