For a number of years now gumwall tires have been one of the more popular cycling aesthetic trends. The tires (often referred to as skinwalls, though, technically some will say there is a distinction between the two) give bikes a classic and classy. Traditionally, gumwalls were known for having lower rolling resistance and a suppler feel, as the exposed cotton walls of the tires were softer than the tread.
Though some companies are still making the classic-style tires, as the look has returned in the past years many tires categorized as gumwalls are just standard tires with a tan coloured walls. Regardless of whether you’re looking to buy “true” gumwalls or more puncture-proof tires with a fun colourway, there are many options out there for you to choose from. Here are a few diverse gumwall tires.
Specialized Turbo Cotton
Good for: High-performance
Sizes: 700 x 24mm, 700 x 26mm, 700 x 28mm
The Specialized Turbo Cotton is a classic looking gumwall tire with a loyal following of cyclists. The 320 TPI (threads per inch) cotton casing is extremely supple and reduces road buzz dramatically. These are what some would refer to as true skinwalls, or tanwalls—the side of the tire’s cotton casing is exposed and not completely covered in rubber or another compound. As its name suggests, Specialized’s Gripton compound—the black strip on the tires—grips the ground nicely.
The Turbo Cottons are lightweight and fast, but the cotton casing makes them more prone to puncture. This higher-end tire is good for summer rides and racing.
Schwalbe G-One Ultrabite
Good for: Gravel
Size: 700 x 38mm
These grippy tubeless-ready tires are designed for gravel roads, forest tracks and trails. A play on the classic tan gumwall colour, the Schwalbe G-One Ultrabites are available with olive green sidewalls. The sidewalls are definitely not a thin cotton layer like the Turbo Cotton. The three layer Super Ground casing is paired with ADDIX SpeedGrip for extra grip.
At 530g the tires don’t feel light on smoother roads, but will last a while and keep you upright on slippery corners in muddy conditions.
Goodyear Eagle F1
Good for: Affordable gumwalls
Size: 700 x 25mm, 700 x 28mm
The Goodyear Eagle F1 tires are made with Goodyear’s Graphene Silica road rubber blend of synthetic and natural rubbers. At 210g for the 25mm clincher tires, the Eagle F1s are a lightweight option. The tires have a low rolling resistance but are surprisingly puncture resistant.
The tan coloured walls of the tire are purely aesthetic, and if you look too closely the black line is a little messy. That being said, they’re still and affordable, durable and lightweight option for those looking to add the gumwall look to their ride.
Veloflex ProTour Race
Good for: Tubular wheels
Size: 700 x 23mm, 700 x 25mm
These tubular tires are hand-made in Veloflex’s Italian workshop. The 350 TPI Corespun casing of the Veloflex ProTour Race makes for a supple tire and reduces road buzz.
The tread is made of a natural rubber compound and silica—it’s grippy and speedy. The tire also features an anti-puncture protection belt and an internal latex air chamber for greater elasticity and flexibility.