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With the decision to replace Michelin Mojo M6s that came out in early 2018, MTB tyre manufacturers began to develop new gravel tyre models to take the market by storm. Giro’s latest effort, the Angel Giro Fuel EX2, is the main contender in the new breed of gravel tyres. While the Angel Giro Fuel EX2 doesn’t have the aggressive tread pattern of the Mojo M6, it offers the same 4mm tread depth, a new unique mix of compounds and a wide price range. One of the best features of the Angel Giro Fuel EX2 is the performance of the tyre in hardpack terrain and rocky trails. With a knobbier tread design, the tyre shows impressive grip and control in loose
The top gravel/adventure tyre for road bike touring is the Continental Ultra Sport. It is a perfect fit for the rider who is more concerned with durability, puncture resistance and keeping the bike stable at high speeds on rough surfaces. Whether you are riding gravel trails, riding across the Sahara, or tackling technical mountain sections, this tyre should be your go-to tyre.
This is a list of the best gravel bike tyres if you’re searching for one. Over the years, we’ve tried a broad variety of dirt bike tyres, but these are the ones that really pleased our testers.
Gravel is a cycling category that encompasses a wide variety of potential riding situations. Hard-packed dirt roads may be as smooth as pavement, rough roads might contain embedded pebbles or loose gravel, and certain “gravel rides” can lead bicycles into singletrack.
There’s a lot of terrain out there, and there are a lot of different tyres to fit the various conditions you’ll come across once you go off the asphalt.
What to look for when purchasing a gravel tyre
Consider where you’ll be riding while selecting gravel tyres. Consider how much time you’ll be on pavement as opposed to gravel or dirt.
Consider how smooth or rugged your roads are, as well as what “gravel” implies in your area. Is it smooth and quick? Rutted and rough? Rugged roads that rip your tyres to shreds? These are just a handful of the options.
There is no one correct solution, and tyre selection will always be a compromise, since tyres designed for looser conditions or mud will unavoidably be slower on asphalt, while those designed for lighter, slicker surfaces will be out of their depth on harder terrain.
Is it better to have tubes or not?
While tubeless tires aren’t required on gravel, they are highly recommended.
Tubeless tires do away with inner tubes and let you to run low pressures without the danger of pinch flats, providing greater grip and comfort off-road.
Small punctures are also automatically repaired using tubeless sealant in your tyres.
Although all of the tyres on this list are tubeless-ready, several are also available in non-tubeless variants, which may save you money and/or weight if your rims aren’t tubeless-ready.
The finest gravel tyres for 2021, according to our professional testers
- £49.99 / $59.95 Exposure is what I’m looking for.
- Team Issue Bontrager GR1: £49.99 / $64.99 / €49.99 / AU$79.99
- £45 / $79.99 Sector Hutchinson
- £46.99 / $49.99 / AU$79.99 EXO TR Maxxis Rambler
- £40 / $50 / AU$60 Trigger Pro with a Focus
- Resolute (WTB): £44.99 / $59.95 / AU$69.99 WTB Resolute: £44.99 / $59.95 / AU$69.99
- MSO Donnelly X’Plor: £65/$72
- £37.99 / $54.95 for Pro Kenda Flintridge
- $65 Terrene Elwood is a model and actress.
- Nano (WTB): £44.99 / $59.95
WTB’s Exposure as a plump road tyre with gravel potential pleased us much. Andy Lloyd is a writer who lives in the United
- £49.99 (about $59.95)
- There are two sizes available: 700x30mm and 36x36mm.
- 305g in weight (30mm as tested)
- Highs/lows: Simple to install, flexible all-road and light gravel tyre, but only available in narrower widths.
We hear you scream, “That’s not a gravel tyre!” You’re correct, it isn’t, however if your gravel riding is mostly on bad roads and gentler trails, a strong classics-style road tyre might be a feasible choice.
The Exposure is one of the few tyres with a 30mm width, making it compatible with a wide range of road frames, including those with rim brakes, while providing greater comfort and durability than a pure road tyre.
It’s not the best choice for loose gravel or mud, but it’s perfect for dry-packed dirt and potholed back roads.
Review of the Continental Terra Speed/Trail TR
Continental’s Terra Speed gravel tyre has a very thin tread pattern. Immediate Media / Simon Bromley
- Price is £60.
- Available in the following sizes: 700x35mm, 40mm; 650bx35mm, 40mm
- Weight: 436g (Speed, 700x40mm), 426g (Speed, 700x40mm) (Trail, 700x40mm)
- Terra Trail adds grips but is heavier and slower than Terra Speed, which is quick like a road tyre but not suited to loose situations.
The tubeless-ready Terra Speed and Terra Trail gravel tyres share a 3-ply 180 TPI ProTection casing and BlackChili Compound rubber, but vary primarily in tread depth, combining technology from Continental’s current road and mountain bike tyres.
For hard pack and mixed terrain, the Speed features extremely shallow tread blocks all throughout. Conti’s most aggressive gravel tyre, the Trail, is designed for mixed or wet conditions. Both sizes are available in 35mm and 40mm widths for 700c and 650b wheels.
When testing, we used the grippier Trail on the front and the smoother Speed on the back. The Trail handles soft, wet terrain much better than the Speed, which spins on anything less sticky than wet grass thanks to its higher tread blocks and greater shoulder grip. However, the Terra Speed is nearly as fast as a road tyre.
The Terra Speed is good for rapid riding in hard situations, but if you want all-around, all-terrain confidence, the Trail is the better choice.
Team Issue Bontrager GR1
The Team Issue GR1 tyres from Bontrager are available in 35mm or 40mm widths. Immediate Media / David Caudery
- AU$79.99 / £49.99 / $64.99 / €49.99 / €49.99
- Sizes offered are 700x35mm and 400x40mm (tested)
- 410g in weight
- Highs/lows: It’s best in loose, dry conditions, although it’s not terrible in the rain. It’s not designed for mud.
The GR1 Team Issue is an excellent all-arounder with a densely packed low-profile block tread that excels in loose, dry conditions on a variety of terrain.
The GR1 is constructed with lightweight nylon inserts for additional sidewall puncture protection and is built on a 120 TPI casing.
The Hutchinson Sector was created as a racing cobblestone alternative to tubulars. Future Publishing/Ben Delaney
- £45 (about $79.99)
- There are two sizes available: 700mm x 28mm and 32mm x 32mm.
- Weight: claimed 295g, 280g as tested (28mm), claimed 315g (32mm)
- Highs/lows: A road tyre capable of mixing it up on gravel and cobblestones, but not for severe gravel or mud.
The Sector was designed as a comfortable tubular option for mixed terrain that don’t need the harsh tread of a full-fledged gravel tyre.
It’s durable, yet because of its size and structure, it’s lighter and quicker on smooth terrain than specialized gravel rubber.
Maxxis Rambler EXO TR
Many rivals are heavier than the Maxxis Rambler. Immediate Media / Russell Eich
- AU$79.99 / £46.99 / $49.99 / £46.99
- There are two sizes available: 700mm x 38mm and 40mm x 40mm (tested)
- 375g in weight
- Highs/lows: Lightweight, supple shell that works better on smoother soil and gravel rather than muck.
Maxxis’ first venture into gravel tyres was the Rambler, and the company’s tyre expertise is evident. This dirt tread is lighter and faster than most of its rivals.
The low profile blocks of the Rambler are packed densely down the center to keep them rolling quickly, while the intermediate and shoulder knobs are somewhat bigger for cornering.
The 120 TPI EXO casing is very elastic and easily rolls over uneven surfaces. Although the advertised width is 40mm, the actual size on our test rims was less than that, making this a suitable choice for riders who ride a cyclocross or gravel bike with minimal clearance.
The Rambler is best suited to dirt and gravel roads that aren’t too bumpy. On hardpack and sand on hardpacked roads, the low profile knobs work well.
The Maxxis Rambler EXO TR is now on sale.
Specialized Trigger Pro
The Specialized Trigger Pro is a gravel tyre designed for racers. Immediate Media / Josh Patterson
- The price is £40 / $50 / AU$60.
- The following sizes are available: 700x38mm, 700x38mm, 700x38mm, 700x (tested)
- 488g in weight
- Highs/lows: Fast rolling and very durable, although somewhat undersized and flat protection increase weight.
Although the Specialized Trigger Pro isn’t one of the most recent gravel tyres on the market, it is a tried and proven choice for quick and rugged gravel racing.
Dan Hughes and Rebecca Rusch, ultra-endurance gravel racers, contributed to its development.
The Trigger Pro prioritizes speed above traction, as shown by the tread. These treads are quick and quiet on the pavement thanks to the elevated center strip.
The diamond-shaped knobs, which grow in larger as they approach the edges, do an admirable job of easing the rider into predictable transitions to the edge knobs over hardpacked ground.
The Specialized Trigger Pro is almost everything you could want in a gravel racing tyre. It’s quick, with enough grip for the job at hand and a comforting degree of flat protection.
The Specialized Trigger Pro is now on sale.
The WTB Resolute is a true gravel tyre, not a road tyre with a few tweaks. Immediate Media / Josh Patterson
- £44.99 / $59.95 / $69.99 AU$
- Available in the following sizes: 70042mm (tested), 65042mm
- 450g in weight
- Highs/lows: Excellent off-road traction, excellent ride quality, but sluggish on tarmac.
WTB has been on a roll when it comes to producing excellent gravel and all-road tyres. With a more aggressive tread design, the WTB Resolute builds on the success of the popular Horizon and Byway tyres.
WTB markets the Resolute as an all-condition gravel tyre. Small, square knobs are closely spaced in the center of the tread pattern to reduce rolling resistance, with wide-set intermediate and strong side knobs to offer ample of traction over loose and rocky terrain.
The Resolute is a gravel-only tire. On asphalt, it has some drag and noise, but it works well on gravel and mud.
The Resolute is a fantastic choice if you’re searching for a tyre that can be used off the beaten path on gravel and even singletrack.
MSO Donnelly X’Plor
For individuals who bike on mixed terrain regularly, the Donnelly X’Plor MSO is a fantastic tubeless choice. Immediate Publication
- Price: £65 (about $72)
- Available in the following sizes: 70040 (tested) or 32/36/40/50mm; 650b42/50mm
- 560g in weight
- Highs/lows: Simple to install, fast rolling, and good puncture resistance; nevertheless, they are hefty and stiff.
The strong sidewalls of the Donnelly X’Plor MSOs make tubeless installation simple, but it’s their unique combination of speed, grip, and puncture resistance that truly impresses.
They’re made to handle a broad range of terrain, so if your gravel rides are a genuine mix of on- and off-road, in the city and out in the country, you shouldn’t pass them up.
The Donnellys, unlike others, are big people. In reality, the X’Plor MSO tyres expand somewhat over the 40mm number on their sidewalls when mounted on our 23mm wide internal rims.
However, they aren’t the lightest choice, and their strong shells mean they aren’t the most comfortable.
Kenda Flintridge Pro
In dry circumstances, Kenda’s Flintridge Pro is an excellent choice. Immediate Media / Russell Eich
- Price: £37.99 (about $54.95 USD)
- Available in the following sizes: 70035mm, 45mm, and 40mm (tested). 650×45mm
- 512g in weight
- Highs/lows: Long-lasting and high-volume, yet hefty and rigid.
The Flintridge Pro from Kenda aims to strike a balance between speed and puncture resistance on a variety of road surfaces.
With thin rectangles along the center, multiple rows of small transition blocks with lots of siping, and arching knobs, the tread design employs almost every tool in the toolbox. This is a dry-condition tyre that works well on sandy and rocky terrain but is sluggish on concrete.
Kenda’s SCT (Sidewall Casing Technology) protects the sidewalls from cuts and abrasions while also providing a firmer ride than some of the more supple tyres in our comparison.
The Flintridge is an excellent choice if you need a lot of flat protection on rough gravel surfaces.
The Kenda Flintridge Pro is now on sale.
The Terrene Elwood is a durable gravel tyre with a pleasant ride. Immediate Media / Josh Patterson
- Cost: $65
- Available in the following sizes: 70035mm, 40mm (tested); 65047mm
- 435g in weight
- Highs/lows: Fast rolling, great ride quality, long-lasting, but on certain surfaces, a hazy cornering sensation.
The central knobs of the Terrene Elwood resemble interlocking tank treads. These blocks have angled edges on all sides. This design allows debris to be easily evacuated from between these densely packed blocks, minimizing the danger of sharp pebbles piercing the casing and creating a flat.
On tarmac and hard-packed dirt, its virtually continuous center tread rolls quickly and quietly.
Because the tiny transition knobs seem hazy when progressively leaning into corners, you must be diligent about leaning these tyres over to completely engage the big edge knobs. On singletrack, this was more apparent than on gravel and dirt roads.
There are several gravel tyres with 120 TPI casings on the market, but few feel as smooth as these. The Elwoods glide over bumps and ruts, reducing road noise and vibration while being very durable.
The Nano 40c’s circular shape and raised center tread provide excellent straight-line speed. Immediate Media / Josh Patterson
- Price: £44.99 (about $59.95)
- There are two sizes available: 70040mm and 292.1in (52mm)
- Weight: 535g (as tested, 70040mm TCS Light)
- Highs/lows: Not the greatest on asphalt, but excellent for loose surfaces and singletrack gravel riding.
Gravel is a wide church, and if your riding style is more MTB-lite than all-road, the Nano may be right for you.
The Nano is essentially a thin XC tyre with a decent amount of tread and a beautiful round shape that performs well on looser terrain.
On asphalt, the cornering feel is a little shaky, but that’s the price you pay for good off-road performance.
Take into account…
These tyres didn’t get four out of five stars, but they’re still worth considering if they’re right for you…
Tenaci Ere Research
Tenaci tyres by Ere Research are designed for gravel and muddy roads. Immediate Media / David Caudery
- The cost is £67 / €59.
- 700mm, 700mm, 700mm, 700mm, 700mm, 700mm, 700mm, 700mm, 700mm, 700mm, 700mm, 700mm, 700mm, 700mm, 700 (tested)
- 415g (70036mm) weight
- Highs/lows: Excellent in the dry, though not the lightest.
The Tenaci is a gravel and dirt tyre with a low profile file tread in the center portion. It isn’t the most cheap tyre for its weight, but it’s a decent performer in the dry and provides traction on loose terrain without being too sluggish on the road.
The Tenaci has a 120 TPI shell and is puncture-resistant from bead to bead.
GravelKing SK Panaracer
Do you want to tackle some tough gravel roads? The Gravel King SK tyres from Panaracer should be on your shopping list. Immediate Media / Russell Eich
- £44.99 (about $49.99)
- Available in the following sizes: 70032mm/35mm/38mm/43mm/50mm; 6501.75in/1.9in (tested)/2.1in; 262.1in
- Weight: 562g actual weight for 6501.9in, up from 320g advertised.
- Highs/lows: Comfortable, supple, and quick-rolling, although lengthy side knobs aren’t ideal for cornering.
The GravelKing line from Panaracer comprises a dizzying variety of models, and the SK is a flexible all-rounder designed for dirt and uneven pavement.
Its small-block center tread rolls fast and performs well on dry terrain. There are better mud tyres out there, and we’re not persuaded by the enlarged shoulder knobs, which don’t provide the greatest cornering feel.
The best road tyres are the ones with the lowest rolling resistance, which is why we’ve put together a list of the best gravel tyres.. Read more about gravel tires for road bike and let us know what you think.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best gravel bike tyre?
The best gravel bike tyre is the Schwalbe Marathon Plus.
What makes a good gravel tyre?
A good gravel tyre is one that has a lot of grip on loose surfaces and can be used for both on-road and off-road use.
Are 28mm Tyres good for gravel?
Yes, 28mm tyres are good for gravel.
This article broadly covered the following related topics:
- best gravel tires for pavement
- best gravel tires
- gravel bike tires
- gravel tires 700c
- tubeless gravel tires