Our pick of winter tyres
We ride and rate five tyres that aim to limit punctures without cutting speed
The mission of a good-quality racing tyre is to limit rolling resistance due to hysteresis — the cycles of deformation and recovery when a tyre compresses under the bike’s weight — by being as supple as possible. The challenge for a winter tyre is to roll fast, like the summer tyre, yet to be resistant to punctures. In addition, it needs to be able to grip in wet weather and on muddy tarmac.
Unless you stay on the turbo, puncturing in winter is a fact of life. However, a decent set of winter tyres will hopefully reduce the number you suffer.
To increase puncture resistance manufacturers use thicker, stiffer casings made up of more layers, or plies. In addition, some will build in a belt made of a tough material like Kevlar. The tread itself will be thicker and more durable, since winter is traditionally the season for extra mileage. Inevitably the winter tyre is a little heavier and slower, but the best ones are pretty impressive these days.
Puncturing is mainly down to luck, or lack of it, so we’re not just basing our ratings on whether we flatted when testing them. Ride feel, grip, weight and value for money are all factored in.