Reviews: Three touring tires from Continental

Continental Super Sport Plus

Continental makes bike tires for a dizzying array of applications, from special cold-weather compounds to tires designed specifically for indoor use. The $30 Super Sport Plus is built for “hard-core” commuters, presumably who have no interest in stopping to fix a flat on their way to work.

Below the subtle tread pattern inspired by the Grand Prix race tires, is a super-tough layer of specialty rubber that Continental claims is nearly impenetrable. They certainly seem that way to me. Holding them in your hand they feel sturdy and substantial, and that stiffness might explain why they were somewhat tough to get on my rims.

Once installed though, I’m confident I won’t need to take them off anytime soon. Aside from pinch flats, I can’t imagine any way you’re going to flat these. I haven’t managed to. Despite the ultra-tough casing, they don’t ride like rock-hard bricks either. You’re not going to mistake these for race tires, but the ride quality was nicer than I expected.

Available in several sizes from 23mm-28mm wide in 700c, they would be a great option for folks who ride their road bikes through some less-than-ideal conditions.

- Adam Newman

Continental Country Plus

The Country Plus is a durable tire that’s not afraid to ventue off the pavement and tackle hard-pack dirt or crushed-stone trails. I mounted a 700x42c set for a 355-mile loaded tour over mixed surfaces and continued testing them around town, both on and off pavement.

The semi-continuous center tread rolled quietly over pavement. The tread pattern on the sides added welcomed bite in dirt corners, without feeling squirmy when leaned over on hard pavement. Singletrack shortcuts proved well within these tires’ capability.

The wire-beaded Country Plus tires feature a puncture-resistant urethane layer under the tread. I had zero flats over several months of testing. Continental says that the belting layer is tuned to maintain a compliant ride. While that may be true, the Country Plus felt less supple than pavement-specific touring tires. I’d heartily recommend these rugged tires for mixed-surface riding, but for pavement-only duty, I’d opt for a more supple model.

The $30 Country Plus is worth every penny, considering their versatility and durability. They score bonus points for reflective sidewalls.

- Karl Rosengarth

Continental Touring Plus

The Continental Touring Plus are claimed to be an excellent choice for any and every touring bicycle. Depending on the terrain of your next adventure the $30 Touring Plus most likely has the size you need, with a big selection of diameters and widths.

The tested 700x37mm low volume tire weigh 773grams and have a 3-ply casing for puncture resistance. The recommended 58psi felt just right, I suggest using a pressure gauge pump for these low volume tires, especially with stiff casing. The thumb and “how much can I squish the tire” trick won’t give you what you need to maximize the potential in these tires.

I took these tires out on crushed limestone, sand, gravel, railroad ballast and asphalt. The tread design handled really well in soft and gritty terrain, giving it that extra bite when needed. The durability of these tires more than makes up for the weight, especially when you are hauling 50lbs+ of gear. They are slow rolling on asphalt but turned my Raleigh Port Townsed into a hauling beast. For $30 you could do a lot worse for a long lasting, good rolling, mixed surface tire.

– Trina Haynes
 

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