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Monday, July 25, 2022

Review: Continental GP5000 700x25

 I've avoided Continental tires on my bicycles for years and years, since every sidewall blowout I saw at the bike club were from Continental tires. I ran Gatorskins for a couple of tours on my tandem, and they were hard wearing tires (I never wore one out before the sidewalls began to look nasty), but Michelin Pro tires were cheaper and didn't have sidewall blowouts.

The good Michelins weren't available in 700x32, so when the GP5000s became available in 700x32 size I mounted them on the triplet before a tour and road them. One tire died from a sidewall blowout, but the other wore through normally. Then Michelin raised the prices on its road tires to a nose-bleed $55/tire from my usual sources (and believe me, as a cheap skate I buy them from far and wide to avoid paying consumer prices), while Continental tires could be had for around $40 each if you shopped carefully.

I ended up with the GP5000 700x25s, and ran one long enough to wear out a tire. First of all these run narrower than the equivalently sized Michelins (which don't matter much except that the Michelins top out at 25mm). Despite abuse, their sidewalls don't seem to be more fragile than the Michelins --- the high end GP5000s are made in Germany, rather than somewhere in Asia, which means that they're constructed differently than the Gatorskin or lower end tires.

I finally wore one out after 4350 miles, 2105 on the front and 2245 on the rear. By comparison, my last Michelin went for 3921 miles (don't know the exact mix of front and rear), so approximately 11% more tire life for a 34% reduction in cost, which makes the GP5000s a much better deal than the equivalent Michelins.

After I run out of 700x25s, I expect to switch to the 700x28s on the Continentals to get wider tires on my single. I would expect increased tire life, except that the tread depth on the 28s appear to be thinner! The 25mm GP5000 have 0.2mm more tread rubber than the 28mm, which explains why the 28mm tires are only 14g heavier than the 25mm tires. By contrast, the 32mm tires are only 0.1mm less thick than the 25mm. Looking at the chart, it looks like the GP5000 25mm tires actually  measure 26mm, so I guess what that means is that the Michelin 25s actually are more like 27mm.

Regardless, the numbers don't lie. The Continental GP5000s are a better deal and at least equivalent quality to the Michelins. I expect to be running these for the foreseeable future. Eventually I might decide that the 45g difference between the 28s and the 32s to be not worth the bother and just run 32mm tires on all the bikes, but I fear is that if the tread lasts too long I'll once again run into the dreaded sidewall blowout.

In any case, I think these will be my standard tires for the foreseeable future. Recommended.

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