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Best Bicycle Touring Tires

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Best Bicycle Touring Tires

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This is a gear review of the Best Bicycle Touring Tires on the market in 2022.

All the Best Tires for Bicycle Touring are designed to last longer, have good resistance to punctures, have minimal rolling resistance and provide enough grip for cyclists looking to ride with a heavily loaded touring bike.

Bike touring tires are generally less aggressive than mountain bike tires but with better tread than road tires.

If you are planning to Cycle Around the World, Cross a Continent or head off for a week long cycling trip I have you covered with all the best tires for bike touring. Keep reading to the end to take a look at some handy info and an FAQ section.

Best Bike Touring Tires 2022

The Best Bike Touring Tires in 2022 are:


Best Bicycle Touring Tire 2022 – Overall

Schwalbe Marathon Mondial HS 428

Pros:
> Top brand in the industry
> Great puncture resistance
> These tires will last a very long time

Cons:
> You will feel more bumps due to the solid construction
> Expensive

If you are looking for a bike touring tire for cycling around the world then the Schwalbe Marathon Mondial is the tire for you. It is one of several Schwalbe tires in this review and their best heavy duty bike touring tire.

These tires are a clear upgrade on their predecessor, the legendary Marathon XR, which was argueably one of the best bike touring tyres on the market many years ago. The Marathon Mondial features the brand’s latest Schwalbe Evo technology for excellent trail handling characteristics.

It has descent grip both on the road and off-road and will be good enough for most people. On wet roads and slippery dirt you will need to be a bit more careful.

The tire provides some of the best puncture resistance due to the very solid construction. The puncture resistance will reduce as the tire wears out.

I have been able to use these tires for between 4000 miles / 6500 km and 10000 miles / 16000 km. How much use I get out of the tires depend on the terrain, how loaded the bike was and whether it is the front tire or the rear tire. The heavily laden rear tire wears out quicker.

The weight of the 26 inch by 2 inch tire is around 740 grams / 26oz which is quite light for a heavy duty touring tire. The weight and heavy duty sidewalls cause the tire to be a bit harsh, meaning you will feel the bumps more than with softer, less durable tires.

If you were to combine all the best features of the Marathon Plus and the Marathon Plus Tour then you would have the Marathon Mondial. For this reason this is my tire of choice. I use the Marathon Mondial for all my bicycle touring and I like the fact that I get long wear life and less punctures than with other tires.

They are designed to fit several different tire widths and sizes including the popular 26 inch, 27.5, 700cc / 28 / 29 inch diameter wheels.

Overall, this is the best expedition touring bike tires on the market and well suited to cyclists carrying a heavy load around the world or a cross continental bike tour.

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Schwalbe Marathon Plus Tour – HS 404

Pros:
> Top brand in the industry
> The best puncture resistance of all the tires in this review
> Very long wear life
> Great traction on & off-road

Cons:
> You will feel more bumps due to the solid construction

The Schwalbe Marathon Plus Tour has a heavy-duty trekking tread, with a central rib that rolls well over hard paths. Then there’s the strong outer lugs, which provide excellent off-road traction. If you find yourself on a fully loaded touring bike that regularly travels on dirt roads then this is the tire for you.

Very similar to the Marathon Mondial listed above but this tire is more popular with people on a bicycle tour. People who use these tires love them and refuse to even consider trying another brand or style. That in itself should be a good reason to use them.

The Schwalbe Marathon Plus Tour tire has the best puncture resistance out of any tire in this review thanks to the 5mm thick layer of special rubber for real durability on both the roads and on the trails.

The weight of the 26 inch by 2 inch tire is 1100 grams / 39oz.

It’s available in three different sizes, namely for 26 inch, 27.5 inch, and 29 inch diameter wheels.

Overall, this is the best bike touring tire for off road use and crossing continents with a loaded touring bike and offers the best puncture resistance.

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Schwalbe Marathon Supreme HS 469

Pros:
> Vary fast tire with little rolling resistance
> It’s lightweight at just 560 grams
> Good puncture resistance
> Long wear life

Cons:
> Poor off-road grip

The Schwalbe Marathon Supreme is a great touring bike tire for on road use. If you are setting off on a bicycle tour and will be riding on roads only then this is the tire for you, just don’t go off road with this tire as it doesn’t have much grip.

The tire offers very little rolling resistance so will be quite a fast tire, much faster than the others mentioned above. This is due to the light weight and lack of large lugs. It offers good grip on roads when dry and is quite good when it is wet too.

It is also very resistant to punctures despite being quite a bit lighter than many of the other tires in this review.

Overall, this is one of the best bike tires for road touring on a loaded bike. If you want to set off on a trip around Europe or across USA on one of the many road routes then this is a great tire.

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Continental Contact Plus Travel

Pros:
> Perfect for just about any terrain
> Great protection from punctures

> Reasonably priced
Cons:
> The tires have directional treads, so you have to put them on the right way
> No 27.5 inch sized tire

The Continental Contact Plus Travel is a good tire for bicycle touring. It is a great balance between everything that is important for a touring tire. It is quite light, has good rolling resistance, is durable and is quite puncture resistant.

It offers an excellent level of protection against punctures. This is thanks to its special natural rubber inlay, which is highly elastic to fend off all kinds of sharp debris on the road. But it is not as puncture resistant as the Marathon Plus Tour.

It offers low rolling resistance due to the tread pattern and light weight. And is durable offering protection against premature wear.

The weight of the 26 inch by 2 inch tire is around 760 grams / 27oz which is quite light for a heavy duty touring tire.

They are designed to fit several different tire widths and sizes including the popular 26 inch, 700cc / 28 / 29 inch diameter wheels.

The other great thing about these tires is that they are significantly more affordable than the Schwalbe tires on the list.

Overall, this is a good bicycle touring tire suitable for almost all terrains.

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Continental Ride Tour

Pros:
> Good puncture resistance
> Affordable, competitive pricing
> Good for commuting or very lightweight touring

Cons:
> Not as strong as the Schwalbe Marathon Range

This is a good bike touring tour but in reality it is much better suited as a commuter tire. I used this as a cheap commuter tire for many years.

These tires offer quite a comfort able ride with decent puncture resistance

The weight of the 26 inch by 2 inch tire is around 950 grams / 33oz which is on the heavy side for a touring tire.

They are designed to fit several different tire widths and sizes including the popular 26 inch, 27.5, 700cc / 28 / 29 inch diameter wheels and many more including kids bike tires.

It has durable casing, keeping your ride steady as can be, while keeping debris off the wheels.

It also features reinforced sidewalls, which serve to protect the casing from environmental wear. And at the same time, it also provides a high level of puncture protection.

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Schwalbe Marathon Winter Studded Tire HS 396

Pros:
> Good grip & traction, even on ice
> Excellent puncture resistance
> Excellent durability for touring
> Reasonably priced for such a high spec tire

Cons:
> Although these tires do perform well on ice, it doesn’t perform as well on snow

This tire is called Marathon Winter for a reason. It is loaded with ice spikes that provide good traction for winter biking on ice or snow.

Even on tight bends or with sharp braking, the ice studs ensure the bike will remain firmly under your control. And it has great puncture resistance as well, thanks to the thick, protective SmartGuard layer.

The weight of the 26 inch by 2 inch tire is around 1000 grams / 35 oz.

It’s designed for wheels of several sizes from 26 inch, 27.5, 700cc and more. It also comes in widths from 1.5 inches to 2.5 inches depending on the wheel size. With this being a winter specific tire I would choose the widest tire that your frame will allow.

Overall, this is the best winter studded tire for bike touring with the Winter Plus version being another option with more ice studs and more protection from punctures.

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Buyers Guide

Best Bike Touring Tires
What are the best bike touring tires to buy?

As promised, here’s your buying guide. It will walk you through the key things to think about before you buy.

Fit

The first and foremost thing to consider when buying a bicycle tire is the fit. If you get the wrong size, you’ve wasted your money.

Bike touring rims come in several sizes. 26 inch is the most popular, followed by 27.5 inch. 29 inch rims are very popular on mountain bikes but not so popular on touring bikes.

The width of the tire will also vary. For long distance bike touring on rough terrain which can include paved roads, dirt roads and rough trails, a wider width tire is better such as 2 inch or even up to 2.5 inches. When going this wide it is important to check that the tire has enough clearance on the front fork and rear section of the frame.

For road use only a narrower tire will be better suited. It will be faster due to the lighter weight and less rolling resistance. The down side of a narrower tire is that it will not perform as well on dirt roads.

Tire Material

Rubber tires are still the best type around but all the tires offer some sort of protection from punctures including the use of kevlar, thickened rubber and other materials to prevent punctures.

Tread

The next thing to consider is the tire’s tread. The pattern and lugs on the tire will determine how well it grips the road or trail, and the level of roll resistance.

Aggressive lugs will be great on dirt, mud or sandy terrain but will wear out quicker and offer more rolling resistance making them slower.

For riding on roads a non aggressive tread with little or no lugs will increase performance and cut down on road noise coming from the tires.

Bike Touring tires tread is more aggressive than tires for road bike
Bike Touring Tire Tread is designed to be durable and last a long time

Puncture Resistance

Have you ever tried to ride a bike with a flat tire? Not recommended! That’s why puncture resistance is so important in a bicycle tire.

Many of the tire companies use many different method to reduce puncture. Many use thinker material on the contact surface to prevent objects puncturing the tires. Kevlar is used by some to cut down on sharp objects cutting through the tire.

When riding on roads the most common object that causes flat tires are small bits of wire. These are usually on sealed roads and left behind when cars and trucks have blowouts that case the wire casing inside the tire to break and leave a trail of debris on the sides of the road.

Most tire companies strengthen the sidewalls of the tires which will reduce the amount of punctures through the sidewalls.

Puncture Resistant Bike Touring Tires
Puncture Resistant Bike Touring Tires would be great

Value For Money

Bicycle touring tires can really vary in price, with some costing as little as $20, while others can cost over $100. So, if you have a budget to work with, we recommend that you check prices as you go along.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is A Touring Bicycle Tire?

Whereas regular bike tires are perfectly suited to the smooth terrain of a bicycle lane, a touring bicycle tire in contrast offers far more versatility, and can be taken off-road. More importantly they are able to carry a much heavier load and are much more puncture resistant.

How Long Do Touring Bike Tires Last?

You can expect much better mileage from touring bike tires than you would with regular tires. The high-end tires will last for a minimum of 5000 miles, but usually far longer, and sometimes as much as 10000 miles. It is important to note that front tires will last a lot longer than rear tires due to having less weight on them.

Are Schwalbe Tires The Best?

Schwalbe are one of the most well-known brands of bicycle tires across the globe. Their popularity comes from just how strong the tires are and how they’re great puncture resistance.

What Size Are Touring Bike Tires?

Touring bike tires are frequently available in a range of different sizes, to match the diameter of the bicycle wheels. The most common is 26 inch but they are increasingly popular in 27.5 inch and 29 inch. As for the width of the tire, however, this can also vary from between 1 inch and 2 inches.

Another one of the Best Bike Touring Gear Reviews from BikeHikeSafari.


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About the Author:
Brad is an Australian who has completed the hiking Triple Crown after he hiked the Pacific Crest Trail, Continental Divide Trail and Appalachian Trail. He has hiked on every continent (except Antarctica) and has cycled from Alaska to Ecuador. He is an expert on outdoor gear currently living in Sydney, Australia.