Best gravel bike tyres for extra grip, volume and speed

When it comes to gravel bike riding, tyres are all important. Here's our pick of the best gravel tyres on the market to suit different terrain, conditions, frame clearances and budgets.

Best gravel tyres

Gather together a bunch of off-road drop-bar riders and you can guarantee it won't be long before the conversation turns to gravel tyre choice.

Tread style, 700c or 650b, tubeless setups, or the tan sidewall debate - there's a lot to take into account when selecting a new set of gravel tyres.

The fact that tyres do wear out means that you get more opportunities to experiment and try different options. Switching between different tubeless setups might be a bit of a faff, but what works for you might not necessarily be the preference of the next gravel rider.

Regardless of personal taste, there are a few things that everyone wants on their list: puncture protection, grip, low rolling resistance, low weight, and good value.

Of course, like anything, it might not be possible to get all of these at once, so a compromise is required, based on your priorities, riding style and conditions.

If you're reading this in anticipation of getting your first off-road steed, you'll want to check out our best gravel and adventure bikes too.

Our pick of the best gravel tyres

Below is our pick of the best gravel tyres. Read on for more about what you should look for when choosing the best gravel tyre for your bike, the terrain and your riding style.


With each bike is a ‘Buy Now’ or ‘Best Deal’ link. If you click on this then we may receive a small amount of money from the retailer when you purchase the item. This doesn’t affect the amount you pay.

Challenge Getaway gravel tyres

(Image credit: Stefan Abram)

Challenge Getaway tyres

Best for suppleness

Specifications
RRP: £83
Sizes: 700x40c (tested)
Tan sidewall option: Yes
Reasons to buy
+Extremely supple+Fast rolling
Reasons to avoid
-Difficult to mount-Limited size options

Challenge’s handmade Getaway tyres are extremely supple, providing a ride of comparable smoothness to that of a much wider vulcanised tyre – but with less rubber in contact with the ground, the Getaways feel significantly faster.

The downside to this is that the highly flexible carcass does make it quite a bit harder to mount the Getaways onto the rim than it is with a more rigidly U-shaped vulcanised tyre. Also, although the suppleness of the Getaways is comparable to that of tyres much larger, they do still only have the volume of a 40c tyre – so there’s still a need to be cautious about rim strikes.

The tread pattern is quite open, allowing mud and debris to be cleared very quickly. However, with the knob height being quite low, there isn’t much bite to dig into deep mud and loose rocks. 

This makes the Getaway tyres best suited for all-weather riding in late spring, summer and early autumn, when the ground is mostly hard but the top coating is a still a little claggy. The low knob height keeps rolling resistance nice and low for when the conditions are dry, hard, and fast. 

Read more: Challenge Getaway full review

Schwalbe G-One Ultrabite gravel tyres

(Image credit: Stefan Abram)

Schwalbe G-One Ultrabite tyres

Best for loose, rocky conditions

Specifications
RRP: £60
Sizes: 700c x 40, 45 and 50mm; 650b x 50mm
Tan sidewall option: Yes
Reasons to buy
+Good grip in rocky terrain+Surprisingly fast given the tread+Very easy to set up tubeless
Reasons to avoid
-Lacks grip in off-camber mud

These are superb for loose and rocky terrain as well as having good mud-shedding capacity for when the slop covers the hardpack. Despite the aggressive tread, the Ultrabites do roll surprisingly quickly on the tarmac, albeit still slower than a more moderately treaded gravel tyre. 

The one downside is that in off-camber pure mud, the horizontal knobs of the centre tread don’t offer much in the way of lateral grip.

Read more: Schwalbe G-One Ultrabite tyres full review

Schwalbe G-One Bite SuperGround SpeedGrip gravel tyres

(Image credit: Stefan Abram)

Schwalbe G-One Bite SuperGround SpeedGrip

Best for fast rolling speeds and grip on dusty trails

Specifications
RRP: £60
Sizes: 700c x 40, 45, and 50mm; 650b x 50 and 54mm
Tan sidewall option: Yes
Reasons to buy
+Easy to set up tubeless+Good speed on the roads+Good grip in dry and dusty conditions
Reasons to avoid
-Low profile centre knobs can be quickly overwhelmed in muddy conditions

The Schwalbe G-One Bite SuperGround SpeedGrip tyres are easy to set up tubeless and offer good amounts of highly predictable grip on hard surfaces and those with a layer of loose debris over the top. 

The rolling resistance feels quite reasonable too, so longer stints on the tarmac don’t prove to be a drag. It’s worth noting that the tread pattern can be quickly overwhelmed by sloppy mud, so this isn’t a one-tyre all-year solution.

Read more: Schwalbe G-One Bite SuperGround SpeedGrip full review

Donnelly Strada USH gravel tyres

Donnelly Strada USH

Best for fast riding in dry conditions

Specifications
RRP: £65 / $70
Sizes: 700c x 40c (tested), 700c x 32c, 650b x 42/50mm
Tan sidewall option: Yes
Reasons to buy
+Fast-rolling+Effortless tubeless setup+More grip than you might expect
Reasons to avoid
-Carcass isn't the thickest

The Strada USH tyres from American brand Donnelly (formerly Clement) definitely sit more towards the smooth and fast end of the off-road tyre spectrum, but these also have some features that help reduce the compromise between speed and grip.

The smooth chevron-patterned central spine sits next to a wider-spaced, more pronounced shoulder tread.

The Strada USH stood up well in review, converting to a tubeless set up seamlessly, and excelled when riding at speed across dry, hard-packed trails and darting on and off-road. For riders looking to tackle more MTB-esque terrain, a tyre with a bit more bite would be a better option.

Read more: Donnelly Strada USH full review

Hutchinson Touareg gravel tyres

Hutchinson Touareg gravel tyres

Best for balancing speed and grip on a budget

Specifications
RRP: £33 / $64.99
Sizes: 700c x 45c (tested), 700c x 40c, 650b x 47mm
Tan sidewall option: Yes
Reasons to buy
+Great grip in the dry, +Confidence-inspiring+Great value
Reasons to avoid
-Heavier than claimed

Hutchinson's Touareg gravel tyres have a shallow chevron-style tread down the middle, with intermediate knobs on the shoulders. Larger still, there is a more widely spaced tread next to the sidewalls.

On review, when replacing a set of lightly treaded Schwalbe G-One tyres, we immediately felt more confident on more technical and steep terrain, and these tyres really excelled on dusty dry and chalky surfaces. They're definitely more for off-road orientated riders seeking to tip the road/off-road balance in favour of trails, but if you're riding in conditions in the wet and on mud, you might want something with more aggressive tread.

They retail at £33 / $64.99, although the claimed weight was some 80g lighter than we measured in our review.

Read more: Hutchinson Touareg gravel tyres full review

WTB Resolute TCS SG2 full review

No more weeping sidewalls and punctures are all but eliminated
(Image credit: James Bracey)

WTB Resolute TCS SG2

Best for grip in soft loam

Specifications
RRP: £55
Sizes: 700c x 42c (tested), 650b x 42mm
Tan sidewall option: No
Reasons to buy
+Plenty of grip, good rolling speed, puncture protection, ease of tubeless set-up
Reasons to avoid
-Only available with a black sidewall

The issues of puncture protection and weeping sidewalls have been roundly addressed in this new casing for WTB’s Resolute platform. The two-pronged attack saw the thread count increased from 60 TPI (Threads Per Inch) to 120 TPI, increasing the suppleness of the carcasses and the way it deforms around bumps. A nylon insert with flattened fibres provides the protection while also keeping the weight down - only 20 grams are added over the standard version.

Tall knobs provide ample grip in loose terrain, such as loamy pine forests or sloppy singletrack, but still roll impressively well. The only downside of these tyres is that it’s missing those trendy tan sidewalls.

Read more: WTB Resolute TCS SG2 full review

Bontrager GR2 Team Issue gravel tyres

Bontrager GR2 Team Issue

Best for all-round riding on mixed terrain

Specifications
RRP: £49.99 / $64.99
Sizes: Sizes: 700c x 40c (tested), 700c x 35c
Tan sidewall option: Yes
Reasons to buy
+Fast rolling+Good grip+Puncture resistant
Reasons to avoid
-Limited range of sizes

Although they are pretty expensive compared to many other gravel tyres that we've reviewed, the performance of the Bontrager GR2 Team Issue tyres was enough to garner a nearly perfect score. A combination of low rolling resistance, generous grip (especially considering the low profile tread) and great puncture resistance make this tyre is a great choice if you have £100 / $130 to spare for a set.

The puncture resistance comes courtesy of Bontrager's hilariously named 'Inner Strength' lightweight nylon insert, which allegedly provides enhanced sidewall protection, proving handy against the worst flinty gravel on our test testing grounds.

Read more: Bontrager GR2 Team Issue full review

Panaracer Gravelking SK TLC gravel tyres

Panaracer Gravelking SK TLC

Truly excellent performance and very reasonable price

Specifications
RRP: £39.99 / $54.99
Sizes: 700c x 38c (tested), 700c x 35c/43c
Tan sidewall option: Yes
Reasons to buy
+Fast rolling, +Plenty of grip +Good durability
Reasons to avoid
-Less suitable for wet mud

Scoring a mighty 10/10 in our review, the Gravelking SK TLC tyres from Panaracer earned a spot in our Editor's Choice in 2019. This model is the more aggressive version of the standard Gravelking, with more tread towards the sidewalls to give extra grip.

Used along the centre of the tyre is Panaracer's 'Zero Slip Grip Natural Compound', which is designed to reduce rolling resistance but without the compromise on durability that you can experience with some similar compounds.

The central, transition tread makes this a good choice for rides that take in a lot of paved road as well as off-road riding. But if you're riding through pure mud, you'll need to opt for more aggressive tread.

Read more: Panaracer Gravelking SK TLC full review

What should you look for when buying gravel tyres?

Just like Keith Bontrager's famous quip of "strong, light, cheap - pick any two," there's always an element of compromise when it comes to selecting gravel tyres for your bike.

You'll need to consider the terrain you'd like to tackle, what the conditions are like when you ride, and your riding style when it comes to weighing up the options.

That means you'll have to assess tread pattern, size, volume, durability, tubeless compatibility and puncture protection, alongside price and aesthetics when it comes to scouring the growing gravel tyre market.

Tread pattern

Essentially, more tread equals more grip, although at the cost of rolling resistance. The best tread for you will largely depend on the terrain and conditions. If you spend most of your time on roads or light gravel, then a fat slick or file tread may be best, whereas if you mostly enjoy singletrack or fire road bashing that pushes the limits of a gravel bike, a knobbier tire will help keep you upright.

In the wet, taller and wider spaced knobs on the tread will add grip and help the tire clear mud, although this can make the bike feel a bit more sluggish on the roads. Therefore, many riders have a preference for winter and summer tires, depending on where you live.

As an aside, when riding in wetter and muddier conditions, don't underestimate the benefits a set of gravel bike mudguards can bring. These don't give quite the same protection as a traditional set of road mudguards – which can easily get clogged with actual mud and stray branches – but they do keep the worse of the silty water off and make riding longer distances much more enjoyable.

Size and volume

The size and volume of your tires will be limited by the amount of clearance that you have, both in your fork and rear triangle. Opt for smaller 650b wheels (if your frame is compatible) to allow you to up the volume and width of your tires. This greater volume allows for lower tire pressures, which creates a more comfortable ride and also offers improved grip, thanks to a larger contact patch on the ground.

If you'd like to run traditional fenders in the wetter seasons, be mindful that you might need to size down your tires to make room.

Durability

How long your tires will last depends largely on the compound used for the tread and sidewalls, and also the level of puncture protection (more on this later).

The compound used will be matched to the type of riding that the tire is intended for. Cyclocross tires, for example, tend to be softer for use on grass and mud, while more road-focused tires will be made from a harder wearing compound to cope with the harsher surface of the asphalt.

Just like with the soles of MTB shoes, a softer rubber will offer more grip, but will also wear more quickly.

You should think about replacing your tires when you have significant wear on the tread (although just like old school cyclocross riders, this can make for a good summer tire and save you some money), or if you see bubbles of tubeless sealant coming through the sidewalls. There's nothing stopping you putting an inner tube in the tires at this point and using them on a townie or commuter, as long as you replace them before they become dangerously worn.

Tubeless compatibility and puncture protection

Almost all gravel tires on the market are now tubeless-ready, although it's definitely worth double-checking before you buy. When you pick up a set to tubeless tires, make sure to chuck some sealant in your cart too. This liquid is poured directly into the tire, or injected through the valve (with the valve core removed) and will plug holes from thorns, staples, and glass on its own, which in the best case scenario can mean that you can carry on without even knowing that you've punctured.

You may notice the loss of air pressure between the puncture and the sealant doing its job and you will need to top up on air. In some cases, you'll need to rotate the tire to allow the sealant to flow to the affected area for a better chance of sealing. Sealant does have its limits, and with more serious punctures and bigger holes, a tubeless repair plug may be required.

If your sidewall has been slashed by an offending rock, you'll need to boot it and pop in an inner tube to get you home before replacing your tire. Even though tubeless tires rarely puncture, you should still always carry an inner tube of the right wheel size, just in case.

A common misconception is that you can't get a pinch flat while running a tubeless set-up. If you are using tire pressures that are really low, you run the risk of doing this not to your inner tube, but to the tire itself, especially on rocky terrain. This 'snakebite' of the tire is costly and best avoided. Although you can either plug or internally patch the two holes, it often weakens the tire and can cause awkward punctures toward the bead of the tire which are tricky to fix.

Aesthetics

Last but by no means least: the looks. Tan sidewalls are incredibly popular when it comes to gravel tires, although they won't be everyone's cup of tea. Many of these will be available in black too, or some even with colored treads or sidewalls.

Make sure you wash your bike regularly — probably every ride in the winter at least — to keep your components happy and your tan sidewalls looking fresh.

Keeping your bike clean also gives you the opportunity to carefully inspect your bike up close, which can help you identify any potential issues with your tires or let you know when they need replacing.