News Review

First ride: Continental GP 5000 – The best racing tyre of all time?

The Continental GP 5000 is here. A good 13 years have passed since the release of the Continental Grand Prix 4000. Was it worth the wait? What makes the GP 5000 better than its predecessor? We headed to Tenerife for you to test the brand new tyre out of Korbach.

Not only the vulcanising machines at Continental’s headquarters have been smoking, but its engineers have also been hard at work. We’ve already taken a look at the German tyre manufacturer’s factory and were amazed at how many steps it takes for the black round things to end up in the square shipping boxes. From now on, a new product will be passing through the hands of Conti’s employees: the long-awaited Grand Prix 5000.

The goal of the renowned, German tyre manufacturer could not have been less understated: it wanted to improve the GP 4000 S II, according to its own estimations the best road tyre to date. The new tyre was to shine as a true all-round road tyre with less rolling resistance, higher mileage and better puncture protection. Although the weight is not completely negligible, it didn’t play an important role in the development. What was really important, however, was that the new tyre is tubeless compatible. For this reason, you’ve got the choice between new Continental GP 5000 with tubes or the tubeless GP 5000 TL.

Continental GP 5000 and GP 5000 TL in detail

Continental GP 5000 Continental GP 5000 TL
700C widths 23, 25, 28 and 32 mm 25, 28 and 32 mm
650b widths 25 and 28 mm 28 mm
Weight 208 g in 700x25c 300 g in 700x25c
TPI 330 180
Price € 62.90 € 74.90
Availability In stores now In stores now

For the new Grand Prix 5000, Continental has reached deep into its bag of tricks, making use of four special technologies. Named ACTIVE COMFORT TECHNOLOGY, the construction of the tyre has been designed to provide increased damping, which is intended to provide a more comfortable ride. LAZER GRIP is what the lasered tread pattern is called, designed to provide better cornering grip on the shoulder tread. Besides all the technologies, we haven’t overlooked the change in the design of the tread, making it look much more dynamic. The BLACK CHILLI COMPOUND is Continental’s in-house “Made in Germany” rubber compound, and although the name sounds familiar, over the years, the compound has evolved changed fundamentally. A lot of attention has been paid to improving the grip, rolling characteristics and mileage of the new Continental GP 5000. In addition, the so-called VECTRAN BREAKER, with its special synthetic fabric, is supposed to provide the tyre with even better puncture protection. The Grand Prix 5000 Tubeless shares all technologies of its clincher brother, but has an additional inner liner and bead optimised for tubeless systems.

Continental GP 5000 Clincher
Continental GP 5000 Tubeless

The bottom line is that the new GP 5000 supposedly rolls 12% faster than the GP 4000 S II, is 20% more puncture-resistant and 10 g lighter, all while being more comfortable to ride. Sounds good! But is any of that actually noticeable on the road? We grabbed the 700x25c GP 5000 Tubeless and took it for a ride on the roads around Mount Teide.

Continental GP 5000 TL field test

Before fitting the new tyre, you’ll immediately notice that the casing of the new GP 5000 is soft and pliant. The first impression is one of a very high-quality tyre. There are no bits of rubber protruding beyond the edges or irregularities in the material. Details like the discreet wear indicators serve as a smart and very useful safety feature for the mile munchers amongst us.

Now to get out on the road! Here, the Grand Prix 5000 TL reveals itself as a fast and safe tyre. What surprised us the most, however, is not the low rolling resistance and efficiency, but how extraordinarily comfortable the tyre is. Hold on… A road racing tyre that is comfortable? That’s right! On uneven roads, the GP 5000 reminds us very much of tyres with a cotton casing. And it is precisely this aspect that makes the tyre and thus also the rider so fast. As we know, the rider accounts for more than 75% of the wind resistance; whoever has the more aerodynamic position on the bike is faster! And that’s where the new GP 5000 can help. The tyre’s excellent damping properties allow you to endure an aerodynamic seating position for longer. So: comfort equals speed – a concept proven by the Trek Madone SLR 9 Disc.

The available grip is evenly distributed over the tread of the tyre, providing sufficient grip even when steeply tilted into a corner. For a 25 mm wide tyre, steering the GP 5000 feels very agile. Cornering grip is immensely important, but in times of powerful disc brakes, braking grip is extremely important too. Here the GP 5000 offers sufficient reserves and also allows hard braking manoeuvres. We tried deliberately locking the rear wheel – a scenario that should normally be avoided at all cost – and found that the GP 5000 breaks out in a predictable manner and remained easy to control, especially as it regained grip. In hectic situations in which the rider over brakes, the tyre stays calm and composed – we like!

Conclusion

With the Grand Prix 5000, Continental presents an all-round road tyre – now also with the option of going tubeless. Our first ride with the GP 5000 has shown that its extraordinary comfort helps it to be fast. In addition, its predictable behaviour at the limits makes it a very good choice for beginners as well as privateers. We will have to wait and see how puncture-proof the tyre really is and how the new Continental performs in direct comparison to its competitors. We’re excited to find out!

For more information head to www.continental-reifen.com

Words: Benjamin Topf Photos: Simon Hedman, Continental

About the author

Benjamin Topf

Leonberg based GRAN FONDO editor Ben is a dedicated pre-afterparty-event reporter and wannabe whisky aficionado.
Talking bikes since Kindergarten and sourcing experience from his cycling industry PR & social media background; Ben takes on sophisticated multi-clause sentences without avoiding a purely subjective judgement. Sarcasm is not his thing.