Now that the dark nights and wetter conditions are here, in the UK, we’ve put together this handy guide to eight of our best tyres for autumn and winter riding.
Once the wetter, harsher weather arrives, road surface conditions can deteriorate making bike handling trickier without the right tyres and the risk of puncture higher.
Invest in a new pair of road tyres for the winter and they’ll keep you riding right through to springtime.
Available in three widths – 23, 25 and 28 mm – the GP 4 Season from Continental is one of the very best wet weather tyres out there.
When I canvassed opinion from fellow staff who commute to Ribble throughout the winter months, our chief Product Tester Andy simply replied, “4 Seasons, 4 Seasons, 4 Seasons!” He added, “I got 4,000 miles out of the last set. They have really good grip in all conditions, especially the wet damp roads and good puncture protection.”
Personally I’ve also successfully used them in an alpine Etape du Tour to minimise the puncture risk and maximise cornering grip should I be caught in a downpour. The GP 4 Season is a truly versatile tyre and it will serve you well right through the winter.
With the Michelin Power All Season, its grip that is the focus of the fabled French manufacturer’s performance claims. These great tyres are also available in three widths (23, 25 and 28mm). The thick tread contains Michelin’s Aramid Protek Plus puncture protection layer.
Road.cc were impressed with this tyre, “The tyres feel supple and I found my favoured spot at around 95psi, which gave a cushioned, luxurious ride while still allowing me to spin along at what I fondly imagine to be a good pace.”
A grippy, competition tyre for extremely cold and wet weather conditions, the Fortezza Senso Xtreme Weather features Vredestein’s newly developed XWS compound developed for low rolling resistance and outstanding grip.
Cycling Weekly call these “good all year round” and road.cc were “impressed by their sure-footedness.” Also available in three widths (23, 25 and 28mm).
The SmartGuard protection belt made of elastic rubber achieves an unusually high level of protection for a racing tyre but the flip side is that it makes this a heavier tyre – which is perhaps not a really bad thing in the winter months.
The dual compound ensures optimum adhesion, even on the wet rides of autumn and winter. Schwalbe call this “the most puncture-proof racing tyre there is” and it’s available in 23 and 25mm widths.
The Gatorskin is famous as a hard wearing, puncture protected tyre designed for fast riding and commuting. It’s probably the most popular road bike tyre in the UK with cut-resistant Duraskin and Kevlar-reinforced layers.
The slick tread for exceptional grip in both wet and dry conditions which makes it such a winter favourite.
Once known as the Ultra GatorSkin before the new GatorHardshell was introduced there is a 25mm width option which adds some extra comfort to your ride.
If you’re a fan of the GatorSkin then you can take it to the ‘next level’ with the Continental GatorHardshell for even more protection. These road tyres are practically bulletproof or at least I cannot remember ever having a puncture whilst using them – they are perfect for winter when the last thing you want to be doing is changing a tube at the roadside.
According to Road.cc the GatorHardshell “should reward you with exceptionally long life, puncture resistance, a very comfortable ride at speed and very good value for money over the life of the tyre.”
COMMUTER & TOURING TYRES
For a less racy bike or a rougher commute you might want to consider the ever-popular Schwalbe Marathon. The Marathon’s highly elastic GreenGuard puncture protection layer is 3 mm thick and one of the main reasons that this durable tyre is commonly used on touring or adventure bikes.
The Marathon is a legend, a good solid commuting tyre available in a wide variety of sizes.
The commuting tyre for those riders whose only concern is puncture protection is the Continental Touring Plus. This extremely tough puncture-proof layer is virtually impenetrable to stones, glass and thorns.
Like Schawlbe’s Marathon the Touring Plus is a popular touring tyre with a fast rolling central tread section. Between the tread and the carcass, a puncture protection layer of highly elastic special rubber is practically impenetrable and successfully defies all foreign objects from getting to the inner tube beneath it.