It’s taken a long time for Continental to enter the tubeless market. Now the Grand Prix 5000 TL is here and it’s an impressive debut.
It takes as its basis the Grand Prix 5000 (the successor to the 4000 launched last year) and retains the same tech, so that means Conti’s proprietary Black Chili rubber compound and built-in puncture protection in the form of a Vectran strip.
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It differs, however, in its construction: whereas the standard tyre has super-supple 330 TPI (threads per inch) casing (made from three layers of 110 TPI cotton-like material), a tubeless tyre needs a firmer 180 TPI casing (made from three 60 TPI layers).
The tyre also differs with an airtight lining and a bead that’s more pliable than the clincher to aid fitting. Whereas you need to use sealant with any tubeless tyre, Continental recommends using only its RevoSealant (a small bottle is included).
I’ve tried fitting these on Zipp, Roval and Reynolds tubeless rims of varying widths between 19.5mm internal and a wide 24.5mm and have found they are among the easiest to fit so far.
On a couple, I still needed a compressor or tubeless inflator, rather than a track pump, to get them to seat quickly. Nevertheless, they’re impressive.
The 306.3g weight is good when you consider you don’t need a tube. Add in around 40ml of sealant and the weight is around 340 to 350g per wheel. Compare that to a 4000sII clincher (266g and a Continental tube at 75.8g = 341.8g) and things come out roughly the same.
The advantage of the tubeless setup is that you can adjust the pressure and go lower without risking a pinch-puncture; for the brave rider, you won’t have to carry a spare tube when you ride, though I still do.
On the road, the 5000s roll beautifully. The generous width that Continental always gives its tyres is present here and the compound feels suitably sticky, as if the tyre spreads in corners giving you superb traction.
When you’re not in corners and powering along on the flat, the central compound feels firm and means these are quick in a straight line too.
I’ve given the 5000s a few 100 miles of testing so far and think these could be the new tubeless benchmark.