The right tires can make all the difference
The Schwalbe Pro One, Continental Grand Prix 5000 (TL) and Specialized S-Works Turbo
It doesn’t matter how fast they might be, if you’re regularly stopping on the side of the road fixing a flat, you’ll lose all that time you might have gained. So, what we all want are speedy tires that are bulletproof and never puncture. We can’t promise the “never puncture” part, but we can certainly verify that our three picks below are fast. And fast doesn’t mean narrow these days. Tires are getting wider and wider these days, so do some research to find out what the best tire width combination will be best for your bike.
Related: Bike repair: How to change a flat
Schwalbe Pro One – $136
Tubeless tires are becoming more and more popular these days. The idea is very enticing – less weight because there are no tubes and additional puncture resistance because you can put sealant in the tires.
It all sounds great in theory, but to start with, it wasn’t that easy in practice. The first generation of road tubeless tires weren’t easy to get on and didn’t seem to offer the promised puncture resistance. Those days are gone, though, thanks to tires like Schwalbe’s Pro One, dubbed “the next generation of tubeless tires.” The patented MicroSkin construction and minimal rolling resistance makes these tires extremely quick, light and fast. Add in the Doc Blue professional sealant and you get excellent cut resistance and puncture protection. While you can use these tires with a regular tube, you’ll get the most out of the Pro One by going tubeless. It is available in widths from 23 to 30 mm.
Continental Grand Prix 5000 and 5000 TL – $100 Clincher and $115 Tubeless
Continental has long been the king of the hill when it comes to performance tires. The previous top-of-the-line Conti clincher tire, the GP 4000 S II was an outstanding tire, but somehow the folks from Continental have managed to improve on it with the Grand Prix 5000. It offers 12 per cent less rolling resistance, 20 per cent better puncture protection and weighs in 10 g lighter. (The 25-mm version weights 215 g.) There’s even new Lazer-grip technology that offers better cornering traction, too. Available in six sizes from 23 to 32 mm wide, the GP 5000 promises to become another popular tire choice for triathletes for both training and racing.
Related: The long-awaited release of the Continental GP 5000 TL
Keeping up with the tubeless trend, the GP 5000 TL is Continental’s first tubeless tire for racing, time trial and triathlon bikes. There’s even less rolling resistance than the regular GP 5000 and, thanks to a Vectran puncture protection belt under the tread, you’ll have even less chance of getting a flat. The GP 5000 TL is available in four sizes in widths between 25 and 32 mm.
Specialized S-Works Turbo – $75
Available in 24- and 26mm widths, the S-Works Turbo has a storied history with some of the world’s top bicycle racers. If it’s good enough for the pro peloton, it should be more than fast and reliable enough for even the most serious triathletes. Using GRIPTON compound that ensures the tire has low rolling resistance and excellent traction, the 120 TPI casing and BlackBelt flat protection built into the tire is extremely flat resistant. The S-Works Turbo is nice and supple, too, making it a bit easier to get on and off, which is always appreciated when you’re trying to fix a flat on the road.