Continental Grand Prix 5000 S TR review

Continental’s 5000 S TR are our benchmark for premium-price, ultimate-performance tubeless road tyres

Continental Grand Prix 5000S TR tubeless road tyre review
(Image: © Guy Kesteven)

Cyclingnews Verdict

Once you’ve wrestled it on, Continental’s GP5000 S TR is a blisteringly quick, super surefooted and blissfully smooth tyre with decent durability all the tubeless advantages on all rim types without extra weight. Very pricey though

Pros

  • +

    Outstandingly fast

  • +

    Surefooted in all conditions

  • +

    Super smooth yet peppy ride

  • +

    Hookless rim compatible

  • +

    Increased sidewall protection

Cons

  • -

    Still a fight to fit

  • -

    Expensive

  • -

    Make sure you use the right pressures

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Continental’s new Grand Prix 5000 S TR road tyre had a pretty much perfect pro introduction, with wins at opposite ends of the race spectrum in both the time trial World Championships and a particularly filthy, attritional Paris–Roubaix cobbled classic.

Luckily for those of us without superhuman power profiles, they're probably both the best road bike tyres and the best tubeless road tyres I've ridden.

Design and aesthetics

Continental has carried over the Black Chili rubber compound with the signature ‘Lazer Grip’  tread fins on the shoulders and a Vectran puncture layer underneath from the 5000 (and the 4000 and previous tyres) but the actual carcass layup is all new. Rather than overlapping the 110TPI (threads per inch) carcass under the tread for a triple-layer ‘330TPI’ wrap, it’s now just 330TPI on the sidewalls and a 220TPI dual-ply under the tread. Significantly, there’s no air-tight liner inside the carcass either which is presumably why they have a TR (Tubeless Ready) suffix not TL (TubeLess). 

This makes the tyres around 20 per cent lighter and at 283g average for our 28mm samples, they’re a very competitive weight. Continental claims this new ‘Omega’ construction increases sidewall protection by 28 per cent over the 5000 TL and it comes in black and tan wall colour options, with no difference in weight or performance. 

The new carcass is also hookless rim-compatible, and I’ve been running the tyres on Zipp 303 Firecrest wheels with zero issues since their launch in October. There’s a full range of road sizes from 25–32mm and sizing is accurate rather than oversized like the TLs. While my heart sank initially when I measured the 700s up against my rims and they looked more like 650Bs, there’s a lot more stretch in them than in the TLs, so while you’ll still need levers for the first install, it’s less of a sweating swear-fest than before. Once on, and with the recommended 30ml of sealant added, they popped into place beautifully with a high volume track pump too.

Continental Grand Prix 5000S TR tubeless road tyre review

The signature ‘Lazer Grip’ tread fins feature on the shoulders (Image credit: Guy Kesteven)

Performance

I wasted no time hitting the road, and I’ve since ridden them through as wide a variation of conditions as possible. This includes fresh, glass-like asphalt in hot and dry conditions to the kind of flooding and storms that made my local roads so memorable when they were used for the 2019 World Championships. For over a year, everywhere I’ve taken them, the Continental GP 5000 S TR tyres have massively impressed. Even against top rubber from Specialized, Schwalbe, Hutchinson, Zipp, Pirelli and Continental’s own 5000 TLs that they replace. Before going into details though, it’s crucial to note that Continental has followed other tyre and wheel brands into recommending much lower usage pressures on the 5000S TR (max in all sizes is only 73 psi/5 bar). So be sure to check your pressures against its online guide or you won’t get anything like the full performance benefits, especially on larger volume sizes. For the record, we settled on 55 front and 58psi on 25mm rims for all-round gains without too much squish out of the saddle.

Continental claims that the GP 5000S TR is 20 per cent faster rolling than the 5000 TL, which is a huge number in terms of tyre performance, but rolling resistance is obviously only a single factor of overall bike speed. While I’ve not had a chance to do any proper scientific testing, they seem to be faster back to back on anecdotal power meter data, particularly at lower speeds (where rolling resistance is more proportionally significant) and on rougher surfaces. Perhaps even more importantly, less inertia in the tyre combined with a brighter feel from the thinner top carcass, definitely results in feeling faster than the muffled and damped feel of the TL. Because (for all the reasons above) the tyre can adapt to the surface, and it’s designed to run lower pressures, it seems even grippier than its already super confident predecessor. The clearer feedback also helps surf the stick-or-slide line. That means even in the nastiest storm wash, wet leaf, low-temperature conditions, I’ve been trusting it to rail hard and stop late. It even stays hooked up on slow, slippery under-tree climbs noticeably better than the TL, and as well as properly sticky, wet weather optimised compounds on tyre brands like Hutchinson. 

While lower weight and brighter performance are often achieved at the expense of wear life, the GP5000S TR tyres are still going strong after six months of very regular use. There’s still plenty of clean tread depth on the tyre, and the Vectran anti-puncture layer has carried me along gravel tracks and through several km of thorn cuttings without any flats or even a spit of sealant. I have had to top up the pressure in the tyres a couple of times though, and from experience Continental’s sealant isn’t the best, especially when it comes to big holes.

Continental Grand Prix 5000S TR tubeless road tyre review

Our sample tyres were 25mm black-wall options (Image credit: Guy Kesteven)

Verdict

Continental’s GP5000S TR is a superb road tyre that's now well established as our benchmark ultra-high-performance choice. It's obviously super fast, with a joyously lively feel that handles all situations from fresh Tarmac to ancient acne backroads with effort-shrinking ease. It's grippy in all conditions, richly communicative and works with hookless rims at low pressures. 

You are paying a high price for all these superlatives though and if you can get your local shop to fit them, you'll be saving yourself a fight.

Tech Specs: Continental Grand Prix 5000 S TR

  • Price: £69.95 / $100.00 / €79.90
  • Weight: 283g (25mm black wall)
  • Width: 29.7mm (28mm on 25mm internal hookless rims)
  • Sizes: 700 x 25, 28, 30 and 32mm. 650 x 30 and 32mm
  • Colours: Black or Tan wall

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