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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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

650B Tires Weight Rating

Tires are one of the easiest and cost-effective places on your bike to save weight. Rubber is simply much less expensive than, say, carbon or titanium.

The weight ratings in the following table are not absolute numbers. You can find those numbers in the specifications table at the end of the article. The number you see here is a weighted ratio of weight related to tire width.

The number provides an indicator to quickly compare different tires against each other and have to be taken with a grain of salt. Mountain bike tires, which are also featured here, come in a huge number of different sizes, widths, and compounds. To obtain the best ratings I compare the lightest version of tires against each other.

Continental CONTACT Speed
52%
Maxxis DTR-1
68%
Maxxis Recepter
71%
Schwalbe Hurricane
64%
Schwalbe Marathon Plus MTB
0%
Schwalbe Thunder Burt
77%
WTB Horizon
67%
WTB ThickSlick
58%

650B Tires Puncture Protection Rating

How well a tire is protected against punctures is not the same as the amount of rubber compound is slapped onto the tire casing.

The puncture protection rating you see in the following table is the additional level of protection a tire has in the form of sidewall protection, and puncture resistant breakers or belts sitting underneath the center tread.

It means a heavy mountain bike tire can have a lower puncture protection rating than a gravel tire with an added puncture resistant layer.

Continental CONTACT Speed
51%
Maxxis DTR-1
30%
Maxxis Recepter
31%
Schwalbe Hurricane
33%
Schwalbe Marathon Plus MTB
100%
Schwalbe Thunder Burt
26%
WTB Horizon
30%
WTB ThickSlick
34%

Specifications 650b slick tires

Name
Size
ETRTO
Weight (gr)
Tread color
Sidewall color
Compound
Puncture protection
Tire bead
TPI
Buy at Amazon
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
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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