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The top 18 narrowest road bike tires for 2023

I always like looking up the extremes for a certain industry. With this list I’m going to cover another extreme, namely, what are the narrowest road bike tires you can fit onto your bike.

Before I continue, let’s spend a few words on what narrow is, and why you would want to ride tires falling into this category. 23mm was the standard for years in the pro peleton. Now it’s 25mm. That’s because the benefits of 25mm tires outweigh those of 23mm. So I would argue that tires below the current standard of 25mm can be deemed narrow. It’s as simple as that.

23mm or possibly lower is more common when it comes to time trials. In fact tire manufacturers offer very narrow options for tires specifically designated for this cycling discipline. But besides a very narrow width, time trial tires also are extremely lightweight because of the casing, which offer little to no puncture protection, besides what probably is the single casing ply itself. And a narrow tire could be fitted up front for aero benefits, either real or perceptual.

The standard of moving away from really narrow tires is reflected in my overview, where the far majority of tires up to 23mm, are indeed 23mm. And I’ve experienced first-hand that sub-23mm tires became out-of-stock and we’re simply not replaced because of the lack of demand.

So with that little bit of background info out of the way, let’s head over to the overview of the narrowest road bike tires. You can find a table overview at the end of the article.

Continental Competition

The Continental Competition is a very different tire than the Grand Prix TT. More of an allround race tire, only the extremely narrow 19 mm get’s below the 200 grams at 195. Should you move up to either 22 or 25 mm the weight increases as well to 230 and 245 respectively, which is still very respectable for an allround road bike tire.

With a TPI of 180 it does pack far more rubber making this tire far more durable. Furthermore it does have the same vectran breaker and just the tiniest of tread to maximise rolling resistance.

The Continental Competition is a tubular tire, which means that these tires may very well be lighter than the Grand Prix TT which needs tubes.

Continental Competition Value
Brand link
Reasons to buy
Light, allround race-oriented tire, durable
Reasons to avoid
None

Continental Gatorskin

Very similiar to the Hardshell version the Continental Gatorskin is an incredibly 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 polyamde 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.

Continental Gatorskin Value
Brand link
Reasons to buy
Maximum puncture protection, distinctive looks, and a slick tread pattern makes this one of the best road bike tires for mile-crunchers.
Reasons to avoid
None

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 to much in terms of weight, grip and ride feel. Which makes this tire one of the if not the most impressive tire on this list.

It comes in sizes 23, 25, 28 and 32 mm.

Continental Grand Prix 4-Season Value
Brand link
Reasons to buy
the best allweather tire money can buy, bead-to-bead protection
Reasons to avoid
none

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 impressive.

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

Continental Grand Prix 5000 Value
Brand link
Reasons to buy
Best allround road bike tire on the market, supple, light, good puncture protection, tan wall option available
Reasons to avoid
None

Continental Podium TT

Another Time Trial entry, the Continental Podium TT sits at 195 grams for a 19 mm width version.

It’s extremely similar to the Continental Competition. Same weight, both are tubulars, same TPI of 180, same vectran breaker. Only the tread pattern looks slightly different, almost turning the tire into a slick, which might be the reason Continental puts this tire into the time trial section.

Continental Podium TT Value
Brand link
Reasons to buy
Extremely light, meant for racing and TT
Reasons to avoid
Race tire

Continental Sprinter Gatorskin

If you’re looking for puncture protection that comes in a tubular package, the Continental Sprinter Gatorskin is your best bet.

It offers the same Duraskin layer wrapped all around the tire as does the Continental Grand Prix 4-Season. Where it differs is both the breaker and the compound.

The Sprinter Gatorskin has a 3-layered 180 TPI BlackChili casing and the SafetySystem breaker is made from kevlar reinforced nylon.

The tire is available in a black 22 or 25 mm width.

Continental Sprinter Gatorskin Value
Brand link
Reasons to buy
The most puncture resistant tubular tire on the market
Reasons to avoid
It's a tubular tire

Michelin Dynamic Classic

I’ve seen vintage road bike resellers dress their entire lineup with Michelin Dynamic Classic tires. The reason for this is that it’s a perfect match for any vintage road bike at probably the lowest cost for a tan wall road bike tire.

In the quality department this tire will not be top of its class, but it does come in an affordable package. And with prices ever going up that’s always a good thing.

Michelin Dynamic Classic Value
Brand link
Reasons to buy
Cheap, great for retro builds
Reasons to avoid
Not the most durable

Michelin Power Time Trial

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.

Michelin Power Time Trial Value
Brand link
Reasons to buy
Blisteringly fast-rolling tire
Reasons to avoid
Meant for race day

Panaracer Agilest

The Panaracer Agilest is the newest addition to the Japanese tire manufacturer’s road bike tire lineup.

The standard clincher variant is one of the lightest tires available, with the “wide” 28mm version sitting at just 210 grams per tire.

They’ve achieved this weight with the new and much lighter ZSG Agile compound, which is a combination of a single 120 TPI ply with a puncture resistant breaker.

Coming in a variety of color combinations, including a gorgeous amber one, and being a long-time fan of Panaracer, I can do very little but intantly count this road bike tire among my favorites.

Panaracer Agilest Value
Brand link
Reasons to buy
Light as a feather, with multiple colors. Another hit with Japanese build quality.
Reasons to avoid
None

Panaracer Agilest Light

What do you get when you take one of the lightest road bike tire available, and decide you want to make it even lighter? You get the Panaracer Agilest Light.

I know of only one tire which is lighter than the 160 grams 23mm version (or 170 grams 25mm). That tire specifically states it’s meant for either the track or a time trial.

This one does not. And, on the other hand, still offers the same 120 TPI casing, and breaker as the clincher version. It only comes with less rubber, but obviously something had to go to get into the weight class this tire sits in, which is quite frankly, anorexic. And I don’t mean that in a derogatory way.

Sure, it might be less durable, but who cares? This tire is a weight weenies’ dream come true.

Panaracer Agilest Light Value
Brand link
Reasons to buy
Light, lighter, Panaracer Agilest light.
Reasons to avoid
None

Panaracer Race C Evo 4

The true racing offering from Panaracer in a tan-wall jacket. The Panaracer Race C Evo 4 is quite a mouthfull, for one of their lightest road bike tire offerings. The 26 mm width is just 220 grams.

The Race C Evo 4 is meant for speed. Besides the weight, the tire has a tread pattern light enough to provide just a bit more grip than a true slick would have. It’s faster, grippier, and more durable than previous iterations of the tire.

Panaracers look good on any retro build, and this tire is the must-have choice for people looking for speed.

Panaracer Race C Evo 4 Value
Brand link
Reasons to buy
Fast, grippy, durable, one of the best tires for retro road bike builds
Reasons to avoid
None

Panaracer Race D Evo 4

The Panaracer Race D Evo 4 is the 4-season option from the Japanese brand’s race lineup.

The tires features a 3D casing (Double Dip Duru Cover). That’s a fancy name of telling you that they offer dual breakers, the ProTite Belt sitting underneath the center tread, and a bead-to-bead one which reinforces the entire casing including the sidewalls.

That’s impressive, and certainly helps to prevent punctures and snakebites even more, making this a very solid contender and a high-quality all season option.

Panaracer Race D Evo 4 Value
Brand link
Reasons to buy
Dual breakers, and reinforced sidewalls make a fantastic 4-season road bike tire
Reasons to avoid
None

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 5mm of material stuffed in the tire, you can basically push a thumb tack into it and still hold air.

That material does add weight, so it’s easily a 100 grams heavier than a lighter competior. 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.

Schwalbe Durano Plus Value
Brand link
Reasons to buy
Very durable, extremely puncture resistant, and affordable road bike tire
Reasons to avoid
Low rolling resistance, heavy

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.

Schwalbe Lugano II Value
Brand link
Reasons to buy
Budget-friendly, mile-cruncher
Reasons to avoid
Premium tires are better

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.

Schwalbe Pro One Tube Type Value
Brand link
Reasons to buy
Super fast, lightweight, tan wall option available, one of the very best race tires on the market
Reasons to avoid
None

Vittoria Corsa

The Vittoria Corsa tops many lists as one of the best road bike tires in general. And lucky for us, they also offer a tan-wall version of this beauty of a tire.

The Vittoria Corsa is a tire for the current generation of road bikes. At 290 grams for a 25 mm width it’s no lightweight. But the combination of that weight and a extremely high 320 TPI carcass means this is one of the most comfortable road tires on the market today, and an obvious choice for many road cyclists.

Not only is this an extremely comfortable tire, grip, handling, and cornering confidence is also at a maximum with this tire. And for years the Vittoria Corsa has set the benchmark of being the tire with the lowest rolling resistance. All of these characteristics combined make the Vittoria Corsa a failsafe option for sure.

Vittoria Corsa Value
Brand link
Reasons to buy
Stunning tire, very comfortable, great grip and handling
Reasons to avoid
None

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 of 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.

Vittoria Corsa Speed Value
Brand link
Reasons to buy
Very fast, lots of grip
Reasons to avoid
Meant for race day, very pricey

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 and enhanced puncture protected layer. It’s 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.

Vittoria Rubino Pro Control Value
Brand link
Reasons to buy
bead-to-bead protection
Reasons to avoid
faster options available

Specifications narrowest road bike tires

Name
Size
ETRTO
Weight (gr)
Tread color
Sidewall color
Compound
Puncture protection
Tire bead
TPI
Buy at Amazon
Continental Competition
700Cx22
22-622
230
Black
Black
BlackChili
Vectran Breaker
tubular
3/180
Continental Gatorskin
700Cx23
23-622
305
Black
Black
BlackChili
DuraSkin / PolyX Breaker
wired
3/180
Continental Gatorskin
700Cx23
23-622
230
Black
Black
BlackChili
DuraSkin / PolyX Breaker
foldable
3/180
Continental Grand Prix 4-Season
700Cx23
23-622
235
Black
Black
Max Grip
DuraSkin / Double Vectran Breaker
foldable
3/330
Continental Grand Prix 5000
700Cx23
23-622
200
Black
Black
BlackChili
Vectran Breaker
foldable
3/330
Continental Podium TT
700Cx22
22-622
225
Black
Black
BlackChili
Vectran Breaker
tubular
3/180
Continental Sprinter Gatorskin
700Cx22
22-622
265
Black
Black
BlackChili
DuraSkin / SafetySystem Breaker
tubular
3/180
Michelin Dynamic Classic
700Cx20
23-622
 
Black
Tan
 
 
foldable
 
Michelin Power Time Trial
700Cx23
23-622
180
Black
Black
Gum-X
 
foldable
3/180
Panaracer Agilest
700×23C
23-622
180
Black
Black
ZSG Agile
AX-Alpha / TF Super Belt
foldable
120
Panaracer Agilest
700×23C
23-622
180
Black
Amber
ZSG Agile
AX-Alpha / TF Super Belt
foldable
120
Panaracer Agilest Duro
700×23C
23-622
210
Black
Black
ZSG Agile
TF Super Outer Shield / ProTite belt
foldable
120
Panaracer Agilest Light
700×23C
23-622
160
Black
Black
ZSG Agile
AX-Alpha / TF Super Belt
foldable
120
Panaracer Race C Evo 4
700Cx23
23-622
220
Black
Tan
ZSG Advanced
AX-Alpha / ProTite Belt
foldable
120
Panaracer Race D Evo 4
700Cx23
23-622
240
Black
Tan
ZSG Advanced
AX-Alpha / ProTite Belt / 3D casing
foldable
120
Schwalbe Durano Plus
700Cx23
23-622
410
Black
Black
ADDIX
SmartGuard
wired
2/67
Schwalbe Lugano II
700Cx23
23-622
260
Black
Black
Silica
 
foldable
50
Schwalbe Pro One Tube Type
700Cx23
23-622
215
Black
Black
ADDIX Race
V-Guard
foldable
2/127
Vittoria Corsa
700Cx23
23-622
245
Black
Tan
Corespun K
Protection Belt
foldable
320
Vittoria Corsa
700Cx23
23-622
245
Black
Black
Corespun K
Protection Belt
foldable
320
link
Vittoria Corsa Speed
700Cx23
23-622
200
Black
Tan
Corespun T
Protection Belt
tubular
320
Vittoria Rubino Pro Control
700Cx23
23-622
290
Black
Black
Nylon
Protection Belt
foldable
60

Bicycle tire puncture resistance

EXO, GreenGuard, AGC, AEC, ATC, do you ever get confused with all the jargon related to puncture protection. I know I did? That’s why I’ve written a separate article about puncture resistance technologies. That way, you’ll be able to better understand what’s out there and if it’s worth your money.

Johan van Seijen

FoundeR Restoration.bike

Johan van Seijen is the founder of restoration.bike. His passion for cycling in general, and restoring older bikes turned into a website to share his knowledge with a broader audience. Starting out on his father’s road bike and riding classics as the Amstel Gold Race and Liege Bastogne Liege he has shifted his attention to trail, XC, and gravel riding since. No matter how much he loves writing about everything related to cycling, nothing beats actually using his ever-expanding bicycle collection.

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