My fiancee expressed interest in going on rides together, so I borrowed my mom's old purple Univega Via De Oro that's running 21sp Shimano STX-RC. I replaced the cables and overhauled the shifters, and rides had been going well. Yesterday I pulled the bike off the wall to find that the front tire was flat. The tires are TopGear Stratos 700x35c on Mavic 622x17 rims, and they're feeling kinda brittle.

Edit: Which compounds make up a tire or what should I look for in a tire to meet the following qualifications:

Thorn resistance Comfortable ride Enough width to reduce getting trapped in ruts

I don't care too much about rolling resistance. We're going on fun rides. I just don't want to worry about changing the tube frequently.

Thanks in advance!

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    We try to avoid specific product recommendations here, as they go out of date quickly, and we're trying to give answers that are useful over the long term.
    – Adam Rice
    Jul 6, 2020 at 18:52
  • I updated my question earlier to ask for specs that satisfies what I'm looking for rather than for specific tire recommendations. If I know what to look for in a tire, I can find the tire that satisfies that, independent of when.
    – raabidfun
    Jul 6, 2020 at 19:04
  • I'm can't give a proper answer right now, but if you look at the Continental Gatorskin tyres, at around 28c - 32c, you can't go wrong. If you check those tyres, you can find their rubber compound, puncture protection tech and sidwall. Then you can either get them, or look for similar commuter style. But the Gatorskins are a benchmark for commuter and touring tyes.
    – abdnChap
    Jul 6, 2020 at 20:20
  • And about width, if you spend 80% of your time on sooth road, you won't need anything thicket than 32c. If you spend more time on rougher terrain, then you need to give more info about the type of terrain. The Gatorskins are super thorn proof, but they will slide on tree roots. But, as others have already mentioned, not ebike will be cheap.
    – abdnChap
    Jul 6, 2020 at 20:23
  • It depends on the riding conditions. In some places thorn resistance is important, while in other areas there are no thorns. Having general puncture resistance is nice, but can be overdone. The nature of the tread likewise depends on road conditions and weather. Jul 6, 2020 at 21:46

2 Answers 2


Whenever you are not aiming for riding in a race, go for serious puncture proof tires. Especially if you are a casual rider who can't just fix a flat within 10min on the road side. I certainly can't, even though I've patched enough tires for a lifetime. You are not going to get significant enjoyment out of being able to ride 0.1km/h faster, but you are going to get significant enjoyment out of not having to stop and patch every 100km, or so.


There are two logical approaches to selecting road bicycle tires for pavement. (I won't consider offroad and winter/ice/snow riding here.)

The first approach is to realize that fixing a flat takes 5-10min, and that any puncture protection in the tire increases rolling resistance so much that every minute of flat-fixing time saved results in hour of additional trip time. This approach suggests that the best possible tire is one with minimal puncture protection and thus minimal rolling resistance. Unfortunately, you can't find tires without puncture protection today, but fortunately, you can find tires with minimal puncture protection. I believe that of the current offerings, Continental Grand Prix 5000 is the best tire. Pick either 28mm or 32mm size. The 23mm and 25mm require so high pressures that you may have difficulty obtaining those pressures with an easy-to-carry mini pump, so don't select those. Also, the 23mm and 25mm will have higher rolling resistance on anything but completely smooth pavement, and the high pressures will be very uncomfortable.

The second approach is for those who can't fix flats or for some reason hate fixing flats. For those, the best vehicle may very well be a car instead of a bike, but let's assume that you hate fixing flats but love riding bike. This approach is to maximize the puncture protection, and thus, equivalently, maximize the rolling resistance. I believe that Schwalbe Marathon Plus is one of the best tires for this approach. Pick the widest tire that fits your frame with enough clearance. The wider the tire, the more room there is for rubber, and the better the puncture protection will be.

Don't select any tire between these two extremes! In particular, GatorSkins were suggested in a comment. Do not select GatorSkin as your tire! I have used Continental GatorSkins, and found that they have too much rolling resistance and still aren't protected from punctures well enough -- I have had numerous flats with GatorSkins. If puncture protection is what you're looking for, go for a true puncture-protected tire such as Schwalbe Marathon Plus. If low rolling resistance is what you're looking for, select a tire optimized for that such as GP 5000.

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    "any puncture protection in the tire increases rolling resistance so much that every minute of flat-fixing time saved results in hour of additional trip time" Sorry, but you don't seem to have a clue of what you are talking about. If I need to fix a flat every 100km which I ride in 5h, then I am spending 5 to 10 of the 300 minutes fixing flats. That's a reduction of 1.7% to 3.3% in speed. And it always strikes with 5-10min a piece, which can easily make the difference between being on time and 5min late. Especially if it strikes twice, or once more than your have patches on you. Jul 6, 2020 at 21:26
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    In the context of commuting it's much more important to have a reliable bike than to have the fastest steed in the race. Puncture proof tires are the perfect fit for that. Jul 6, 2020 at 21:27
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    Even for moderately quick distance riding (not racing), an appreciable level of puncture protection is worth having, and can be achieved without terrible rolling resistance on something like a marathon supreme or durano. Unlike the marathon plus they have flexible (vulnerable but faster) sidewalls, and I've lost one to a sidewall puncture, but in over 20000km on them I've only once or twice had something penetrate the belt. And using them I can still ride the local 10 mile TT in 28 minutes on a steel tourer - far from competitive, but also far from slow.
    – Chris H
    Jul 7, 2020 at 9:19
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    Further, if a puncture commuting makes you miss a train or arrive late and dirty at a meeting, a high level of puncture protection will save you much more than fixing one every few weeks will hold you up. And you can buy tyres without puncture protection - either race tyres or cheap ones
    – Chris H
    Jul 7, 2020 at 9:25

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