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The best winter road bike tyres for training and commuting | 6 winter road tyres ridden and rated by BikeRadar

The best winter road bike tyres that blend performance and durability

The best winter road tyres will keep you rolling through the cold and wet weather. Winter training and commuting are hard enough without worrying about fixing a flat with frozen fingers on a dark road.

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Fortunately, there’s never been a better selection of winter road bike tyres, combining trustworthy all-weather performance with everyday survivability. To make your life easier we’ve rounded up some of the best winter road tyres available as rated by the BikeRadar testing team.

The key to these real-world advances has been the combination of technologies from seemingly very different areas.

Tyre compounds and layups developed for racing use in wet conditions deliver a balance of late braking, hard-turning grip and rolling speed.

Puncture protection technology has also moved on a great deal (we certainly don’t miss puncture protection strips) and is now largely achieved by multi-ply composites used originally in bulletproof vests. This means you can now have a barrier between road debris and your inner tube without feeling like there’s wood in your tyres.

While it may be tempting to pair your winter wheels with the heaviest-duty tyre you can handle lugging about, puncture-proof tyres really have got a lot better in recent years, so it’s worth delving into our longer reviews to see whether one may work for you.

Tubeless tyre tech has taken off on the road too, giving you the advantage of some extra protection on winter roads. If you’re still regularly plagued by punctures, it may be worth investigating whether or not converting to road tubeless tyres could work for you. Even adding a bit of the best tyre sealant to your inner tubes can help.

If you’re looking for a faster summer tyre, you may be interested in our round-up of the best road bike tyres.

Best winter road bike tyres as tested by BikeRadar

WTB Exposure 30

5.0 out of 5 star rating
We were seriously impressed by WTB’s Exposure tyres.
Andy Lloyd
  • Price: £46 / $66 / €53, as tested
  • Weight: 305g
  • Size tested: 30mm
  • Tyre type: Tubeless

The WTB Exposure 30 tyres strike a difficult balance few other tyres manage to achieve. They set up tubeless very easily, they have an excellent on-road ride quality, they’re hardy enough to handle cheeky off-road excursions and they wear very well. All of this makes them a good choice as a winter road bike tyre.

The tyres clearly impressed Jack Luke, making their way onto his Gear of the Year list back in 2019 and earning a well-deserved (and rare) five-star rating.

Pirelli P-Zero Race 4S

4.5 out of 5 star rating
Pirelli’s P-Zero Race 4S tyre offers plenty of grip at low temperatures.
Ashley Quinlan​ / Our Media
  • Price: £62 / $85 / €70 / AU$110, as tested
  • Weight: 261g
  • Size tested: 28mm
  • Tyre type: Clincher

Pirelli’s top four-season tyre, the P-Zero Race 4S is designed to keep grip and a supple ride while adding extra protection.

It uses a thicker layer of the SmartEVO rubber compound found in the Pirelli P-Zero Race TLR summer tyre, a 120 TPI casing and a nylon breaker.

The tyres are grippy at lower temperatures, instilling confidence on high-speed damp turns. There’s no tubeless option though.

Bontrager R4 Classics Hard Case Lite

4.0 out of 5 star rating
On the road, the R4s are simply luxurious.
  • Price: £68 / $85 / €80 / AU$130, as tested
  • Weight: 284g
  • Size tested: 28mm
  • Tyre type: Clincher

Open tubular tyres such as these really stretch the definition of a ‘winter tyre’, but if you want to carry on riding fast or racing throughout the winter they could be the answer.

These tyres have a wonderfully supple 320 TPI cotton casing, Bontrager’s Hardcase Lite puncture-protection strip and a file-like tread that offers plenty of grip.

They come up slightly smaller than their claimed 28mm width, but we would nevertheless wholeheartedly recommend the Bontragers for speedy miles in poor conditions.

Continental Grand Prix 4 Season

4.0 out of 5 star rating
The Continental Grand Prix 4 Season is a long-standing winter favourite.
Ashley Quinlan​ / Our Media
  • Price: £66 / $83 / €66 / AU$99, as tested
  • Weight: 289g
  • Size tested: 28mm
  • Tyre type: Clincher

Ahh, the venerable Grand Prix 4 Season. This is one of the more classic winter tyre options out there and is quite common as OE spec – and with good reason.

The DuraSkin carcass has proven to be incredibly resilient to tears and punctures without sacrificing too much comfort or speed, and the supposedly winter-specific rubber compound performs very well in wet conditions.

Note that, unlike the Grand Prix 5000 S TR, it’s not a tubeless tyre though, so you’ll need that spare inner tube with you.

At full RRP, the Grand Prix 4 Season is a little pricey, but it can often be found online with a healthy discount.

Hutchinson Fusion 5 Performance 11Storm

The Fusion 5 is an extremely good tubeless tyre with easy installation and grippy behaviour.
David Caudery / Immediate Media
  • Price: £41 / $49 / €49 / AU$72, as tested
  • Weight: 295g
  • Size tested: 28mm
  • Tyre type: Tubeless

Hutchinson’s 11Storm compound, a 127 TPI casing and deep (for a road tyre) tread make for plenty of grip from the Fusion 5 tyres.

They’re easy to fit, tubeless-ready, supple and handle well in wet conditions. We ran them at higher pressures than competing tyres because they felt less confident at lower than their 75psi stated minimum.

Although they didn’t feel as if they rolled as fast as some, the clock suggested otherwise. They’re a good, cheaper alternative to other brands’ tyres.

Vittoria Corsa Control

4.0 out of 5 star rating
The Vittoria Corsa Control G+ Isotech is a bit more delicate than many winter tyres.
Jesse Wild / Immediate Media
  • Price: £55 / $85 / €70 / AU$100, as tested
  • Weight: 284g
  • Size tested: 28mm
  • Tyre type: Tubeless and clincher options

The Corsa Control shares the same 320 TPI thread count casing as the standard Corsa tyre, but has been infused with Kevlar for added toughness. The tread has also been extended out further onto the shoulders of the tyre for added grip and protection.

These are on the more delicate end of the winter tyre spectrum, but if you don’t want to sacrifice the low rolling resistance and grip of your summer tyres, they provide both of those attributes in bucketloads and in a more hard-wearing form.


Also consider…

Although they didn’t score 4 stars or more in our testing, the following tyres are also worth adding to your shortlist as a winter-ready option.

Michelin Power All Season

3.5 out of 5 star rating
The All Seasons have a slick Hi-Grip compound central strip, under which is a cut-resistant Aramid Protek+ layer for puncture protection.
Philip Sowels / Immediate Media
  • Price: £50 / $65 / €55 / AU$99, as tested
  • Weight: 295g
  • Size tested: 28mm

The Michelin Power All Seasons tyre was marked down on its tight fit on the rim and stiff casing, which reduced suppleness and speed. However, once fitted the grippy compound provided plenty of confidence on wet roads.

There’s bags of puncture protection and a three-layer casing. They’re not tubeless though.

What to look for when buying winter road bike tyres

Tread: Deep treads moulded in motorbike and car tyres help to squeeze water from under the tyre in really wet conditions. Bicycle tyres simply aren’t wide enough to aquaplane at normal speeds, so tread is largely unnecessary on smooth surfaces. Regardless, lots of riders naturally trust treaded tyres more than slicks, whatever the science.

Protective layer: The tyres here all use some kind of protective sheet under the tread to stop sharp objects puncturing the inner tube. Trying to balance extra protection but still allowing the tyre to be flexible and supple enough to roll quickly and comfortably is hard.

Some tyres also include protective layers in the side walls to stop cuts, which is called bead-to-bead protection. It’s a feature of many tyres designed specifically for winter riding.

Size: The bigger the carcass, the more air between you and the road. This means the inner tube is less likely to get pinched and punctured. Fatter tyres feel more comfortable, afford more control on rough surfaces and oodles of tests have shown they often roll better than narrower ones.

The ability to drop the pressure in a wider tyre means you have a larger, more compliant contact patch for more grip too. Running tubeless should enable you to lower the pressure even more.

Compound: The real key to grip is the compound of the rubber: a soft-compound tyre will be very grippy, but will wear fast and have a higher rolling resistance; harder compounds are fast rolling and wear well, but are slippery. This is why many tyres have a dual compound that is harder in the centre than on the shoulders.

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Gravel tyres: Another winter option that’s been opened up by the ever-increasing tyre clearance of road bikes is to run gravel tyres. The best gravel tyres will add even more grip, but may roll almost as fast as a road bike tyre. Often, there’ll be a range of widths available and the narrower ones will fit in a road bike frame, giving you the grip you need to take on rougher, damper surfaces.