As a new addition to Continental's popular Grand Prix series of tyres, the Grand Prix 24mm is all about about, you guessed it, being 24mm wide, a miniscule increase over the girth of the common 700x23mm tyre but supposedly offering an increase in comfort and speed.
Continental say wider tires roll easier, yield higher mileage and offer more comfort and grip, hence the new Grand Prix profile of 24mm. They continue to explain that the extra girth is enough to exploit the advantages of wider tires, but still light and slim enough to improve the performance of any racing machine. Whether the extra 1mm over a standard 23mm tyre has that much of an advantage I can't comment on without pages of scientific tests to hand. Combine that with the manufacturers' habit of measuring their tyres differently (these GP 24s seem to be exactly the same size as the 23mm tyres from another manufacturer), and how a tyre's profile can alter depending on the width of the rim it sits on, I shall offer to take all this with a pinch of road salt.
The Grand Prix tread is made from Black Chili rubber, the German tyremeister's new compound for road & MTB race tyres. Using carbon nano particles they claim to be able to make a softer compound without sacrificing the wear rate, with 26% lower rolling resistance, 30% higher grip, and 5% longer mileage. Hang on? Carbon nano particles? These are 'nano' sized soot particles whose surface properties, according to Continental, are optimised for use in bicycle tyres. These smaller particles enable the tyre tread to deform around surface objects more quickly, improving grip. They also form a tighter bond with each other thus improving compound strength for improved tread life, it says here.
Hmmm, enough of the science bit...
I'll put my hands up here and say I've never been much of a lover of the Continental road tyre in the past, finding them too 'greasy' even in the dry, and the perenially sticky Michelin Pro3 has been my preferred rubber for quite some time now. But I've put in about 1,000 miles on these Continentals and I'm impressed. Impressed from the very first corner to be honest, none of the Continental 'squeak' that I was expecting, just a reassuring gummy lean. Nice. From there on in I've been confident on wet, greasy and mossy green corners, rider cojones giving way long before the tyre has any inkling to, and they've coped well with the dry/wet/dry mix of this Summer's roads.
They are showing very little sign of cutting up, which is good going when faced with the flinty gravel round these parts that can merrily shred a tyre, and showing significantly less scarring than my benchmark Pro3s. The GP 24s are also wearing incredibly well; the front looks almost new and the rear, whilst scuffed, has minimal rubber loss and isn't showing any signs of flattening off, the handy little tyre-wear indicator dimples look like they have a long time to wait before they can warn me to stump up for a new tyre.
Despite all the claims I didn't notice any easy-rolling increase of speed or sofa-esque levels of comfort, in fact I'd say the only downside to these tyres is they feel a tiny bit harsher over rubbly tarmac, less supple than others I've tried, but it's not a big grumble. Oh, and I nearly forgot; the "Poly-X Breaker" double thickness puncture protection strip lying under the rubber has (whispers) so far done its job perfectly.
Sticky yet resilient training and racing clincher. Ignore the marketing spiel and just enjoy the ride
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Make and model: Continental Grand Prix 700x24c tyre
Size tested: 24mm
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
"The new Grand Prix marks the trend toward wider tires in performance cycling. Wider tires roll easier, yield higher mileage and offer more comfort and grip, therefore the new Grand Prix profile is 24mm. Wide enough to exploit the advantages of wider tires, but still light and slim enough to improve the performance of any racing machine."
I'm not sure whether this is marketing spiel, scientific fact or snake oil, but I like the tyre.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Black Chili compound rubber, Poly X Breaker anti-puncture strip, 180 tpi.
Wearing really rather well so far, it will be interesting to see how they'll cope with the rigours of winter roads, quite ok we'd suspect.
A bit harsh over rough tarmac.
If it continues with its current trend of wear rate and puncture shyness then I'd happily pay twice the price.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Perfectly fine all round.
See what i did there?
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The grip, the longevity, the not stopping for punctures.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
It doesn't come in funky bike-matching colours.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Wholeheartedly
Age: 42 Height: 180cm Weight: 74Kg
I usually ride: a variety My best bike is: My best bike is: Enigma steel road bike
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: As much as I can I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: road, cyclo-cross and mountainbike just riding around, sometimes fast, sometimes with lots of stops for cake. Mountainbike and cyclo-cross racing, the odd evening road crit. Far too much singlespeed for my own good
Jo Burt has spent the majority of his life riding bikes, drawing bikes and writing about bikes. When he's not scribbling pictures for the whole gamut of cycling media he writes words about them for road.cc and when he's not doing either of those he's pedaling. Then in whatever spare minutes there are in between he's agonizing over getting his socks, cycling cap and bar-tape to coordinate just so. And is quietly disappointed that yours don't He rides and races road bikes a bit, cyclo-cross bikes a lot and mountainbikes a fair bit too. Would rather be up a mountain.