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Aero testing specialists say Continental's new GP 5000 is 4.3 watts faster than the old GP 4000 in aero and rolling resistance testing

Aero specialists Aerocoach have tested the brand new Continental GP 5000 tyre at the Boardman Performance Centre and found it to provide a 4.3 watt improvement over the outgoing GP 4000 at 45kph (28mph).

Continental launched the GP 5000 just over a week ago and made some impressive claims for the new tyre in all key aspects of its performance compared to the previous GP 4000. It claimed the new tyre offers 12% lower rolling resistance, 20% improved puncture resistance, more grip, comfort and less weight.

- First ride: Continental GP 5000 clincher tyre - 500km first impressions

After 500 km of real-world riding, I delivered some first ride impressions based on feel, concluding them to be every bit as good as the tyres they replaced with good grip and low rolling resistance. You can read the full story here.

As their name suggests Aerocoach is an outfit that specialises in aerodynamics, it's headed by Dr B Xavier Disley. Aerocoach put the new tyre through its paces at the recently opened Boardman Performance Centre. Now, disclaimer time: we weren’t present at the test and we can only report the company’s findings, so take it at face value.

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In its test, Aerocoach used the GP 4000 and new GP 5000, along with the GP TT. The tyres were 23mm wide, fitted to a shallow aluminium rim with an internal width of 19.6mm and inflated to 90psi using Vittoria latex inner tubes. The bike used was a Cervelo P2, it only changed the front wheel during the tests.

Aerodyamics

It first conducted an aerodynamic test at 45 kph, a speed chosen because it says it provides “good clean data” from which it can then calculate savings at lower speeds.

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At low yaw angles (the direction of the wind is mostly coming from the front) there is not much to choose between the three tyres. Increase the angle of wind up to 5-degrees and the older GP 4000 actually tests better, but as the yaw angle increases past 6 to 7-degrees the GP 5000 provides noticeable lower aerodynamic drag.

- 29 of the best road cycling tyres

What is behind that change? We can only assume it’s due to the new laser printed shoulder tread pattern of the new GP 5000 tyre.

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Rolling resistance

Rolling resistance is hugely important in a tyre and Continental says the new GP 5000 offers a 12% improvement over the old GP 4000. Aerocoach tested both tyres on rollers measuring speed and power and recording atmospheric conditions and bike and rider weight to calculate the Coefficient of Rolling Resistance (Crr). A lower Crr is better - in that it requires less power to travel at the same speed.

The GP TT, as you might expect of a tyre designed for time trials, proved best in the test, requiring 7.1 watts less power than the GP 4000s when travelling at 45kph. The newer GP 5000 proved to be 4 watts faster than the GP 4000.

Conclusion

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Taking both aerodynamic and rolling resistance tests into account, Aerocoach concluded that the GP TT is the fastest of the three tyres tested, but more importantly, the GP 5000 is, in fact, more aerodynamic and provides lower rolling resistance than the GP 4000 which it replaces, with a 4.3 watt improvement at 45kph. At a more modest, but still fast, 35kph, the difference is still 3.3 watts.

"Given that Continental took so long to bring out an update to the GP4000 we were expecting them to have done their homework. It was interesting to see the profile of the tyre change from the GP 4000 to GP 5000 (the GP 5000 is narrower when installed) but without a hit to rolling resistance, as narrower tyres are generally worse for rolling resistance but better for aerodynamics. Although not as good overall as the GP TT for performance, given the expected better puncture protection it’ll be a good upgrade to a GP 4000," explains B Xavier Disley, Director or Aerocoach.

So it’s clear, if we’re to believe Aerocoach’s testing, that the new Continental GP 5000 tyre is indeed better in terms of rolling resistance and aerodynamics than the tyre it replaces and backs up the German tyre company's claimed improvements.

And the new GP 5000 tubeless tyre should be even faster given it's claimed to offer 5% lower rolling resistance compared to the clincher tyre it's based on.

David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.