best tires?

29 replies [Last post]
Anonymous's picture

I'm shopping (at of course) for new road tires. I've always liked the Continental Grand Prix but have not really compared them with anything else. And one sharp piece of gravel was the end of them, so maybe it's time to branch out. Of course i want the best of everything: good handling, long wear, puncture-resistant is a plus but not essential. Does the 4000 deliver the goods or am i just as well-off with the more economical 3000's?

And what about that Attack/Force pair? Is that knocking anyone's socks off right now?

(or, heavens! another brand entirely??)

Thanks for your input.

Anonymous's picture
John Z (not verified)

Get them.

Anonymous's picture
Evan Marks (not verified)

GP 4-season are excellent, a major step forward from the GP 3000 in durability and flat resistance. Are the GP 4000 even better? Dunno yet - don't have enough miles on them to say for sure.

Attack/Force - ultralightweight racing tires for when you absolutely positively gotta shave off another 60g (2 oz). YMMS (your mileage may suffer).

Anonymous's picture
John Z (not verified)

I liked the Continental Force-Attack combination, until Tour magazine's comprehensive tire test. It turns out, these tires are not particularly light and have substandard rolling resistance -- they were a pure marketing gimmick. About the same time as this test, GP4000s were introduced. Only 10 grams heavier per pair, with much less rolling resistance. Is the Vectran compound superior? I have been riding GP4000s since September without a flat -- personally not enough time to yet draw a conclusion, but ancillary reports support GP4000's puncture resistance compare to other performance tires.

Anonymous's picture
"Chainwheel" (not verified)

"The idea that these tires are only sold as a pair with dedicated front and rear tires is crazy. Rear tires wear out at least twice as fast as fronts, but you can't just buy a replacement rear tire. Brilliant marketing, but not so good for the user.


Anonymous's picture
Stephen Crowe (not verified)
Continental Gatorskins

I love these tires. My last pair had 5,000 miles with zero flats and I rode them pretty hard--glass, gravel, salt, rocks, you name it. I finally got around to replacing them with a new pair, but only because I didn't want to discover their exact breaking point in the middle of winter.

The only downside to the Gatorskins is that they're heavy. They add about a pound to my bike versus lighter racing tires.

Anonymous's picture
Cat (not verified)

I have those on my touring bike (a sweet folding Co-Motion) and they have served me very well.

Anonymous's picture
"Chainwheel" (not verified)
Can't be

"""The only downside to the Gatorskins is that they're heavy. They add about a pound to my bike versus lighter racing tires.""

I think the gatorskins are about 300g. If they add a pound to your total bike weight, your regular tires would have to weigh 73 grams each.

1 pound = 454 grams


Anonymous's picture
rb (not verified)
michelin pro-race

Hi Cat,
I'm getting about 5000 miles on these, they ride excellent (feel very supple), and cost $36 @ biketiresdirect (compared to $47 for the 4000's). Also, they're very flat resistant - I get about 1 flat a year, and that's riding from brooklyn, going over 14 bridges per week, and lots of glass-strewn city junk miles. Best of luck!

Anonymous's picture
Robert Shay (not verified)
Buy'em 10 at a time...

I've used many different tires from Continental except the 4000.

From a price/value perspective I am very happy with the GP 3000's. Just inflate them to 100+ pounds each and every ride. That should minimize flats and extend the life of the tire. When you purchase 10 at a time, they cost $30 each and shipping is amortized over the batch. It is a great deal.


P.S. very few flats and I get about 2,500 miles on a rear tire and 3,000 on a front tire - I weigh 190lbs. You may want to go in with two other riders and split the 10 tire order.

Anonymous's picture
"Chainwheel" (not verified)

"To paraphrase Billy Joel:
""Don't waste your money on a new set of tires
You get more mileage from a cheap set of tires""

No need to spend more than $20 on a tire. And if you currently run 700x23, do yourself a favor and try a true 700x25.


Anonymous's picture
Neile (not verified)
You'll also want ultralightweight inner tubes

They flat easy, but they change fast.

Anonymous's picture
David Hallerman (not verified)

Neile, how does the weight of the tube affect how quickly they change if you flat?

Or are you comparing the smoothness of latex tubes to standard butyl tubes? (Because there are lightweight butyl tubes, too.)

Anonymous's picture
Neile (not verified)
I think you need to cut and paste the links to explain it.

Let's just say you don't want to be purchasing your tubes at the local Duane Reade.

Seriously, I've helped on numerous fellow riders on flat repairs and you need particularly good technique to work with the lighter tires/tubes or else you run the risk of puncturing the replacement. (A small vial of talc helps.)

Latex is porous, a contraindication for multiple uses.

Anonymous's picture
Tom (not verified)

I've had good luck with Vredstein Tri Comps and Fortezza Super Lites and also for wet roads I like Vittoria Open Pave EVO CG and Open Corsa EVO KX. I average about one flat a year. I ride approx 6000 miles a year. I wash my tires after each ride.

Anonymous's picture
Cat (not verified)

Wow! Thanks for all the great input.

I might like this message board after all. . . . .


Anonymous's picture
Mordecai Silver (not verified)
Best tires?

"If you're set on Continentals, here's what Don Gillies wrote on a thread a few days ago:

Larry Coon writes:
>So I'm looking for a low-rolling-resistance, tight-
>cornering, long-wearing, no-sidewall-failures clincer,
>or at least the closest approximation. Anybody have
>any suggestions?

Oh, without a doubt, I recommend :

Continental Ultra Grand Prix 3700 Gatorskin Superleicht Attack Force Retreat Regroup Attack Again!

At least, I think this is what my bikeshop sold me last week!!!

I asked in a bike shop for 700x25c tires a few years ago, and all they had were IRC Redstorm Classics for $20 apiece. I was a little hesitant at first, because I had only seen IRC tires as O.E.M. on road bikes, not as aftermarket. I bought them anyway, figuring that at that price I didn't have much to lose. It turned out that I was very satisfied with their quality. Now that I thought of it, I just did a search and found that is selling tham for less than $15, so I'll probably order some more.

Personally, I can't justify spending $50 on a tire.


Anonymous's picture
Jacopo (not verified)

Is anyone using tubolar (sew-up) tires on club rides ?
I have been told that they are much more resistant to punctures, although it requires some practice to change them quickly. I am planning to build a set of light tubular wheels.

Anonymous's picture
John Segal (not verified)

Best to stick to clinchers on a club ride. changing a tubular is not difficult (assuming you can get it off the rim) but best learned on your own time.

personally, i'd save those super light wheels for race day....

Anonymous's picture
Kevin (not verified)

Haha. I rode the entire B17 SIG last spring on a campy tubular wheelset (Victory gruppo, on a handmade 1986 Somec) simply because a) when I bought my bici last winter, I didn't even know the difference between clincher and tubular wheels, and b) I didn't want to invest in a new set of wheels until I knew I was sticking with the sport. (I am, so mid-summer I laced a pair of early 80s record hubs to MA3s and now I ride Veloflex Pavé. A really nice ride.)

FWIW, I punctured once, on the Westchester century, the last ride of the SIG in Harlem 1000+ miles into the season. It was the first and only time I had to change a tubular on the road. With a little help from Michael and Dolores, we were quickly on our way. It's just simply not that difficult. Of course, if you're considering building a set of contemporary racing tubular wheels, I would image they will be more susceptible to wear. Just a guess.

Anonymous's picture
don montalvo (not verified)
swapping tubulars after a flat is easy...'s repairing sewups that's the p.i.t.a.


Anonymous's picture
Kevin (not verified)

… and carrying the entire tire, which takes more room yet leaves you (way) less prepared than simply carrying 2 inner tubes.

Anonymous's picture
don montalvo (not verified)
ZINN: How many Pro Tour teams ride tubies?


""They (Pro Tour teams) are all on tubulars. We know it because either directly (under Vittoria) or indirectly (private label) we supply a lot of them. Since almost all of them (Pro Tour teams) ride on tubulars, they use latex inner tubes. Some tire manufacturers claims that the team use clinchers, but this is a pure marketing move. In fact they put the wheels with the clinchers on the car - but on the bikes used by the riders they have tubulars."""

Anonymous's picture
Christian (not verified)

So? What riders use in races where they have access to both team support and neutral support seems to have little bearing on what to use when riding around here. Last I saw, not even the A-Sig has a dedicated yellow Skoda...

- Christian

Anonymous's picture
don montalvo (not verified)
dunno...a lot of nyc cyclists' purchasing decisions...

"...are influenced by what they see/read on tv/magazines. if they don't ""act"" like they're using clinchers, what're people gonna buy?


Anonymous's picture
John Z (not verified)
Data to Help Your Decision

Tire Crr
Deda Tre Giro d'Italia 0.0038
Vittoria Open Corsa Evo CX 0.0039
Michelin Pro 2 Race 0.0042
Vittoria Diamante Pro Rain 0.0044
Michelin Megamium 2 0.0047
Pariba Revolution 0.0048
Veloflex Carbon (Tubular) 0.0049
Michelin Carbon 0.0050
Gommitalia Route du Nord (Tubular) 0.0050
Panaracer Stradius Pro 0.0051
Schwalbe Stelvio Plus 0.0052
Continental Grand Prix 4000 0.0053
Gommitalia Platinum (Tubular) 0.0053
Vittoria Corsa Evo CX (Tubular) 0.0054
Schwalbe Stelvio Evolution Front 0.0056
Continental GP Force (rear specific) 0.0057
Hutchinson Fusion 0.0057
Schwalbe Stelvio Evolution Rear 0.0057
Vittoria Corsa Evo KS (Tubular) 0.0057
Continental Ultra GatorSkin 0.0058
Ritchey Pro Race Slick WCS 0.0058
Schwalbe Stelvio 0.0059
Continental Competition (Tubular) 0.0059
Veloflex Roubaix (Tubular) 0.0059
Continental Podium (Tubular) 0.0060
Specialized S-Works Mondo 0.0061
Continental GP 3000 0.0067
Hutchinson Top Speed 0.0069
Schwalbe Stelvio (Tubular) 0.0069
Continental GP Attack (front specific) 0.0073
Tufo Elite Jet (Tubular) 0.0073
Schwalbe Montello 300 (Tubular) 0.0075
Tufo Hi-Composite Carbon (Tubular) 0.0077

Average Clincher: 0.0054
Average Tubular: 0.0061

Anonymous's picture
don montalvo (not verified)
"i think it's the responsiveness and ""feel"" tubulars offer..."

...that closes the door on clinchers. anyone who's ever ridden sewups will attest to that. :)


Anonymous's picture
John Z (not verified)
I have both

"""Feel"" is very subjective."

Anonymous's picture
don montalvo (not verified)
very true...

...i haven't found a clincher that matches the feel of a tubular. ok, it's the rim, not the tire. if only the nycc supplied support vans with sewup wheels on long rides... :)


Anonymous's picture
Neile (not verified)
Conspicuously absent from the discussion ...

"... what's your criteria for ""best""?

Unless one is RACING (or trying to keep up with a group beyond one's ability), why spend through the nose for a tire that:

* is less puncture resistant
* will deform completely and rapidly in a blowout
* harder to take off/put on
* provides less cushion to your similarly pricey wheelset
* wears faster

My criteria, given my TOURING (club ride), orientation:

* safety - a strong ""platform"" for the bike to rest on
* maintains some structure in a blowout
* flat resistance
* decent speed and handling
* relatively easy to take off/put back on
* comfortable
* durable

My choice: Specialized All-Condition Armadillos. 700x28. 400 grams. $35.

As much of my mileage is urban, and in questioanble weather, puncture resistance is a high priority. And because I found 700x23 Armadillos overly harsh AND subject to sidewall blowout if carrying a pannier/backpack, I've elected to take the weight penalty and go with the larger size.


IMO, the argument ""what the pros use"" is a non-starter.

By comparison, auto racing tires last a couple hundred miles; have no sidewall protection (they flat as soon as they touch a curb); and no resistance to degradation from UV rays."

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