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review

Continental GP5000 S TR

9
£69.95

VERDICT:

9
10
Tubeless ready, hookless ready, race ready – an excellent tyre
Speedy (same as older TLs)
Dry and wet weather grip
More robust sidewalls than TL
Compatible with hookless rims
Can still be a pig to fit on some rims
Weight: 
250g

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The Continental GP5000 S TR tyre is tubeless ready and compatible with hookless rims. They're very quick – as quick as the previous 5000 TL version – the grip in both the dry and wet is excellent, and side wall protection has been bolstered. However, like their predecessors, they do still appear to be a bit of PITA to fit to certain rims. And they'll set you back a pretty penny.

The GP5000 S TR is a direct replacement for the GP5000 TL that was launched, and tested by us, back in 2018. It was and still is one of the fastest tyres on the market, but Continental claims this new one is 20 per cent faster, 50g per tyre lighter, has improved sidewall protection, and is now compatible with hookless rims.

> Buy this online here

The new TR is available in 25, 28, 30 and 32mm widths (700C), and 30 and 32mm (650B), in either black or with 'transparent' sidewalls, which is basically a dark tan.

Here on test we have the 25mm black version, and on the road.cc Scales of Truth one weighed 245g and the other 255g, averaging out at exactly the 250g claimed weight. That is indeed 50g lighter than the TL version in the same size, so no marketing BS going on there.

You might be asking yourself just how Continental has managed to drop 17 per cent of the tyre's weight and not expect to risk longevity or durability. The previous tyre was 'fully' tubeless, with a layer of butyl rubber inside the tyre to keep the air in. The new version is 'tubeless-ready', so you have to use sealant. However, most people end up using sealant on fully tubeless tyres anyway, as it seals small punctures, so it's no great disadvantage that it's now compulsory. And losing the butyl layer means Continental gets to save some precious grams.

Continental recommends adding 30ml per tyre unless, of course, you want to run tubes in them – which kind of defeats the point and the extra price of a tubeless tyre, but is useful in an emergency.

Fitting

Continental also claims that the new tyres are easier to fit. As someone who's fitted hundreds of tyres over the years, I'd like to think I'm a dab hand, but the outgoing TLs caused me plenty of headaches – and broken tyre levers too on certain wheels. These new ones slipped easily onto a set of tubeless Scribe Race-Ds (19mm internal width), but when it came to a late-season race I thought I'd switch them to a pair of Hunt 50 Carbon Wides (also 19mm internal width). Without help from a mate, I don't think I'd have got the tyres on, so there are still clearly a few issues with certain combos.

Another thing to note is that this 25mm tyre is only recommended on rims up to 21mm wide internally. This meant I couldn't fit them to the hookless Zipp 404s I was testing at the same time, and will limit the number of modern rims you can use it on. Realistically, most people who have wide rims (21mm internal+) are likely to be choosing a 28mm tyre anyway, so this isn't too much of a problem as those, and all the wider sizes, are rated for use with up to 25mm internal width rims.

Once on, they seated just fine, and after a squirt of sealant and a quick spin round the block, didn't leak air. Some lightweight tubeless tyres, especially supple ones, have particularly porous sidewalls, and you can see the sealant coming through. I had no issues with the TRs, and they could be left for a few days in between rides without reinflation.

I was able to fit the TRs with just a track pump, no shock pump or canister required. This is an improvement over the old set on the same rims, which could be thanks to the sidewalls retaining their shape better – more on that in a minute.

Since then, I have also tried fitting the tyres to a set of Fulcrum Racing 5s (20mm internal width), which installed and inflated tubeless with no issues, but I was unable to get them on my clincher Roval Rapide CLX wheelset (21mm internal), which have always struggled with Continental tyres.

On the road

So, what are they like to ride? The old ones were some of the fastest tyres that money could buy, and these new TRs have already been ridden by Fillipo Ganna to world championship TT success, although I have a sneaky suspicion his legs might have played a part in that too.

Thanks to some speedy work by Bicycle Rolling Resistance and Aerocoach, there's already published data that implies they might be a tiny bit quicker, but the claim of a 20 per cent improvement is possibly exaggerated.

They do still outperform nearly all the competition bar the superfast Vittoria Corsa Speed TLR and Schwalbe TT TLE, so are certainly no slouches. Bicycle Rolling Resistance found that they were 0.1W slower than the TL version at 29kph and Aerocoach found they were quicker but only by 1.2W at 45kph; even if we take the better result, that's still only 4%, although that's not to be scoffed at – making something so quick even quicker is no mean feat.

Fast, grippy and supple

Out on the road they certainly feel fast and, just like the TLs, grippy in both dry and wet conditions. All the way back to the original GP4000, Continental's Black Chilli rubber compound has found a wonderful balance between grip and speed with very little compromise, and these are no different.

One thing that has changed is the carcass layup. Whereas the old ones had three layers of 60tpi material, these have two layers of 110tpi casing. It's not quite as simple as adding up the tpi of each layer to get the overall value, although Continental does seem to flirt around with a 220tpi number quite a lot.

In theory, the TR should be more supple than the outgoing TL tyre, but more rigid than the non-tubeless version which gets three plies of 110tpi. In practice, they're lovely tyres to ride. Unlike some of the first tubeless tyres to hit the market, these don't feel stiff, and in back-to-back tests I preferred the ride on these to the Goodyear Eagle F1 Tubeless. I still don't think they're as quite as supple as my favourite race day tyres, the Vittoria Corsa Speed TLR, but neither are they quite as fragile, and are still in the upper echelons of the many tyres I've used.

Sidewall protection

The '28% more sidewall protection' stems from the fact that there are now three layers of material in this area rather than the previous two. As an owner of a set of 32mm GP5000 TLs that I optimistically took on a short stretch of light gravel, resulting in them now being full of gel wrappers and resigned to tube use, this is a welcome addition as it did seem to be an area of weakness.

Pinch the centre of the tyre, though, and it does feel thin! But this thickness has been lost from the carcass itself and not the tread, so they shouldn't wear out quicker than the TL or non-tubeless versions. After 1,500km on the tyres, the markers on the rear are beginning to show signs of wear, which is consistent with my experience of other GP5000s in that they wear quicker than some of the durable 'everyday' tyres, such as Hutchinson Fusion 5 Performance or Michelin Power, but not as quick as race/TT tyres such as the Pirelli P Zero Race TLR SL or those Vittoria Corsa Speeds that I keep harking on about. Not bad, seeing as they're far closer in performance to the latter two.

Punctures can often be down to luck, or a lack of it, but it's positive that the tyres don't look cut up and I haven't had any noticeable punctures that the sealant hasn't coped with during testing, despite it being hedge cutting season in the Mendips.

Value and conclusion

The TRs have an rrp of £69.95 which is the same as the outgoing TL version, although as they've been out a few years, those can now be found for less. At rrp they're around the same as others – the Michelin Power road tubeless, for example, will now set you back £68.99, and they're not as quick, while the Vittoria Corsa Speed TLRs have gone up to £69.99 since we tested them, and will keep up but won't last as long.

> Buyer’s Guide: 46 of the best road bike tyres

Overall, Continental appears to have achieved most of what it set out to do. The GP5000 TL was already a great tyre and yet this one is lighter with stronger sidewalls, still rides brilliantly, grips well, and despite not appearing to be as quite as quick as Conti says, is still one of the fastest on the market. You can now use it on more wheels than ever thanks to hookless compatibility, and the maximum internal rim width it fits has been upped. They offer race tyre performance, but can handle a season of racing, and some. As long as you can actually get them on your wheels, they're a great buy, even at the high cost.

Verdict

Tubeless ready, hookless ready, race ready – an excellent tyre

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road.cc test report

Make and model: Continental GP5000S TR

Size tested: 25mm

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: "The new Grand Prix 5000 S Tubeless Ready: Lighter, faster and with stronger sidewalls. The new standard in road tubeless ready technology. Ride faster, more comfortable and with increased puncture protection. Made to make you better."

I agree with all of that; it's best suited to riders looking for one of the fastest tyres out there with durability good enough to ride every day.

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

From Continental:

Available sizes: 700x25,28,30,32

650x30,32

Available colours: Black/Black, Black/Transparent

Weight(25mm): 250g

TPI: 2/220

Compound: BlackChilli

Technology: Vectran breaker, lasergrip, ACT

Max rim(25mm): 21TSS/C

Max Pressure (Hookless 25mm): 73psi

Max Pressure (Hooked 25mm): 109psi

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
8/10

Well made.

Rate the product for performance:
 
10/10
Rate the product for durability:
 
9/10
Rate the product for weight (if applicable)
 
9/10
Rate the product for comfort (if applicable)
 
8/10
Rate the product for value:
 
6/10

They are expensive at RRP, but in the same ballpark as other tubeless tyres, as mentioned in the review, and will likely last for more miles than other tyres this quick.

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

Fast, grippy and durable – an excellent training, race and sportive tyre.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

They're fast and yet you don't have to reserve them for race day.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

Fitting to some rims.

How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?

As mentioned in the review, they are expensive but around the same as the competition, which can't match the combination of performance and durability.

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

They're a brilliant tyre – as quick as the very best and yet durable enough to be used every day. The price is high but you'll get more miles out of these than other tyres this capable. The weight is now very competitive, hookless compatibility is a bonus, and grip remains impressive – the only black mark is for being a pain or nearly impossible to fit to some rims.

Overall rating: 9/10

About the tester

Age: 23  Height: 6ft  Weight: 74kg

I usually ride: Specialized venge pro 2019  My best bike is:

I've been riding for: Under 5 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo cross, commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, mtb,

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