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The top 11 best 700 x 23 road bike tires

With this article you’ll be given an overview of the best 700 x 23 road bike tires on the market.

For years a 23mm width road bike tire was the standard if you wanted to be as fast as possible. That has changed a bit with 25mm becoming more dominant in recent years, and overtaking 23mm as the go-to choice in the pro peleton.

I come from an era where narrow tires pumped up to the point of bursting was thought to be the way to achieve that marginal gain, no matter how uncomfortable it might have felt. But even a slight increase in tire width will do a lot in terms of adding comfort.

That being said, slimmer tires (with the right tire pressure) are faster and more aerodynamic on smooth tarmac. That’s why you still see them and are still commonplace on time trial bikes. And with this article I’ll give you some of the very best 700 x 23 road bike tires. So here goes.

Continental Gatorskin

Continental Gatorskin
Continental Gatorskin

Very similar to the Hardshell version the Continental Gatorskin is an incredible road bike tire with an exceptional level of puncture protection.

It offers a more supple 3-ply 180 TPI carcass with the same PolyX Breaker, a tightly woven polyester fabric sitting underneath the center tread, preventing foreign objects from reaching the air chamber.

It also has the Duraskin bead-to-bead protection, reinforcing its sidewalls and giving the tire its distinctive burgundy appearance, and adding an extra protective layer made from an incredibly strong polyamide fabric.

This tire is the pinnacle of perfection, offering the seemingly unattainable blend of maximum puncture-protection without sacrificing to much in the weight department, all in a road bike tire with a slick tread pattern. An absolute no-brainer for people who appreciate hard-wearing, fast-rolling tires.

Expert Experience

Robin Wilmott | Contributor – Feb 8, 2023

There’s a reason the Gatorskin is so popular. It has a reputation for an enticing combination of ride quality, flat protection and durability – with a leaning towards the latter. My testing has shown this to be well-founded.

There are few tyres that give as much riding confidence while offering such strong protection against punctures as the Gatorskin.

Pros and Cons

Continental Gatorskin BE

Continental Gatorskin BE
fallback

The Continental Gatorskin BE the all-black version of the best-selling Gatorskin with the burgundy sidewall, while similar in all other respects.

This tire already sold like hot cakes, and the fact it’s going to be more compatible color-wise with your bike probably only makes it more attractive. A nice touch of the German brand.

Expert Experience

Paul Norman | Technical writer – June 02, 2017

Run at around 90psi, the ride is adequately fast and subtle over bumpy tarmac, although you can feel the tyre’s increased rigidity from its more substantial sidewalls and increased puncture protection.

I’ve not had any flats when riding the Gatorskins. Punctures are a bit of dependent on bad luck rather than something you can say anything definite about, but it’s nevertheless reassuring.

Pros and Cons

Continental Ultra Sport

Continental Ultra Sport III
Continental Ultra Sport III

The Continental Ultra Sport III is a budget-friendly slick tire for commuters and road bikes.

It offers a no-frills tire in an affordable package, and one of the cheapest big brand tires money can buy

It’s a solid option for people who understand they get what they pay for.

Expert Experience

Vinay Rawat | Triathlete – May 22, 2017

I did more than 1500 km with stock tires on my Giant Defy 3 and that too on bumpy and rough roads of Delhi. I used these tires along with tire liners from RhinoDillos and had very few flats in the span of 9 months and the rolling resistance was very less.

After 200 km of ride I can say these tires are quite durable and cornering feels very comfortable. Though couldn’t say if these are faster than the previous ones but comfort wise these seem much compliance. I would recommend you to go for the foldable option of these tires.

Pros and Cons

Schwalbe Durano Plus

Schwalbe Durano Plus
Schwalbe Durano Plus

The Schwalbe Durano Plus is a road bike tire that utilizes the SmartGuard belt.

The thought behind this puncture resistant layer is rather simple, but has stood the test of time, making it a popular choice in the fight against flats.. What you do is you make the belt, sitting underneath the center tread, so thick that you could virtually run over anything without getting a flat.

Its system is utilized in their Marathon lineup as well and has found its way into this road tire. It sits at the top of their puncture proof technologies. With an extra 5 mm of material stuffed in the tire, you can basically push a thumbtack into it and still hold air.

That material does add weight, so it’s easily a 100 grams heavier than a lighter competitor. It’s also not the most supple tire, so this tire definitely caters to those who are really sick and tired of finding themselves at the side of the road with their bike upside down. And obviously, it’s a solid training tire.

On the other hand, I don’t think any other tire beats this one in terms of being puncture proof.

Expert Experience

Rachel Sokal | Technical writer – December 20, 2022

Instantaneously the Durano changed the feel of my bike, simultaneously providing brilliant grip alongside a nice and quick roll. The more I rode and trusted the grip of the tire, the more confidence the tire gave back. It’s been a long time since a single change in a component has made such a difference to the feel of my bike.

The Schwalbe Durano Plus might not be the lightest tire on the market but its quick rolling, nicely grippy and has great puncture protection which is a pretty good combination for the winter and beyond.

Pros and Cons

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 impressively.

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

Expert Experience

Stu Kerton | Senior Product Reviewer – March 26, 2021

Riding them in the winter has shown how durable they are for such a high-performance tyre. With a short test period it’s difficult to judge wear levels, but the GP5000s are looking good. There are a couple of little marks here and there from the hedge cutting season, but they haven’t punctured yet.

They have a supple feel, too. Even at the pressures I ride, they bring a noticeable cushioning effect to proceedings. The only real issue I can see is that if you want tubeless and a tan wall, you’re out of luck. If that doesn’t bother you, you’re going to have to go some to find another tyre that delivers the same levels of performance and durability. The GP5000 Transparent is excellent. As long as you’re willing to pay for it.

Pros and Cons

Continental Grand Prix 4-Season

Continental Grand Prix 4-Season
Continental Grand Prix 4-Season

The Continental Grand Prix 4-Season utilizes an extra bead-to-bead layer Continental calls Duraskin, reserved for their most durable tires.

Each road tire in the Continental lineup uses a puncture resistant breaker for the center tread. The Grand Prix 4-Season uses two, effectively doubling its puncture resistance when compared with the other tires. It makes for a road bike tire with a ridiculous level of puncture resistance, and is something I haven’t seen in any other road bike tire I’ve researched.

And last but not least, the Continental Grand Prix 4-Season uses 3 layers of 110 TPI for both durability and longevity, without sacrificing too much in terms of weight, grip and ride feel. Which makes this tire one of the if not the most fit-and-forget tires you can find.

The only thing keeping this tire from a 5-star rating is that it’s not available in a tubeless version. It comes in sizes 23, 25, 28 and 32 mm.

Expert Experience

Ashley Quinlan | Senior technical editor – November 9, 2022

The Continental Grand Prix 4 Season tyre has been a popular all-season option for club and competitive riders for years – and it’s still hard to argue against its plus points (unless you’re considering going tubeless).

Instead of prioritising speed with only a hint of added hardiness, the Grand Prix 4 Season hits an admirable blend of toughness, longevity, grip and speed.

Pros and Cons

Continental Grand Sport Race

Continental Grand Sport Race
Continental Grand Sport Race

The Continental Grand Sport Race is a classic budget-friendly road bike tire.

Oftentimes you pay a lot extra for the latest technology, which offers marginal gains if any. Sometimes a tire is just a tire and will do the job just fine, without burning a hole in your wallet.

The Continental Grand Sport Race is the latter. It offers the PureGrip compound, and a NyTech breaker, which is a nylon fabric located directly underneath the center tread to prevent punctures.

Both the compound and breaker are slightly heavier, but make for a much more affordable tire than the more premium ones.

Continental stands out for their high-quality, yet affordable offerings, and for your standard road bike tire, the Continental Grand Sport Race is their best example.

Expert Experience

Jez Ash | Contributor – October 15, 2015

I didn’t have a single puncture in around 1000 miles of testing these tyres. Don’t come crying to me if you get one 50 yards down the road – these things don’t work like that – and as I already mentioned, these weren’t tested in the depths of autumn or winter when the roads get really grotty. But on the empirical evidence I have at my disposal, I’d say they’re a decently dependable option in that regard.

In terms of comfort and that hard-to-define characteristic, ‘feel’, the Grand Sport Race performs well; 25mm tyres generally should give a bit more compliance than 23mm ones, and on broken tarmac or along the canal towpath they fared pretty well. I weigh around 80kg and found that I could run these down to 80 or 90psi without an issue.

Pros and Cons

Schwalbe Pro One

Schwalbe Pro One Tube Type
Schwalbe Pro One Tube Type

The Schwalbe Pro One is a top-tier tire from the German brand, which can also be used for time trials.

It’s very light and has one of the best low rolling-resistance numbers. Like many super-fast tires it’s still a clincher tire.

The 23 mm version weighs 215 grams and the 25 mm version 235 grams. The 25 mm version also comes as a tan wall.

Expert Experience

Matthew Loveridge | Senior Writer – June 15, 2020

I’m very light and therefore tend to run my tyres at quite low pressure. I’ve been impressed at how tolerant the Pro Ones are of being run properly soft. Even at the very lowest pressures, the Pro Ones feel accurate and controlled, they don’t flop around on their sidewalls like some purportedly racy road tyres.

On tarmac, the Pro Ones are like any other modern road clincher. Without comparing rolling resistance data this is highly subjective, but the Pro Ones feel fast, even at those very low pressures.

Pros and Cons

Schwalbe Lugano II

Schwalbe Lugano II
Schwalbe Lugano II

The Schwalbe Lugano is a sort of budget fit-and-forget tire. Coming in many sizes it’s a no-fancy road tire that’s easy on your wallet.

It’s a tire that forgoes any pure premium characteristic and instead focuses on longevity and many miles on the road. Don’t expect high TPI counts, and ultra-light weight with this tire, that’s not its intended audience.

Expert Experience

Jim Langley | Technical editor –

With both standard butyl and the new TPU tubes, the Lugano tires have a nice road feel. They’re reasonably supple for a narrow clincher, hold their speed well and hang tight in the corners. In the rain the tires still track fine and grip – even the rear tire still grips and it’s just about worn out now.

Overall, I think Schwalbe’s Lugano tires are excellent performing treads at a bargain price and recommend them highly. They’re easy to install and remove, too.

Pros and Cons

Vittoria Zaffiro Pro

Vittoria Zaffiro Pro
Vittoria Zaffiro Pro

The Vittoria Zaffiro Pro one of the most affordable road bike tires from the Italian manufacturer.

The idea behind this tire is that what it lacks in terms of technology, it makes up for in durability. That means you get a heavy, yet sturdy tire made from their proprietary Graphene 2.0 compound, which is the same compound used in all of their other tires.

So it’s a great tire for a fast commuter, or a more affordable all-season road bike tire.

Expert Experience

#REF!

Pros and Cons

Vittoria Rubino Pro Control

Vittoria Rubino Pro Control
Vittoria Rubino Pro Control

The Vittoria Rubino Pro Control is the stiffer, heavier and more puncture protected version of the standard Rubino.

It’s a training tire with bead-to-bead protection besides an enhanced puncture protected layer. Its nylon casing is meant to withstand the elements of all seasons.

Available in standard sizes 23 to 28 mm as a 60 TPI folding tire.

Expert Experience

Robyn Furtado | Senior Videographer – February 15, 2023

Where I live in the south west of England, we’ve experienced a range of hostile winter weather so far this year, so it hasn’t been hard to put the Rubino Pros through their paces. I’ve ridden them on ice, down flooded or thorn-strewn farm lanes, on potholed commuter roads and over rough mountain passes.

The Rubino Pros are also wonderfully grippy. On rough pothole-littered roads, the Rubinos stayed on path confidently, and I found them sure-footed on slick and wet roads. They held their own in icy conditions too, although you obviously still need to be very careful.

Pros and Cons

Specifications 700 x 23 road bike tires

Name
Size
ETRTO
Weight (gr)
Tread color
Sidewall color
Compound
Puncture protection
Tire bead
Continental Gatorskin
700Cx23
23-622
305
Black
Black
DuraSkin / PolyX Breaker
wired
Continental Gatorskin
700Cx23
23-622
230
Black
Black
DuraSkin / PolyX Breaker
foldable
Continental Gatorskin BE
700Cx23
23-622
Black
Black
DuraSkin / PolyX Breaker
foldable
Continental Ultra Sport
700Cx23
23-622
255
Black
Yellow
PureGrip
foldable
Continental Ultra Sport
700Cx23
23-622
255
Black
White
PureGrip
foldable
Continental Ultra Sport
700Cx23
23-622
255
Black
Red
PureGrip
foldable
Continental Ultra Sport
700Cx23
23-622
255
Black
Green
PureGrip
foldable
Continental Ultra Sport
700Cx23
23-622
255
Black
Blue
PureGrip
foldable
Continental Ultra Sport
700Cx23
23-622
255
Black
Black
PureGrip
foldable
Continental Ultra Sport
700Cx23
23-622
255
Black
Black
PureGrip
wired
Schwalbe Durano Plus
700Cx23
23-622
410
Black
Black
ADDIX
SmartGuard
wired
Continental Grand Prix 5000
700Cx23
23-622
200
Black
Black
BlackChili
Vectran Breaker
foldable
Continental Grand Prix 4-Season
700Cx23
23-622
235
Black
Black
Max Grip
DuraSkin / Double Vectran Breaker
foldable
Continental Grand Sport Race
700Cx23
23-622
245
Black
Black
PureGrip
NyTech Breaker
foldable
Schwalbe Pro One
700Cx23
23-622
215
Black
Black
ADDIX Race
V-Guard
foldable
Schwalbe Lugano II
700Cx23
23-622
260
Black
Black
Silica
Reinforced Tread
foldable
Schwalbe Lugano II
700Cx23
23-622
325
Black
Black
Silica
Reinforced Tread
wired
Vittoria Zaffiro Pro
700Cx23
23-622
285
Black
Black
Graphene 2.0
foldable
Vittoria Rubino Pro Control
700Cx23
23-622
290
Black
Black
Nylon
Protection Belt
foldable

Sources

Paul Norman, Continental Gatorskin tyres review, Cycling Weekly, June 02, 2017
Vinay Rawat, Continental Ultra Sport Road Tyre Review, Medium, May 22, 2017
Rachel Sokal, Schwalbe Durano Plus tire review – reliable winter rubber, Cycling Weekly, December 20, 2022
Stu Kerton, Continental Grand Prix 5000 Clincher, Road.cc, March 26, 2021
Jez Ash, Continental Grand Sport Race tyre, Road.cc, October 15, 2015
Matthew Loveridge, Schwalbe Pro One TLE tyre review, Bikeradar, June 15, 2020
Jim Langley, Schwalbe Luganos – Cheap Road Tires I Like, Roadbikerider,
#REF!
Robyn Furtado, Vittoria Rubino Pro tyre review – A fit-and-forget, all-season tyre, Bikeradar, February 15, 2023
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. 

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