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Best gravel tyres 2023: Speedy off-road rubber from £29

Your bike’s only as good as its tyres, so shop our selection of the best gravel-specific rubber to put some spring in its step

Looking to take your two-wheeled adventures off the beaten track? The best gravel tyres can smooth out lumps and bumps, improve grip on loose ground, and ultimately enable you to ride with increased control and confidence wherever you choose to explore.

Naysayers were quick to label it a fad, but gravel has since proven its position within the world of cycling as a legitimate subgenre of the sport. At its core, it’s about getting out there, exploring new routes, enjoying the ride, and getting away from the hustle and bustle. But it can be fast and competitive too.

Unfortunately, because of gravel’s increasingly diverse nature, there’s no simple one-size-fits-all solution to the question of which tyre to buy. Your local terrain, weather and style of riding will be the biggest deciding factors in determining what rubber will work best for you. Things like tread pattern, width and profile have a big impact on how a tyre behaves on any given surface, and there are hundreds of different options on the market.

To help you reach a decision, we put some of the best gravel tyres for all surface types and styles of riding to the test. So, whether you’re looking to set PBs on your local bridleways, cruise some nice dusty fire roads, or simply stay upright in the notorious British winter slop, our selection of the best gravel tyres will enable you to make a well-informed choice.

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Best gravel tyres: At a glance

How to choose the best gravel tyres for you

What is the difference between 650b and 700c gravel tyres?

You’ll see the numbers 700c and 650b crop up again and again when shopping for gravel tyres. They refer to the diameter of the wheel they’re designed to fit and are derived from traditional French sizing. In English, a 650b gravel wheel is essentially the same as a 27.5in MTB wheel and a 700c (29in) wheel is what you’ll find on any modern road bike.

The reason 650b wheels are so popular in gravel riding is that they allow the rider to stuff fatter tyres into the frame than would be possible with a 700c wheel. Most gravel frames are designed to accommodate both sizes.

How wide should gravel tyres be?

That really depends on the conditions. The wider the tyre, the more grip, cushioning and stability it will provide on rough ground, but the slower it’ll roll. Wider tyres can also be run at lower pressures, which acts like suspension in terms of taking the sting out of particularly bumpy sections while providing more contact with the ground.

A common misconception is that wide tyres are better in mud. This isn’t necessarily true. In fact, thinner tyres with a good grippy tread will cut through the slop and bite into the earth beneath while fat tyres will slip and slide around on the surface. This is why cyclocross riders run 32mm tyres rather than 40mm+.

Generally, gravel tyres usually sit somewhere in the range of 35mm up to 47mm. Anything wider than that and you’re venturing into MTB territory.

Should I buy tubeless-ready gravel tyres?

Tubeless tyres forgo conventional inner tubes and are instead filled with a small amount of ‘sealant’ liquid that fills punctures as and when they occur. When it works, you won’t even notice it happen, which can provide additional peace of mind. The downside is that when a bad puncture happens, you’ll have to stick an inner tube in anyway and it’ll be very messy to do so.

Again, it’s a personal preference, but tubeless tyres are arguably better for off-road riding as they eliminate the possibility of pinch punctures. This type of puncture is where the inner tube becomes pinched between the rim and the inside of the tyre, and it’s a common problem when riding on rough, rocky ground.

How we test gravel tyres

It isn’t possible to test a gravel tyre without getting covered in mud and dust in the woods. So this is exactly what we do over a four-week period, testing tyres back to back for around 50 miles each. We ride each tyre on a mix of surface types, including hardpack, loose gravel, mud, grass and smooth-rolling tarmac. We also test in both wet and dry conditions where possible.

Naturally, different tyres are designed for different surface types and conditions, but there will be certain qualities that you look for across the board. In our minds, a good gravel tyre should be durable, offer solid puncture protection, roll quickly on its intended terrain, and offer good value for money. Only tyres that received a tick in those categories made the list.

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The best gravel tyres you can buy in 2023

1. Vittoria Terreno Dry: Best fast-rolling gravel tyre

Price: £46 | Buy now from Sigma Sports

This speedy gravel tyre from Vittoria features a semi-slick central strip for zippy performance on tarmac and smooth ground, with a fairly closed tread either side and some slightly more aggressive raised knobbles on the shoulders for grip when cornering on dirt. It’s the fastest gravel tyre we’ve tested both on and off the road. We were able to keep pace with roadie riding buddies on 28mm slicks without breaking a sweat, but didn’t feel underequipped when we swapped the tarmac for the trail. For these reasons, we think the Terreno Dry would be an excellent choice for anyone looking for a good ‘all-road’ tyre that can handle a bit of anything. It’d also be our first choice for gravel racing in dry conditions.

Key specs – Tubeless ready: Yes; Weight: 450g (700c with 38mm width); Sizes: 700c – 31, 33, 35 and 38mn, and 650b – 47mm

Buy now from Sigma Sports

2. WTB Resolute: Best for British winter riding

Price: £38 | Buy now from Sigma Sports

When off-roading during the British winter, you’re far more likely to encounter all-consuming mud than anything vaguely resembling gravel. Luckily, WTB has created a tyre that’s perfectly equipped to roll comfortably through the seasonal quagmire. With an open tread pattern and cleverly spaced knobs, the Resolute chops through the slop with ease and quickly shakes off excess muck before it has a chance to accumulate and cause banana-peel handling. The downside? It’s only available in 42mm width (700c and 650b), which will rule some frames out. Plus, it turns the bike into an absolute slug on the tarmac. Still, if you’re planning to stick mostly to unpaved surfaces, there’s no better tyre to deal with the off-season dirt.

Key specs – Tubeless ready: Yes; Weight: 460g (700c with 42mm width); Sizes: 700c – 42mm, and 650b – 42mm

Buy now from Sigma Sports

3. Schwalbe G-One Bite: Best for dry and dusty conditions

Price: £50 | Buy now from Chain Reaction Cycles

We’ve ridden the G-One Bite on a number of different bikes and loved it every time. It’s a fairly capable all-rounder, but where it really excels is on dry, dusty ground and light gravel. This is a tyre built around the type of terrain gravel riding was founded on and it shows. That said, it doesn’t give up the ghost when the ground is damp either. We love how fast rolling it is both on the road and off it. Sure, there’s a little bit of buzz on tarmac, but that’s par for the course unless you’re running slicks. The only place this tyre isn’t particularly happy is in mud. The tightly spaced tread collects dirt like nobody’s business and it doesn’t take long for the G-One Bite to lose its teeth. Wet-weather performance aside, if you live somewhere warm and dry, or plan to use it as a summer tyre, this fast-rolling rubber from Schwalbe won’t let you down.

Key specs – Tubeless ready: Yes; Weight: 540g (700c with 45mm width); Sizes: 700c – 40, 45, 50mm, and 650b – 50, 54mm

Buy now from Chain Reaction Cycles

4. Pirelli Cinturato Gravel M: Best for mixed surfaces

Price: £50 | Buy now from Tredz

The variability of the terrain in gravel riding makes it extremely difficult to design a tyre that can turn its tread to a little bit of everything. It’s not unusual for a gravel route to take you from tarmac to trail to bridleway to tow path, with a little bit of technical terrain and perhaps some mud thrown in en route. Pirelli’s Cinturato Gravel M (the ‘M’ stands for ‘mixed terrain’) is about as close as we’ve found to what you might call an ‘all-rounder’. The fitting and seating process is a bit of an ordeal, but once you manage to get this thing onto your wheels you can pretty much forget about it. That, to us, is the mark of a well-made, versatile piece of rubber. It has an aggressive tread that provides grip and stability on rough ground without hampering rolling on the smooth, and the puncture protection is excellent. Granted, it’s not the cheapest tyre on the market, but it’s not the most expensive either, and when you consider its all-seasons appeal, it’s easy to justify paying a little more.

Key specs – Tubeless ready: Yes; Weight: 500g (700c with 40mm width); Sizes: 700c – 35, 40, 45mm and 650b – 45, 50mm

Buy now from Tredz

5. Panaracer Gravel King SK: Best budget gravel tyre

Price: £29 | Buy now from Amazon

With a name like Gravel King, this reasonably priced rubber from Panaracer sets some pretty high expectations for itself. Luckily, it follows through on them – particularly when you take the price tag into account. In terms of bang for buck, this is as good as it gets in the world of gravel tyres, and that’s probably the reason you’ll spot at least one or two sets any time you venture out on a group ride. It’s a joy to ride on dry ground, including light gravel and hardpack, but if you’re likely to be venturing into wetter, rougher conditions, you might want to consider something with better puncture protection. It’s pretty nippy on the road too, making it a solid summer tyre for tackling adventure-road rides and non-technical off-road tomfoolery.

Key specs – Tubeless ready: Yes; Weight: 522g (700c with 43mm width); Sizes: 700c – 26, 32, 35, 38, 43, 50mm

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