Advice on new road tyre

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Postby avocom » 10 Jun 2014, 11:29

I understand that tyre choice is quite personal and also varies according to type of riding and rider weight, but I really would like your opinion on the subject.

I have recently fitted 2 x Continental Grand Prix 4000S II (700 x 23c) and 500kms later this happens to the back tyre.
* If you can't see the image, its a tear on the tyre side wall with the new tube bulging through.

Now I need to get a replacement and I wonder if I should look elsewhere.
My riding is restricted to commuting to the city and club rides and that I'm not really a heavy person I'm considering these options in a similar price range:

Vittoria Corsa CX
Veloflex Master
GP 4000S II - yes, get the same and blame bad luck

Another thing to consider is if I should get a new set (and leave the other 500kms old Conti as spare) or get only one and run it with the GPS which also brings the question of where the new softer tyre should be fitted (front or back).

Your opinion is greatly appreciated.


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Postby jonboy » 10 Jun 2014, 13:39

I’ve been using GP4000s for a few years now and I think the sidewall is vulnerable. I’ve noticed that the sidewall threads start to come away well before the tread is worn. I’ve had one sidewall blow up on me while I was off the bike, resting at the Sutherland servo, just after the mad mile sprint. I’m ready to switch from these too. And I’ve also learnt an important safety lesson on tyres – if it looks even just slightly dodgy – bin it – change it. I can’t be bothered trying to repair tyres.

I’ve tried Conti Gatorskins and were fine at first but hated these in wet conditions – felt like skating.

Michelin Pro 3 and Pro 4 – lovely tyres – but not so good on puncture protection.

I currently use Continental Grand Prix 4 Seasons (25 mm) on my commuter. And I’ve got one of these (23mm) on the rear wheel of the road bike and a GP4000 on the front. The 4 Seasons have stood up reasonably well to punctures and roll nicely. I would recommend these but they’re not cheap unless you can get them on sale. I think I paid around $40 per tyre on sale.

If you use the same bike for commuting and training rides I would switch to a different tyre. Have you considered a 25mm tyre with a bit more protection (like the 4 seasons)? It might be more comfortable all round. A lot more riders are going from 23mm to 25mm – that’s a whole other debate.

My 2 cents.


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Postby Stuart » 10 Jun 2014, 15:48

Looks like a cut tyre, rather than blown sidewall to me. Could happen to most tyres but having said that, I had a brand new GP4000S blow the sidewall on its first outing to Slowies when riding over a speed hump. No refunds thank you. BTW, to avoid getting the train home, fold up a $5 note and place on inside of the tyre for the trip home. Works well to keep the tube inside the tyre.

I use a GP4000S on the front and currently have a GP4000 (not S) with 'Vectran anti-puncture technology' on the rear. This is only because I ordered some tyres on special from Cell and didn't notice they weren't the S version. Still has Black Chilli compound but supposed to be better at puncture protection. I think they are superseded, hence they were on special. It was a little slippy when brand new but has worn in nicely.

Interestingly the newer GP4000S II also have Vectran anti-puncture technology - just lighter I guess?

Anyway, I like the GP4000's and haven't ridden anything else since I replaced the original spec tyres. They are regularly on special on Wiggle.

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Postby mikesbytes » 10 Jun 2014, 16:40

I've clocked up a lot of Ks on pro3race and had less punctures that I had on other tyres including various conti's. I've orderd pro4comp for my race bike as most of its K's are race K's

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Postby Dougie » 10 Jun 2014, 16:55

I agree with Stuart. That looks like a "cut" rather than a manufacturing problem. I have one similar, in a similar spot on a GP4000s that I have now retyred (did you like what I did there?) to the trainer (trainers wear out tyres quite quickly so it's good to get a few more kms out of your tyres without danger). I damaged mine on a pretty inconsequential pothole.

I have used Conti GP4000s, Specialized Armadillos, a couple of different Bontragers and Conti Gatorskins. I will never use Gatorskins again, two of my three prangs have been cornering on Gatorskins. I agree with John they are like ice skating.

I have some Conti Grand Prix's that I am about to try on one wheelset as a bit of change and a pair of the new Conti GP4000s II in 25mm that I am going to try on the other wheelset. I like GP4000s in general and I usually get about 4000km per tyre on average although the rear wears quicker than the front. I caveat this with the fact that I don't commute, I rarely ride in the wet and I don't race.

My experience has been that when I have bought a very expensive tyre it's been ruined in under 500km. I consider $40-$60 to be mid range in price and they have served me well for my 7-8,000 km per year.

enjoy your experiments and be sure to create a review of the product of others to read.

good luck

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Postby andrewm » 10 Jun 2014, 17:28

Stopped using gp4000s due to cut sidewalls I do ride a fair bit in the dark tho.

Used max is refuse for a bit and never flatted. Bit slippy in the wet tho.

Now run tubeless and have yo stick a tube in roadside maybe once every 20000 km. last time was 2 weeks ago and a large nail. Tubeless works for me, but I don't know if id recommend it unless you are an experimenter or tinkerer. It can take me up go an hour to change a pair of tyres.

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Postby JoTheBuilder » 10 Jun 2014, 18:22

I also got a GP4000 tyre that looked like it had been slashed, rather than cut. Almost like they opened the box in the warehouse with a stanley knife.

I discovered this in Adelaide where my only nearby option was a Specialized Roubaix tyre. Although more expensive than the other options, it ended up being a great tyre.

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Postby humanbeing » 10 Jun 2014, 18:58

I rate Schwalbe Durano Plus - very tough, good puncture protection. No tyre is impervious and bad luck can destroy a new tyre.
Have a great ride,

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Postby humanbeing » 10 Jun 2014, 19:29

Also in reference to Veloflex Master and Vittoria Corso. Be aware that these may be "race" tyres which means they will feel fabulous when you ride but will offer little to no puncture protection on Sydney roads.

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Postby Nozzle » 10 Jun 2014, 22:15

Gator skins are brilliant commuters but are a bit slick in the wet. I too have had mixed success with GP4000s but have stuck with them. They still offer a good balance between longevity and race performance.

For race tyres I use Schwalbe Ultremo ZX but would not advise for commuting or rough roads.

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Postby Anthony K » 11 Jun 2014, 10:05


Two cents more,

I have been working my way through the Schwalbe range over the last three years. Not because I think Schwalbe are fantastic, just to keep the comparison manageable. All of the tyres below seem good in the wet compared to the limited other tyres I have tried. I ride around 7000 to 8000 km per year. Mixture of commuting and club rides.
From most durable to least:
- Durano. 2 to 4 punctures per year. Aprox 3500km from a back tyre. Approaching double that on the front. Feel a little sluggish on the bike
- Durano S. Similar to Durano but with bit thinner rubber. About the same for punctures. Bit shorter life on the back.
- Ultremo DD. Feels faster than the Duranos. 4 to 6 punctures per year. Maybe 3000km on the rear. They get loose threads on the side walls but this doesn't seem to be an issue.
- Ultremo ZX. Definitely feels faster again. Quite fragile side walls. Haven't got more than 2 months out of one if these. One explosive blow out, thankfully while the bike was in the garage. Feels really grippy in the wet. I would say this is a race day tyre.

I am currently happy to keep using the Utremo DDs for most if the year but I usually change to Duranos for the puncture season( Jan- Feb).

I treat tyres and tubes as consumables. I keep an eye on Wiggle and when what I want is 30% or more off I buy a few. Same with chains, brake pads, drink and food.

I would much rather have a rear tyre flat than a front one so I try to keep the better tyre on the front.

Bit more than 2 cents.

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Postby timothy_clifford » 11 Jun 2014, 11:18

I've been using Michellin Pro4 (mix of endurance and service course). They are way faster than any other tyre I've used. Much better grip in the wet too, which surprised me given they have no grooves in the tyre.
Puncture wish they have been good - until I started commuting on them. As soon as I expanded their use beyond Sunday club rides, the inner city roads ripped them up a fair bit. Nothing major, ie. no blow outs, but a few mini tears and a higher than expected puncture rate. I do commute through Redfern and Surry Hills (notorious for broken glass on the back streets) and passed a few work sites on very busy roads.
For commuting I'd recommend buying a cheap, grippy tyre and using tyre liners. I did this with a set of Schwable Luganos (~$20) and got 3000km, mostly commuting, out of them. And that was on the fixie, so a few skids thrown in. I put Vittoria Zaffiro Pro 2s on next but a bus cut short that experiment..

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Postby avocom » 11 Jun 2014, 14:01

Great comments all round and many options to consider. Thanks very much.

But I have to admit I like the balance of the Schwalbe Ultremo DD and might give them a try. Found them here for $50.99 and here is a review with more interesting comments.
Haven't made up my mind yet though. But I know time is ticking and I need to put the order through....

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Postby Eleri » 11 Jun 2014, 18:23

Ultremos are my favourite tyre and I ride them all the time.

I've done about 22,000 km and am on my 3rd set of tyres so they appear to be more durable (for lightweights) than you might expect of a soft compound. They definitely grip better than Gatorskins, especially in the wet.

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Adrian E
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Postby Adrian E » 12 Jun 2014, 00:40

Lots of great advice in this thread. There is an excellent podcast on tyre choice here:

Like a lot of things its a juggling act between weight, performance, puncture protection and durability. For the type of riding you do I'd be recommending a tougher tyre such as the Durano which is a long wearing with good grip and puncture protection....

I'm sure the Schwalbe Ultremo DD would be good as well.... they just cost a bit more if you want to factor the cost of replacing them every 4000kms or 6 months.... fingers crossed!

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Postby avocom » 15 Oct 2014, 15:14

Here is my follow up feedback.

I ended up going with a pair of Ultremo DDs (not the ZX) and they are great. I do a few club rides to Waterfall, Eastern Hills and Slowies and commute almost daily through the dirty streets of Redfern, Surry Hills and the city. So far have had only one puncture which happened to the back tyre after about 1,000 kms.
After all the advice and that podcast I also started to run them with a bit less pressure (90-105psi) than before (110psi) with good results.

Thanks again to all who shared their experiences.

and yes, I'd recommend and buy the Ultremo DDs again.

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Postby Adrian E » 19 Oct 2014, 13:44

Good to hear!

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