7 Best Gravel Road Tires

After testing nearly two dozen tires, award winners are announced

Gravel Tires
7 Best Gravel Road Tires

RoadBikeReview tested 23 gravel road tires to find out which were the best for tackling the road less traveled.

Over the course of a year, RoadBikeReview tested 23 different tubeless gravel tire models. We assigned each a Road to Rowdiness (or R2R) rating to help you decide how appropriate a given model would be for your riding. While none of the tires we tested were stinkers, there were several very impressive standouts. So without further ado, here are our awards for best tubeless gravel tires.

Check out our complete Gravel Road Tire test: Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3, plus solo tests of the best from Bontrager and WTB.

Teravail Cannonball

Part of the allure of the Cannonball is its oversized casing, measuring over 41mm wide on a 20c rim. The fast-rolling Cannonball tread gets you down any gravel road quickly.

Gravel Racer’s Choice Award: Teravail Cannonball Premium

You can’t finish first if you don’t first finish. Teravail’s Cannonball Premium 38 helps insure that you can focus on your effort and not on whether your tire will get you across the line. Its peaked cross section rolls exceptionally well on hard-packed surfaces and acts as a rudder in deeper, loose conditions. Side knobs add stability and its oversized casing, measuring 41.2mm wide, provides comfort during long days on rough roads. The Cannonball is a complete package ready for every gravel race that comes to mind. It’ll be more robust than needed for the more groomed roads encountered at some events, but it’s also up to the task of Grinduro or Dirty Kanza. As such, it’s one of the only tires that we can unconditionally recommend for gravel racing and riding. Price: $85 | More info at teravail.com

Clement MSO

Clement’s MSO 36 offers fantastic all-round performance, with Goldilocks weight, puncture-resistance, tread pattern and pricing.

Honorable Mention: Clement MSO
Clement’s gravel tire line is exceptional and the addition of tubeless ready casings has only made them more attractive. The MSO, named for the Missoula airport code, has a great tread pattern and its 36mm size means that it will fit in a lot of cyclocross bikes. It loses out a little to the Cannonball in terms of weight, as it’s a little heavier for its size. But that doesn’t keep the MSO from being many gravel enthusiasts favorite tire. Price: $75 | More info at clementcycling.com

WTB Riddler 45

WTB’s Riddler 45 may not look like an obvious choice for our Rowdy Riding Award, but its size and smart tread pattern delivered exceptional off-road traction at a very affordable price.

Rowdy Riding Award: WTB Riddler 45

Thanks to its voluminous casing and a tread pattern that delivers far more traction than expected, WTB’s Riddler 45 wins our Rowdy Riding Award. The extra cushion provided by its 44mm wide casing adds comfort and control. The tread pattern is a classic mix of small center knobs for low rolling resistance with large side knobs for great cornering control. The transition between those tread features is a nice gradual one that works exceptionally well on gravel roads and on singletrack. At 535 grams, it’s also quite light for a tire this wide. If you’re looking to speed up a 29er for use on gravel or want to make a gravel bike more capable, WTB’s Riddler is a perfect choice. Can’t fit the 45? Then look at the 37mm version. Price: $55 | More info at www.wtb.com

Maxxis Ravager

The newest gravel tire from Maxxis is a great offroader, especially for bikes with limited clearance as it runs a bit undersized.

Honorable Mention: Maxxis Ravager
Maxxis’ newest gravel model has a great tread pattern for singletrack play, with large side knobs that deliver great traction even in loose conditions. Its tough EXO casing is borrowed from the Taiwanese tire maker’s mountain bike line, and is up to the task of off-roading. It’s a bit narrower than its claimed 40mm width (39mm at the knobs) and a tad under 37mm in casing width. But that means that it’ll fit into more bikes. Price: $64 | More info at www.maxxis.com

Hutchinson Override

Hutchinson’s new Override is a super fast rolling gravel tire offered in 35mm and 38m widths, perfect for those interested in comfort on dirt and paved roads.

Dirt Road Dabbler Award: Hutchinson’s Override

If most of your riding is on relatively smooth dirt roads, tarmac, and rough pavement, you can’t go wrong with Hutchinson’s newest offering. Offered in both 38mm and 35mm widths, it’s a large volume tubeless tire that’s light on tread so it rolls with exceptional efficiency on smooth surfaces. It also strikes a nice balance of light weight and puncture protection. At $77 a tire, it certainly isn’t cheap, but quality is high and tubeless setup is a cinch. The real clincher for this tire though is its casing. While tough enough for gravel, it’s also surprisingly supple, to the point that we ran higher pressures than expected. This is a very good thing and here’s why. Higher pressures help you avoid rim strikes but thanks to the tire’s ability to conform to obstacles in the road (think gravel), the ride is still very comfortable and controlled. This is an ideal tire for Gravel World Championships or other similarly fast, smooth gravel or dirt road races. Price: $77 | More info at www.hutchinsontires.com

 Compass Bon Jon Pass

Few tires on the market deliver a silky smooth ride like the Compass Bon Jon Pass. Offered in a skinwall or black wall, it looks classy as it delivers phenomenal comfort and traction.

Honorable Mention: Compass Bon Jon Pass
Few tires on the market are as comfortable as those sold by Compass. The Bon Jon Pass is one of the company’s few tubeless models. It’s a plump 35mm wide and comes in tan and black sidewall and regular and extra-light casings. We rode the regular, tan-wall version and it inspired incredible confidence on all surfaces, especially quick, paved descents. If you experience a lot of punctures during the year, you might want to avoid such a light tire. But if you know how to smoothly traverse technical sections, Compass’ Bon Jon Pass may be the classy looking tire of your dreams. Price: $57 | More info at www.compasscycle.com

Vittoria Adventure Trail

While its heft may have racers looking elsewhere, the Adventure Trail is great for exploration and training.

Best Value Award: Vittoria Adventure Trail

Not only is Vittoria’s Adventure Trail tire the least expensive we tested at $37, its value is further increased thanks to its robust construction and slow wearing tread. If you don’t mind carrying around the extra mass of the Adventure Trail, it makes for a fantastic dirt road touring tire, winter and training tire. When the time comes to race, you can install a lighter pair of tires and feel a noticeable difference. If used in this way, as a reliable, long-haul tire, it’s sure to deliver miles of smiles. Price: $37 | More info at www.vittoria.com

Photo Thumbnails (click to enlarge)
About the author: Nick Legan

Nick Legan is happiest with some grease under his nails and a long dirt climb ahead. As a former WorldTour team mechanic, Legan plied his trade at all the Grand Tours, Spring Classics, World Championships and even the 2008 Beijing Olympics. In recent years, gravel and ultra-distance racing has a firm grip on Legan’s attention, but his love of mountain biking and long road rides hasn’t diminished. Originally a Hoosier, Legan settled in Boulder, Colorado, 14 years ago after finishing his time at Indiana University studying French and journalism. He served as the technical editor at VeloNews for two years and now contributes to Adventure Cyclist, Mtbr and RoadBikeReview.


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