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The top 5 fastest road bike clincher tires

In this article I’m going to give you my list of the fastest road bike clincher tires.

I’ve written quite some articles on the subject of tires in general, and road bike tires specifically. And the same tires seem to float to the surface when creating these types of lists.

This list is like that with the entries listed here almost mirroring the entries for the road bike tires with the lowest rolling resistance, or the lightest road bike tires. That’s of course because those two components are very important when it comes to speed. And what you see is that the best tires score high across parameters such as low weight, low rolling resistance, high TPI count, and probably not the best durability.

Because if you want to be the fastest you have to give something in return, and speed comes at the price of possibly running more flats.

I’ve only included foldable tires, not tubeless ready. So, provided you have the proper set of rims these tires can be mounted almost universally on any other bicycle as well, making any of them the perfect choice for your vintage road bike. But be prepared to dig deep into your wallet as well, because some of these tires are very expensive indeed.

Here’s the list of the fastest road bike clincher tires.

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 5000 S TR

Continental Grand Prix 5000 S TR
Continental Grand Prix 5000 S TR

Continental is known for their light-weight tire offerings and the Continental Grand Prix 500 S TR is no exception. It’s the tubeless ready version of the standard Grand Prix 5000, which is a clincher tire.

The tubeless ready Grand Prix 5000 has the same excellent stats. A 220 TPI moderately supple tire, that comes in your standard 25 and 28 mm width versions. At 250 grams for the 25 mm and 280 for the 28 mm version, these tires are pretty light. And on top of that, this tire scores extremely high markers in the rolling resistance department. That means you can check both light and fast of your list of requirements, when you go for this tire.

A tan wall version is included among the sizes for those who want to mount them.

Expert Experience

Simon von Bromley | Senior technical writer – December 21, 2021

Though the claimed decrease in rolling resistance versus the outgoing GP5000 TL appears to be too good to be true, the Continental GP5000 S TR nevertheless remains a benchmark tubeless road bike tyre.

It strikes an ideal balance of low rolling resistance, durability and puncture protection that makes it very hard to beat.

That it is now compatible with hookless rims and is available with a choice of black or transparent sidewalls, plugs what were arguably the only two chinks in its armour.

I’ll be sticking with my Vittoria Corsa Speed TLRs for time trials then, but for everything else on the road it’s hard to look past the GP5000 S TR

Pros and Cons

Pirelli P Zero Race TLR

Pirelli P Zero Race TLR
Pirelli P Zero Race TLR tread pattern

A pirelli P Zero in a race version and offering a tubeless setup, that has to be very promising.

Yes I know they are not the lightest tires, but they are some of the best-looking ones, and in terms of grip and road feel are pretty unmatched as well.

Combine that with a tried-and-true compound and a relatively easy tubeless setup and you get a very fast road bike tire. And in a tan version as well.

Just as Vittoria’s tubeless tires, Pirelli mushes the tread and aramid fibres in the casing together to further reduce rolling resistance. So it’s either an Italian thing, or they’re really on to something.

The tires have had some really promising rolling-resistance test, taking the top spot beating the likes of Vittoria and Schwalbe. Impressive.

Expert Experience

Ashley Quinlan | Senior technical editor – August 25, 2023

It was among the easiest fitting experiences I’ve had. Despite the construction being almost equal in weight to the Goodyear Eagle F1 R, I found it easier to manipulate it over the bead, just needing one lever to finish off the job.

On the road, I could find little to criticise if speed, ride feel and grip are top of the tyre performance wishlist. The Pirelli P Zero Race TLR is one of the best all-round performance tyres available today. It offers a racy blend of low rolling resistance and ride quality, without sacrificing practical grip and puncture resistance.

Pros and Cons

Michelin Power Cup TLR Competition Line

Michelin Power Cup TLR Competition Line
fallback

When I started road cycling Michelin was my go to choice for fast, grippy tires, that would provide you with many puncture-less miles. Apart from tubeless not much has changed when looking at road tires, and the Michelin Power Cup TLR Competition Line might be my new favorite tire.

If you’re like me and you want to stand out from the crowd, you can do so by running different tires than any of the many Continental 5000 versions. And if you happen to like tan-wall tires as well, this one from the French brand might suit your style.

Michelin calls the compound it uses for this tire Gum-X. Now that doesn’t tell me anything, but a simple look at the casing, which boasts 4 plies of 120 TPI, tells me this tire has to have an above average puncture-resistance.

It’s not a 4-season tire, with a single breaker, low weight and good rolling-resistance, and focuses on performance for those of you who’re considering a tubeless setup as well.

Can it beat the Continental Grand Prix 5000 tubeless version? I don’t know, but it’s nice to know there’s a high-quality alternative.

Expert Experience

Ashley Quinlan | Senior technical editor – August 27, 2023

On the whole, I’ve been impressed by the sense of speed and grip the Michelin Power Cup TLR provides. Although there are tyres that provide even more impressive overall ride feel – the Vittoria Corsa Pro stands out in this regard, while the Pirelli P-Zero TLR and Continental GP5000 S TR are also standard-bearers – the differences are very small.

I found the tyres generated plentiful grip, impressing especially when I wanted to lean hard on the front wheel on a well-paved descent. Confidence is key when descending and cornering at speed – the Power Cup TLR helped me build lots of it.

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

Specifications fastest road bike clincher tires

Name
Size
ETRTO
Weight (gr)
Tread color
Sidewall color
Compound
Puncture protection
Tire bead
Continental Grand Prix 5000 S TR
700Cx25
25-622
250
Black
Black
BlackChili
Vectran Breaker
tlr
Continental Grand Prix 5000 S TR
700Cx25
25-622
250
Black
Transparent
BlackChili
Vectran Breaker
tlr
Continental Grand Prix 5000 S TR
700Cx28
28-622
280
Black
Black
BlackChili
Vectran Breaker
tlr
Continental Grand Prix 5000 S TR
700Cx28
28-622
280
Black
Transparent
BlackChili
Vectran Breaker
tlr
Continental Grand Prix 5000 S TR
700Cx30
30-622
300
Black
Black
BlackChili
Vectran Breaker
tlr
Continental Grand Prix 5000 S TR
700Cx30
30-622
300
Black
Transparent
BlackChili
Vectran Breaker
tlr
Continental Grand Prix 5000 S TR
700Cx32
32-622
320
Black
Black
BlackChili
Vectran Breaker
tlr
Continental Grand Prix 5000 S TR
700Cx32
32-622
320
Black
Transparent
BlackChili
Vectran Breaker
tlr
Continental Grand Prix 5000
700Cx23
23-622
200
Black
Black
BlackChili
Vectran Breaker
foldable
Continental Grand Prix 5000
700Cx25
25-622
230
Black
Transparent
BlackChili
Vectran Breaker
foldable
Continental Grand Prix 5000
700Cx25
25-622
255
Black
Cream
BlackChili
Vectran Breaker
foldable
Continental Grand Prix 5000
700Cx25
25-622
225
Black
Black
BlackChili
Vectran Breaker
foldable
Continental Grand Prix 5000
700Cx28
28-622
275
Black
Cream
BlackChili
Vectran Breaker
foldable
Continental Grand Prix 5000
700Cx28
28-622
245
Black
Transparent
BlackChili
Vectran Breaker
foldable
Continental Grand Prix 5000
700Cx28
28-622
240
Black
Black
BlackChili
Vectran Breaker
foldable
Continental Grand Prix 5000
700Cx30
30-622
255
Black
Black
BlackChili
Vectran Breaker
foldable
Continental Grand Prix 5000
700Cx32
32-622
285
Black
Black
BlackChili
Vectran Breaker
foldable
Schwalbe Pro One
700Cx23
23-622
215
Black
Black
ADDIX Race
V-Guard
foldable
Schwalbe Pro One
700Cx25
25-622
235
Black
Black
ADDIX Race
V-Guard
foldable
Schwalbe Pro One
700Cx25
25-622
235
Black
Transparent
ADDIX Race
V-Guard
foldable
Schwalbe Pro One
700Cx28
28-622
250
Black
Black
ADDIX Race
V-Guard
foldable
Schwalbe Pro One
700Cx28
28-622
250
Black
Transparent
ADDIX Race
V-Guard
foldable
Schwalbe Pro One
700Cx30
30-622
280
Black
Black
ADDIX Race
V-Guard
foldable
Schwalbe Pro One
700Cx30
30-622
280
Black
Transparent
ADDIX Race
V-Guard
foldable
Schwalbe Pro One
700Cx32
32-622
310
Black
Black
ADDIX Race
V-Guard
foldable
Schwalbe Pro One
700Cx32
32-622
310
Black
Transparent
ADDIX Race
V-Guard
foldable
Pirelli P Zero Race TLR
700Cx26
26-622
275
Black
Black
SmartEVO
TechBelt Road
tlr
Pirelli P Zero Race TLR
700Cx26
26-622
275
Black
Tan
SmartEVO
TechBelt Road
tlr
Pirelli P Zero Race TLR
700Cx28
28-622
295
Black
Black
SmartEVO
TechBelt Road
tlr
Pirelli P Zero Race TLR
700Cx28
28-622
295
Black
Tan
SmartEVO
TechBelt Road
tlr
Pirelli P Zero Race TLR
700Cx30
30-622
315
Black
Black
SmartEVO
TechBelt Road
tlr
Pirelli P Zero Race TLR
700Cx30
30-622
315
Black
Tan
SmartEVO
TechBelt Road
tlr
Pirelli P Zero Race TLR
700Cx35
35-622
355
Black
Black
SmartEVO
TechBelt Road
tlr
Pirelli P Zero Race TLR
700Cx40
40-622
375
Black
Black
SmartEVO
TechBelt Road
tlr
Michelin Power Cup TLR Competition Line
700Cx25
25-622
Black
Black
Gum-X
Tubeless Shield
tlr
Michelin Power Cup TLR Competition Line
700Cx25
25-622
Black
Cream
Gum-X
Tubeless Shield
tlr
Michelin Power Cup TLR Competition Line
700Cx28
28-622
Black
Black
Gum-X
Tubeless Shield
tlr
Michelin Power Cup TLR Competition Line
700Cx28
28-622
Black
Cream
Gum-X
Tubeless Shield
tlr
Michelin Power Cup TLR Competition Line
700Cx30
30-622
Black
Black
Gum-X
Tubeless Shield
tlr

Sources

Stu Kerton, Continental Grand Prix 5000 Clincher, Road.cc, March 26, 2021
Ashley Quinlan, Pirelli P Zero Race TLR tyre review, Bikeradar, August 25, 2023
Ashley Quinlan, Michelin Power Cup TLR tyre review, Bikeradar, August 27, 2023
Matthew Loveridge, Schwalbe Pro One TLE tyre review, Bikeradar, June 15, 2020
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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