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The top 13 best 650b commuter tires

In this list I’m going to focus on providing you with the very best 650b commuter tires.

It seems like the last couple of years the innovation with respect to bicycle tires has exploded. In part this is because the last decade has seen the introduction of different wheel sizes, and the gravel riding cycling category.

The latter especially has caused a plethora of high performance tires that are perfectly suited for the ambitious commuter who will not settle for your average wired tire. In this article I’ve focused on a range of more traditional, but very high-quality and durable commuter tires. And I’ve thrown in a smattering of gravel tires that are well suited on pavement and tarmact because of their slick or semi-slick nature.

Since research has indicated the benefits of wider tires significantly outweigh those of slimmer versions, the overall width lies between 40 and 50 millimeters. But the list contain entries below 40 millimeter as well.

So let’s see what I’ve got in store for you with my top picks for the best 650b commuter tires.

Continental Contact Speed

Continental Contact Speed
Continental Contact Speed

Meant for the road the Continental Contact Speed is a slick tire in the true sense of the word. A minimalistic profile will turn your bike into a city slicker.

It’s not especially light, but that’s reflected in the price, making this one of the more affordable options on this list. But even with a lower price you still get Continental’s more than adequate SafetySystem breaker technology, ensuring chances of flats are minimized.

Continental Grand Prix 5000

Continental Grand Prix 5000
Continental Grand Prix 5000

The Continental Grand Prix 5000 is a clincher tire and dubbed as the best allrounder in the field.

And on paper at least the numbers are very impressive. A 330 TPI tire (very supple) at a claimed weight of 200 grams for a 23 mm width version. It has the exact same Vectran breaker as the other ones on this list, so as far as puncture protection is concerned, this tire performs equally impressive.

And this tire comes in a tan wall version or transparent as Continental calles it. But if you want the lightest version of this tire, you’ll have to stick to black.

Maxxis DTR-1

Maxxis DTR-1
Maxxis DTR-1

The Maxxis DTR-1 is an affordable semi-slick 650b tire with a tread pattern for urban assaults.

The foldable version is reasonably light for its width of 47 millimeters, coming in at just over 500 grams.

It’s a no-fuss tire for people looking for a fast-rolling commuter option for their bike without having to dig too deep into their wallets.

Panaracer Gravel King Semi Slick Plus

Panaracer Gravel King Semi Slick Plus
Panaracer Gravel King Semi Slick Plus

It’s hard to beat a winning formula but I believe Panaracer has done just that with their Panaracer Gravel King Semi Slick Plus.

The original Gravel King is one of the best if not the best gravel tires in the market, and with the SS or semi-slick they cater to riders who want that plush ride and some extra speed with an improved rolling-restance.

Besides that, all Panaracer tires are known for their extreme supple nature and low weight, and this tire is no exception to that rule.

And I know from experience running multiple Panaracers that the ProTite Protection ensures thousands of miles without flats.

A big thumbs up for this fantastic addition to the Gravel King lineup.

Panaracer Gravel King Slick

Panaracer Gravel King Slick
Panaracer Gravel King Slick

Starting with the amazing Gravel King, Panaracer quickly decided the gravel bike was here to stay and made several adaptations to their popular gravel tire.

The Panaracer Gravel King Slick is one of the most obvious choices for such an adaptation, though as far as gravel riding is concerned, it’s a tire meant for the lightest of conditions. The tire is covered from side to side in a minimalistic herringbone and diamond pattern. I admit that such a pattern provides a modicum of grip, but don’t expect this tire to outperform any other tire with knobbies in the cornering.

When you would use this tire for rougher gravel riding, the tread pattern will quickly diminish, giving your center tread the look of a true slick. But that’s not what this tire is meant for. It’s a very fast, voluminous, and durable road, or commuting tire, that doesn’t shy away from the occasional dirt or hardpack.

Anyone who reads my articles on tires knows I’m a big Panaracer fan. I own a set of these tires for my daily driver and can attest to the qualities ascribed to them.

Panaracer Pasela ProTite

Panaracer Pasela ProTite
Panaracer Pasela ProTite

Panaracer makes very nice mid-level priced tires. And they also offer some of the best-looking ones for retro builds. I choose the Panaracer Pasela ProTite over the normal Pasela, because its lighter, comes in a folding version and has a better looking badge.

In general the Pasela ProTite are very light tires with the 27.5 inch version weighing just 480 grams, thatll look great on your bike.

Schwalbe Big Ben

Schwalbe Big Ben
Schwalbe Big Ben

The Schwalbe Big Ben is the Big Apples brother, which means its even heavier. In fact, theyre almost the heaviest tires overall in this list. But on the flipside it does come in a number of brown colors other than black to accentuate your frame and make for a cool retro build. And its also reflected in a price which will hurt your wallet the least.

The Plus version is also probably the plushest ride here, but with almost a kilo per tire dont expect to be flying away went the light goes green.

Schwalbe G-One Speed

Schwalbe G-One Speed
Schwalbe G-One Speed

If you’re a person who likes fast plush rides on pavement and slightly course roads the Schwalbe G-One Speed is probably the best tire money can buy.

It’s an exceptional big volume road tire that’s light, nimble, and let’s you rip down the road with a big grin on your face. It’s a step up in width from your average road tire, which means you get an incredibly supple and plush ride and loads of grip. Sure you have to sacrifice a bit in the rolling-resistance departement when compared to a 25 millimeter road tire, but this tire is simply more fun to ride and much, much more comfortable.

And this tire doesn’t shy away from light gravel riding as well, broadening the range of application beyond very fast commuting.

Schwalbe Marathon Plus MTB

Schwalbe Marathon Plus MTB
Schwalbe Marathon Plus MTB

The Schwalbe Marathon Plus MTB looks like a knobby tire, but if you look close enough you can see that center tread will let you run smoothly across pavement.

You will need that smooth centerline, because this tire is the heaviest on the list by far. It weighs three times more than the lightest tire on this list. The biggest plus for hauling all that extra weight is that in terms of puncture protection, this tire has absolutely no equal.

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

WTB Byway

WTB Byway
WTB Byway

WTB has been at the forefront of providing high-quality gravel tires and the WTB Byway is another great example of why the brand reigns supreme in that department.

The slick center line ensures this minimal gravel tire is fast when going in a straight line. But the pronounced side knobbies allow for enough confidence in dry summer conditions when riding hardpack and dirt roads.

Even a great tire such as this one has it limits, and the minimal tread pattern won’t fair wel in wet and muddy conditions. Also grip on steep inclines with loose gravel might be less optimal because of it’s semi-slick nature. But to be fair that’s not the intended purpose of this tire.

So if your average ride includes pavement and gravel and speed is at the top of your list, this is a gorgeous option to choose.

WTB Groov-E

WTB Groov-E
WTB Groov-E

The WTP Groov-E was designed for e-bikes, which is reflected in the weight of 970 grams.

The reason it’s on this list, is because with its 2.40 inch width and weight, it will offer an extremely plush ride. Not everybody is looking for speed, and if comfort sits high on your list, this tire might be the one for you.

WTB Horizon

WTB Horizon
WTB Horizon

The WTB Horizon is a gorgeous and supple 650b slick tire, that’s available in both black and true tan-wall options.

The 47 millimeter width tire comes in both a single ply 60 TPI and a more supple 120 TPI version. The center tread has no pattern whatsoever and is flanked by dual herringbone patterns to provide a modicum of traction when riding anything else but smooth tarmac and pavement.

It’s fully tubeless compatible and the round tire ranging between 515 and 571 grams for the various versions will make a plush ride indeed for any type of light gravel riding or urban commuting.

WTB ThickSlick

WTB ThickSlick
WTB ThickSlick

Ive looked at all WTBs tires. I always loved the color of their skinwall, but the WTB ThickSlick is a fully black 650b slick tire. But the ThickSlick is true to its name and has absolutely no profile whatsoever, which makes for a very clean look on any bike.

Although the slickest of the bunch here, the dual compound doesnt make them the lightest with 713 grams for a 1.95 inch width version.

Specifications best 650b commuter tires

NameSizeETRTOWeight (gr)Tread ColorSidewall ColorBuy at Amazon
Continental Contact Speed27.5×2.0050-584700BlackBlacklink
Continental Grand Prix 5000650x28B28-584230BlackBlacklink
Continental Grand Prix 5000650x25B25-584210BlackBlacklink
Maxxis DTR-127.5×1.8547-584505BlackBlacklink
Panaracer Gravel King Semi Slick Plus27.5×1.9047-584590BlackTanlink
Panaracer Gravel King Semi Slick Plus27.5×1.9047-584590BlackBlacklink
Panaracer Gravel King Slick27.5×1.5038-584320BlackTanlink
Panaracer Gravel King Slick27.5×1.5038-584BlackBlacklink
Panaracer Gravel King Slick27.5×1.7542-584360BlackTanlink
Panaracer Gravel King Slick27.5×1.7542-584BlackBlacklink
Panaracer Gravel King Slick27.5×1.9047-584520BlackTanlink
Panaracer Pasela ProTite27.5×1.7542-584480BlackAmberlink
Schwalbe Big Ben27.5×2.0050-584745BlackBlacklink
Schwalbe G-One Speed27.5×2.0050-584515BlackTanlink
Schwalbe Marathon Plus MTB27.5×2.1054-5841200BlackBlacklink
Schwalbe Marathon Plus MTB27.5×2.2557-5841270BlackBlacklink
WTB Byway27.5×1.8547-584564BlackBlacklink
WTB Byway27.5×1.8547-584535BlackTanlink
WTB Groov-E27.5×2.4062-584970BlackBlacklink
WTB Horizon27.5×1.8547-584532BlackBlacklink
WTB Horizon27.5×1.8547-584515BlackTanlink
WTB Horizon27.5×1.8547-584571BlackBlacklink
WTB ThickSlick27.5×1.9550-584713BlackBlacklink