I am upgrading an old road bike, which has Reynolds 531 tubing. (just to date it for you!) I know the wheel dimensions: 700 x 28c, and have found several sets of tires, but am unsure which to choose. The bike will be used as a road bike, if that helps?



Any help much appreciated!

  • 4
    For a standard road bike you don't need a lot of tread on the tires -- tires that are "slick" down the middle will roll a hair easier. Depending on road conditions you may wish to consider "Kevlar belted" tires or some other puncture resistant technology -- these can reduce the frequency of puncture 10x. (But avoid "Kevlar bead" tires.) Otherwise there's not much to differentiate between, other than some difference in quality between manufacturers. (But also avoid tires with tan/white "gumwalls", if they still make those -- get tires that are black all around.) Jul 11, 2013 at 11:29
  • @Daniel R Hicks - Would you please share the reason on your suggestion to avoid Kevlar bead tires?
    – Akshay
    Aug 4, 2013 at 1:54
  • @Akshay - I've always found them harder to mount, especially when new. And the weight savings is negligible. Others feel differently, though. Aug 4, 2013 at 2:36

3 Answers 3


It depends on how you intend to use the bike. If you're intending to race, you'll probably want something lightweight and very grippy. If you're commuting or touring you should tend towards the durable end of the tire spectrum

With a nice steel frame like that you'll get lots of comfort, so it seems to "fit" with putting wider, comfortable, durable tires on it.

A wider tire is more comfortable with the only disadvantage being that it is a bit heavier.

If the bike originally had 28mm tires, I would expect it to take 25-35mm with no problem, but check the rims for any other indication.

The two you've listed don't have a great reputation for durability, so it may be worth investing a little more for something that will last longer and save you the frustration of punctures.

Consider Continental Gatorskins or Schwalbe Marathons. Both are more expensive, but offer good puncture protection which, in the long run, shortens your journey time more than a few grams of weight saving.


Kevlar belted tires are the way to go. YMMV but I find that almost-slick road tires with asymmetric channels provide the best interface with both wet & dry pavement. Also consider that slicker tires roll more easily not because they are smooth but because they have significantly larger contact patches then say 'nubby' mountain bike tires. If you plan on traveling any amount of distance with any frequency you may want to look into a tire that will not require a significant energy investment. or you could just soldier thru and build those legs!


The best advice will vary from one knowledgeable person to another but it will almost always matter if your main criteria is comfort, handling, rolling resistance, durability or puncture resistance. And, of course, price.

If you look on Schwalbe's web site you'll see that they give a rating for each criteria for every tire. When you want to maximize several criteria you'll wind up with something like their Marathon Supreme tires for about $75 each. Even then they are not their "fast" tires.

Also note that Sheldon Brown and others have written/proven that, on bicycles at least, tread does not affect handling on wet pavement. There just is not enough of a contact patch to cause hydroplaning.

And regarding Kevlar beads, one advantage they do have it that they can be folded up to more easily be carried as a spare.

  • Of course, unless you're going to be out in the wilderness, there's little need to carry a spare tire -- spare tubes and a boot will get you to the next town, at least. And a standard tire can be easily folded to fit in a pannier, for long tours. Sep 23, 2013 at 2:42
  • Right -- and I didn't make the statement as an endorsement.
    – Arbalest
    Sep 23, 2013 at 14:55

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