Best Bike Tire for Triathlon

This post looks at the Best Bike Tire for Triathlon.

So you’ve just spent 3 grand on a half-decent bike for the tri season. It would be rude not to also throw in the odd bike time trial too wouldn’t it? Where you can show off your cycling prowess to the real cyclists.

Best Bike Tire for Triathlon Continental Tyre Tire

Something for the weekend sir?

You ignored people like me who told you to get some awesome new wheels and a second-hand frame. And you may not have bought the best wheel that you could as your new wheels came bundled with the frame. But, hey, there’s no budget left for a frame change or a wheel change so you’re stuck with what you have. Grrrrr.

CLINCHER WARNING: JUST CLINCHERS HERE ie the ones that have an inner tube

How about a bit of free speed then? $/£30-40 might save you 5w per tyre. $/£60 per tyre WILL almost certainly save you more than 5w per tyre.

Let’s face it, you can’t sneak a £/$3000 bike past your partner but two new tyres could EASILY be fobbed off as ‘oh they’re just a couple of quid/dollars’ hint: it works ;-). And therein starts the triathletes’ fall towards lycra-induced divorce. But that’s another far less cheery topic. Let’s talk about FREESPEED. Relatively cheap free speed too. Which I guess is RELATIVELYCHEAPSPEED and not FREESPEED. Oh well. You get the drift. Let’s get you the Best Triathlon Tyre.

  • Step 1: IMPORTANT: Look at the width of tyre that the wheel manufacturer recommends. That’s the key pice of info. Do not ask the shop, they’ll tell you to get some fat-boy tyres. Well, ask the shop if they know what they’re talking about. As a guide I do not buy  tyre wider than the rim of the wheel eg personally I’d buy a 23mm tyre for a 23mm wheel, maybe a thinner tyre for pancake-smooth roads. Don’t worry so much about the height dimension of the tire which affects the clearance to your frame.
  • Step 2: Look for your current tyres on the table below. They’re not there are they? If they are there, all may be good. You’ve just ‘saved’ $/£/Eu100.
  • Step 3: Realise that these fast tyres shown below are made of paper. If you go over a grain of sand you may well get a puncture. But if you know the surfaces where you are going to use them and/or if you want to risk them on race day on a road when you wont be riding in the gutter THEN proceed with caution and buy several.
  • Step 4: Realise that many of the tyre brands have so many variations that you may well easily click on the wrong one on Amazon. eg I use the Grand Prix SuperSonics for ‘special occasions’ but they come in a BLACK CHILLI compound version and one that isn’t BLACK CHILLI. Whatever the difference in the world of rubber; on the road BLACK CHILLI is, of course faster.
  • Step 5: Guesstimate that your current, cheap tyres  might lose more than 20w a pair (easily more) at 100psi compared to the best tyre. That’s quite a lot isn’t it?
  • Step 6: Choose the amount of watts you want for free and hence the tyre of your dreams from the table
  • Step 7: Prepare yourself for a £/$50 price tag per tyre. Hopefully; just hopefully, the one you want will be cheaper than £/$50 (it won’t 😉 )
  • Step 8: Compromise
  • Step 9: Prepare to spend several hours trying to find the exactly correct version of the tyre you want for the lowest possible price, where LowestPossiblePrice<=$/£50. You’ll save £/$3 on the price you originally saw but two hours of your time is worth that if you factor in the watts/per tyre saving 😉
  • Step 10: Groan when you realise that the right inner tubes will also give you a free watt or too. Groan further that latex tubes could give you even more but smile with relief when I tell you not to go there. ie don’t go for Latex. Do go for the race tubes as well though.
Best Bike Tyre Triathlon Continental Tyre Tire

20mm, They look different but I THINK they are the same model from different years

And yes I went through ALL of those steps MANY times. Here are my tyre choices

  1. RACE: Continental Grand Prix SuperSonic Black Chilli – yes I would use that for a PB lap of Richmond Park or for IMUK. #SpecialTyre #SpecialRace
  2. GENERAL USE: I use these Continental GP4000SII now by default.
  3. COMMUTING USE IN CITES: GATORSKIN or equivalent.
  4. You can also use your race-day tyre when racing with your faster cycling friends. You have to just hope for the best and if you get a puncture then you get some respite from their relentless zone 2 effort. Which feels like Z4 to you.

Hey! there are some useful tyre/tube links immediately below to Amazon. But you probably have your ad blocker turned on. Sigh. You can get ad-free access to this site for 49p/65c (ish). Seriously, if you can subscribe to the ad-free service it all adds up to really help support this site. The links below to the reviews on bicyclerollingreistance.com do NOT help this site in any way. But if you read their detailed reviews then please reward them for their work producing their content.

 








Brand Model Year Price Width Weight RR RR RR RR
60 PSI 80 PSI 100 PSI 120 PSI
4.1 bar 5.5 bar 6.9 bar 8.3 bar
Vittoria Corsa Speed (tubular) 2017 High+ 23 209 12.7 11.1 9.9 9.1
Pirelli P Zero Velo TT 2017 High 23 163 14.6 12.2 11 10.2
Continental Grand Prix SuperSonic 2017 High 23 179 15 12.5 11 10.2
Continental Grand Prix Force II 2016 High 24 196 16.3 13.4 11.6 11
Schwalbe Ironman Tubeless 2015 High 24 336 16.6 14.5 13.5 12.9
Specialized Turbo Cotton 2016 High+ 24 224 15 12.5 11.1 10.1
Continental Grand Prix TT 2016 High 25 195 13.9 11.8 10.5 9.9
Hutchinson Fusion 5 Galactik TL 2017 High 25 288 14.6 12.3 11 10.1
Michelin Power Competition 2016 High 25 212 16.6 13.6 11.8 10.9
Schwalbe Pro One Tubeless 2016 High 25 257 14.8 12.8 11.6 11
Zipp Tangente Speed 2017 High 25 190 17.3 14.6 12.5 11.6
Schwalbe One Tubeless 2014 High 25 344 16.3 13.8 12.5 11.8
Vittoria Rubino Pro Speed 2016 High 25 206 17.4 14.3 12.6 11.9
Continental Grand Prix 4000S II 2014 High 25 215 15.5 13.7 12.9 12.2
Vittoria Corsa G+ (open) 2016 High 25 255 16.3 14.1 12.9 12.2
Schwalbe One V-Guard 2014 High 25 243 16.6 14 12.8 12.3
Vittoria Corsa G+ (tubular) 2016 High+ 25 281 16.4 14.1 12.8 12.3
Pirelli P Zero Velo 2017 High 25 210 17.2 14.6 13.2 12.5
Vittoria Corsa Elite (tubular) 2017 High 25 298 18.1 15.4 13.6 12.9
Vittoria Open Corsa CX III 2014 High 25 237 16.9 14.8 13.6 13
Hutchinson Fusion 5 Performance TL 2017 High 25 323 17.8 15.8 14 13.1
Challenge Strada Pro 2017 High 25 254 17.9 15.3 14 13.4
Veloflex Corsa 2016 High 25 200 18.2 15.8 14 13.4
Vittoria Rubino Pro III 2014 Med 25 238 18.6 16 14 13.4
Continental Grand Prix 2014 Med 25 239 18.5 15.9 14.5 14
Schwalbe Ultremo ZX 2014 Med 25 229 19.5 16.3 15 14.1
Michelin Pro 4 Endurance v2 2015 High 25 245 19.1 16.3 14.9 14.2
Continental Competition (tubular) 2016 High+ 25 285 18.7 16.5 15.3 14.2
Continental Ultra Sport II 2015 Low 25 267 18.9 16.4 14.8 14.3
Hutchinson Fusion 5 All Season TL 2017 High 25 335 19.1 16.8 15.2 14.3
Michelin Power Endurance 2016 High 25 235 21.2 17.9 15.6 14.5
Pirelli P Zero Velo 4S 2017 High 25 220 20.2 17.6 15.9 14.7
Vittoria Rubino Pro G+ 2016 Med 25 248 22.3 18.2 16 14.8
Michelin Pro 4 Service Course 2014 Med 25 222 20.1 17.6 16 14.9
Zipp Tangente Course 2017 High 25 215 22.7 18.9 16.7 15.3
Michelin Krylion 2 Endurance 2017 Med 25 261 21 17.9 16.3 15.4
Vittoria Zaffiro Slick 2015 Low 25 398 24.4 20.1 17.1 15.7
Michelin Lithion 2 2015 Med 25 268 22 18.7 16.7 15.9
Schwalbe Pro One HT (tubular) 2017 High+ 25 303 21.6 19.1 17.4 16.1
Vittoria Rubino Pro Control 2016 Med 25 297 25 20.6 17.7 16.9
Clement Strada LGG 2017 High 25 225 23.2 20 17.9 16.9
Continental Grand Prix 4 Season 2015 High 25 215 22.5 19.8 18.1 17.2
Michelin Dynamic Sport 2015 Low 25 304 23.2 19.5 18.1 17.3
Schwalbe Durano 2015 Med 25 251 24.7 21 18.8 18
Vredestein Fortezza Senso All Weather 2015 Med 25 234 24.6 21.8 19.7 18
Continental Gatorskin 2015 High 25 255 26.2 22 20.2 19.3
Schwalbe Durano Plus 2017 Med 25 400 26.4 22.9 20.7 19.7
Michelin Power All Season 2016 High 25 275 27.8 24.5 22.7 21.3
Schwalbe Lugano 2015 Low 25 275 28.4 24.4 22.6 21.9
Bontrager R4 320  2016 High+ 25 226 16.4 13.9 12.2 11.5
Specialized S-Works Turbo 2016 High 25 215 19.6 16.3 14.4 13.4

Source: bicyclerollingresistance.com (modified/curated by me)

That site will also give you saw awesome info on tubs and tubeless tyres.

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