We’re simply spoiled with using tubeless tires in all of our cycling disciplines and have come to enjoy the ability to run lower pressures for improved grip, comfort, and less rolling resistance. So, when we heard Continental was revamping its GP4000, a tire so universally loved as a competition worthy tire in terms of weight, grip, and rolling resistance, but durable enough to fend off debris and with the ability to rack up some miles before it began to square off, we wondered if a tubeless version would launch. Thankfully, it did and the Grand Prix 5000 TL Tire gives you the ability to ride faster, with more comfort, and with increased puncture protection compared to its standard clincher version. As one of the world’s largest tire manufactures, Continental has a host of technologies and compounds it can lean on, giving it the ability to build the highest quality tires. As a testament to its quality, the majority of the pro peloton is riding them, and while we weren’t quite sure how Conti is able to create a road tire that’s significantly faster, more comfortable, and less prone to flats than its previous version, somehow it did.
As Conti’s first tubeless road tire to market, it uses tubeless technology specifically designed for the demands of road cycling and made sure to make it easy to install and reliable on the road. A key component to this is its careful attention to the tubeless bead that’s specifically developed to seal with its unique shape and stable fit on the rim. The seal is complete with the usage of sealant which has the added benefit of plugging up most puncture induced flats you might come across on your ride.
This tubeless version continues to use Black Chili to balance the attributes it’s after. The rubber compound is critical because it defines the tire’s grip, rolling resistance, and longevity. Typically, you can’t alter one without it affecting the other which is exactly where Black Chili shines. Using the latest knowledge of polymers and raw material research, Conti uses special synthetic rubbers along with proven natural rubber, creating a high-performance mixture. To it, it adds super-tiny carbon black particles, optimized in shape and surface properties. The complex compound technology is so exclusive that Conti only manufactures tires using Black Chili compound in its Korbach, Germany plant. The tiny size of Black Chili particles allows them to mold to variable road surfaces more readily. It gives the tire greater ability to conform to imperfections in the road surface for excellent grip in demanding situations, such as high-speed cornering, while also reducing rolling resistance. Since the Black Chili particles are so small, more particles fit into the contact patch of the tire, reducing wear and increasing longevity.
Another returning element from the GP4000 is its Vectran technology right under the tread to boost puncture protection. Vectran is a synthetically manufactured liquid-crystalline polymer fiber that’s not unlike spider silk, that gram for gram is stronger than steel. To create it, Conti spins the melted liquid polymer Vectra and processes it further into a multi-strand thread where it enjoys tremendous tear resistance at a very low weight, an ideal puncture protection breaker for a high-performance road tire as it’s lighter, more flexible (the key to not affecting rolling resistance), and better protects against cuts than a comparable nylon breaker.
What is brand new on this tire is its Active Comfort Technology. Continental doesn’t go into great detail here other than mentioning that it’s embedded in the tire construction and helps to absorb vibrations thus leading to a smoother ride. The other new bit of technology is Lazer Grip where it uses a laser to etch a micro profile that extends over the tire’s shoulder for next-level cornering confidence.
- Conti’s first road tubeless tire
- Black Chili compound reduces rolling resistance and increases grip and mileage
- Active Comfort Technology lessens vibrations for a smoother ride
- Vectran breaker technology reduces puncture risk
- Lazer Grip etching improves cornering traction
- Conti’s GP5000 TL ushers in a new era of road tubeless tire dominance