Review: Continental GP 5000 TL Tires
I have never been a real lover of Continental tires, but that disdain was based on bad advice a long time ago that told me the Conti Gatorskins were the best thing since sliced bread. They were awful. like riding with garden hoses. They were hard to put on. They had awful road feel. Yes, they had good puncture protection, but the experience was so bad that it ruined riding outside for me until I could get them off my bike. I was new to riding, and that is why a "friend" had suggested them, so that I did not have to worry so much about my slowly developing tire changing skills. In retrospect, either that friend was stupid, or he thought I was.
I came to appreciate more supple tires, and I was okay with changing a flat now and again. Many people were riding on the Grand Prix 4000s, but I was determined never to go back to Conti tires. I mean, how could they subject people to Gatorskins and call themselves a serious tire company?
By the time I discovered tubeless road tires, I was pretty good at installing a tire. There has been a long line of Vittoria, Schwalbe, and Hutchinson tires on my wheels since. When I needed new road tires this spring, I was having trouble finding 28mm tubeless tires. And then I started hearing about the Grand Prix 5000s and that they were revolutionary tires, etc... Videos and blogs started mentioning them, but in all honesty it appears that many of these news outlets are really just shills getting paid to announce and give positive reviews of products like the Grand Prix 5000 TLs.
I broke down, and bought some Grand Prix 5000 TLs in 28mm, and believe me the hype behind the Grand Prix 5000 TLs is real. They are amazing tires, even at about $75 a piece. I don't mind paying a little more for tires that eliminate my need to buy or repair tube after tube. Tubeless is worth the marquis price.
At 340 g and 180 tpi they are not the lightest or supplest tire, but they roll amazingly well. You can read about the rolling resistance testing HERE from the knowledgeable bicyclerollingresistance.com website.
When unboxing the Grand Prix 5000 TLs, they fell remarkably slick and rubbery in a kind of unsettling way. The proprietary Black Chili compound feels strange in hand, but on the bike they have great grip and roll fast. The tires seemed a little small when trying to mount the, on the Aeolus 3 wheels, but after leaving them out in the sun they went on easily. Getting the tires to seat was a snap, and I actually did it with my floor pump. They held air with no sealant added.
After riding these for a month now, I can tell you that they have improved my average speed on the bike. Maintaining speed on the flats is a piece of cake. When you can see data to prove this, it is a sign that this is no placebo effect. I had no idea that the Hutchinson Sector 28's were average to slower tires (higher rolling resistance) until I put the Grand Prix 5000 TLs on.
As far as durability goes, I have had zero issues with punctures. The other day I had a wire stuck in my rear wheel, and it was causing a clicking sound when it was hitting my brake caliper. I thought I needed lube on my chain. By the time it had gotten annoying enough for me to stop, I had gone two miles. The wire never punctured my tire, and it was sizable.
This week, in preparation for the Two Days of Buffalo road race, I bought a set of Grand Prix 5000 TLs for my Aeolus 5 wheels because they are a little faster than the 3s. The new set of 28 mm tires came, and they were different to install. Both went on very easily, but they each took the compressor to seat the bead. One took a good 40 ml of sealant to hold air, and the other held air with none. I guess the wear and tear on the 5's Bontrager rim strips versus the new Aeolus 3 rim strips played a difference. I think they recommend swapping trim strips out after every tire change, but I have had the Aeolus 5s set up with the original strips for three years plus, and they still work great. Love the design. I'm probably pushing my luck.
On the Aeolus 5s the Grand Prix 5000 TLs are a dream. They roll so fast that on yesterday's maiden voyage, I averaged over 17.5 mph on an easy ride that barely breaks 16. They are quantifiably faster, and they have an intangible feeling of speed and cornering on a rail. I was excited about how they performed this weekend in the races (more to come). I have a good feeling about them for the long term.
With a couple hundred miles in so far, I would say they seem fine in mounting ease, superior in rolling resistance and speed, superior when cornering, and I have a good feeling about their long term durability.