Search
Close this search box.

The top 8 best 650b slick tires

In this article I’m going to give you a variety of the best 650b slick tires available.

I’ve added two distinct versions of tires. The first category is true slicks. Those are tires, which have almost no tread pattern to speak of, or are entirely smooth. The other category is semi-slicks. That group of tires have smooth or semi-smooth center lines, and a more pronounced tread pattern on the sides. These semi-slicks are far more adequate when you use the tires on anything else but smooth tarmac, and can rightly be called gravel tires.

I’ve also added quite a range of widths and weights. Usually with bicycle components, including tires, you pay more for less. So tires weighing less, but having the same width are more performance-oriented for those of you who care. But there are also enough options for the more budget-minded among us.

So without further ado, here’s my list of the best 650b slick 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.

In the commuting and touring range from this German brand, it sits in the fastest category and is one of the most affordable options to obtain a fast-rolling tire.

It also has excellent puncture protection with Continental’s more than adequate SafetySystem breaker technology. Chances of flats are minimized.

Expert Experience

Shaun Audane | Technical writer – June 30, 2020

For me at least, the Contact Speeds strike an excellent balance between speed, comfort and puncture resistance – in that order. The wide range of sizes is another big draw and I’d even do a bit of weekend/lightweight touring with them. If these are your priorities, there’s little to touch them. However, if you put reliability and durability over everything else, there are plenty of options for similar money and, indeed, less.

Pros and Cons

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.

Pros and Cons

Maxxis Recepter

Maxxis Recepter
Maxxis Recepter

The Maxxis Recepter is a great-looking option for people looking into 650b slick tires with gravel characteristics.

Just as with the Continental Speed King it has hardly any tread pattern to speak of, but has small side knobbies for added grip when cornering.

It’s a lightweight performance tire sitting at 485 grams for a 1.85 width version.

The Recepter also comes with Maxxis’ tried-and-true EXO protection, which is hardly a luxury when taking your bike on rougher roads.

It means that this tire is a perfect companion for fast-riding on dirt roads and hardpack.

Expert Experience

Caley Fretz | Contributor – May 31, 2023

The breadth of tire options we now have for gravel riding is fantastic, but as that breadth has increased so have we seen tires begin to truly specialize. The Receptor is one of those. If you ride your gravel bike on surfaces that are neither wet nor particularly loose, you’ll love them. The sidewall protection is phenomenal, the weight is good, rolling resistance is superb, and they seat tubeless easily on most rims. Just don’t take them outside their comfort zone for too long.

Pros and Cons

Schwalbe Hurricane

Schwalbe Hurricane
Schwalbe Hurricane

I also decided to include the Schwalbe Hurricane in this list. It’s a shame they don’t sell them in skinwall versions as well. But the tire packs a solid combination of a flat centerline and side knobs.

The side knobs means the tire is more versatile than the average slick, opening up the possibility to take your bike offroad and away from the beaten path.

If you want to keep a MTB look for your tires without sacrificing too much speed on the road, this is the perfect tire for you. Especially if you like the occasional trail as well because of the added grip.

Expert Experience

Alaskan | Contributor – December 2017, 2019

This tire is whisper quiet on paved surfaces and rolls very easily. It is a very fast tire, almost as fast as Marathon Supremes. The traction on road and trail is very good, verging on excellent. It is sure footed on wet pavement as well.

For me the new Hurricane fits with my riding better than any tire I have ridden on. This tire comes across as the best all purpose tire I have ridden to date.

Pros and Cons

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.

Expert Experience

Mike | Site Owner – March 15, 2017

Since I’ve made the jump to these large-and-in-charge tires (in my case, on a drop-bar adventure bike rather than a pure mountain bike) I’ve felt like I’m getting pretty close to the right balance of tradeoffs and advantages.

I’m not whizzing through my city streets en route to my favorite forest getaways, but I roll smoothly and comfortably enough out of town. Once I’m on the rough gravel-and-clay surface of the C&O Canal towpath outside my Washington, DC home, I really appreciate the limousine-like feel and peace of mind these tires offer.

Pros and Cons

Schwalbe Thunder Burt

Schwalbe Thunder Burt
Schwalbe Thunder Burt

Another fantastic option from Schwalbe, and on the more premium side, is the Schwalbe Thunder Burt. It’s a very lightweight XC tire with hardly any tread pattern in the center to speak of.

If you feel that you might be gravel oriented with your bike this is an excellent choice. The raised knobbies on the side will give you the confidence you’re looking for, while the extremely low weight of just 510 grams also means these mid-size tires are very fast.

Expert Experience

Gerow | Product reviewer – April 14, 2022

Given both their rolling resistance and feathery casing these tires remind me of the Kenda Small Block Eight rubber I used to run on the rear of my XC race ride. The Kenda was a hair heavier and slower, but the intention was roughly the same. Make a tire that goes as fast as possible with the lowest watt output. For dirt roads and billiard-smooth singletrack, I’d say Schwalbe nailed it with the Thunder Burt.

Pros and Cons

WTB Horizon

WTB Horizon
WTB Horizon

The WTB Horizon is a gorgeous and supple 650b slick tire, 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.

Expert Experience

Jayson | Site Owner – April 19, 2017

The Horizon is a great choice for a rider who commutes a few miles / kilometres in order to reach their local gravel road(s). Not exactly designed for high-speed cornering with its lack of tread blocks on the sides, the Horizon still does well enough on just about every dirt and gravel road surface imaginable. However, as stated earlier, it isn’t a tyre I’d consider for the flinty rigours of an event like Dirty Kanza.

Pros and Cons

WTB ThickSlick

WTB ThickSlick
WTB ThickSlick

Of all the tires I’ve come across, none is as true to its name as the WTB ThickSlick.

The high-contrast white letters on the smooth carcass is one of the most distinctive designs for a black tire you can find. A tire with a non-existent tread pattern such as this one is obviously meant for riding on pavement and tarmac. And it does so admirably, with a reasonable enough weight and rolling-resistance.

It’s a very niche-oriented tire to turn your bike into something more. And one of the best-looking slick mountain bike tires ever to hit the market.

Expert Experience

Dave Henly | Site Owner – March 6, 2017

For urban riding and as a road training tire, the ThinSlicks are perfect. If you want to ride gravel on a road bike, these might work ok, but you’ll be pushing them to their limit. And if you want to do a lot of touring, you can either go with these bad boys or the Gatorskins. The Gatorskins might be more comfortable over long straight stretches.

Pros and Cons

Specifications 650b slick tires

Name
Size
ETRTO
Weight (gr)
Tread color
Sidewall color
Compound
Puncture protection
Tire bead
TPI
Continental CONTACT Speed
27.5×2.00
50-584
700
Black
Black
SafetySystem Breaker
tlr
3/180
Schwalbe Hurricane
27.5×2.00
50-584
610
Black
Black
ADDIX
Performance
wired
Schwalbe Hurricane
27.5×2.25
57-584
690
Black
Black
ADDIX
Performance
wired
Schwalbe Hurricane
27.5×2.40
62-584
885
Black
Black Reflex
ADDIX
RaceGuard / Double Defense
wired
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
Schwalbe Thunder Burt
27.5×2.10
54-584
510
Black
Black
ADDIX Speed
Super Ground
WTB ThickSlick
27.5×1.95
50-584
713
Black
Black
DNA
folding
WTB Horizon
27.5×1.85
47-584
532
Black
Black
Dual DNA
tlr
60
WTB Horizon
27.5×1.85
47-584
515
Black
Tan
Dual DNA
tlr
60
WTB Horizon
27.5×1.85
47-584
571
Black
Black
Dual DNA
tlr
120
Maxxis DTR-1
27.5×1.85
47-584
505
Black
Black
Dual
foldable
60
Maxxis Recepter
27.5×1.85
47-584
484
Black
Black
Dual
tlr
120

Sources

Shaun Audane, Continental Contact Speed Reflex 26×2.0 tyre, Road.cc, June 30, 2020
Alaskan, New Favorite Tire – Schwalbe Hurricane, Electric Bike Reviews, December 2017, 2019
Jayson, Review: WTB Horizon Road Plus 650b Tubeless Ready Tires, Gravel Cyclist, April 19, 2017
Dave Henly, ThickSlicks Tire Review, Dave’s Cheap Bikes, March 6, 2017
bio vanseijen

Johan van Seijen

Founder Restoration.bike

Johan van Seijen is the founder of restoration.bike. His cycling career has seen him at the starting line of classics such as the Amstel Gold Race and Liege Bastogne Liege. Realizing his racing capacity would fall short of what was needed he obtained a MS from the University of Amsterdam in engineering. His love for cycling changed into riding in an amateur capacity with his local cycling club TFC Weesp as a roadie and supporting MTB Noordwest as a mountain biker. He repairs, restores, and builds bicycles and shares his knowledge on YouTube, Facebook and this website. 

You might also like

best 650b gravel tires for mud
650b tires

The top 5 best 650b gravel tires for mud

In this article I’m going to give you my list for the best 650b gravel tires for mud.

That’s not as easy as it might look, and I had to admit that this article took me longer than a lot of other arti

Read More »
best 650b road tires
650b tires

The top 5 best 650b road tires

In this article I’m going to give you my top picks for the best 650b road tires.

Normally, you’d equate road tires with road bikes, and of those there are plenty of solid to choose from. As soon as w

Read More »
best 650b touring tires
650b tires

The top 10 best 650b touring tires

In this article I’m going to give you a wide range of some of the best 650b touring tires in the marketplace.

Of all the tire characteristics to choose from, from a touring perspective, I would favor

Read More »