Saturday, 21 May 2011

Continental SportContact tyre

I'm now trying Continental's
SportContact tyres. These will
stand up better to everyday use.
For a few months now I've been riding with Continental Grand Prix tyres on the front of my Mango. They're lovely lightweight and fast tyres, but unfortunately I have to say that they've not really worked out, at least on this bike. I used my pair briefly last year before removing them for winter, and re-fitted them only about a month ago. They've been used for about 800 km, which is not all that impressive.

The main problem, I think, is that they are simply not intended for use on a fast tricycle like the Mango. Sideways forces, especially when braking, are too much for them. On a two-wheeler it isn't possible to put such a sideways force on a tyre, nor to brake with a considerable sideways force on the front wheels without instantly falling off. The rubber was lost right outside our home, as I rode in quickly. A touch on the brakes, the wheel on the inside of the turn was in a skid, and there was a smell of rubber.

Even if I'd not had this problem, I was already planning to replace the tyres. Both Grand-Prix tyres already had cuts in them presumely due to small stones or pieces of glass (I didn't find the cause). This all happened a bit too soon for a practical tyre.

Continental's Grand Prix tyres are
fast, but don't like high speed
cornering and braking with a
velomobile.
I've not given up on Continental, but have replaced the Grand-Prix with the Continental SportContact. These are the same size, 28-406, but they are designed for everyday use. They weigh a bit more, have a bit more rubber, have the "SafetySystem" anti-puncture protection, sidewall reflectors, and a lower cost. they're also still supposed to be fast. It sounds like a promising combination, so I'll see how I get on with them over the next few months.

The advertised weight for the SportContact in this size is 295 g, however mine were actually a little lighter at about 270 and 280 g each.

New tyres fitted and ready to go, on a cycle path wide
enough that riding an unusual bike is never a problem.
One very nice thing about both the SportContact and the Grand-Prix is that both are easily mounted on and removed from the rim without tools, and both sit well on the rim and run true straight away. This can be quite difficult to achieve with some tyres.

The maximum pressure stated on the side-wall on the SportContact is 6 bar ( 85 psi ), but the accompanying paperwork attached to the tyre says 7 bar ( 102 psi ). I'm using the higher pressure. I have suspension so don't need the tyres to contribute too much to comfort, and they'll roll faster at the higher pressure.

My rear tyre remains a Schwalbe Marathon Racer. This still barely looks run-in. Actually, it wouldn't have been a bad choice for the front wheels as well.

Update 2016
When my daughter and her boyfriend went touring, they used Continental SportContact tyres.

Tyres and tubes and other nice stuff can be bought at our webshop.