review

Continental Touring Plus tyre

7
£29.95

VERDICT:

7
10
A fantastically tough tyre that, in this narrow size, feels uncomfortably wooden and slow. Go wider!
Weight: 
580g

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Despite its name, the Continental Touring Plus is primarily a tyre for commuting. It's a direct rival to Schwalbe's Marathon Plus. Like that, it has a thick layer of rubber under the tread that makes it impervious to most potential punctures, but also heavy and unyielding to ride on.

The negative characteristics are more noticeable in this 28-622 (700x28) version, the narrowest in the range, because you'll be putting around 85-100psi in the tyres and fitting them to a road bike.

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That's right: a road bike. The Touring Plus is narrower than its nominal size, to the extent that you're unlikely to want to fit it to your tourer or cyclo-cross bike. My vernier calliper says that while the height from the rim is about 28mm, it measures just under 24mm at its widest when fitted to a normal, 14mm-internal road rim.

The tyres fitted comfortably under mudguards and a 57mm-drop brake on my Ridgeback Solo World. In fact, they were narrower than the 25mm Schwalbe Durano Plus tyres they replaced.

But first I had to fit them. It was extraordinarily difficult. Of the scores, perhaps hundreds, of different tyres I've fitted, these were the toughest. In the end, it took: six to eight cable-ties around each rim, squeezing the tyre down into the well; a liberal application of chalk; much swearing; and considerable discomfort. My hands afterwards were like claws.

I've fitted Marathon Plus tyres with nothing more than my fingers and thumbs, albeit in wider sizes. (I remember struggling to fit a 700x25 M+ too.) Plus-style springy rubber under the tread makes any tyre harder to manipulate. The narrower the tyre, the less malleable it is. It's good that the Touring Plus is virtually impregnable, because you'd have a real fight on your hands trying to change a tube at the roadside with winter-chilled hands.

The lack of suppleness and flex in the hand is matched on the road. There's a lifeless, wooden feel to the tyres that transmitted more road vibration to my hands than I was comfortable with. I've not noticed this so much with wider versions of the Marathon Plus – I have 35-349 versions on my Brompton, and I've used 47-559s around town.

They roll better than you might think from the weight. There is, nevertheless, a notable drop in speed, of the order of 1mph compared to the Durano Plus tyres I was using before.

So they're heavier, slower, and unyielding. So far, so bad. On the (Touring) plus side: they are very, very tough, and they're still about one thousand per cent better to ride on than solid tyres. For some purchasers, this puncture resistance will trump everything. They just want to ride a handful of miles to work and not get a flat tyre – ever. These cyclists can cheerfully ignore almost everything I've written, although even they would be better served by a wider version – the extra weight won't be as noticeable in a wider tyre (on a heavier bike), the lack of suppleness will be masked by the bigger air pocket, and they'll be easier to fit.

> Not sure which tyres you need? Check out our guide here

For road.cc readers (and writers), the Touring Plus will suit some bikes... but not the kind of bike that you would ordinarily fit with 24mm tyres. In 42mm on an urban dreadnought like a Pashley Roadster? Sure. In 35mm on a short-hop folding bike (if such a size were produced)? No problem.

On a road bike or audax bike, you're trading away everything – weight, feel, speed, roadbikeyness – for reliability. Before purchasing, be sure that's what you want to do. There are less tough tyres that, for me and you, are a better compromise. If you want a really tough 25-28mm tyre that rolls reasonably well, try Schwalbe's Durano Plus. If you want a reasonably tough tyre that rolls really well, try the Michelin Pro4 Endurance.

Verdict

A fantastically tough tyre that, in this narrow size, feels uncomfortably wooden and slow. Go wider!

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road.cc test report

Make and model: Continental Touring Plus tyre

Size tested: 700x28

Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?

Continental says:

"Extremely tough general commuter with a puncture-proof layer that's virtually impenetrable to stones, glass & thorns

For those riders whose only concern is puncture protection

When changing a tube is really not an option!

Don't be afraid of the puncture demon!"

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

Continental says:

A compact, highly elastic rubber breaker makes the Touring Plus extremely resistant. Stones, glass splinters and thorns have no chance. Whatever you ride over will find it virtually impossible to pierce the thick Security Breaker band under the tread (see diagram).

The layer strength of the breaker is adapted to the rolling movement of the tyre. The Touring Plus remains very comfortable in spite of its protective coating and rolls and steers very lightly.

Tyre has a wire bead.

Sizes: 47-507, 47-559, 28-622, 32-622, 37-622, 42-622, 47-622, 42-635

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
8/10

The dynamo track on the side won't be needed by most, but the reflective sidewalls are a good idea for commuters.

Rate the product for performance:
 
7/10

10/10 for puncture resistance, 4/10 for ride feel. I'm averaging those out.

Rate the product for durability:
 
10/10

Extremely tough, with no signs of wear so far.

Rate the product for weight, if applicable:
 
3/10

The heaviest 24mm-wide pneumatic tyre I have ever encountered, by some margin.

Rate the product for comfort, if applicable:
 
5/10

Okay for short distances. Not great for more than a few miles in this width.

Rate the product for value:
 
8/10

Given the longevity, a good price.

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

I was not afraid of the puncture demon while using these tyres.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Puncture resistance. Reflective sidewalls.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

Ride quality. Fitting difficulty.

Did you enjoy using the product? No

Would you consider buying the product? In a wider size for a different kind of bike, yes.

Would you recommend the product to a friend? In a wider size, yes.

Use this box to explain your score

The rating reflects the 28-622 tyres that I tested. I'd very likely rate wider, lower-pressure versions of this tyre more highly.

Overall rating: 7/10

About the tester

Age: 46  Height: 1.78m  Weight: 64kg

I usually ride: Genesis Longitude  My best bike is: Planet X Pro Carbon Track

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, cyclo-cross, commuting, touring, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mountain biking