* Prices may differ from that shown
To get to my day job I have a 6 mile trip everyday and I have to admit that of a morning it takes me about 25 minutes to get there in the car- However it takes me exactly the same amount of time to get to work on bike. The local ring road isn't the nicest place to ride- though it does have a cycle track set back off the road which provides added safety. With that in mind I decided to adapt my spare cyclo cross bike for use on the cycle paths during the cold winter mornings and nights of riding home
Those of you that have riden on cycle paths probably understand that they are not always the best road surface and where I live they have in many places been added as an afterthought. Many of our cycle paths are just adapted pavements so often end up covered in gravel, damp fallen leaves and broken glass and cross a large number of road junctions. This provides a challenge almost as bad as motorists to a cycle commuter.
On a cold wet winters night on the way home from work you don't want to have a puncture so for that reason I purchased a pair of Continental Sport Contact tyres.
Many people will know Continental as a car and truck tyre manufacturer however they also produce bicycle tyres. The company has been running for over 100 years and all its testing and development is based in Korbach Germany. They also pride themselves on being 'Handmade in Germany'
The company is involved in cycling at grassroots up to professional sponsorship level and is constantly striving to develop better products for the consumer at all levels.
Road Bike Tyres
These tyres are for racing style bikes that use hooked rims (Also known as Clincher); these are the most common fitting and hook onto the rim requiring an inner tube inside. The right choice of tyre is extremely important. Lighter tyres will accelerate quickly, but will be more prone to punctures so getting a balance is extremely important. In some cases puncture resistance is more important such as for touring type tyres
The Continental Sport Contact
The Sport Contact has been designed as a touring tyre for such uses as long distance Audax events and would be considered ideal for members of the CTC (Cyclists Touring Club). It is designed to be extremely puncture resistant yet offer a low rolling resistance comparable to Continental's Road specific tyres.
Usage for Road/City/ Touring
Recommended Tyre Pressure: 80/105 psi.
You will require a cycle specific 'Track Pump' to be able to reach these recommended pressures. I personally weigh 76 kg and use the tyre at around the 100 psi mark.
Bead: Wire bead (4 wires)
Lower price tyres use a rigid wire bead. More expensive tyres often use a folding Kevlar bead which makes the tyre lighter, more flexible, however more expensive. If you are not looking for a specifically lightweight tyre then a wire bead is perfectly acceptable
Tyre Weight (g): 430 g
Generally wire beaded cycle tyres are above this weight. A lightweight racing tyre will usually weigh around 200 grams. Lighter tyres allow for quicker acceleration. 430 g is a sensible weight for a specific city and touring tyre as it includes an exceptionally good puncture resistance band.
Puncture protection: Vectran technology (Safety System Guarantee)
The tyre is built with a hybrid aramid/polyamide belt under the tread where lightweight and flexible polyamide is used as the main material to keep rolling resistance low with filaments of aramid (kevlar) spread over this belt to give strong while lightweight puncture protection.
On the road in 6 months I have not suffered a single puncture on my commute. I find this extremely good and the tyres are therefore doing exactly the job I bought them for.
The next version up in the range (the Top Contact) offers a 1 year guarantee against failure in the event that a foreign object punctures or cuts into your tyre Continental will replace the tube and the tyre at absolutely no cost to the user.
Tread Compound and Characteristics.
The compound that has beenused for the Sport Contact uses a mix of carbon and silica as the main compound agents. Carbon is added to increase tread life whilst the silica (rubber) boosts grip levels. The tread uses a high concentration of natural rubber, giving superior wet grip when compared to synthetic compounds and it includes moderate grooves in the tread to guide water away from the contact area for safe grip on wet roads.
I have found the grip to be extremely good in both wet and damp conditions on smooth roads and the tyre feels fast which is always a good thing to a racer. The only real negative I have found is that due to the relatively smooth tread I find it lacks 'bite' when the tracks become gravely.
I have recently changed to a set of Vittoria Randoneur Tyres and find that they are knobbly enough to cope with a small amount of gravel on paths. I have now swapped the Sport Contact tyres to my winter/ commute bike and will continue to use them throughout the coming summer on my road commute to work.
After 6 months worth of use in which I have riden Over 1000 miles the tyres are still in very good condition and should last me more than another 6 months. They have a small number of minor cuts in the tread which I feel is lower than I would expect from the riding I have done over the winter.
20", MTB & 700c sizes available
Great for 26 inch wheel Mountain bikes and Road/ Touring 700c size wheels too
Widths range from 28mm up to 42 mm
Value for Money
Currently for sale through online retailers Wiggle and Chain Reaction Cycles at a price of £18.95 (plus cash back of around 3-5% on purchases if you go through Topcashback.co.uk to their sites.
You can purchase cheaper Touring type tyres from around 8-10 pounds however these are often much heavier to achieve a similar level of puncture resistance and the extra weight can be felt while pedalling. I paid £21.95 each for 2 tyres 6 months ago from my local bike shop including a free inner tube which I felt was good value as most inner tubes now cost around £4- especially Continental's own brand ones. I also prefer to buy a few items on a regular basis from my local bike shop as they are an excellent source for knowledge and servicing if anything goes wrong that you cannot fix.
A great long lasting anti puncture tyre that could be used as a training tyre. They offer extremely good value for money however their smooth tread is not ideal over gravely cycle paths- One for mainly road and smooth track use.
This review has also been posted on ciao.co.uk under my profile with the same username
As a rider, wouldn't it be great if one bike could do everything? Unfortunately, if you want great performance in one area, you have to make sacrifices in others. For example to achieve grip off road you need nobbly tyres with deep tread. These are great on the rough stuff but take them on a smooth road and they really slow you down, providing too much resistance and sapping your energy.
In steps the continental sport contact.
Modeled after a traditional road tyre, they are almost completely slick offering superb traction on smooth surfaces, especially in dry conditions. Able to comfortably take 100psi they offer a rock solid silent ride that transforms a 26" hardtail into a speedy road bike.
The tread is broken up with two water displacing treads that weave across the tyre and do a great job of keeping you planted in shallow puddles but are not intended for very wet conditions.
As an added bonus these tyres come with one year 'no puncture' policy. Be sure to fill out and return the orange card with your details to qualify. Although i have not seen one of these puncture it seems more of a PR stunt than an actual garuantee.
At around £19 this high quality rubber is pretty cheap, alot of companies are moving to foldable tyres these days and staying with a steel bead keeps the price down. The downside is they can be hard to fit, but they will stay on for a long time so its worth it.
I would only advise fitting these if you never intend to use your bike off road again. Even a slightly muddy path will turn these tyres into giant skates. Be warned.
I bought these because my new daily commute by MTB no longer involves off road travel and at 12 miles each way I wanted to get my speed up and the effort that I put in down.
I previously had a pair of Schwalbe Land Cruiser's 1.75 which are also a good tyre, they have more grip uphill in the dirt and wet, but I wanted a tyre that was less rolling resistant as they new commute is mostly tarmac bike path and these tyre's where as slick as I could find at the time to fit my rims at 1.6. These Continental's are a lot quicker and my average speed is up about 2mph which I am very happy with.
Not the easiest tyre to install because they have a wire bead, the Schwalbe were very hard to install. The tyre's each came with a free inner tube with a presta type valve and a 1 year anti-puncture guarantee, which improved their value for money otherwise the tyre's alone would have been expensive at £18.99.