Search
Close this search box.

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 on 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 adequate 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 ProTection

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.

Expert Experience

Matt Gersib | 2014 Gravel World Champion – May 18, 2020

It’s amazing how good gravel tires are today, and these new Continental tires are great examples of the progress gravel tires have made. They’re not much heavier than a road tire, yet are true 40c treaded tires that can confidently be ridden in nearly any gravel conditions. In their element, they’re fast, predictable and durable. And while clearly not mountain bike tires, the Terra Trail and Terra Speed won’t hold you back on routes that include sections of smooth singletrack either.

Pros and Cons

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.

Expert Experience

Jason Judy | Contributor – May 13, 2021

I would without question recommend the Alluviums for someone looking for a fast rolling semi-slick type tire or someone who just wants a superb riding tire for normal gravel roads. These tires would without question be at home at events like Rock Cobbler, Unbound, SBT GRVL, or Gravel Mob to name a few. In fact, they survived Rock Cobbler and LA Tourist race for me.

Pros and Cons

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.

Expert Experience

David Rome | Contributor – November 19, 2013

At 696g (26 x 2.2), the Ardent Race is no loop circuit race day tyre, but its weight is extremely competitive for a trail worthy tyre. It’s perfect for use front and rear on a summer trail bike, or the front tyre of a cross-country speedster to give greater cornering control, or as a rear tyre on a burlier enduro race bike.

Pros and Cons

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.

Expert Experience

David Arthur | Contributor – November 20, 2020

Even though the Crossmark II is fairly quick rolling, it’s still not as rapid as a Bontrager XR2 or Schwalbe Racing Ralph.

The 771g weight is also on the high side for an XC race tyre, but if you’re trail riding and want a fast rolling rear option with the security of the EXO casing, the Crossmark II might well suit you. It also proved easy to set up tubeless on my DT Swiss XR1501 control wheels.

Pros and Cons

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.

Expert Experience

Jeff Barber | Editor in Chief – January 23, 2014

I think a better description for the Ikon (and one that Maxxis even uses themselves) is “all-rounder.” The knobs are long enough and spaced far enough apart to give good bite in the straights and the corners. I’ve experienced excellent results in both wet and dry conditions, and find myself able to push the envelope a bit more in the turns on these tires compared to others I’ve tested.

Pros and Cons

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.

Expert Experience

Katherine Moore | Contributor – November 17, 2021

As a ‘road plus’ or gravel tyre for riders who tend to stick to well-surfaced fire roads and tarmac, the GravelKing SK TLC could be a good-value option.

However, for those who like to stray further afield and come across more variable conditions, these are limited by both grip and puncture protection.

Pros and Cons

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.

Expert Experience

Jamie Williams | Technical writer – August 14, 2021

Having ridden on the G-One Allround for six weeks through a mix of heatwaves and localised flooding on tarmac, gravel and the odd XC trail, I’m impressed. For all the dry riding on all the various surfaces, they’re great – a little expensive, yes, but great.

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

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.

Expert Experience

Aaron Borhill | Freelance tester – July 04, 2022

As a long-time user of the Vittoria Mezcal and having raced on them in myriad countries, the way they perform never ceases to amaze me. Of course, I wouldn’t use them in wet conditions but they’re not the worst performers in the mud either. If you’re looking for a reliable tire that prioritizes speed, look no further than the Vittoria Mezcal. It’s a brilliant tire for cross-country and marathon riding.

Pros and Cons

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.

Expert Experience

Guitar Ted | Technical reviewer – August 18, 2017

For those bicycles the Resolute will fit in, this tire does rank among the best tires I could recommend. I would choose this tire for my riding over anything I’ve yet been able to try out because of its abilities on hard packed and paved surfaces while still being excellent in sand, looser dirt, and gravel. Sure, there are better specialist tires. If I were primarily interested in shredding dirt, I’d go with a Maxxis Ravager, for instance, but my riding takes me over a varied palette of surfaces which requires a tire to perform admirably over all of them. The Resolute has been that tire for me.

Pros and Cons

Specifications 650b touring tires

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

Sources

Matt Gersib, Continental Terra Trail and Terra Speed Tires: Long Review, Riding Gravel, May 18, 2020
Jason Judy, Kenda Alluvium Gravel Tire Review, Gravelstroke, May 13, 2021
David Arthur, Maxxis Crossmark II EXO TR tyre review, Bikeradar, November 20, 2020
Jeff Barber, Review: Maxxis Ikon: A Racing Tire With Bite, Singletracks, January 23, 2014
Katherine Moore, Panaracer GravelKing SK TLC tyre review, Bikeradar, November 17, 2021
Jamie Williams, Schwalbe G-One Allround Evolution, Road.cc, August 14, 2021
Guitar Ted, WTB Resolute Tire: At The Finish, Riding Gravel, August 18, 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 »