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.
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.
And yes I went through ALL of those steps MANY times. Here are my tyre choices
- RACE: Continental Grand Prix SuperSonic Black Chilli – yes I would use that for a PB lap of Richmond Park or for IMUK. #SpecialTyre #SpecialRace
- GENERAL USE: Anything from 23-25mm, with a bit of puncture resistance, that says Continental or Schwalbe. Other brands exist…some of them no doubt better. That’s what I normally choose though for normal riding. #BrandLoyalty.
- COMMUTING USE IN CITES: GATORSKIN or equivalent.
- 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.
|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|
|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|
|Schwalbe||Pro One Tubeless||2016||High||25||257||14.8||12.8||11.6||11|
|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|
|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|
|Vittoria||Rubino Pro III||2014||Med||25||238||18.6||16||14||13.4|
|Michelin||Pro 4 Endurance v2||2015||High||25||245||19.1||16.3||14.9||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|
|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|
|Michelin||Krylion 2 Endurance||2017||Med||25||261||21||17.9||16.3||15.4|
|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|
|Continental||Grand Prix 4 Season||2015||High||25||215||22.5||19.8||18.1||17.2|
|Vredestein||Fortezza Senso All Weather||2015||Med||25||234||24.6||21.8||19.7||18|
|Michelin||Power All Season||2016||High||25||275||27.8||24.5||22.7||21.3|
That site will also give you saw awesome info on tubs and tubeless tyres.
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