Road cyclists and off-road tires are different – and you need to get what is appropriate for your ride. When looking for new road tires, you may look for the newest, or the most talked about, but is it really the best? Well, the most expensive may not be the best, but let’s face it: no great set of road tires are cheap. Below are the best tires for road cyclists currently on the market.
Stan’s No Tubes
Mountain-bike wheel specialists Stan’s NoTubes finally launched into the tubeless, carbon aero road wheel market with the new Avion range. Just as you’d expect, they’re a breeze to set up, lightweight and — relatively speaking — decent value. More importantly for most riders’ real-world needs is the fact that the wheels are stable enough in strong crosswinds to be used as an all-around aero wheelset. But perhaps where the Avion Disc Pros are most impressive is at the cash register. They’re hardly cheap but still a relative bargain when judged against the competition.
DT Swiss 22 21 Dicut
The RR 21 Dicut is a premium low-profile clincher. Blunt-profiled alloy rims are laced with DT’s alloy nipples and straight-pull spokes (20 front, 24 rear) to a version of its Grand Tour-proven 240s hub. The rear rim is offset for a more even tension between the right and left sides. The RR 21s’ low weight makes them lively and responsive when you start to crank it up. Coasting is rewarding as DT’s signature star ratchet freehub purrs expensively. Ride quality is on a par with box-section alloy rims and the extra tire volume afforded by their internal width lets you drop the psi a tad for extra comfort.
Zipp 404 SW
The 404 NSW, with its 58mm deep rim, is an all-purpose wheel, capable of climbing as well as keeping up on the fastest and flattest courses. The wide rims — 27.8mm maximum external width — also provide the ideal profile to shape wide tires for increased suppleness and traction. We found that they worked best with 25mm rubber, though with 28s you will get the ultimate in cushioning. At 1,550g/3.4lb the NSWs are also 140g/0.3lb lighter than the Firecrest 404s.
Zip 202 Firecrest CCL Disc
Zipp’s 202 Firecrest CCL Disc wheelset is based upon the same rims as the non-disc 202s. So although the spoke count for both wheels has risen to 24 to handle the greater forces discs generate, they retain the brake track that callipers/cantilevers rely on. Knowing you have consistently reliable brakes beneath you removes any potential carbon braking concerns — and keeps your rims looking immaculate — but we couldn’t help wondering how much faster they could be without the braking track. Although the 202s are not a cheap option, their versatility and reliability make them well equipped for everyday use on or occasionally off road.