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 longevity, flexibility, puncture protection, and comfort, over speed, weight and rolling-resistance. You basically want your tires to last, and enjoy long worry-free rides.
Now even with those tire characteristics narrowed down, there are still a lot of tires to choose from, and a lot of frames that could serve as adequite touring bicycles. Hence, I’ve chosen a range of tire widths and tread patterns to accommodate what you yourself might have in mind concerning your next ride, and introduce some flexibility.
That’s why you find both cross-country, and gravel tires on this list, with widths ranging from 1.50 inch all the way up to 2.60 inches. All of the tires will perform on tarmac and pavement, some better than others. Also all tires are well suited for hardpack and gravel riding. And some tires fall into cross-country and even (light) trail riding.
Whatever tire you choose, they will enhance your next grand tour, so without further ado, here are my top picks for the very best 650b touring tires.
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 comnpanion.
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 is not your forte, and even it was, you’d rather stay dry. The tire excells on dry hardpack, gravel, and fire roads.
Kenda Alluvium Pro
The Kenda Alluvium Pro is 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 roling-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 heaver 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
The Maxxis Ardent Race is a solid option to mount as both front and rear 650b XC tires.
Paired with the Maxxis Ikon in the back you have a very speedy setup from this brand with EXO casing protection.
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 youll need to resort to a different tire if you want to ride year round in muddy conditions without swapping tires.
Maxxis Crossmark II
The Maxxis Crossmark II is tire for dry conditions with the shallow center knobs and minimal side knobs.
Its designed for speed on dry hardpack when going in a straight line, because its cornering ability isnt up to par with other XC tires. That doesn’t really matter since we’re not looking for a tire setup for your next cross-country race.
But if you want the added protection of the EXO compound, you’re looking for shorter, fun, speedier rides, and you want to combine it with another Maxxis front tire, the Crossmark II would be an outstanding choice.
The Maxxis Ikon is one of the best if not the best lightweight allrounder. It’s perfect for cross country and trail riding in normal conditions.
Compared to trail tires meant for rougher conditions, the Maxxis Ikon is extremely lightweight, with weights ranging from 590 to 700 grams, depending on the size and chosen compound.
It’s tread pattern is versatile enough for the tire to be mounted both in the front and the back. And it also means it combines good cornering characteristics with braking power and traction.
The EXO compound means the tire is pretty durable compared to competition, and all in all it means that as far as lightweight allrounders is concerned, the Ikon is at the top of its game.
Panaracer Gravel King SK
The Panaracer Gravel King SK is my favorite gravel tire in 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 and I feel 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 Gravel King.
The tire 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 afficionados.
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 discernable knobbies, making this the faster 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 into 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
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.
Another cross-country crossover well-suited for bikepacking is the Vittoria Mezcal. The single 2.35 inch width version available for 27.5 inch tires, has a very low-profile tread pattern to improve rolling-resistance.
The 670 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. The Vittoria Mezcal uses their proprietary graphene enhanced 4C compound. It prevents the knobs from squirming on 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.
That being said, in the end, the Vittoria Mezcal makes for a reliable, but still very fast and durable dual setup.
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 allrounders in the gravel department. The answer is a resolute yes, pun intended.
Specifications best 650b touring tires
|Name||Size||ETRTO||Weight (gr)||Tread Color||Sidewall Color||Buy at Amazon|
|Continental Terra Trail||27.5×1.60||40-584||430||Black||Cream||link|
|Continental Terra Trail||27.5×1.90||47-584||460||Black||Black||link|
|Kenda Alluvium Pro||27.5×1.80||45-584||514||Black||Black||link|
|Maxxis Ardent Race||27.5×2.20||56-584||714||Black||Black||link|
|Maxxis Ardent Race||27.5×2.35||60-584||730||Black||Black||link|
|Maxxis Ardent Race||27.5×2.60||66-584||878||Black||Black||link|
|Maxxis Crossmark II||27.5×2.25||57-584||735||Black||Black||link|
|Maxxis Ikon||27.5×2.20||56-584||590||Black||Light Tan||link|
|Panaracer Gravel King SK||27.5×1.90||47-584||600||Black||Tan||link|
|Panaracer Gravel King SK||27.5×1.90||47-584||600||Black||Black||link|
|Panaracer Gravel King SK||27.5×2.10||54-584||640||Black||Tan||link|
|Panaracer Gravel King SK||27.5×2.10||54-584||640||Black||Black||link|
|Schwalbe G-One Allround||27.5×1.50||40-584||450||Black||Black||link|
|Schwalbe G-One Allround||27.5×2.25||57-584||650||Black||Black||link|
|Schwalbe Marathon Plus MTB||27.5×2.10||54-584||1200||Black||Black||link|
|Schwalbe Marathon Plus MTB||27.5×2.25||57-584||1270||Black||Black||link|