Continental’s Grand Prix (GP) 4000 II is widely considered the benchmark road bike tire of today. The German tire specialists have tweaked the Grand Prix design over the past decade, but the general balance of confident grip, fast rolling, puncture protection, ride quality and durability remain - and in the eyes of many cyclists, it can’t be beaten.
New for 2019, Continental has fully revamped the Grand Prix, with the new GP5000 boasting 12% faster rolling, 20% better puncture resistance and a smoother ride over the already wonderful GP4000 II S.
What’s more, the new tire release comes with Continental’s first foray into the world of tubeless road, with a “TL” tubeless version also offered. Tech writer Dave Rome has his hands on the new tubeless version for review and provides some early impressions below.
A Few Details
The clincher model is built around a triple layer 330tpi (threads per inch) casing, with a Vectran puncture resistant belt beneath the tread. Continental keeps with its Black Chilli rubber compound, but that too has been tweaked, most notably with a new laser finish that provides reliable grip straight from the box.
With different design demands, the construction of the tubeless version differs somewhat. The casing is thicker at 180tpi, with Continental claiming the tubeless version is still 5% faster and 5% more puncture resistant (even before adding tire sealant). The German-made tire is treated to a lining that helps with air retention, while the specially formed tubeless bead is given a soft rubber coating to ease inflation.
The new GP5000 Clincher is available in 23, 25, 28 and 32c sizes, claimed to weigh 200g, 215g, 235g, and 290g respectively. For those looking to go tubeless, 25, 28 and 32c options are available, with Rome’s 25c samples weighing a verified 299g a piece.
“I’ve been using the Schwalbe Pro One 25c on my own bike for the past year and really rate them, although I have had a few issues with cuts. I was really excited to see Continental join the tubeless market, and I have high hopes for the GP5000”, explains Rome.
According to Rome, the GP5000s measure close to real size, with his 25c samples measuring at 27mm when mounted to wide 21mm rims. By comparison, his Pro One tires measured closer to 30mm on the same rims.
“Setup of the new GP5000s was rather pain-free. They’re admittedly a very tight fitting tire, but the positive is that I was able to inflate them with a floor pump. I was surprised by how well they held air, whereas many other tubeless tires are quite porous and require lots of sealant.”
According to Rome "There’s lots more riding to do, but so far, they seem to offer everything that’s great about the GP4000 II S, but with the added benefits of tubeless".
After some more information on that all-important contact patch with the road? Check out our Ultimate Guide to Road Bike Tires for all you need to know about the rubber on your ride.