Continental Grand Prix 5000 S TR 700 x 25C in review – What can tubeless tires do on the road? | GRAN FONDO Cycling Magazine

2022-05-19 09:44:03 By : Mr. danny ma

Fast, comfortable, puncture-proof – Continental aim to combine all these features at the highest level with the Grand Prix 5000 S TR. Not just that, they should also be durable and offer excellent cornering grip. Have Continental bitten off more than they can chew? To find out, we put the high-performance road tire to the test.

Continental have been developing and producing tires in Germany for over 100 years. But the Hanover-based brand aren’t just one of the longest standing manufacturers of bicycle tires, they’re also the most popular in the drop-bar sector. It’s no wonder that the company won the coveted GRAN FONDO Best Brand Award in the tire category of our big 2021 reader survey for a second time in a row, with over 11,000 participants from 91 countries. With the launch of the Grand Prix 5000 S TR last year, Continental replaced the first-generation tubeless Grand Prix 5000 S TL tire. The new model is also designed to be an all-round performance tire that combines minimal rolling resistance with a high level of comfort and puncture protection. The fact that it’s fast has already been proven at various race victories in the professional peloton, including prestigious events like Filippo Ganna becoming the 2021 world champion in the individual time trial and Sonny Colbrelli winning the epic mud battle of Paris-Roubaix 2021. But what benefits can the Continental Grand Prix 5000 S TR offer mere mortals like us? Read on for all the details and test results.

Continental resort to several technologies for the Grand Prix 5000 S TR to maximise its performance. The basis of this is the BlackChili rubber compound, which was specially adapted for the Grand Prix 5000 S TR. This should give the tire its key characteristics, promising superior rolling resistance, maximum cornering grip and high mileage. The tire is constructed of two separate casing layers, one of which is folded double along the sidewalls. According to Continental, this allows them to get rid of the third, sealing rubber layer, which saves about 50 g compared to the previous Grand Prix 5000 S TL model. Moreover, this design is said to offer increased puncture protection on the sidewalls. The tread pattern on the shoulders of the Continental Grand Prix 5000 S TR is produced by means of a laser, using the so-called Lazer Grip process. The micro siping is intended to improve the cornering grip. Continental also aim to defuse vibrations and provide more comfort by incorporating their Active Comfort Technology into the tire’s construction. The Grand Prix 5000 S TR is tubeless-ready, so it can be used with or without a tube. However, Continental recommend going tubeless. In addition, the tire can be fitted to a rim with flanges or a hookless model. The Continental Grand-Prix 5000 S TR costs € 79.90 per tire. See the table below for all available sizes:

We put the Continental Grand Prix 5000 S TR to the test, covering well over 3,000 km in fickle spring weather. We fitted the 700 x 25C tires to a set of brand new DT Swiss ERC 1100 DICUT 35 wheels (review here), which have an internal rim width of 22 mm and flanges. We tried them with tubes and tubeless and experimented with different pressures. It should be noted that the 700 x 25C tires inflate to just under 27 mm wide on this wheelset.

Whether with or without a tube, the Grand Prix 5000 S TR sits very tightly on the rim, so getting it on takes a lot of effort and dexterity, especially with rims that have wide flanges. You won’t get far without tire levers. If you’ve been storing the tire in your cold garage, you should give it some time to warm up to room temperature; otherwise fitting it will be near impossible. When using it with a tube, you’ll have to be very careful not to pinch it while fitting the tire. You’ll also have to pump the tire up very hard to get the bead properly seated. However, it’s very secure once on. On the other hand, you shouldn’t have any problems setting it up tubeless. You can get the tire inflated with a regular floor pump and about 50 ml tubeless sealant, sealing up very quickly – thumbs up for that! We must note at this point that the ease of the tubeless setup depends heavily on the respective wheel/tire combination. To find out more, check out our guide to fitting tubeless tires here.

So, how does the Continental Grand Prix 5000 S TR ride? Depends on whether you’re running tubes or not. With a tube, there is hardly any difference from the conventional Grand Prix 5000. As such, it offers a good compromise between cornering grip and rolling resistance. Weighing in at approximately 80 kg for the rider and bike, we settled on about 7 bar as the optimum tire pressure. Running them like this, comfort was limited despite the Active Comfort Technology. If you remove the tubes and set the tires up tubeless, it’s a different story altogether. You’ll be able to run significantly lower pressures, though we wouldn’t recommend going below 5 bar for the same weight. The two most noticeable benefits are more comfort and less rolling resistance. When set up tubeless, the Continental Grand Prix 5000 S TR performs brilliantly in both respects, offering a level of comfort that we wouldn’t have expected from a 25 mm tire. It completely absorbs vibrations and small bumps, while noticeably defusing bigger impacts. It rolls significantly faster at the same power input than with a tube, and it’s generally a very fast rolling tire.

As a result of the lower tire pressure, the contact surface to the ground becomes larger, which leads to improved cornering grip. While the cornering grip was excellent with a tube, you’ll have to push the tire very far with the tubeless setup to get it to slide out, though this comes at the cost of agility and precision to a slight degree. Grip decreases in wet and cold conditions, but not more than expected, easily keeping up with the competition. We were absolutely satisfied with the durability of the Grand Prix 5000 S TR: after about 3,000 km, they didn’t show any significant wear and tear. In terms of puncture protection, the tire is among the best on the market, joining the ranks of its predecessors. We didn’t have a single puncture during the test, neither with nor without a tube, even with the occasional gravel excursions. Unfortunately, you’ll have to wait a bit longer to find out how the Continental Grand Prix 5000 S TR fares in direct comparison to the best tubeless tires on the market. For the moment, however, we can draw a clear conclusion.

The Continental Grand Prix 5000 S TR is a high performing all-round tire, scoring top marks for both comfort and efficiency, especially when set up tubeless and even with a narrow 25 mm tire. After working up a sweat to get the tire on the rim, you’ll be rewarded with outstanding cornering grip and first-class puncture resistance. For all-road use and regular excursions on compact gravel, we recommend going with the widest version of the tire that will fit into your frame.

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Words: Tobias Hörsch Photos: Benjamin Topf

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