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The top 10 most comfortable road bike tires

In this article I’m going to give you my list for the most comfortable road bike tires.

As a complete tire nut, this list was much harder to make than many other lists I’ve compiled on the subject of tires. The term comfortable is not exactly easy to measure, but takes out most of what could be deemed subjective. I’ve looked at a combination of experience, tire volume, and TPI or threads per inch as a good starting point.

Most comfortable does not necessarily equate to fast. Riding a time trial bike doesn’t look more comfortable than riding a city commuter, and it isn’t. But it doesn’t mean you have to trade one for the other. Tire manufacturers are always looking for ways to incorporate all aspects riders are looking for, including the combination of speed, comfort, longevity, and puncture protection. But those tires that combine high numbers in those categories do command a premium for obvious reasons.

I’ve included tires with a width sitting between 25 and 28 mm. More volume obviously means more comfort, but the average road bike frame wasn’t built for tires wider than 28 mm. You should be looking in the gravel bike section if 28 mm is still too slim for you.

Another factor is suppleness, or how the tire conforms to road irregularities and absorbs them instead of sending them through to the rider. This is where TPI comes in, with a higher TPI count equating to higher levels of comfort. You do have to take tire pressure into account as well, but since a tire doesn’t come pre-inflated, it’s up to you to decide what suits you best.

TPI for road bike tires goes up to 120. Higher numbers are calculated simply by adding the TPI count of multiple layers. This would explain a TPI of 300, which would be the result of adding 3 layers of 100 each. By playing around with the TPI count, the thread material (nylon, cotton, silk) and the amount of rubber, you can infuse your tire with suppleness. Unfortunately, suppleness is not a standard in the tire industry, so for now we’ll have to rely on TPI as simply another metric that tells part of the story at best.

So that’s about what I have to say for an introduction. Let’s go to the list of most comfortable road bike tires.

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 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

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

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

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

Vittoria Corsa N.EXT

Vittoria Corsa N.EXT
Vittoria Corsa N.EXT tread pattern

Brands use all kinds of marketing slang to spice up their sales efforts. So does Vittoria’s Corsa N.EXT acronym live up to the expectation of being more than just an incredibly light tire?

If we stay at that weight for a moment; 200 grams for a 24 mm width tire is nothing to scoff at. That is indeed very light sitting next to the Vittoria Corsa Speed. But why would you want to pick this one over the Corsa Speed?

Well, it’s not a race tire, the Corsa Speed is. This tire has a nylon casing with a 100 TPI. If you’d ask me up front if you’d be able to make a lightweight road tire with those two components in them, I’d say no. I have no idea how they did it but that doesn’t really matter, because this is not an engineering class.

Nylon doesn’t offer the same level of rolling-resistance as a much more pliant cotton casing would, or some of the other premium compounds out there.

My guess is that this is a first experiment with nylon and vulcanized rubber, and that Vittoria might be forced into this direction because bigger brands, like Continental and Schwalbe, have been doing it for years with exceptional results.

They definitely hit it out of the ballpark as far as weight is concerned. And it’s Vittoria, so why not?

Expert Experience

Aaron Borrill | Editor – September 29, 2022

The Schwalbe Pro One(link is external), which has become the benchmark for tubeless-ready road tyres over the past couple of years, is super-fast and easy to fit, but in my experience can’t quite match the Vittoria when it comes to puncture protection and peace of mind riding.

Overall, the Vittoria Corsa N.Ext tyres are just as fast as their chief rivals and possess one of the best puncture-resistant casings on the market. If you’re looking for a tyre that can double up for use as both a training and racing option, you can’t go wrong here.

Pros and Cons

Vittoria Corsa Pro

Vittoria Corsa Pro
Vittoria Corsa Pro tread pattern

Improving upon the Vittoria Corsa, the Vittoria Corsa Pro aims to reduce rolling resistance by integrating the center tread into the casing.

The cotton casing is known for its supple ride, grip and handling. However this tire is so new I’ve been unable to find any rolling resistance numbers yet to be able to compare them with the standard Corsa and see if this tire holds up to its promise.

That would be a thing indeed for the Vittoria Corsa is a benchmark tire when it comes to rolling resistance, which makes this tire, both in its tubular and tubeless version, an exciting addition to the Italian’s lineup indeed.

Expert Experience

Simon von Bromley | Senior technical writer – August 30, 2023

Compared to my experience with previous-generation Corsa Speed TLR tyres, the Corsa Pro TLRs slipped on to a set of Hunt 54 Aerodynamicist Carbon Disc wheels with relative ease.

The combination of a traditional cotton casing and a seamlessly attached tread offers easy setup, fantastic ride feel and, in my opinion, looks brilliant too.

Disappointingly, though, it performed relatively poorly in our rolling resistance test. And while lab results don’t tell you everything about how a tyre performs in the real world, at this price it’s not unreasonable to expect top performance in all areas.

Pros and Cons

Vittoria Corsa Pro Control

Vittoria Corsa Pro Control
Vittoria Corsa Pro Control tread pattern

The Vittoria Corsa Pro Control is the same tire as the Vittoria Corsa Pro. It just packs slightly more rubber for added puncture protection.

The 28mm width version adds 15 grams to the tire. Rarely have I seen two separate tires that look so much alike. But in a world where every advantage in road cycling could mean the difference between win or lose, I guess 15 grams of compound does indeed add to this tire’s puncture resistance.

Apart from the weight, the tire also has a different tread pattern, which is optimized for wet conditions. That increases the tires versatility and moves it into off-season territory as well.

Expert Experience

Ashley Quinlan | Senior technical editor – October 11, 2023

The Vittoria Corsa Pro Control TLR tyre impresses on the one hand, and disappoints on the other.

The supple ride quality is excellent – the best I’ve felt from a tyre of its type – which makes riding a bike, even in grip-limited wet conditions, an enjoyable, tactile experience. When dry, it’s even a match for its racier sibling, and the grip is impressive too.

Sadly, the difficulty seating the tyre spoils the overall ownership experience. It shouldn’t be as challenging as it is, and I know, in the back of my mind, it’s a real problem waiting to happen if it ever needs reseating.

Pros and Cons

Specifications most comfortable road bike tires

Name
Size
ETRTO
Weight (gr)
Tread color
Sidewall color
Compound
Puncture protection
Tire bead
Continental Grand Prix 4-Season
700Cx23
23-622
235
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
700Cx28
28-622
295
Black
Black
Max Grip
DuraSkin / Double Vectran Breaker
foldable
Continental Grand Prix 4-Season
700Cx32
32-622
340
Black
Black
Max Grip
DuraSkin / Double Vectran Breaker
foldable
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
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
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
700Cx24
24-622
280
Black
Black
SmartNET
Armour Tech
tlr
Pirelli Cinturato Velo
700Cx26
26-622
300
Black
Tan
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
Tan
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
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
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
Vittoria Corsa N.EXT
700Cx24
24-622
260
Black
Black
Nylon
Nylon
tlr
Vittoria Corsa N.EXT
700Cx26
26-622
285
Black
Black
Nylon
Nylon
tlr
Vittoria Corsa N.EXT
700Cx28
28-622
330
Black
Black
Nylon
Nylon
tlr
Vittoria Corsa N.EXT
700Cx30
30-622
355
Black
Black
Nylon
Nylon
tlr
Vittoria Corsa N.EXT
700Cx32
32-622
356
Black
Black
Nylon
Nylon
tlr
Vittoria Corsa N.EXT
700Cx34
34-622
395
Black
Black
Nylon
Nylon
tlr
Vittoria Corsa N.EXT
700Cx24
24-622
200
Black
Black
Nylon
Nylon
foldable
Vittoria Corsa N.EXT
700Cx26
26-622
210
Black
Black
Nylon
Nylon
foldable
Vittoria Corsa N.EXT
700Cx28
28-622
250
Black
Black
Nylon
Nylon
foldable
Vittoria Corsa N.EXT
700Cx30
30-622
275
Black
Black
Nylon
Nylon
foldable
Vittoria Corsa N.EXT
700Cx32
32-622
285
Black
Black
Nylon
Nylon
foldable
Vittoria Corsa N.EXT
700Cx34
34-622
315
Black
Black
Nylon
Nylon
foldable
Vittoria Corsa Pro
700Cx24
24-622
265
Black
Cream
Corespun
Protection Belt
tlr
Vittoria Corsa Pro
700Cx26
26-622
275
Black
Cream
Corespun
Protection Belt
tlr
Vittoria Corsa Pro
700Cx28
28-622
295
Black
Cream
Corespun
Protection Belt
tlr
Vittoria Corsa Pro
700Cx30
30-622
300
Black
Cream
Corespun
Protection Belt
tlr
Vittoria Corsa Pro
700Cx32
32-622
320
Black
Cream
Corespun
Protection Belt
tlr
Vittoria Corsa Pro Control
700Cx26
26-622
295
Black
Cream
Corespun
Protection Belt
tlr
Vittoria Corsa Pro Control
700Cx28
28-622
310
Black
Cream
Corespun
Protection Belt
tlr
Vittoria Corsa Pro Control
700Cx30
30-622
320
Black
Cream
Corespun
Protection Belt
tlr
Vittoria Corsa Pro Control
700Cx32
32-622
340
Black
Cream
Corespun
Protection Belt
tlr
Vittoria Corsa Pro Control
700Cx34
34-622
360
Black
Cream
Corespun
Protection Belt
tlr

Sources

Stu Kerton, Continental Grand Prix 5000 Clincher, Road.cc, March 26, 2021
Matthew Loveridge, Schwalbe Pro One TLE tyre review, Bikeradar, June 15, 2020
Ashley Quinlan, Pirelli P Zero Race TLR tyre review, Bikeradar, August 25, 2023
Aaron Borrill, Vittoria Corsa N.Ext TLR tyre, Road.cc, September 29, 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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