Best Gravel Road Bike Tires – 2020 Complete Guide

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Biking is widely enjoyed as a sports hobby. It is fun, adventurous, and also very good for the body. It is crucial for a good ride that your bike makes safe and firm contact with the gravel road. 

Without a secure connection, you will be slow, and in the danger of encountering injuries. That’s where road bike tires come in.

This article talks about some of the best road bike tires you can use to give your bike an upgrade.

Our Top Picks for Gravel Road Bike Tires

  • Better grip
  • All weather conditions
  • Strong and durable
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  • Reliable performance
  • Strong and durable
  • Versatile tire
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  • Best for the Money
  • Tubeless tech
  • Great for gravel
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Comparison of the Best Gravel Road Bike Tires

IMAGEPRODUCT
  • Comes with a square knobbing feature for improved grip
  • Can be used in all weather conditions
  • Made form strong and very durable material
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  • Has the double puncture protection system installed
  • Made from natural and durable rubber
  • Can be used with a variety of models
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  • Best for the Money
  • Makes use of the tubeless technology
  • Can be used for all gravel conditions
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  • Best 700c Gravel Tire
  • Comes with Kevlar folding bead included
  • Has a strong gravel tread built into it
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  • Best Tubeless Gravel Tire
  • Has the tubeless ready feature included
  • Made strong and durable to last longer
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  • Best 32mm Gravel Tire
  • Uses Black Chili compound for improved grip
  • Made to be durable and to last much longer
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  • Best Maxxis Gravel Tire
  • Can be used by professionals and amateurs
  • Uses dual compound rubber to last longer
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  • Best Vittoria Gravel Tire
  • Makes use of alternating tread for improved performance
  • Comes with a 4-compound tread
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  • Best Schwalbe Gravel Tire
  • Smart Guard technology to resist glass shreds
  • Wire beaded for improved performance
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What are Gravel Road Bike Tires?

Gravel biking involves moving over mud or dirt and smooth tarmac terrains. Hence, it needs a tire that provides better stability and can work over different types of surfaces. 

A gravel road tire is a mix of the tires found on road bikes and mountain bikes. It offers greater versatility and has a larger volume. These tires aren’t just restricted to asphalt and can be used on tarmac and dirt. The tread lugs are shallow to not resist rolling, and the grip holds well in every situation. Moreover, the tire also has puncture resistance. 

When Would I Use Gravel Road Bike Tires? 

Gravel road bike tires are usually used for commuting on roads, dirt paths, or gravel paths. You could find them very useful for your weekend bike ride as a hobby or for riding through a park. They are also great for your day-to-day rides but can also perform in under almost every condition. Let’s look into their use in more detail.

City Commute

Going to work, school, or running errands like grocery shopping, etc. is something we all need to do. This is where gravel road bike tires can prove to be extremely beneficial. They run smoothly on intercity roads. 

In parks or other places where you might counter gravel or dirt paths, these tires will make sure that firm contact is maintained with the ground. This way, you feel lesser bumps and gain more stability.

Biking Trips

Backpacking on a bike is a fun way to explore surroundings and also challenge yourself. Those who have been on a biking trip adventure know very well that you come across smooth paths as well as bumpy ones along the way. Gravel tires provide the versatility needed to cover them all. Hence, if you are considering a bike trip, remember that they can prove to be very useful.

Exercise

A great way to adapt to a healthier lifestyle through exercise is biking. Some ride a bike each day for a few hours while others run marathons. There are beautiful biking tracks available for the purpose. These paths are usually gravel or tarmac. If you want to take up biking exercises, then a gravel tire will serve very well.

Quick Take - Best Gravel Road Bike Tires

Skip the review - here's a snapshot of the best gravel road bike tires:

  1. WTB Resolute TCS Road Tire
  2. Challenge Gravel Grinder Bicycle Tire
  3. SCHWALBE G-One Bicycle Tire

Review of the Best Gravel Road Bike Tires

Because these tires offer the ability to be used over many different types of terrains, you might be interested in buying one. Here we have rounded up the best available gravel bike tires that offer some of the best functionality. 

WTB Resolute 650 x 42 TCS - Tubeless Compatible System Light Fast Rolling tire Tanwall

pros

  • Backed up by a two-year warranty
  • Good puncture resistance with sturdy sidewalls
  • Square tire pattern gives a good grip on all terrains
  • Lightweight and tubeless formation suits various biking needs
  • Enough space between treads for mud and stones to fall off the tire

cons

  • May make a slight humming sound

What Recent Buyers Report

These gravel tires became very popular very quickly among recent buyers. Buyers report that these give a smooth and fast ride on the tarmac while making for a very well-balanced ride on the gravel. The bikes gave very good traction with this tire on. Moreover, the unit was very easy to fit and worked well under all road conditions.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The Resolute tire has all the features that make for a good one. It has a large volume and hence can be used on lower pressure. This way, the ride becomes much smoother. In addition, the squared pattern is wide so that mud and stones fly off rather than getting stuck on the tire itself. Another great advantage of the square pattern is that it gives a good grip on all terrains - smooth and bumpy alike.

Additionally, the tire is lightweight and does not add much to the overall bike weight. This makes it easy to ride without putting much force into paddling. The sturdy sidewalls give great puncture resistance, and you can travel on bumpy paths without the fear of losing the tire midway.

Bottom Line

In all the options we have listed, this one takes the crown. It is usable on all terrains with an acceptable rolling resistance and great resistance to puncturing. The tubeless formation broadens the user’s options to be used with or without a tube. Moreover, it is supported by a two-year warranty, which is a testament to its quality.

Challenge Gravel Grinder Race Clincher Folding Bicycle Tire

pros

  • Can be used with or without the tube
  • Natural rubber tire with a Nylon casing
  • Workable to a maximum PSI value of 50psi
  • Good size dimensions of 700mmx38mm make for a nice fit
  • Double flat puncture resistance to keep the tire from getting damaged on gravel and stony path

cons

  • Putting a 50 psi pressure on a smooth road for very long rides might cause wear and tear 

What Recent Buyers Report

Many found this tire to fit their needs entirely. They used it with a tube at first to set the pace and later removed it. But overall, it performed well. It was used over mud, grass, slippery wet paths, and dirt and conquered all of them. It proved to be a great upgrade for their bikes, and many proceeded to buy a second of this product.

 Why it Stands Out to Us

This tire can be used over wet and dry paths that might have grass, dirt, sand, gravel, or mud on them. Under all of the circumstances, it would make for a smooth ride without causing slippage or too much resistance. With a maximum pressure value of 50psi, it could be used over gravel with around 35-40psi for optimal traction and comfort, but as you hit a smooth road, you can increase the psi to 50 as well to minimize resistance.

The tire is protected against damage by double puncture protection so that no matter how small and sharp the gravel might be, it would remain unaffected. The rubber composition is light and durable with a protective nylon casing, which also bears a surface that does not let mud or sand stick to it. 

Bottom Line

The Challenge Gravel Grinder tire is one of the best solutions you have against gravel. It is not punctured easily and has fast and smooth traction. Use it with or without a tube to suit your convenience and enhance the comfort provided by this tire that can run on all surfaces.

Best for the Money:
SCHWALBE G-One Bicycle Tire

Schwalbe Fahrrad Reifen G-One Allround Evo OSC // alle Größen, Dimension:57-584 (27,5×2,25 ́) 650B, Ausführung:Schwarz, Faltreifen, tubeless Easy

pros

  • Circular weave pattern with space in between
  • Relatively larger width provides great cushioning
  • Use it on smooth pavement, gravel, forest tracks, etc.
  • Tubeless tire with easy installation; tube may be used if needed
  • Supple to provide excellent grip between the ground and the bike

cons

  • Might need an air compressor for installation

What Recent Buyers Report

Most recent buyers reported that a change to these tires made their bike faster and eliminated the wobbliness. The bump compliance with this product turned out to be excellent. Many used it for urban riding but also for forest explorations and on gravel tracks. The tires brought a very good deal for their price.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The name of the tire holds true for its functioning. It is enough to conquer all sorts of paths and tracks. If you want to move through the city with speed on tarmac tracks, then these tires will serve the purpose with minimal rolling resistance. 

If you are out in the wilderness and have encountered a rougher path, then these tires will act to provide maximum stability and sitting comfort. If you are biking on a gravel path, then they will minimize the bumping so that you can reach your destination in comfort and in time.

SCHWALBE G-One Tire is relatively wider compared to its counterparts and provides for good, secure contact with the ground. It is densely packed with low-profile knobs and makes for a snakeskin-like pattern. These knobs have a certain stockiness and suppleness to them to help form a secure grip with the ground. 

Bottom Line

Giving an unbeatable deal for your money, the SCHWALBE G-One has released an amazing tire for gravel bike riding. It can be used on almost any sort of track you can think of, earning it the name of G-One. With a secure grip to the ground and easy rolling, you cannot get a better worth for your buck.

Best 700c Gravel Tire:
Panaracer Gravel King SK

Gravel King SK 700 x 32 cm Folding Tire, Black

pros

  • Composed handling on all surfaces
  • Can withstand a pressure ranging from 30-95psi
  • Folding bead tire that is lightweight and easy to install
  • Two different types of pattern knobs to enhance performance
  • Made with a natural rubber compound that provides a good grip

cons

  • Not as fast as it should be for its size

What Recent Buyers Report

Praised as a great all-rounder, the Panaracer’s Gravel King was a huge hit among recent buyers. They reported that they could use it on any path or terrain, but the tire's performance remained unchanged. They really enjoyed the range of pressure application values it offered to suit any path. Moreover, it was made of good-quality rubber and lasted long.

Why it Stands Out to Us

One of the first gravel road tires ever marketed, the Gravel King has been around for a long time and continues to impress. It is a favorite among gravel bike riders due to its extreme versatility and all the features that govern it. All of the characteristics work in unison to ensure that this tire delivers no matter what the terrain.

Starting with the pressure range from 35-90psi, for gravel paths, the lower pressure values prove to be beneficial in not only developing a suitable rolling speed but also in preventing the tire from bursting. However, at smoother roads, the higher pressure ensures that the tire maintains its shape, offering lesser rolling resistance. 

Moreover, the two types of knobs provide a better grip. The side knobs ensure better traction at turns. The tire does not squirm on bumpy paths, nor does it slip on smooth ones.

Bottom Line

A pioneer in gravel tires, the Panaracer Gravel King has the capacity to encounter all sorts of terrains with very composed handling. It provides an extremely secure grip with the ground and smooth movement along with sharp turns. All in all, it is a great all-rounder tire.

Best Tubeless Gravel Tire:
Maxxis Ardent

Maxxis Ardent DC Exo Tubeless Ready Folding Tire, 26-Inch

pros

  • Pressure can rise up to 60 psi
  • Weighs only 1.4 pounds and has great traction 
  • Exo-protection against rip and cuts from rocky paths
  • Tubeless formation lasts longer and is more dependable
  • High volume tire with an aggressive tread in the middle and on the sides

cons

  • Casing is a bit narrow on the treads

What Recent Buyers Report

Recent buyers from multiple places have confirmed the dependability of this tire. According to them, it holds its shape well and does not wear or tear easily. It could be used over long distances, and it would still show no rips on the sidewalk. Even on thorny and craggy paths, the tire did not puncture and served thousands of miles before it needed replacement.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Tubeless tires have many advantages over a tubed one. The Maxxis Ardent is no exception. It has great puncture resistance thanks to its thick material and pressure that holds its shape. Moreover, the exo-protection by Maxxis is a great way to prevent rips and tears on a tire. You may use it on paths with rocks and stones, or use it in mud or rain; it provides excellent traction for all circumstances. 

Like all great tubeless tires, this too provides low rolling resistance, allowing the rider to speed up or slow down within moments as required. Additionally, it really adds to the stability of the bike, making for a comfortable ride. 

Bottom Line

For an unmatched performance in tubeless tires, the Maxxis Ardent is truly hard to beat. It gives mileage of up to a thousand miles for years before it would need to be changed. Even if it does get punctured, the tubeless formation does not allow the air to leak all at once. But the leak is very slow and gradual over time so that you have enough time to reach the nearest auto shop. Hence, this tire is all about performance and convenience. 

Continental Cyclo X-King Fold Race Sport Bike Tire, Black, 700cm x 32

pros

  • Silica in the Black Chili provides an unwavering grip to the ground
  • Manufactured with Continental’s specialized blend, the Black Chili
  • RaceSport casing used on Cyclo X king to prevent it from daily wear and tear 
  • Handmade to maintain the integrity and ensure the smallest of details are in place
  • Foolproof Continental Safety system breaker uses Nylon fabric to impart protection against punctures

cons

  • Cannot be set up as tubeless tires

What Recent Buyers Report

Those who have used the Continental Cyclo X-King tire claim that it gave a huge upgrade to their bikes. According to them, the quiet movement of the cycle and the grip that comes with it is unbelievable. The tire's low weight didn’t add much to the bike and helped beginners improve their handling skills. Professionals found it a treat to ride. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

Continental left no stone unturned to come up with a superior-quality bike. That is why they still closely monitor the manufacturing of each and make it by hand. This tire is made with a unique blend that improves the bike’s performance in multiple ways. It lowers the rolling resistance by 26% and enhances the grip by 30% while giving 5% more mileage than its competitors.

Moreover, the puncture resistance comes from Continental’s safety system that uses Nylon fabric to counter the wear and tear from each use. The tires don’t squirm, slip, or slide on gravel or sand, making for a very stable ride. 

Bottom Line

When it comes to attention to detail, this tire by Continental wins the race. It proves to be an asset to the bike with the improvements it brings to the rolling resistance, grip, and mileage. All combined make for a combo that will take your bike wherever you want without any problem. 

Best Maxxis Gravel Tire:
Maxxis High Roller II

Maxxis High Roller II Dual Compound EXO Folding Tire, 26-Inch x 2.3-Inch

pros

  • Does not hold onto debris and is easy to clean
  • Multiple casting options available to choose from
  • Open and aggressive tread design for a faster pace
  • Tubeless-ready formation makes it even more reliable
  • 60 psi of tire pressure keeps it in shape and protects from rips

cons

  • A harder compound in the middle might make it last longer

What Recent Buyers Report

The tire turned out to be suitable for all bikers, be it seasoned or amateurs. It would move over loose, wet, rocky, or smooth terrains with ease. The grip was just perfect in each scenario. Most buyers appreciated the large sidewall grip and the lugs. The dual-compound proved to be resistant to damage and daily wearing. No leakage was observed from the tubeless construction, either.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Maxxis has a name in building biking tires, and with each product, it has proved its competence. But the Maxxis High Roller might possibly be its best creation. It has a dual compound material that not only holds up well against ripping and deformation but also does not let debris, dust, and sand stick to it. This makes it much easier to clean and very dependable. 

The tires have a very firm grip over loose tracks and do not slip or slide in the rain. It offers great traction and a faster pace, all thanks to the wide and aggressive knobs. These knobs are large and cushion the bike in case any bumps are encountered. Overall, it is a great option for gravel bikes and one of the best products from Maxxis.

Bottom Line

A tire that provides stability and good traction so that you can ride with comfort and confidence is every biker’s need. And the High Roller II from Maxxis provides just that. It has a good solid build protected by a trustworthy and reliable casing. All of these work together so that you can enjoy your ride in comfort and style.

Best Vittoria Gravel Tire:
Vittoria Mezcal G2.0 XC-Trail

Vittoria Mezcal III G2.0 XC-Trail/TNT 27.5x2.35 Tire, Anthracite

pros

  • Cotton casings make for a lightweight and supple tire
  • Four compound layers on the tread to enhance wear life
  • Low-profile center tread gives stability and low rolling resistance
  • Functionalized Graphene compound provides incredible wet grip
  • Tubeless-ready design that can be used with a tube or sealed with a sealant

cons

  • Tread seems too aggressive in very muddy conditions

What Recent Buyers Report

To most recent buyers, the tire felt great. It worked out well for their bikes. For rougher terrains where jumps and sharp turns are frequent, it served well. Some buyers even went backpacking with it and encountered all different sorts of paths, and each time, it exceeded their expectations.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Many superior features govern our decision to call the Mezcal the best tire by Vittoria, starting with the Graphene infused 4C construction that elongated the life of the tire by considerable times. The four compound knobs have layers that provide excellent resistance against rips and punctures.

Supporting the 4C composition is a cotton casing. The cotton casing is known to make tires more supple, for they have higher thread count per inch. Along with that, the casing also offers higher protection and is known for the minimal rolling resistance. Graphene infusion gives the ultimate grip in wet conditions, and the tire overall is built to endure any off-road problems such as jumps, drops, or bumps, etc.

Bottom Line

Vittoria is a renowned brand in tire manufacturing. But the Mezcal released by them is one of the best featured tires. It has a long life supported by wear-resistant compound layering and cotton casting. The ride with these tires is smooth with the perfect grip and supple movements.

Best Schwalbe Gravel Tire:
Schwalbe Marathon Plus HS 348

SCHWALBE Marathon Plus HS 348 Road Bike Tire (20x1.35, Allround Wire Beaded, Reflex)

pros

  • Offers a very little drag during the ride
  • Laidback smooth tread design that gives high speed
  • Makes for a smooth and noiseless ride on all surfaces
  • Wide tires give a better grip and more stability to the rider
  • Smart guard layer surrounds the tire, protecting sharp objects

cons

  • Wire bead, although cheap, is heavy and adds to the weight of the bike

What Recent Buyers Report

Almost all of the buyers were fully satisfied with their purchase. All of them were especially appreciative of how puncture-resistant the tire was. Most people used them on occasions where they rode on glass shards or very sharp debris, and it remained unscratched. Along with that, the tire glided on surfaces quietly and offered little drag during the ride.

Why it Stands Out to Us

There is no doubt that Schwalbe has released some very competitive gravel tires in the market. But the Marathon Plus stands out due to its one outstanding feature: the unbelievable puncture resistance. Surrounding the tire is a smart guard layer that does a great job of protecting the tire from any sharp object.

Often in urban riding, bikers come across broken glass on the road. There is always a chance of developing multiple punctures on such roads. Other than that, sharp gravel can be damaging to the tire if it lacks puncture protection. But with the SCHWALBE Marathon Plus, that is hardly the case. 

Bottom Line

To conclude, if you are looking for a tire with little drag and a smooth ride but punctured tires is a problem you often face, then this product might be the one for you. The resistance to punctures leads to saving money and time in the long run as you won’t be spending hours or dimes at the shop, getting it repaired, or buying a new one. 

How to Choose Gravel Road Bike Tires

A few features are crucial when it comes to buying a gravel bike tire. Since they encounter a variety of different paths, it must have characteristics that make it suitable for any ride. The characteristics are usually determined by how often and where you will be using the bike. Let’s see how to choose a gravel bike tire. 

Dimensions of the Tire

One of the key features that will greatly affect your use is the tires' dimension, and these vary widely. Typically, an ideal tire width lies in the range of 38 to 42mm. Thinner tires have less drag and roll more easily on the surface, but they are also more exposed to puncture and lack the cushioning effect. 

On the other hand, thicker ones that lie in the ranges mentioned above are although heavier than the thinner ones, but they provide a suitable rolling resistance that is easy to deal with. Moreover, they also cushion the bike against bumps along the road.

The Tread

The tread determines the movement of your bike on any path, and the rolling resistance, as well as the pace of the bike, are largely dependent on it. There exist three main types of treads for bikers to choose from based on their preference.

Slicks

Slicks have smoother tread and are designed for smooth roads and tightly packed gravel. It glides over these surfaces, but it does not provide much use in case of muddy and wet terrain or on coarse gravel. Also, the traction with these tires is not the best.

Knobs

The knobs have a slightly raised pattern running at intervals throughout the tire. Such a tire can take on almost any surface from smooth to rough and dry to wet. The traction and grip on these tires are also amazing.

Hybrids

Composed of a mixture of the slick and knob design, this pattern utilizes the center smooth slick tread for rolling easily over surfaces while the knobs are for avoiding slippage during turns. 

The knobbed pattern is generally widely available and demanded because of its versatility and ability to move over all surfaces.

Puncture Protection

Nobody likes to be stranded or bound all of a sudden by a punctured tire. If you move through rough or graveled paths, then you should be especially careful of that. 

Puncture resistance is a crucial characteristic that greatly enhances the efficiency of a tire. This may be imparted through an additional layer or a good casing around the tire. Having a good amount of pressure also helps it maintain shape and prevents puncturing. Tubeless tires do not use any tubing and are hailed for their puncture resistant qualities.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Gravel Road Bike Tires

Like all other things, gravel bike tires also have their pros and cons. You should remain mindful of both when deciding on buying one. Let’s look at some of the most important points in each category.

Advantages

The following characteristics really add to the usability of a gravel bike tire. These are usually the reasons why people switch to a gravel bike tire.

Versatility

Truly the greatest feature associated with the gravel bike tires is their versatility. They can run through any terrain in either wet or dry conditions. Since they are a cross between mountain and road bike tires, they possess the qualities of both. All of these factors combine to give them the ability to counter any path or track.

The Effective Tread

The tread on gravel bike tires lie close but are not joined. They are also usually quite textured or raised. As a result, when you move on rough surfaces, the bounce or bump from the rise and fall can damage the bike and also make the ride very uncomfortable. But with treads like those on gravel bike tires, there is not only great cushioning acting as a shock absorber but also greater resistance to puncturing. 

Strong Grip

Thanks to their large volume filled with aggressive knobs, the bike's hold on the ground remains strong and unwavering. Hence, when you move on loose dirt or gravel, the tire does not fidget or squirm, deviating from the main path. On a smoother surface, the tire's grip and suppleness work together to lower the rolling resistance and make for a smooth ride.

Disadvantages

Now the downsides of the gravel bike tires are not deal-breakers. These are merely the features that need to be kept in mind so that you find the right fit for your need. These should be kept in mind to make sure that the purchase you make is comfortably usable by you.

Expensive and Heavy

Since these tires possess the good qualities of both mountain bike and road bike tires and can be used on all terrains, they are also a bit more expensive than the two. But once bought, they are so sturdy that they won’t need much repair, and the tires will themselves offer great mileage before changing. Also, these are slightly heavier than the tires found on road bikes.

Cautious Considerations to Keep in Mind 

Gravel bike tires are a hefty investment and must be bought with absolute surety of your decision. For this, you must be aware of how to best make use of their features. Associated with these features are a few cautions for your consideration.

  • These bike tires are heavy because of their larger volume. Therefore, when riding a bike with these tires, the biker has to put more force to move. This is because heavier tires offer greater rolling resistance that needs more effort to overcome. But rest assured, that it is not extremely difficult, and you can master the paddling in no time.

  • It is better to buy folding tires than wire bead tires. The latter is cheaper, but it has lesser functionality. Folding tires have better traction and lower weight that also offers lower rolling resistance.

  • Due to their wide dimensions, gravel bike tires are slightly slower. This is again attributed to the rolling resistance. However, with the suitable tread design, the difference in speed is negligible, and you can actually speed up the bike.

Conclusion 

Gravel bike tires are a great addition to any bike. They have multiple uses thanks to their versatile terrain compatibility and offer a very comfortable ride. When buying one, you need to remain mindful of what sort of paths you will mostly be using along with other factors to make the right choice.

People Also Ask

It is possible that some of the points regarding gravel bike tires were not addressed above. Hence, in this section, we make an effort to answer some of the most sought-after queries. This would make your decision easier, and you will end up with the most suitable option.

Are Gravel Bikes Good on the Road?

Yes, gravel bike tires work very well on the road. Their tread is designed to move smoothly on roads with a good grip. The tire pressure also helps overcome the rolling resistance, enabling you to easily glide through the roads. 

What Size Are Gravel Bike Tires?

The size of the gravel bike tires varies considerably. The sizes govern the traction, rolling resistance, and pace of the bike. A tire width lying in the range of 38mm to 42mm poses best for maximum traction, lower resistance, and a good grip. When all these three things work together, then you can easily control the speed of your bike.

Can You Put Gravel Tires on a Road Bike?

Normally, this is not possible. This is because gravel bike tires tend to be larger in volume than road bike tires. As a result, they do not fit the frame of the bike easily. Even if they do, the frame does not work in compatibility with the tires, and the resultant ride is wobbly. You can, however, always use your gravel bike on the road.

Is a Gravel Bike Slower Than a Road Bike?

Yes, a gravel bike can be considered slower than a road bike. Owning to the large volume of the tire, the rolling resistance experienced by them is also greater. In addition, the heavier weight of these tires contributes slightly to the rolling resistance. This makes gravel bikes slower than road bikes, but the difference is usually not noticeable in daily use.