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Fast road tires for commuting 2022

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Fast road tires for commuting 2022

Old 08-11-22, 12:06 PM
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Sardines
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Fast road tires for commuting 2022

I often see threads asking about tires which are fast, in order to improve commute times, without having to kill ourselves, and also have the protection of tubeless, durability and cost. My go-to tire since 2014 was the super durable, very good puncture resistant, and fast rolling Marathon Supreme, which peaked with the OneStar compound in 2015, and sort of failed when the Addix Tour compound came out in 2019. I think many EU bike companies used it as a standard tire, even though it wasn't cheap. I stocked up on OneStar, and love it for my commute. I've been trying replacement tires as my stash dwindles.
I realized that I hadn't had any significant issues with punctures/tire damage with the routes I ride, so I thought the idea of updating the choices for fast commuter tires for predominantly paved/asphalt roads, with the occasional foray onto light gravel/dirt trails. I only considered tires at or more than 32mm, with the rears being a little wider for the extra load I put on the rack.
Fortunately, tire companies have also progressed. Tubeless is now really taking off, and the ability of TL to seal small punctures (with the right sealant), and the lower pressures, the commuter tire is now not just touring tires with 60+ TPI, but also faster 120+ TPI race compound road tires, which are also becoming wider and wider, as wheels become wider. I'd thought of the Pirellis and Vittorias high speed tires, but they limit the fast road tires to 28 or 30mm, which are too narrow to me as a commuter tire, especially when I have 65% of the weight on the rear when I carry stuff in the racks, and also few were TLR. My bike is a custom Ti with Pinion P1.18 tourer, with 32/24 cogs, carbon wheels, fork, flat handlebar, seatpost, and alu rack, weighing 24.6 lbs without tires.
Here are some of the tires I've tried so far, all mounted with Panaracer Seal Smart:
Baseline tire Schwalbe Marathon Supreme 37-622 TLE OneStar: These touring tires have 67 tpi protection and thick tread which lasts. So I tend to ride over little imperfections on my routes. They are comfy even though I keep the pressure at 62 psi to keep it fast. They aren't tanks but over the years, they are tough to beat as durable, no stress riding fast commuters which lasts over 7k miles before I have to junk them, (14.5mph avg speed)
Panaracer GravelKing Slick/ Slick Plus TLC 32/35-622
: Before I went the road tire route, other alternatives like gravel tires I've tried, and of course the popular and best bang for buck Panaracer was always on the list. The very supple sidewalls ride surprisingly comfortably, but that also made them a nightmare to mount with a booster. They were also more fragile, surprising given they are meant for gravel. I did also try the Slick Plus is less fragile with the Pro Tite protection spread across the casing at 35mm, but it is noticeably slower than the Slick and the times showed it wasn't significantly faster than the Marathon Supreme, even though it's 35mm and almost 200g lighter. The rubber looks to last around 3,5-4k miles looking at the wear during my tests. (Slick +0.5mph, Slick+ +0.3mph)
Pirelli Cinturato Velo TLR 32/35-622: To me, these are the closest to the Marathon Supremes in terms of slickish fast rolling tire, with very good protection but only thinner tread, so it's about 100+g lighter for the similar size. More importantly, there's good sizing options with 32mm and 35mm, with enough volume to hit the gravel trails if needed. They also mounted easily TL. They might be a little higher in rolling resistance, but accelerates nicely, and for road tires, they are very protected, and I ride over imperfections like the Marathons Supremes. This looks to last 5.5-6.5k looking at the wear (+0.1mph)
Continental's GP5000 S TR 32-622:
Prior to the Schwalbes, I'd tried the GP5000 in 30 f 32 r. I didn't like the ride with the 30mm up front, even with TI frame, carbon fork, seat post and handlebar, from 59-69 PSI. Still, it was faster than 32 f/r. The 32mm to me, is just wide enough to be comfortable as a super fast commuter, with enough give to handle the asphalt imperfections comfortably enough, although nothing like the 37/37mm ride of the Marathon or even the 32/34mm Pro Ones at similar psi. These were the fastest of the wide race tires, even when I lowered the psi to get more comfort! The 30/32 got me up to 15.7mph and the 32/32 dropped to 15.5 mph, with most of the gains on the top cruising speeds on roads, where in some sections I gained 1.7+mph on the flat. No punctures during the 2000 mile test, but like other road tires, I avoided imperfections, which made me have to concentrate more. I'd be surprised if I got more than 3k miles out of these (+1.2mph avg)
Schwalbe Pro One TLE 32/34-622:
My most recent test in my search for a commuter replacement 32 f 34 r, which is at the right size for a comfy ride, yet the compound is race worthy. It's easy to mount tubeless, and rides nicely. I tried it from 52-68 PSI and like it around 57-9 depending on my load, although I'm sure if I get the psi up to the mid 60s, they'd be as fast as the GP5k, which I lowered psi to get a softer ride. I did over 1000 miles on them already, and they are fast enough, where my commute average speed went to 15.3 mph. My power meter/cadence shows the power curve to be similar, with a few more spikes. Had a small tack nail puncture but the sealant caught it quickly and I rode home without incident, without even inflating more. Repaired and still working without incident. I'd say the tread should last 4.5k miles from the wear. (+0.9 mph)
Basically, all the tires tested would be faster because of the thinner widths and lighter setups. However, other than the Cinturatos, I rode differently, avoiding imperfections I'd ride over normally, which requires a level of concentration I don't like to do in the mornings. Traffic conditions are already bad enough. The added stress took a while to adjust to. The only tires I had damage was the Gravelking Slicks sidewall gash. Each of these were tested at least 1000 miles. My commute is 14.6 to 16.2 miles with 500 to 600 ft elevation each way, depending on route, based on traffic and mood.
On my commute choice so far, I'm biased towards the Pro One and GP5k S TR. Cost (price and durability) seems to favor the Pro Ones, but it's hard to ignore the speed increase from the easy rolling GP5k S TR.

Last edited by Sardines; 08-26-22 at 12:52 PM. Reason: Typos
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Old 08-11-22, 12:54 PM
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I use 28/32 GP5K S TRs on my good weather bike, they are fast and with a front 25/32mm internal/external width rim very aero. Setting PRs fairly frequently this year on my commute, which I've ridden hundreds of times. Typically average 17-19mph over 31 miles and 1600 ft elevation round-trip. Sadly no noticeable increase in Watts from the engine.

In the rainy (majority) part of the year I use 35mm Cinturato Velos, also tubeless. They are much slower (rt commute times increase 10-15 minutes) but also on a less aero frame that can fit full fenders. Their good point is being extremely confidence-inspiring in bad conditions. I actually descend steep twisty roads faster on them on damp days than I do with my more aero bike and the GP5K S TRs.

I used to use 25mm first generation Pro One TLE in the summer on 21mm internal rims so they were effectively more than 28mm wide. They were fine but in my personal experience and on group rides/events I've seen all generations of Pro Ones puncture when no one on Continentals had any issues.
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Old 08-11-22, 05:52 PM
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I have not worried much about punctures since going tubeless. But the subset of commuter-tubeless tires is much smaller than the subset of gravel-tubeless. So tread life is a good point.
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Old 08-12-22, 12:02 PM
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The reason I'm looking at thinner slick race rubber is to gain efficiencies, without using more of my own power. I could go faster on my own, but I'd work up a sweat and even after a shower, I'd take a while to cool off. At the commute pace, I arrive invigorated and can immediately jump straight to work after the shower and breakfast. I do gun it more when I head home. What surprised me is @110-120W, the gains from thinner tires and lower roller resistance was more than I expected.
I really like the CVTLR35, and will use them to replace the Supremes as all weather asphalt tourers. The Challenge Strada Bianca Pros seem promising as all terrain tourers, but I still have a few more Almotion One Stars which are fantastic.
As for Pro Ones fragility, I use them on my road bike 25f/28r tubeless, and they do get slashed and gashed up. They do ride softer than the GP5kSTR, which is why I like them a little more.
Originally Posted by surak View Post
I use 28/32 GP5K S TRs on my good weather bike, they are fast and with a front 25/32mm internal/external width rim very aero. Setting PRs fairly frequently this year on my commute, which I've ridden hundreds of times. Typically average 17-19mph over 31 miles and 1600 ft elevation round-trip. Sadly no noticeable increase in Watts from the engine.

In the rainy (majority) part of the year I use 35mm Cinturato Velos, also tubeless. They are much slower (rt commute times increase 10-15 minutes) but also on a less aero frame that can fit full fenders. Their good point is being extremely confidence-inspiring in bad conditions. I actually descend steep twisty roads faster on them on damp days than I do with my more aero bike and the GP5K S TRs.

I used to use 25mm first generation Pro One TLE in the summer on 21mm internal rims so they were effectively more than 28mm wide. They were fine but in my personal experience and on group rides/events I've seen all generations of Pro Ones puncture when no one on Continentals had any issues.
That is why I am trying to see how much faster I could get from A to B, and if it's worth the cost. I could get 7k miles easily out of the Supremes. The race tires I'd be pleasantly surprised to get more than 3k miles, and so I have to ask myself are the hours I save annually using them worth the 2.5x cost of tire AND the work of mounting etc. So far, I'm ok with it. haha

Originally Posted by Darth Lefty View Post
I have not worried much about punctures since going tubeless. But the subset of commuter-tubeless tires is much smaller than the subset of gravel-tubeless. So tread life is a good point.

Last edited by Sardines; 08-12-22 at 02:15 PM.
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Old 08-12-22, 01:30 PM
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gravel king 32 slicks


I used to run 28mm gp5000 when I was just on the road and then switch over to another wheel set with the gravel kings 32mm. I like being able to ride offroad with gravel kings and they "seem" almost as fast as the gp5000. I am sure they're slower but seem fast enough for me unless doing a fast group ride.



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Old 08-12-22, 01:59 PM
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Aerodynamic drag force goes with the square of speed so power goes with the cube. It starts small and gets much bigger. Friction is proportional only to your weight so the power spent is linear with speed. If indeed you are making low power, the amount of it you are spending on rolling resistance is greater. I've got a bum ticker and my speeds on a bike are pretty low. I can make a scant hundred watts, I figure. The fastest commuter tire on Bicycle Rolling Resistance takes more than 2x more power than the nice roadie tires. For me this would be like 25 watts at 11 mph. But the worst commuter tires are 2x again more. I would die trying to shove around tires made for bike-share e-bikes, or gravel knobbies, at the same speed. I chose a Gravelking SS Plus last time out and it's a turd enough. CRR .009. Not doing that again.

CRR for Roadie tire: .0025
Fastest commuter and gravel tires .005 x 5m/s x 1000N = 25W
Slowest commuter and gravel tires .010

You are also not imagining the difference in the Addix version of Schwalbe tires, that has been a consistent result. CRR might not have been their goal with Addix anyhow, they might have been going for traction or tread life or something.
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Old 08-14-22, 10:33 AM
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Originally Posted by sean.hwy View Post
gravel king 32 slicks


I used to run 28mm gp5000 when I was just on the road and then switch over to another wheel set with the gravel kings 32mm. I like being able to ride offroad with gravel kings and they "seem" almost as fast as the gp5000. I am sure they're slower but seem fast enough for me unless doing a fast group ride.



That's why there are now 32 and 34mm tires from manufacturers, the extra width gives you the option of hitting hard pack gravel, as long as it's dry and not too sharp, that is! haha
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Old 08-25-22, 12:32 PM
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Don't forget the Continental GP Urban. They come only in 35mm and have excellent rolling resistance according to https://www.bicyclerollingresistance.com/
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Old 08-28-22, 01:19 AM
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Originally Posted by Yan View Post
Don't forget the Continental GP Urban. They come only in 35mm and have excellent rolling resistance according to https://www.bicyclerollingresistance.com/
Yes but unfortunately not TLR, so not on my radar.
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Old 08-28-22, 10:18 AM
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I've been fond of Panaracer Pasela Pro-Tite. The tread is really long wearing, it's fast for a tough tire and for extra flat protection I add Flat Attack sealant to the tubes.

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Old 08-29-22, 07:17 PM
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After a season of flirting with lower "comfort" pressures that I've been assured are just as fast and having bit the bait of internet wisdom that higher pressure speed is an illusion, I ran my tires up from the 55/50 I'd been using up to 75/70 and took five minutes off my 30 minute commute with basically no meaningful comfort loss. So I'm going to say that if you want faster tires ignore the internet lore and pump them up like the people who made them suggest you should.
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Old 08-30-22, 09:06 AM
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Originally Posted by mdarnton View Post
After a season of flirting with lower "comfort" pressures that I've been assured are just as fast and having bit the bait of internet wisdom that higher pressure speed is an illusion, I ran my tires up from the 55/50 I'd been using up to 75/70 and took five minutes off my 30 minute commute with basically no meaningful comfort loss. So I'm going to say that if you want faster tires ignore the internet lore and pump them up like the people who made them suggest you should.
I don't get this thinking either. Tires are made for a certain pressure and anything less just feels squishy to me, not more comfortable. When I've gotten flats out on the road I'm always looking for a shop with a floor pump to get them back up to proper pressure as the hand pump just can't do it, even my good one that goes to 120psi. Maybe the pump can do 120psi but my arms can't.

If you want lower pressure, buy tires made for lower pressure. GP5000s are NOT.

And to answer the title question, I preferred Gatorskins in 26" size for fast(er) commuting. Commuting isn't meant to be fast. It took me an hour to ride my commuter 10 miles to work, and it took 57 minutes to ride my carbon road bike to work. The only time I could save is going across the Manhattan Bridge where I could blast up the incline on a road bike that I couldn't do on the commuter. Otherwise traffic lights determine the pace since I couldn't go any faster on a road bike on the streets.

Last edited by zacster; 08-30-22 at 09:10 AM.
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Old 08-30-22, 09:14 AM
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Continental GP4S is a good / relatively lightweight / relatively fast tire that can be used for commuting
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