The Terra Speed is Continental's new gravel tyre designed for dry and loose conditions and it certainly works, making the transition between tarmac and gravel barely noticeable. It's grippy, robust and surprisingly supple for such a tough tyre.
- Pros: Great grip on hardpacked dirt and gravel; decent rolling on road; easy to fit
- Cons: Narrow widths in 650B size
I can guess what you're thinking... 'Isn't that just a rebadged Schwalbe G-One?' They certainly do look very similar, and thankfully the performance is on a par too. In fact, I reckon the Terra Speed might just take the overall honours by a whisker.
I tested the Schwalbe G-One Bite Microskin TL-Easy back in 2018 and it's still one of my favourite tyres for the way it works well on the road and when you head off onto gravel tracks and canal paths.
The Terra Speed has similar sized knobbly bits as the G-One Bite (if you want deeper there is the Terra Trail option), and it behaves in exactly the same way.
Grip isn't as good as a true road tyre because you don't have as much rubber on the ground, but you can still push hard into a bend without worrying about the Terra Speed scrabbling for traction, helped by Continental's Black Chilli compound, the super-tacky one found on its road range.
Rolling resistance is pretty good as well. They certainly don't feel sluggish when cruising along, and they aren't so weighty that they feel stodgy when climbing.
Why is all of this so important for an off-road tyre?
Well, most of us don't live with a network of gravel track right outside our door, so unless you want to drive somewhere first you are going to need to ride on the road to get to the gravel, or to string sections of gravel tracks and trails together.
Finding dry gravel sections in one of the wettest Decembers on record has been quite the challenge, but where I have the Terra Speeds work pretty faultlessly. The minimal tread bites just enough that you aren't floating around all over the place and you have enough grip when climbing out of the saddle.
When paired with a wide wheel rim like that found on the Hunt 4-Season Gravel Disc X-Wide wheelset, the 40mm width of the Continentals sits perfectly with the outer row of knobs sitting proudly on the shoulder of the tyre, giving much better cornering grip than I originally expected.
Hardpacked gravel routes like byways and canal paths are where the Terra Speeds are best suited, and in the warmer months they'll work just as well on dry mud trails through the woods and across fields.
They feel fast in all of these conditions and offer a fair amount of feedback too, so even if you do break traction you can easily catch the slide through the bends.
The Terra Speeds are tubeless ready and fitted to a variety of rim widths with ease; they sealed fine straight away too, with no sealant oozing its way out through the sidewalls like you can find with some tyre brands.
My only real criticism of the G-One Bites was that they could be a little fragile and cut relatively easily, but these Contis look and feel to be very robust.
Incorporating the ProTection technology from its other off-road tyres, Continental has given the Terras a thicker tyre casing tread with four 60TPI (threads per inch) plies under the tread and three in the sidewall, for an overall of 240TPI and 180TPI respectively, made up of various materials.
In the real world, that's resulted in not a single mark on them after a couple of hundred miles of off-road riding and probably another hundred more on the road which are mostly strewn with debris at the moment.
The Terra Speeds are available in four sizes, 35mm and 40mm in both 650B and 700C sizes. Many brands' gravel tyres are available in much wider options, especially when it comes to the 650B, so it's a shame not to see something like a 48mm here.
The UK rrp for these tyres is £59.95 and while you can put tyres on some cars for less than this, they aren't massively overpriced compared with the opposition.
When I tested the G-One Bites they were £58.95 and the brilliant Juniper Ridge tyres come in at £60.
Bontrager does offer the GR2 TLR Team Issue tyre for a tenner less at rrp, though, so there is some competition out there.
Overall, the Terra Speeds are an excellent tyre choice if you want speed and grip on a mixture of firmish terrains. Their transition between road and gravel is brilliant, and as long as you stay away from soft mud you'll be impressed by the grip.
Brilliant gravel tyres that grip well on the loose stuff without giving much away on the road
If you're thinking of buying this product using a cashback deal why not use the road.cc Top Cashback page and get some top cashback while helping to support your favourite independent cycling website
road.cc test report
Make and model: Continental Terra Speed
Size tested: 700x40
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, "For your way off-road. For more comfort. For the adventure. Be it the long tour, or the shortcut on your way home. The new gravel Terra series by Continental gets you there. Made to get you over rough and smooth."
The Terra Speed is a very good tyre for mixing terrains.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
The ProTection technology involves a thicker tyre casing tread with 240 TPI over the top and 180 TPI through the side walls. Black Chili compound used in the tread is Conti's tackiest option.
650b x 35mm, 650b x 40mm
700c x 35mm, 700c x 40mm
A tenner more at rrp than Bontrager's GR2 TLR Team Issue, but around the same as rivals from Schwalbe and Rene Herse. You are getting an excellent tyre for your money.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
If you mix multiple terrains in a single ride then these deliver a good all-round package and will be even more suited when spring comes around.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Work really well on the gravel and road.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Wider options in the 650B size would be nice.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
They're right in the ball park against some of the best tyres in the marketplace, like offerings from Schwalbe and Bontrager.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
A great all-round package with decent rolling resistance, plenty of grip and a durable casing for similar money to the best competition out there.
About the tester
I usually ride: This month's test bike My best bike is: B'Twin Ultra CF draped in the latest bling test components
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, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed
With 20 years of road cycling and over 150,000 miles in his legs it's safe to say Stu is happiest when on the bike whatever the weather. Since writing his first review for road.cc back in 2009 he has also had a career in engineering including 3D-CAD design and product development, so has a real passion for all of the latest technology coming through in the industry but is also a sucker for a classic steel frame, skinny tyres, rim brakes and a damn good paintjob.
His fascination with gravel bikes is getting out of control too!