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The top 5 lowest rolling resistance road bike tires

In this article I’m going to give you my list for the lowest rolling resistance road bike tires.

Every road cyclist worth his or her salt is looking for speed. And probably the single most important aspect when it comes to speed associated with tires is called rolling resistance. Rolling resistance is the amount of energy output absorbed between the tire and the road it’s connected with.

It’s not as simple as having paperthin slick tires inflated to the point of bursting, but this article is not about going into detail about the complexities of rubber compounds and the effects on rolling resistance. I’ll leave that up to the tire manufacturers to figure out. I’m only interested in the end result, not how that was achieved.

For normal road use I would advise a tire with a width of 25 mm, so for one exception that’s the measurement that’s been used to compare the tires. Since I don’t have a device to measure rolling resistance I’ve simply looked at the results as shown on the site bicyclerollingresistance.com. So they should take credit where credit is due.

And now, without further ado, here’s the ist of the lowest rolling resistance road bike tires.

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

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

Michelin Power Time Trial

Michelin Power Time Trial
fallback

The Michelin Power Time Trial is, as the name suggests, another time trial entry to this list. It sacrifices durability and puncture resistance for pure speed.

The two sizes of 23 and 25 mm tip the scales at 180 and 190 grams respectively, so considering their widths, this is truly one of the lightest tires on the planet.

You’d expect from a time trial tire that it performs well in the rolling resistance department, and the Michelin Power Time Trial does indeed. Together with the Continental Grand Prix 5000, the tire has one of the lowest ones.

Expert Experience

Jarno Bierman | Tire tester – April 10, 2022

I tested the Power Time Trial with a latex tube to see if it could come close to the fastest tubeless tires. The Power Time Trial with a latex tube shows us rolling resistance is the same as the ultra-fast tubeless Vittoria Corsa Speed G+ 2.0 at high air pressures. Only at very low air pressures, the tubeless Corsa Speed is a bit faster. If you’re still using inner tubes and looking for the fastest tires, the Power Time Trial with latex inner tubes is what you should be looking for.

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

Vittoria Corsa Speed

Vittoria Corsa Speed
Vittoria Corsa Speed

The Vittoria Corsa Speed is basically Vittoria’s time trial version of its regular Corsa. A tubular tire where a considerable amount of rubber has been shaved off to create a 23 mm width 200 gram tire in either black or tan.

All that reduction in weight does of course come with a penalty, so this tire is best reserved when you really want to go really fast. Or else the 140 dollar price tag for a tire that isn’t all that durable might not be the best option for the average rider.

But if you do decide to go for this tire, just to experience what it feels like, you can rest assured that the 320 TPI count will provide both a very smooth and very fast ride, which will hopefully make you forget how much money you spent for that ride.

Expert Experience

Liam Cahill | Contributor – January 5, 2019

That brings us on to the competition. If the rolling stats are to believed, these are a class above the rest for pure speed. For racing, I’d recommend these over pretty much every other tubeless tyre. Yes, they’re a little delicate, but you get a really nice ride feel, great grip (in the dry) and the fastest ride. And though they’re not cheap, you can still spend more on tubeless tyres.

Pros and Cons

Specifications lowest rolling resistance road bike tires

Name
Size
ETRTO
Weight (gr)
Tread color
Sidewall color
Compound
Puncture protection
Tire bead
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
Michelin Power Time Trial
700Cx23
23-622
180
Black
Black
Gum-X
foldable
Michelin Power Time Trial
700Cx25
25-622
190
Black
Black
Gum-X
foldable
Vittoria Corsa Speed
700Cx23
23-622
200
Black
Black
Corespun T
Protection Belt
tubular
Vittoria Corsa Speed
700Cx23
23-622
200
Black
Tan
Corespun T
Protection Belt
tubular
Vittoria Corsa Speed
700Cx25
25-622
205
Black
Black
Corespun T
Protection Belt
tubular
Vittoria Corsa Speed
700Cx25
25-622
205
Black
Tan
Corespun T
Protection Belt
tubular
Vittoria Corsa Speed
700Cx23
23-622
225
Black
Black
Corespun T
Protection Belt
tlr
Vittoria Corsa Speed
700Cx25
25-622
240
Black
Black
Corespun T
Protection Belt
tlr
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

Sources

Ashley Quinlan, Pirelli P Zero Race TLR tyre review, Bikeradar, August 25, 2023
Stu Kerton, Continental Grand Prix 5000 Clincher, Road.cc, March 26, 2021
Jarno Bierman, Road Bike Tire Test: Michelin Power Time Trial 25, Bicycle Rolling Resistance, April 10, 2022
Matthew Loveridge, Schwalbe Pro One TLE tyre review, Bikeradar, June 15, 2020
Liam Cahill, Vittoria Corsa Speed G+ Isotech Foldable Tubeless Ready, Road.cc, January 5, 2019
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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