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Upgrading stock tubeless tyres - is it worth it?

scotthunterscotthunter Posts: 140
edited October 2018 in Road buying advice

I'm currently rolling on Giant Gavia AC1 25mm tubeless tyres on Giant SLR carbon rims on my Giant TCR Advanced Pro. I'm considering changing the tyres to Schwalbe Pro One 25mm as I have heard that the stock Giant tyres are not as good as the more premium brands. I believe the Pro One's are 75g lighter per tyre. The tread on the Gavia AC1 is completely slick and I have already crashed once on these tyres when taking a bend on a wet road. Looking for tyres that roll slightly faster and offer slightly more grip in the wet. I can get the Schwalbe Pro One's for £70 a pair. Is it worth it or should I just wait until my current tyres are worn before spending more money? The tyres have only done 312 miles and I don't know if part-used tyres have any re-sale value.

Thank you


  • asprillaasprilla Posts: 8,440
    AFAIK the tread on a road tyre doesn't have any impact on grip. Treads on car tyres are to dissipate water and prevent aquaplaning, but that happens because car tyres are much wider and generally move much quicker. If I remember rightly I was quoted that you'd need to be riding at 200mph for the tread on bike tyres to be needed.

    Anyway, running your tyres at lower pressure and choosing a different rubber compound can help. Note that softer compounds grip better but also wear quicker and can be more susceptible to punctured.

    I've got Pro Ones on a couple of my bikes and they are great, but I've recently put IRC Pro Tubeless X-Guard (if the names get any longer they won't be able to write them on the tyres) and whilst I haven't tested their limits by any stretch of the imagination they are inspiring confidence in the corners. They are also expensive.
    Mud - Genesis Vapour CCX
    Race - Fuji Norcom Straight
    Sun - Cervelo R3
    Winter / Commute - Dolan ADX
  • oxomanoxoman Posts: 10,471
    Currently have one Gavia tyre left on my Defy Pro and a IRC Formula pro xguard on the other. Only replaced the other tyre after it got slit open and was unrepairable. Tread is only any good if using as CX or off-road otherwise all bike tyres are slick as mentioned by Asprilla. Picked my tyre up and repair stuff from Malcolm at
    Couldn't fault the Gavia to be honest but went for something hardier as a replacement as I do long distance stuff.
    Too many bikes according to Mrs O.
  • w00dsterw00dster Posts: 880
    The Pro Ones aren't thought of highly on this site, especially for wet weather grip. I've got them on and completed 4 rides, one of those was an early morning ride with damp roads, I didn't notice any skittishness.
    Slicks are fine, the tread doesn't disperse water or provide any grip. My winter bike has a clincher tyre on that I find ridiculously good in wet weather (but its a heavy tyre and not great rolling resistance) - From Sheldon Brown....

    "Bicycle tires for on-road use have no need of any sort of tread features; in fact, the best road tires are perfectly smooth, with no tread at all!

    Unfortunately, most people assume that a smooth tire will be slippery, so this type of tire is difficult to sell to unsophisticated cyclists. Most tire makers cater to this by putting a very fine pattern on their tires, mainly for cosmetic and marketing reasons. If you examine a section of asphalt or concrete, you'll see that the texture of the road itself is much "knobbier" than the tread features of a good-quality road tire. Since the tire is flexible, even a slick tire deforms as it comes into contact with the pavement, acquiring the shape of the pavement texture, only while in contact with the road."

    Coming off in the wet could be down to tyre compound, or it could be too much pressure in the tyre, or a combination of the two and maybe taking a corner too fast? My view is the wider and softer you can go the better...that doesn't mean too soft so its not optimal, I'm 70kgs with my winter fat, I run my 32mm winter tyres at anywhere between 55 and 75psi depending on conditions / road surface etc.
  • Interesting info about slicks, thanks. Do you think you would 'feel' a 75g lighter tyre on a climb? The bike is already light (7.3kg) as is the rider (69kg).
  • w00dsterw00dster Posts: 880
    I don't think I'd notice. You'll notice other characteristics about the tyre more than the weight. Presuming your UK based, at this time of year I'd be more concerned about the grip and puncture protection of a tyre (including tubeless puncture/damage resistance). My bike with the Pro One's goes into hibernation next week, out come the slower tyres with good wet weather grip. is a good place to start reading about the speed of tyres, but this is very much on a drum/lab conditions rather than real world, but still worth reading.
    With regards to 150 grams, a hill is still going to be a hill, will still require x number of watts to get up it at a given speed. It may be approx. 2 or 3 seconds difference (depending on the hill), but I don't think as a rider I'd notice that weight difference. Maybe if I was comparing the power difference, it might be 215 watts with the heavier tyre and 214 watts with the lighter tyre.....(not scientific just trying to say the power difference with 150 grams is minimal). (I know its better to save weight from the tyre/rim, but 150 grams won't be hugely noticeable). If it was weight saving and also lower rolling resistance, aero on your rim etc, then its worth the change.
    What would be noticeable would be coming down the other side of the hill confident in the tyre and its cornering ability. Plus not having to stop somewhere to fix a flat or a cut in the tyre.
    Maybe get a good grippy / heavy tubeless tyre for the winter and move over to a faster tyre in the spring?
  • graeme_s-2graeme_s-2 Posts: 3,382
    I've often repeated the Sheldon Brown view of slick tyres.

    Interesting blog post here (by a guy who makes tyres) which suggests that a file tread on the shoulders (in contact with the road when cornering) provides more grip than a slick. ... -the-road/

    Sounds plausible, but who knows!
  • w00dsterw00dster Posts: 880
    As always with the cycling industry nothing is ever simple.
    Schwalbe, Continental and Sheldon say that on road the tread is nothing more than an aesthetic add on and offers little or no actual use. (Schwalbe and Continental being large manufacturers of slick tyres)
    Compass, the people behind Graeme's link who make treaded tyres say tyres should be treaded. They also say wider tyres are faster and they describe a study conducted by Bicyling Quarterly to show this.....Jan Heine, Editor of Bicyling Quarterly, is also the founder of Compass Tyres. ... re-slower/
    As someone who rides wide tyres during the winter, I'd agree that for winter riding wider lower pressure makes sense. But they are by no means faster. There are too many other considerations that I don't believe that study has taken in to account....actually its not a study, more a sales pitch.
    Compass make some great tyres, super comfortable ones for long distance. But my unscientific study of one shows that the Compass Bon Jon is not as fast as my 25mm Michelin Power Competition for 99% of my rides. The Compass tyres I had were really nice and smooth, infact I'd have another set but they are just a bit too wide for my rims. I certainly wouldn't use them for racing on or even for fast training rides.
  • graeme_s-2graeme_s-2 Posts: 3,382
    It's absolutely right to point out that Jan Heine is a guy who writes about tyres and recommends tyres just like the ones he makes and sells.

    It's also worth pointing out that his tyre "research" and speculation came first, followed by a company to make the sorts of tyres they believed would be faster.

    I've ridden 38C Hyper Voyagers on my London Road, and comfortably kept up with riders on 23C high pressure road tyres (and free wheeled away from them down hill). I've even ridden my Cannondale Slate (42C x 650b with file treaded tyres from the same Panaracer factory that the Compass tyres are manufactured in) with the tyres so low pressure that they were squirming through corners (didn't check them before I left the house) and recorded quicker times than I had in a week on the London Road. There are a load of factors in play, but in my experience wider lower pressure tyres are not necessarily slower than narrow high pressure tyres. It's worth keeping an open mind and trying stuff out.

    The other thing I've noticed is the stiffer feel of my London Road, and greater road chatter "feels" faster than my Slate, but my Garmin says my Slate is often faster (or maybe I just pedal harder or happen to ride it more often with a tail wind, or get luckier in traffic - who knows!).
  • w00dsterw00dster Posts: 880
    Firstly I'm a fan of Compass Tyres, they really do have a place in the market and are a great tyre.
    Secondly though, it does feel like a conflict of interest, I'd even say that the main study Jan refers (Tour Magazine) is also not real world based, didn't they use a dummy in a wind tunnel?
    As mentioned, I wouldn't race on them. In a race we tend to average approx. 25mph, there will be times where we are riding over 30mph (in excess of 300 watts and close to going into the red).The difference in rolling resistance and aero could be the difference to me riding at threshold or going above. The total difference may only be about 15 watts, may be more may be less. This may seem minimal and go against what Compass say. Either way I want to ensure I have the most efficient set up as possible. I'm not overly concerned about flats so durability isn't a concern.
    I can't see how a 35mm tyre on a 17mm internal rim is efficient. Personally I prefer to look at what engineers who specialise in the field (and I'm not trying to be disrespectful, I just don't see how a roll down test performed in 2005 equates to real world physics involved in road racing)
    When you read the methodology differences between the Cycling Quarterly tests and those performed by Hambini, it makes me side with the aerospace engineer. Hambini's finding show that a narrow tyre (23mm) has less drag than a 25mm tyre in real world scenarios.

    I had the 35mm Bon Jon Pass, I will get another set as they were a really good tyre. But absolutely no way can I race on that tyre. I may be weak and old and need every advantage I can get, but for racing I'll stick to narrower tyres (not over inflated). For weekend rides once my 32mm tyres are worn out I'll get some Compass tyres as I really do like them, and to be fair most tyres made by Panracer are uber comfortable.

    Also, Jan's findings were over a decade ago. Why hasn't this transitioned to the Pro Peloton (surely Sky would be looking at marginal gains)? Even at my lowly level of racing, I've never seen anyone rock up on wide tyres than 28s? Not talking about cobbled classics, but general road racing. I've used 28s Corsa G+ a lot for spring series, but wouldn't want anything wider than that.
  • graeme_s-2graeme_s-2 Posts: 3,382
    All good points w00dster. I don't race. I've raced triathlon in the past, and if I were to do it again I'd be back on my road bike with skinny tyres (although I had 25C rather than 23C tyres on it for my last tri which was an Iron distance race a few years ago).

    It's an interesting topic, and it'll be interesting to see how things progress in this area.

    I think racing vs riding for fun and fitness (even if you want to be quick) does make a huge difference to how you make decisions on tyres.

    When the Panaracers on my Slate wear out I suspect I'll go for some Compass tyres on it. I've been genuinely blown away by how good the Panaracers are (they're a Cannondale branded OEM tyre, but they look to be a rebadged Pari Moto to me). I'd be tempted to try some 700C Compass tyres on my London Road, but the Hyper Voyagers on it are just so cheap I can't quite bring myself to spend that much money.
  • cyclecliniccycleclinic Posts: 6,865
    Thread may actually have a positive impact on aerodynamics.

    All conti tyres have a tread pattern.

    The grippiest in the wet tyres I have ridden on all have a good tread pattern. Of course the file thread pattern may have nothing to do with that. I can't really tell as the no one makes the same tyre with and without thread for anyone to know. -wheel building and other stuff.
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