Touring tires for road bikes face certain challenges that other types of tires don't. They need to guard against flats, offer low rolling resistance and be durable, but according to Mike Beck of Gregg's Cycles in Seattle, designing for one feature can negatively impact the others. The best tires strike a balance between puncture resistance, smooth rolling and stamina.
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Continental Travel Contact 700
If you're going for a long ride, you need a tire that inspires confidence. Ed Wagar of Touring Gear Bicycles in Harbor Springs, Michigan, says the Continental Travel Contact 700 is the top choice for longer tours. The Travel Contact offers polymer flat breakers and Duraskin sidewall protection to prevent punctures. The Continental Travel Contact 700 tire retails for $45, as of February 2014.
Schwalbe Marathon Plus
Schwalbe Marathon Plus tires are "virtually impregnable" to punctures, according to Bike Radar. Instead of a strip of Kevlar under the tread, Schwalbe uses SmartGuard rubber, which forces objects out instead of letting them reach the tube. The Schwalbe Marathon Plus sells for about $52, as of February 2014.
Riders in remote areas might want to consider the Vittoria Randonneur Touring tire. The Randonneur features fiber-reinforced rubber for strength, stiffness and cut resistance, as well as a layer of puncture-stopping inner tread. Deep outer treads shed water for rainy-day riding. The Vittoria Randonneur Touring tire costs between $28 and $40 as of February 2014.
Schwalbe Durano Folding Tire
If you're touring, it's always helpful to carry a spare. The Schwalbe Durano Folding tire is a top choice. The Durano features a combination of India rubber and nylon that not only prevents flats, but also provides grip on wet roads. This high-mileage spare doubles as a race-day tire. The Schwalbe Durano Folding tire retails for $45 and up, as of February 2014.