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The top 8 best road bike tires for wet conditions

In this article I’m going to give you my list for the best road bike tires for wet conditions.

The requirements necessary for riding in less than optimal conditions like rain are very different from those who like riding with the sun high in the sky. A wet road necessitates a tire that’s more grippy for obvious reasons. Especially after a dry period it’s not only the rain itself which makes the road slippery, but also everything that has fallen on the road and dissolves because of the rain, like dried up oil.

Also the season which sees more rain than others also is accompanied with trees shedding their leaves and other organic stuff. When combined with rain this can become a dangerous and slippery mix as well on the road you’re riding on.

You also want a tire which is more puncture resistant. Not only is there more crud on the road, the chance of it sticking to your tire has also increased. And if there’s one thing nobody likes is to catch a cold because your temperature is dropping, you need to repair a flat while being drenched.

So without further ado I present my list for the very best road bike tires for wet conditions.

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 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

Panaracer Agilest Duro

Panaracer Agilest Duro
Panaracer Agilest Duro

The Panaracer Agilest Duro is without a doubt, the most puncture-resistant, yet lightweight road bike tire on the market.

The puncture resistance differs markedly by including the ProTite Belt, a breaker Panaracer also uses in their touring tires. On top of that an extra bead-to-bead breaker covers the entire casing.

By adding the extra breaker, they’ve bumped up the weight just a bit, but the 220 grams for a 25mm version is incredibly impressive.

Pros and Cons

Panaracer Pasela ProTite

Panaracer Pasela ProTite
Panaracer Pasela ProTite

Panaracer makes very nice mid-level priced tires. And they also offer some of the best-looking ones for retro builds. I choose the Panaracer Pasela ProTite over the normal Pasela, because it’s lighter, comes in a folding version and has better puncture protection.

The ProTite bead-to-bead protection covers is a tightly woven fabric covering the entire width of the tire, and sits in a mid-tier casing, offering a great combination of puncture protection, and low weight.

In general the Pasela ProTite are lightweight and true skin walls, that’ll look great on your bike.

Expert Experience

Shaun Audane | Technical writer – December 24, 2017

I still rate the Paselas and reckon they’re a good bet for training – especially on older bikes where preserving originality is welcome. The wide range of sizes also means they’re worth considering for cyclo-cross or gravel bikes that double as winter trainers. That said, I’d stick with the wire beads and save £30 a pair (at RRP); while likeable, the folding versions are outclassed on value by faster-rolling, higher-pressure contemporaries.

Pros and Cons

Pirelli Cinturato Velo

Pirelli Cinturato
Pirelli Cinturato

If you ask me, Pirelli Cinturato’s understated design is one of the best on this list. This tubeless-ready tire is far more robust than the P Zero on this list, going in the direction of a gravel tire.

A kevlar-reinforced breaker offers bead-to-bead protection, besides a smaller one sitting underneath the tread. The more durable 60 TPI casing is heavier, but will last you longer. Called Armour Tech, it’s the solution of choice for making these tires truly all-weather condition tires, offering great grip and puncture resistance all through the year.

That added protection does mean they will tip the scales at 300 and 340 grams for the 26 and 28 mm versions. So it’s no weight-weenie tire.

Expert Experience

Oscar Huckle | Technical writer – January 1, 2023

The Pirelli Cinturato Velo tyre has seriously impressed through testing and is now one of my top choices for winter use.

Although there are grippier tyres available, there’s no shortage of speed for the construction offered, and it has proven tough too.

As well as a very competent winter tyre, if you want a fit-and-forget tyre to run all year round (and you’re happy to compromise performance a little in the warmer months), the Cinturato Velo will be an excellent option.

Pros and Cons

Pirelli Cinturato Road

Pirelli Cinturato Road
Pirelli Cinturato Road tread pattern

The Pirelli Cinturato Road is the more durable version of the Cinturato Velo, which means you get the grip of the Cinturator Velo in an all-season tire.

How they achieved this is by simply using more rubber in the 60TPI casing and reinforcing the center tread with both a bead-to-bead reinforcement and breaker.

It does make the tire slightly heavier with 370 grams vs 340 grams for the 28mm width version. Pirelli isn’t known for making lightweight tires and this will not change that reputation.

But I get reminded how little weight matters, if you’re not moving at all because of a flat. And with this tire, the Italian brand upped their game another notch in their fight against flats.

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

Specifications road bike tires for wet conditions

Name
Size
ETRTO
Weight (gr)
Tread color
Sidewall color
Compound
Puncture protection
Tire bead
Continental Gatorskin
27×1 1/4
32-630
395
Black
Black
DuraSkin / PolyX Breaker
wired
Continental Gatorskin
700Cx32
32-622
345
Black
Black
DuraSkin / PolyX Breaker
foldable
Continental Gatorskin
700Cx32
32-622
420
Black
Black
DuraSkin / PolyX Breaker
wired
Continental Gatorskin
700Cx28
28-622
360
Black
Black
DuraSkin / PolyX Breaker
wired
Continental Gatorskin
700Cx28
28-622
280
Black
Black
DuraSkin / PolyX Breaker
foldable
Continental Gatorskin
700Cx25
25-622
245
Black
Black
DuraSkin / PolyX Breaker
foldable
Continental Gatorskin
700Cx25
25-622
315
Black
Black
DuraSkin / PolyX Breaker
wired
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
26×23
23-571
275
Black
Black
DuraSkin / PolyX Breaker
wired
Continental Gatorskin
26×1 1/8
28-559
320
Black
Black
DuraSkin / PolyX Breaker
foldable
Continental Gatorskin BE
700Cx23
23-622
Black
Black
DuraSkin / PolyX Breaker
foldable
Continental Gatorskin BE
700Cx25
25-622
Black
Black
DuraSkin / PolyX Breaker
foldable
Continental Gatorskin BE
700Cx28
28-622
Black
Black
DuraSkin / PolyX Breaker
foldable
Continental Gatorskin BE
700Cx32
32-622
Black
Black
DuraSkin / PolyX Breaker
foldable
Continental Grand Prix 4-Season
700Cx32
32-622
340
Black
Black
Max Grip
DuraSkin / Double Vectran Breaker
foldable
Continental Grand Prix 4-Season
700Cx28
28-622
295
Black
Black
Max Grip
DuraSkin / Double Vectran Breaker
foldable
Continental Grand Prix 4-Season
700Cx25
25-622
230
Black
Black
Max Grip
DuraSkin / Double Vectran Breaker
foldable
Continental Grand Prix 4-Season
700Cx23
23-622
235
Black
Black
Max Grip
DuraSkin / Double Vectran Breaker
foldable
Panaracer Agilest Duro
700Cx23
23-622
210
Black
Black
ZSG Agile
TF Super Outer Shield / ProTite belt
foldable
Panaracer Agilest Duro
700Cx25
25-622
220
Black
Black
ZSG Agile
TF Super Outer Shield / ProTite belt
foldable
Panaracer Agilest Duro
700Cx28
28-622
250
Black
Black
ZSG Agile
TF Super Outer Shield / ProTite belt
foldable
Panaracer Pasela ProTite
27×1
25-630
250
Black
Amber
ZSG
ProTite Shield / 400D Lite Extra Cord
foldable
Panaracer Pasela ProTite
27×1 1/8
28-630
270
Black
Amber
ZSG
ProTite Shield / 400D Lite Extra Cord
foldable
Panaracer Pasela ProTite
27×1 1/4
32-630
350
Black
Amber
ZSG
ProTite Shield / 400D Lite Extra Cord
foldable
Panaracer Pasela ProTite
700Cx23
23-622
220
Black
Amber
ZSG
ProTite Shield / 400D Lite Extra Cord
foldable
Panaracer Pasela ProTite
700Cx25
25-622
250
Black
Amber
ZSG
ProTite Shield / 400D Lite Extra Cord
foldable
Panaracer Pasela ProTite
700Cx28
28-622
270
Black
Amber
ZSG
ProTite Shield / 400D Lite Extra Cord
foldable
Panaracer Pasela ProTite
27.5×1.75
42-584
480
Black
Amber
ZSG
ProTite Shield / 400D Lite Extra Cord
foldable
Panaracer Pasela ProTite
700Cx23
23-622
220
Black
Black
ZSG
ProTite Shield / 400D Lite Extra Cord
foldable
Panaracer Pasela ProTite
700Cx25
25-622
250
Black
Black
ZSG
ProTite Shield / 400D Lite Extra Cord
foldable
Panaracer Pasela ProTite
700Cx28
28-622
270
Black
Black
ZSG
ProTite Shield / 400D Lite Extra Cord
foldable
Panaracer Pasela ProTite
700Cx32
32-622
350
Black
Amber
ZSG
ProTite Shield / 400D Lite Extra Cord
foldable
Panaracer Pasela ProTite
700Cx32
32-622
350
Black
Black
ZSG
ProTite Shield / 400D Lite Extra Cord
foldable
Panaracer Pasela ProTite
700Cx35
35-622
440
Black
Amber
ZSG
ProTite Shield / 400D Lite Extra Cord
foldable
Panaracer Pasela ProTite
700Cx35
35-622
440
Black
Black
ZSG
ProTite Shield / 400D Lite Extra Cord
foldable
Panaracer Pasela ProTite
700Cx38
38-622
420
Black
Amber
ZSG
ProTite Shield / 400D Lite Extra Cord
foldable
Panaracer Pasela ProTite
700Cx38
38-622
420
Black
Black
ZSG
ProTite Shield / 400D Lite Extra Cord
foldable
Panaracer Pasela ProTite
26×1.25
32-559
250
Black
Amber
ZSG
ProTite Shield / 400D Lite Extra Cord
foldable
Panaracer Pasela ProTite
26×1.25
32-559
250
Black
Black
ZSG
ProTite Shield / 400D Lite Extra Cord
foldable
Panaracer Pasela ProTite
26×1.50
37-559
380
Black
Amber
ZSG
ProTite Shield / 400D Lite Extra Cord
foldable
Panaracer Pasela ProTite
26×1.50
37-559
380
Black
Black
ZSG
ProTite Shield / 400D Lite Extra Cord
foldable
Panaracer Pasela ProTite
26×1.75
42-559
460
Black
Amber
ZSG
ProTite Shield / 400D Lite Extra Cord
foldable
Panaracer Pasela ProTite
26×1.75
42-559
460
Black
Black
ZSG
ProTite Shield / 400D Lite Extra Cord
foldable
Panaracer Pasela ProTite
27.5×1.75
42-584
480
Black
Black
ZSG
ProTite Shield / 400D Lite Extra Cord
foldable
Pirelli Cinturato Road
700Cx24
24-622
310
Black
Black
SmartNET
TechWall +
foldable
Pirelli Cinturato Road
700Cx26
26-622
330
Black
Black
SmartNET
TechWall +
foldable
Pirelli Cinturato Road
700Cx28
28-622
370
Black
Black
SmartNET
TechWall +
foldable
Pirelli Cinturato Road
700Cx30
30-622
420
Black
Black
SmartNET
TechWall +
foldable
Pirelli Cinturato Velo
700Cx26
26-622
300
Black
Tan
SmartNET
Armour Tech
tlr
Pirelli Cinturato Velo
700Cx28
28-622
340
Black
Tan
SmartNET
Armour Tech
tlr
Pirelli Cinturato Velo
700Cx24
24-622
280
Black
Black
SmartNET
Armour Tech
tlr
Pirelli Cinturato Velo
700Cx26
26-622
300
Black
Black
SmartNET
Armour Tech
tlr
Pirelli Cinturato Velo
700Cx28
28-622
340
Black
Black
SmartNET
Armour Tech
tlr
Pirelli Cinturato Velo
700Cx32
32-622
360
Black
Black
SmartNET
Armour Tech
tlr
Pirelli Cinturato Velo
700Cx35
35-622
410
Black
Black
SmartNET
Armour Tech
tlr
Schwalbe Durano Plus
700Cx25
25-622
385
Black
Black
ADDIX
SmartGuard
foldable
Schwalbe Durano Plus
700Cx28
28-622
450
Black
Black
ADDIX
SmartGuard
foldable
Schwalbe Durano Plus
700Cx23
23-622
410
Black
Black
ADDIX
SmartGuard
wired
Schwalbe Durano Plus
700Cx25
25-622
450
Black
Black
ADDIX
SmartGuard
wired
Schwalbe Durano Plus
700Cx28
28-622
530
Black
Black
ADDIX
SmartGuard
wired

Sources

Paul Norman, Continental Gatorskin tyres review, Cycling Weekly, June 02, 2017
Shaun Audane, Panaracer Pasela PT Folding Tyre, Road.cc, December 24, 2017
Rachel Sokal, Schwalbe Durano Plus tire review – reliable winter rubber, Cycling Weekly, December 20, 2022
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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