Road Bike Tires Slick vs Tread

Last Updated on May 4, 2020

This guide has been written by cycling review expert Alex Bristol

Last Updated on May 4, 2020

Finding the perfect tire for your bike can be quite a challenge. Road Bike Tires – Slick vs Tread? This is one main question that plagues the minds of many. There are many aspects that you must look for in your bike tires e.g. rolling resistance, traction, and speed, etc.

Furthermore, slick and tread are also two main things that you must look for in a bike. Thus, we are here to help you decipher between the two and find out which one works better for you. It is better to gain full knowledge about the two types before buying a tire. In this way, you can save yourself from the hassle of a wrong purchase.


Slick vs Tread:

  • Slick Tires:

For a long time now, many people have believed that slick tires offer the most grip, excellent performance, and great speed. The part of the tires that touches the tarmac is what affects factors such as acceleration, braking, and cornering forces. When the forces that are exerted on your tires increase the friction between the tire and the tarmac, is when you can lose traction, and slip.

This can be avoided by increasing the tire to road contact. Slick tires are excellent to do just that. With slick tires, the acceleration, braking, and cornering forces are equally distributed. This reduces friction and improves traction, resulting in a smooth ride.

Furthermore, slick tires deform less because they have a smooth surface and do not have any treads. As a result, the rider experiences less rolling resistance. Moreover, slick tires also maintain more grip even on wet surfaces. Thus, making them a great option to purchase.

  • Tread Tires:

Tread tires are super common. However, unlike slick tires, they do not have a great grip. Treaded tires have little grooves on them that give the illusion of a better grip. In reality, these tires do not have a good grip because due to the grooves, the tire does not completely touch the tarmac. If 10% of the tire surface is tread, it will have a 10% smaller area that will be in contact with the tarmac as compared to slick tires.

Treaded tires can also easily deform due to external forces and even the weight of the bike. This affects the rolling resistance in a negative manner. Moreover, treaded tires also do not maintain a good grip on wet surfaces. This increases your chances of slipping and can result in an unwanted accident.


In conclusion, it can be deduced that slick tires are way better than the treaded ones. They maintain a good grip and reduce the rolling resistance. In addition to this, they work really well on both dry and wet surfaces. Not many people know about slick tires. Therefore, treaded tires are a common commodity. However, these treaded tires may not be great for you on the road. Thus, slick tires are the best.

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