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The thought of wiping out or having to fix a puncture in the cold puts many people off winter cycling, but with modern tyre technology there’s really no reason why you need to hang up your wheels. Here’s our top pick of tyres for winter cycling on a mountain bike, commuter, or road bike.
Mountain Bike Tyres for Winter
When you go out mountain biking in winter, keeping a grip is usually the number one priority.
We’re therefore highlighting three of our favourite traction-hungry tyres, dedicated to helping you stay on the bike. Plus we revisit a redesigned old favourite, the Specialized Crossroads – the perfect tyres for converting your MTB into a commuter bike.
Specialized Storm Control 2BR Tyre 650B – £35 each
More than any tyre we do, the Storm Control’s self-cleaning tread is dedicated to digging in and achieving better traction in muddy conditions. The Storm Control is often therefore described as a specialist tyre. ‘Not necessarily so,’ says our accessories buyer, James Daly. James relies on his Storm Controls’ wet-weather traction, pretty much all year round on his mountain bike.
Specialized Ground Control Sport Tyre 26″ – £20 each
For more than 30 years, mountain bikers have learned that fitting Ground Controls is one of the best upgrades you can make on a mountain bike that slips when it should grip. We’re therefore delighted to make this old standby available in the three most popular MTB sizes: 26, 27.5 (AKA 650B) and 29 inch.
Specialized Butcher Control 2BR Tyre 26×2.3 or 650Bx2.3 inch £30 each [NO LONGER IN STOCK]
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With its stickier tread compound, its siped knobs and its wider footprint, the Butcher Control is even grippier than the Ground Control. 2BR means you can run the tyre without a tube if your wheel rims are tubeless ready. 2BR tyres can therefore save weight and will also allow you to safely run your tyres at lower pressures to further improve traction.
730g (26×2.3), 764g (27.5×2.3), 810g (29×2.3).
Specialized Crossroads Armadillo Tyre 26×1.9 or 650Bx1.9 inch £32 each
With its proven Armadillo bead-to-bead puncture protection and its smoother tread, the Specialized Crossroads is an excellent choice if you use your mountain or 26-inch wheel hybrid as a commuter bike.
680g (26×1.9), 730g (27.5×1.9).
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Commuter and Road Bike Tyres for Winter
The fact your tyres pick up more debris on wet, frost-cracked, gritted roads makes it far more likely you’ll suffer a puncture when you least want one – when commuting on a dark winter morning or evening. Here then is our roundup of extra puncture-resistant tyres for 700c-wheel bikes.
Schwalbe Marathon Plus Reflective Tyre 700C and 26 inch – £40.99 each
I (the bike co-op’s Ged) enjoy a 40k there and back commute to work. For the past 10 years I’ve mostly ridden a bike equipped with Schwalbe Marathon Plus tyres.
Number of punctures experienced on that bike? Zero. Fellow Marathon Plus users confirm my experience. There are puncture-resistant tyres – and there is the Schwalbe Marathon Plus. And it comes in sizes to fit most touring bikes, hybrids, cross bikes and 26-inch wheel MTBs.
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Specialized Crossroads Armadillo Tyre 26 inch, 650b, 700C – £32 each
Like the Crossroads MTB tyre featured above, this 700×38 version is smooth rolling on road while offering decent grip when you take an off-road detour. Add serious Armadillo bead-to-bead flat protection and you have a perfect tyre that comes in a size that fits most 700c hybrid, touring and cross bikes.
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Continental Gator Hardshell Tyre 700×23, 700×25 or 700×28 £35.99 each [NO LONGER IN STOCK]
With its Poly-X anti-puncture breaker belt extending under the tyre tread and shoulders, its Hardshell anti-cut casing and its DuraSkin sidewalls, the Gator Hardshell is a reinforced version of the already highly-rated Continental Ultra GatorSkin, revered for offering serious puncture resistance without over-compromising the ride qualities you look for in a good quality road bike tyre.
340g (700×23), 410g (700×28).