Continental GP 5000 TL goes tubeless, finally! New, modern benchmark road tire?

first_imgFor the past few years we’ve seen almost every tire maker come to the realization that tubeless makes an all around higher performance road tire. Having held a top spot in the premium road clincher market almost since the GP 4000’s debut fourteen years ago, Continental have finally adopted road tubeless with the next generation of their all-around Grand Prix tire. The new GP 5000 TL claims improvements in cornering grip, long-term durability, ride quality & puncture protection with the now obvious real world rolling resistance improvements of road tubeless. Oh and you can also get a much improved GP 5000 clincher too.Continental GP 5000 TL performance road tubeless tiresContinental readily admits that they are late to the road tubeless party. Super late, in fact. It seems having a tire that is almost universally praised as being an all-around road market leader can make you a bit complacent. But Conti haven’t just been resting on their road tire laurels, they have been working on developing a solution that they are super happy with. While tire-rim fit has varied from brand-to-brand since the real start of road tubeless, Continental wasn’t happy with simply adapting the low pressure tubeless solution that works for mountain bikes to their premium road market. They don’t want long time GP 4000 fans to buy a tire, fight with tubeless setup, possibly give up, and lose faith in a long-time trusted tire.Conti’s whole marketing ploy around the new tubeless tires is that it needs to just work. Tires should disappear beneath you, and we shouldn’t need to worry about our tires or have to stop your ride to fix flats. The marketing copy says that once you get onto the bike, “It’s your time” to ride, trouble-free. But they readily admit (and kind of accept) that also, “It’s about time!”So Continental developed an all-new TL tubeless construction that they promises will work more easily & more securely that pretty much anything on the market. Plus, they have done it in a tire better in almost every way than their already industry benchmark GP 4000 SII. And it is still entirely handmade in Germany.Continental GP 5000 TL tubeless road tire – Tire Tech DetailsThe heart of making the tubeless tire is a fully sealed butyl inner liner to the 3-layer/180tpi casing, and the large squared off bead that promises a fast and easy seal. We haven’t had a chance to mount one up (if fact, we are publishing this article a day early since another organization failed to respect an agreed upon embargo), but will report back when we get a chance.This is not a tubeless-ready tire, but a fully tubeless tire. The sealed casing is totally air tight. But Continental still says you need to run the tire with tubeless sealant, both to ensure maximum flat protection and to ensure a seal between the rim to bead interface.But it isn’t just a new bead, the Gran Prix 5000 TL is almost completely redesigned, improving on most every characteristic. Continental’s signature Black Chili rubber compound has been remixed for improved rolling resistance and better mileage, while also maintaining grip. The Vectran puncture protection layer has evolved to be more resistant without affecting the flexibility of the casing.The signature tread pattern on the tires shoulder has been remade, by laser etching the mold (instead of the previous machined grooves in the mold) to create a more porous texture to the rubber for greater surface area and more grip while cornering. Conti also assures us that the modified should detailing maintains the same aero performance, that we have personally witnessed in the wind tunnel helps create a turbulent boundary layer of air, improving aerodynamics especially of deeper aero wheels at increasing yaw angles.Continental GP 5000 TL tubeless road tire – Active Comfort TechAnd unseen inside the casing, but probably the biggest performance improvement in the tire is a new tech called Active Comfort. Essentially by providing more stiffness and controlled damping in the sidewall areas while leaving the portion of the casing under the tread more flexible, Continental promises the ability to run lower tire pressure to maximize comfort & grip, while retaining the stability of higher pressures while cornering at high speed.We think that this Active Comfort tech could be the standout improvement in the new GP 5000 (and at least one Conti engineer agreed). It’s also quite similar to some of the lighter enduro MTB tire tech we seen lately – like in the new BLCK DMND tires from Specialized.  That will especially be the case in the wider sizes available in the new tire, where lower pressures will improve grip, comfort & rolling resistance, now possibly without sacrificing stability & control during hard cornering.Conti GP 5000 TL tubeless road tire – Tire Sizes, Weights & PricingSpeaking of larger volume tires, it was a pleasant surprise to see that Conti has gone wide with the new GP 5000 TL. Remember that they still think of this as a high performance road racing tire. It is rated for up to more than 100psi for the narrower versions, and should only be installed on hooked bead tubeless ready rims. But realistically should be run at much lower levels to get the full benefits of going tubeless. (That also means this type of road tubeless tech for high pressure applications will find its way into other Conti road tires. But gravel & cross tires will likely stick with the lower pressure solutions developed for mountain bikes.)The 75€ tubeless GP 5000 TL is available in 700c x 25, 28 & 32mm versions (300, 345 & 375g, respectively). There’s also a 650b x 28mm version (330g claimed) specifically developed to bring high performance road to smaller riders who get an uncompromised fit & handling on the smaller wheeled bikes (like we’ve seen most notably from Canyon.) Continental chose not to produce more narrow tubeless versions to ensure secure fit and performance with the current crop of wider internal width tubeless rims on the market.The result of that tech is that the new tubeless GP 5000 TL promises incrementally better performance than the new clincher GP 5000. Conti says the tubeless version has 5% less rolling resistance and 5% better puncture resistance, before you even account for tubeless sealant.Continental GP 5000 high performance clincher road tiresAs we alluded to from the start, this is a re-imagining of the GP 4000 SII, a tire that many call the benchmark of performance for all-around road clinchers. So almost all of those tech updates also apply to the clincher GP 5000 too.The claimed performance updates for the GP 5000 clincher vs. the benchmark old GP 4000 SII are pretty sizable: 12% less rolling resistance, 20% better overall puncture resistance, 10g lighter, and with the improved comfort offered by the Active Comfort casing. (And remember, the tubeless version is even better on rolling & puncture resistance.)If those claims are backed up in real world riding, the new GP 5000 tires are set to reclaim their position as a modern benchmark performance road tire for all sorts of riding & racing. Faster rolling & better puncture resistance than comparable tires on the market, while also being near the lightest as well. Conti says they’ve tested the new GP 5000 TL & GP 5000 against tubeless & clincher tires from the likes of Bontrager, Hutchinson, Maxxis, Pirelli, Specialized, Schwalbe & Vittoria, and they seem pretty comfortable that the GP 5000s are going to set the new standard again for years to come.From the outside they look virtually identical and share the same updated Black Chili rubber, the new Lazer Grip micro texturing, and even the Active Comfort stability tech inside the casing.But inside the differences are more obvious. The tubeless GP 5000 TL has the ribbed inner butyl liner layer that seals air inside, while the tube-type GP 5000 has the same patterned web that controls the interface with an inner tube.At it’s core, the construction of the clincher GP 5000 is similar to the tubeless version, without the additional liner or special, blocky tubeless bead. The result is a tire that is lighter and uses a more fine 3-ply/330tpi casing, but still doesn’t quite match tubeless for lower rolling resistance.The clincher is available in a slightly wider range of more narrow sizes, suited also to fit the more narrow road rims that are still used on many tube-type bikes. The clincher GP 5000 comes in 700c x 23, 25, 28 & 32 (200, 215, 235 & 290g, respectively) as well as 650b x 25 & 28mm (claimed 205 & 230g). The new Conti GP 5000 clinchers all share the same 63€ recommended retail price.As a running change, Continental has ended production of the GP 4000 for several months, and you will only find the new GP 5000 once existing stock in the market is exhausted.Conti GP 5000 TL tubeless & GP 5000 clincher road tires – AvailabilityAll of the tubeless and clincher Conti GP 5000 TL & GP 5000 tires have been in production for months – entirely developed & handmade in Germany in-house by Continental. They are available from tomorrow November 8 through all of the typical retail channels. We’ve heard that warehouses are stocked, and many of the bigger distributors in Europe & the Americas already have the new tires waiting to go. But Conti does anticipate high demand for some of the tubeless versions, so order fast if you really want to ride them

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