Continental Cyclocross Speed Tyre
Continental Cyclocross Speed Tyre
By Tim Granshaw
Review of the clincher Continental Cyclocross Speed Tyre
Continental describes the Cyclocross Speed as a perfect tyre for hard pack or frozen conditions. We took a pair of Speeds with us to California for three weeks of fast, dry training and racing. We also tested them in the rather more mixed conditions of a British Winter. We found the tyres to be all that Continental claimed, but maybe even more suited for a different cycling discipline. Intrigued? Read on.
Pavement (5 out of 5): The Cyclocross Speed is an exceptionally fast-rolling pavement tyre. The file tread, relatively low-profile side knobs, and narrower tyre width mean straight line and cornering speeds are very close to those of a performance road tyre. The file tread is very fast, as unlike other competing file tyres, the Cyclocross Speed’s file tread doesn’t include convex dimples, rather they are flush with only a tiny gap between each dimple, meaning the centre tread might as well be slick. Rain or shine, the tyre handles predictably and consistently.
Hardpack and dry grass (4 out of 5): The Cyclocross Speed is a very fast tyre on hard pack or grass for the same reasons that it is quick on pavement. As long as the ground is hard with little dust or silt or a dry grass, the Speed is a perfect tyre. The very smooth center tread is fast down the straights with little drag from the relatively low profile side knobs. Around the corners, the sideknobs provide good grip as the rider transitions on the round shoulders. Introduction of moderate amounts of dust or silt make the tyre more uncertain, as the low profile tread struggles to find purchase. Although the Cyclocross Speed shares the 60 thread per inch casing with its CycloXKing and Mountain King brethren, the Speed has a low tread depth. This low depth combined with a relatively stiff casing make it less compliant over rough terrain than the intermediate CycloXKing or some other file tread competitors with more supple casings.
Wet grass (2 out of 5): The Cyclocross Speed’s very smooth center tread and mild side knobs hold up more impressively than expected in damp conditions. Considering this tyre is the most dedicated of dedicated hard pack tyres, we were impressed that it held on in wet conditions as well as it did. We credit the relatively soft rubber compound and well-shaped side knobs. The tyre does let go quite early, but not suddenly. We wouldn’t use this tyre in all-wet conditions, but the speed of the tyre would justify its selection on a mostly dry course with a few wet sections.
Sodden grass and light mud (1 out of 5): The tyre is out of it’s depth as soon as conditions become muddy. The Speed is predictable but lacking grip.
Mud (1 out of 5): We cannot recommend using this tyre in deep mud. Again, predictable but no grip.
The scores for this tyre are slightly deceiving as we really liked the Continental Cyclocross Speed. The tyre was great in California, and is perfect for late-summer or early-autumn cyclocross races on the mixed grass and tarmac courses in the United Kingdom. However, we also found the tyre to be great for more than just cyclocross; the Speed is an excellent commuting tyre. With over 750 miles on the tyre, the Speed was uncut, suffered no punctures, and saw little tread wear. While in California we took the Speeds out on a number of “gravel grinder” rides – long hilly routes over mixed terrain including road, fire trails, and singletrack. We loved the Speed in these mixed conditions. The fast centre tread with well-formed, but low profile side knobs was both quiet and fast. The Speed bears “Cyclocross” on its sidewall but we’d argue that might not reflect the full extent of its potential.
Continental Speed Cyclocross Tyre: £29.99.
For more information see the Continental Website
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