This list covers the top 5 best fixie tires recommended in 2020
- If you want to go straight to the tire reviews, simply click on one of the tires in the table below to jump directly to it
- Keep reading if you want to learn what to look for in a fixie tire and how to pick a tire depending on your riding style
|1. Continental DuraSkin Gatorskins||$$|
|2. Thickslick Fixie Tire||$$|
|3. Continental Ultra Sport II Tire||$$|
|4. Vittoria Zaffiro IV||$|
|5. Panaracer Catalyst Sport Tire||$|
If you’re still considering options you can compare the fixie tires on this list on Amazon.
What To Look For In A Fixie Tire
Regardless of your riding style, you’ll want a durable tire that provides good traction and low rolling resistance.
Although all of those features are important, durability is most important of all, especially if skidding is your primary braking method.
If you’re riding anywhere other than the track, weight isn’t a crucial factor. It might not be worth forking out extra money to shed a few grams, especially since you’ll be tearing through tires more because of skidding.
Go for a good cost-to-mileage ratio. You want a tire that can handle the rigours of fixie riding but won’t break the bank, especially if you ride hard and need to replace your rubber often.
All of the tires on this list cover the durability requirement, so the other features are a matter of preference. Some are more performance-oriented while others are exceptionally durable.
Just remember that no matter how good your tire is, it will wear out if you skid.
There’s no such thing as “skid-proof tires.”
More like “skid resistant.”
They have a bit of extra rubber to make them more durable but there’s not a rubber tire in the world that’s skid proof. It’s simply the physics of friction, I’m afraid.
When you skid, you rub off rubber. No way around that.
How Much Should I Spend On A Fixie Tire?
That depends. How do you ride?
If you’re ripping up the streets and doing lots of tricks and skids, you’ll go through tires quicker.
On the other hand, just commuting to and from work or class won’t be as hard on your rubber.
When I was riding brakeless year-round and using skids as my primary way of stopping, I’d go through at least 1 rear tire a year.
By the time I replaced a tire, it was not just bald. The treads were essentially scraped away to create a flat outside edge.
A few times I wore the tire down to the point that the stitching was scraped off and I could see the tube peeking out.
Riding like that is asking for trouble. You’ll blow the tube then have to buy another new part. It’s not practical, as I learned the hard way. Please learn from my mistake.
Here’s the tire-buying strategy I’d recommend:
If you’re a hardcore rider and skid a lot, consider whether investing in expensive “skid-proof” tires is worth it.
They do make a difference, but it might be more cost-effective to buy cheaper tires and replace them more often.
This decision comes down to so many factors, like how often you ride, your skidding technique, road conditions, and more.
Ultimately you’ll have to make the call for yourself based on your experience.
I usually ended up buying middle of the road tires. When it was time to replace them I had an easier time justifying it, not needing to squeeze every last micrometer of rubber out of them.
If you’re a casual rider and run a brake, a more expensive tire like the Gatorskin will give you a lot more life.
A typical tire will last longer as well, but you can rest assured that a fixie tire will give you even more longevity – especially if you bust the occasional skid.
Regardless of your riding style I wouldn’t recommend the cheapest of the cheap tires for a fixie, even if you don’t skid.
I’m talking about the type of rubber that stinks. It feels stiff and cheap and it might not even rest on your rim properly.
As you can see, the right choice depends on you. Applying more weight to the skid also wears it down faster.
Since you’ll have to replace tires regularly, you can try different models and see which ones best suit your riding style.
How To Squeeze A Bit More Life Out Of Your Tires
You can cheat your tires a bit by rotating them on the rim, but that will only buy you a bit more time. It’s no replacement for…well, a replacement.
Even if you rotate your tire the worn out section will still be scraping against the ground when you ride, making it much more likely you’ll get a flat. And that blows.
Rotating the tire helps because when you skid, you always have the cranks in one of two positions. That position depends on which foot you have forward when you skid.
If you always skid in the same foot position, 1 section of the tire will have extreme wear. Distributing between both possible foot positions will even out the wear and tear a little bit, but you’ll still wear it out rather quickly compared to non-brakeless riding.
As I mentioned, it’s best to replace the tire sooner rather than risk blowing a tube. It saves money and potential falls if the tube blows.
The Best Fixie Tires Recommendation
Now that we’ve covered the basic tips for buying new tires for your fixie, let’s get into the contenders for best tire for a fixie title.
The Gatorskin probably needs no introduction.
These tires are marketed as THE fixie tires, allegedly known around the world for their “legendary” protection and durability.
“Legendary” might be a bit of a stretch courtesy of Continental’s marketing department, but the tires are some of the best money can buy. No doubt about it. They’re solid.
The name “GatorSkin” comes from the “reptilian” design of the outermost layer. It sort of looks like reptile skin, I guess. It’s a wear-optimized tread fibre.
But what sets them apart in terms of durability isn’t just the tread, but the DuraSkin sidewall. Everyone uses these tires, from bike messengers to touring cyclists to professional riders tackling the likes of the Paris-Roubaix race.
They also feature what’s known as the “Poly X Breaker” – an extra cross-woven polyester fibre between the outer rubber and innertube. This layer is some serious material-science magic, actually developed by car tire engineers.
So there you have it, extra protection both on the top and the sidewall of the tire.
The DuraSkin wall is designed to prevent puncture while the PolyX Breaker and tread provides more friction resistance for skidding. You get the best of both worlds with GatorSkins.
On a final note, Continental’s GatorSkins are the best-selling tire on Amazon. 1,000’s of verified reviewers agree that these are some of the best tires that money can buy.
Thickslick Fixie Tires may not have the same catchy branding for their features, but the construction is virtually the same as the GatorSkins.
Just like the name suggests, the tire has two primary features. Thickness and slickness.
Twice the rubber in the Flat Guard casing gives you more skidding life and protects against blown out innertubes.
A layer of puncture-resistant material makes up the slick outer casing, protecting against sharp gravel, points, and even glass – or so they claim. I wouldn’t take my chances by rolling over glass intentionally.
Slick is definitely the appropriate word for the tires. There’s not a bead of tread to be found on these tires.
The smooth outer layer provides consistent traction in rough urban environments. At the very least it ensures that treads don’t wear-out unevenly to make for an awkward and bumpy ride.
The rubber itself is in fact a 60a DNA Rubber compound, which combines the qualities of grip and durability that is ideal for and fixie rider.
According to Thickslick, double the rubber means double the working life of the tire. That reasoning seems sound, but never underestimate the demanding requirements of riding a fixie.
A personal favourite, the Continental Ultra Sport tires always served me well when it came to urban fixie riding.
I rode these for several years before switching up to GatorSkins since the price is not vastly different.
That being said these aren’t fixie tires, strictly speaking. Regardless the deeper centre tread, made from 180 TPI casing, gives you that added durability for skidding.
They’re more performance-oriented, combining tight handling silica-based treads that deliver durability.
You can run these tires on a street fixie or a track bike and still get good performance. No issues worrying about sizing either, since they’re available in all common sizes to accommodate any type of riding.
There’s not much more to say about these entry-level performance tires. They’re solid entry-level performance tires with enough versatility to suit a fixie.
At about the same price as Continental’s other tires on this list, you may as well get the GatorSkins if you don’t care about squeezing out as much performance as possible.
Vittoria Zaffiro’s tires come in a range of models for different uses.
The Zaffiro IV model delivers the most mileage and durability out of the product family.
Although these are actually racing tires, like the Continental Ultra Sport II’s, they’re built to handle the stress of high-mileage training rides. One of the key-features Vittoria advertises is actually an “outstanding cost-per-mile” ratio.
As the good-value option, their treads are exceptionally turable and feature an optimized pattern that provides low rolling resistance and exceptional cornering.
The resounding consensus about the Vittoria Zaffiro IV is surprising resilience for the price.
As the cheapest tire on this list, it’s provides unparalleled value without sacrificing quality.
If you’re riding brakeless you might want something with a bit more durability, but these should serve you just find if you only skid occasionally.
On the other hand, you can get 2 Vittoria Zaffiro IV’s for the price of 1 GatorSkin, so if you don’t mind switching out tires occasionally they might still provide better value.
Like the Vittoria’s, the Panaracer Catalyst Sport Tires are another racing tire option that’s perfectly suitable for fixie riding.
They may not have specialized features, but they provide surprising value even at high mileage.
You can count on them to help you skid but they won’t slip if you switch to single-speed riding.
Unlike most of the other tires on this list, you can order the Panaracer Catalyst Tires in 5 different colours.
Style may not matter to you, but it’s a good option to have for just a few cents more.
Consider this tire a cheaper version of a racing tire that provides all the durability but a bit less performance. Perfect for a beater bike or commuter.
More Tires & Wheels
So there you have the best of the best fixie wheels, but if you didn’t find what you’re looking for check out your local bike shop or the great selection of tires online.
You can also consult our list of the top 5 best fixie wheels if you are looking for a wheel/tire combo to save money.