So you want to know what are the best touring tires out there? Great, you’ve come to the right place!
Whether you’re planning a week long tour or a multi-year around the world adventure, getting the right tires for you trip is crucial. But with so many brands and models out there, how do you know what are the best tires for bicycle touring?
That’s where we come in. One of our goals here at The Adventure Junkies is to make your life easier when it comes to choosing outdoor gear. Here in this article we’ll walk you through what to look for while shopping for touring tires and how to find the ones that fit your needs best.
If you’re about to set off on your very first tour, checkout our bicycle touring packing list to make sure you don’t leave any essentials behind. Now let’s see what are the best touring tires on the market today.
For more of out top mountain bike gear recommendations, check out these popular articles:
QUICK ANSWER – THE BEST TOURING TIRES
- Schwalbe Marathon Plus
- Schwalbe Marathon Mondial
- Continental Travel Contact
- Vittoria Randonneur Cross Touring
- Clement X’plore MSO
- Schwalbe Winter
- Continental Touring Plus
- Schwalbe Marathon Supreme
- Verdestein Perfect Trek
- Vittoria Rubino Pro III
TOURING TIRES REVIEWS
SCHWALBE MARATHON PLUS
FEATURES: Reflective Strip, Puncture Protection Belt
WEIGHT: 1.65 lbs
BEST FOR: Long Distance All Weather Touring
PROS: Puncture Resistant, Long Lasting, Good Off Road Traction
CONS: Difficult to Mount, Heavy
VERDESTEIN PERFECT TREK
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FEATURES: V-shaped Profile, Reflective Strip
WEIGHT: 1.76 lbs
BEST FOR: Intense Use On Paved & Unpaved Roads
PROS: Affordable, Low Rolling Resistance, High Load Capacity
CONS: Difficult to Find
SCHWAB MARATHON MONDIAL
FEATURES: Reflective Strip, Anti Puncture Layer
WEIGHT: 1.43 lbs
BEST FOR: Off Road Touring
PROS: Puncture Resistant, Excellent Quality, Tough
CONTINENTAL TRAVEL CONTACT
FEATURES: Semislick Profile, Reflective Strip
WEIGHT: 1.26 lbs
BEST FOR: All Around Touring
PROS: Low Rolling Resistance (Fast) & Lightweight
CONS: Vulnerable To Sidewall Damage
VITTORIA RANDONNEUR CROSS TOURING
FEATURES: Double Shielding Puncture Protection, Reflective Strip
WEIGHT: 1.44 lbs
BEST FOR: Mostly On Road Touring
PROS: Fast, Affordable
CONS: Difficult To Take On & Off
CLEMENT X’PLORE MSO
FEATURES: Smooth-Rolling Center Knobs & Aggressive Shoulder Lugs
WEIGHT: 0.75 lbs
BEST FOR: All Around Touring & Ultralight Spare
PROS: Great Traction Over Variety Of Terrains
CONS: Not Long Lasting
SCHWALBE MARATHON WINTER
FEATURES: Studs, Reflective Stripe
WEIGHT: 2.03 lbs
BEST FOR: Winter Touring
PROS: Lighter & Faster Than Many Other Studded Tires
CONS: Not Versatile (Shouldn’t be used on pavement)
CONTINENTAL TOURING PLUS
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Amazon | REI
MATERIAL: Reflective Stripe
WEIGHT: 1.3 lbs
BEST FOR: All Around Touring
PROS: Affordable, Rolls Lightly, Good Value
CONS: Difficult To Mount
SCHWALBE MARATHON SUPREME
FEATURES: Puncture Protection, Fast Rolling Asphalt Tread, Reflective Stripe
WEIGHT: 0.83 lbs
BEST FOR: Long Distance, Mostly Pavement Tours
PROS: Puncture Resistant, Long Lasting, Lightweight
CONS: Not The Best For Heavy Off Road Use
VITTORIA RANDONNEUR II
FEATURES: Aquaflow Tread Pattern (Hugs Curves In Wet Conditions)
WEIGHT: 1.27 lbs
BEST FOR: Light Weight Bicycle Touring
PROS: Hard Wearing, Affordable, Good Value
CONS: Stiff (Difficult To Mount)
COMPARISON TABLE – THE BEST TOURING TIRES
HOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST TOURING TIRES
The very first thing you need to do when you start shopping for tires is to check what size tire you need. If you don’t already know the size, have a look at the sidewall of your existing tires to find out. You’ll see a number like this 26×2.5. The outer diameter in this case would be 26″ and the width is 2″.
I hate getting flats and I bet you do too. Tire issues are an even greater pain when you’re touring. Imagine having to fix a flat under the boiling heat while trucks zoom by coving you in dust.
Luckily there are some puncture resistant tire options that will make your life on the road much more enjoyable. The downsides to these types of tires are they are more expensive and aren’t as speedy as normal ones. Also keep in mind that just because a tire states to be puncture resistance it’s not puncture proof so you might still get a flat every now and then.
If you plan on touring in remote locations and/or developing countries, finding high quality tires (or any cycling gear for that matter) can be impossible. Buying tires that are built to last is important.
One factor that determines durability is the type of rubber the tire is made from. Soft rubber is grippier but hard rubber is much more durable. High price tags don’t always equate to durability when it comes to tires so be sure to do your homework before buying if longevity is a priority for your tour.
To determine the type of tread you’ll need for your tires, you’ll have to consider what type of riding you plan on doing and what the weather conditions will be like.
For mostly road riding in summer conditions, slick tires will be best because they have the least rolling resistance which means they are fast.
If you plan to so some off road and/or wet weather riding, you’ll need a tire with more tread. In general, more tread means more grip. These kinds of tires have more rolling resistance, so you won’t go as fast as you would with a slick tire but it will give you the traction and handling you need in tough conditions.
WEIGHT & PACKABILITY
If you plan on going on a long distance tour, you may want to consider bringing a spare tire along with you. This tire will be a life saver if you happen to have a blow out and are far from the nearest town. If this is your case, weight and packability of your spare tire will be important to you.
Many manufactures make folding tires which are great for packing them into your panniers, the downside is they are much more expensive than traditional tires.