Tech Tips

5 Great Tires for Gran Fondos

5 Great Tires for Gran Fondos
One of these tires should help make your next gran fondo a great ride.

Choosing the correct tire for riding a Gran Fondo (a long endurance ride or mass participation event) involves a bit of compromise. Prioritizing traction and durability will usually mean taking a hit when it comes to weight and rolling resistance. On the flip side, a super-fast lightweight tire sounds good in theory, but it will probably come at the expense of longevity and grip.

Road and weather conditions will often play a part in the decision process. Will the road be dusty or muddy? Is there the possibility of ice or snow? Will part of the ride be on gravel or some other loose surface? Are there any fast sweeping descents, or is it relatively flat? We’ll help you come to a decision with a short list of tires we think are great for Gran Fondos. Here we go:

Michelin Pro4 Endurance V2 28mm

Weight: 285 grams
Price: from $29 USD / $39 AUD

The version of the Pro4 that we tested was the 28mm; they’re also available in 23mm and 25mm. The relatively fat 28mm tire provided very low rolling resistance and, as expected, provided a noticeable damping effect when ridden over cobblestones and rough roads. That same width, though, also makes them feel a bit spongy and slow to accelerate. This would be a problem racing criteriums, but not a big deal on a long Gran Fondo ride.

As luck would have it, these tires came standard on a bike we were testing, so we can absolutely vouch for their toughness. After 2000km in the Australian Alps and on the unforgiving roads of Thailand we have yet to have a puncture. The tread still has plenty of traction, and they instil the confidence needed to throw the bike into corners at speed.

An excellent long-distance tire that won’t let you down.



Continental GP4000 S II

Weight: 235 grams
Price: from $29 USD / $39 AUD

For many years the Grand Prix 4000S set the standard in long-distance riding and racing. The facelift version, the GP4000S II, carries on that tradition but with a few extra features. With the original model susceptible to punctures after the first 500km or so, the big brother gets a Vectran breaker for unsurpassed puncture protection and Continental’s advanced BlackChili compound for lower rolling resistance and increased grip.

When inflated to high pressures it feels quite unforgiving – more so than many of its rivals – but at lower pressures this sensation disappears. It is definitely more agile than other tires in its class, even in the 28mm version (available in 23mm, 25mm & 28mm).

Sunny skies and dry road at Gran Fondo Garneau in Florida
Your Gran Fondo tire choice may be affected by wet or dry conditions.

Hutchinson Fusion 3 Kevlar ProTech

Weight: 210 grams
Price: from $30.50 USD / $37.50 AUD

The French-made Fusion 3 is a very light Gran Fondo tire, weighing in at just 210 grams for the 25mm version and slightly less with a width of 23mm. It provides an excellent balance between grip, performance and reliability, and offers a good level of comfort over long distances.

The Fusion 3 uses Kevlar in its casing protection layer, making it highly resistant to punctures. The Kevlar is covered with a softer secondary compound, which in turn is coated with a third, extra sticky compound for maximum traction. When looking at the slick surface of this tire it’s easy to assume that grip might be something of an issue, but these boots can mix it with the best of them when it comes to cornering and descending.



Vittoria Corsa G+

Weight (28mm): 265 grams
Price: from $42.90 USD / $46.95 AUD

Of all the tires we tested, the Corsa G+ was definitely the fastest. The supple corespun cotton casing and soft sticky rubber make it a great choice for high-grip, high-speed rides in dry conditions. It corners brilliantly, thanks to the way the graphene-infused compounds change depending on how the tire is loaded. When it’s rolling straight the rubber is at its hardest, but when loaded in another direction, such as by braking, accelerating or cornering, the compound softens to offer significantly more grip.

It’s not bad in the wet, but it thrives in the dry: the best summertime tire we rode.

Pirelli P Zero Velo 4S

Weight (28mm): 250 grams
Price: from $49.00 USD / $59.90 AUD

If Vittoria’s Corsa G+ is the best summer tire we tested, the award for the best performer in the cold, wet, snow and ice goes to the Velo 4S from Pirelli. Unanimously respected as one of the world’s premium tire producers, the name Pirelli is synonymous with Formula 1, Moto GP, the prestige car sector, and performance-oriented vehicles and motorcycles – but after half a century, the famed Italian manufacturer is back in the world of bikes.

The P Zero Velo 4S is an all-season tire that offers a very good level of puncture protection, comfort, longevity and rolling resistance, but truly excels in adverse conditions. The lightning-bolt style tread pattern features tight angles in the centre, with lateral openings for water drainage. Moving away from the centre, the tread becomes progressively deeper to enhance resilience and give the tire great responsiveness when leaning into bends, even on wet roads.

A great choice if you think things might turn nasty during your Gran Fondo.


The Epic Ride Phenomenon
The Epic Ride Phenomenon
What's the deal with the popularity of big, crazy, hard rides? Like transmuted Grand Fondos, they combine mass participation, stupidly hard riding, and eager smiles all around... READ MORE


Gran Fondo Success: 8 Tips to enjoy and finish the ride
Gran Fondo Success: 8 Tips to enjoy and finish the ride
Remember, a Gran Fondo is not necessarily a race – it is generally a mass participation ride over a long distance where the aim is often to simply finish or finish within a certain time... READ MORE


Benny high res mtbAuthor: Marcus Speed
A former professional athlete, Marcus has a wealth of experience and has been a representative at both State and National level. A certified coach with Cycling Australia, he specializes in strength and endurance conditioning, and takes enormous pride in delivering a program to each athlete that gives them the tools to realise genuine improvement and satisfaction.

Got a question?

ASK (and ANSWER) in our NEW Rider's Forum!

Check It Out 
Now comparing:
    Clear all