The rumors were true. Continental has been working on a tubeless tire to work on rims with hookless beads. The Grand Prix 5000 S TR was announced today, and it was very good timing for the German tire brand as the famed monument Paris Roubaix was just won by Sonny Colbrelli on just this tire.
Continental says its Grand Prix 5000 S TR is “lighter, faster, stronger and easier to mount as tubeless than the Grand Prix 5000 TL,” which was already the favored tire among triathletes (tubeless or not). The TR stands for Tubeless Ready.
The new Grand Prix 5000 S TR is 20 percent faster, says Conti. What does that mean exactly? The Grand Prix 5000 TL took 8.3 watts to roll according to Bicycle Rolling Resistance. Does that mean that this new tires takes 6.7 watts to roll? That would make it very clearly the fastest tire made, leapfrogging the Vittoria Corsa Speed G+ 2.0 (7.0w) and the Schwalbe Pro One TT TLE (7.5w) and probably with superior puncture resistance. No doubt BRR will publish on this new tire and we’ll see.
This tire is also 50 grams lighter than the Grand Prix 5000 TL, with 28 percent more sidewall protection, according to the manufacturer. Available in black or black and transparent sidewall colorways, the Grand Prix 5000 S TR uses Continental’s BlackChili Compound and a Vectran Breaker for puncture protection. Continental says the the new construction makes tire mounting easier, which stands to reason as tire makers are able to make tires to precise dimensions with increased ETRTO wheel spec precision.
The tire is made in 25mm, 28mm, 30mm and 32mm widths in 700c, and in 30mm and 32mm in 650b size. This means it’s not just a TT tire, but it’s a tire for everything from time trials to classics.
Certain premium wheel companies pushing the envelope of performance have chosen a hookless bead construction which, they say, makes a wheel stronger – specifically the rim’s sidewall – and the wheel is easier (and less expensive) to produce, with no need for a bladder mold to form the bead. The knock on hookless is that there were few tire options for it. ENVE was probably the first major performance wheel brand to enter the hookless arena, but Zipp and CADEX have followed.
When the ETRTO (the European standards organization) finally announced a set of hookless wheel standards in 2019, the most notable tire brand to come out with a line of tires for wheels meeting this standard was fellow German tire brand Schwalbe. Others, such as Pirelli and Panaracer, followed suit, but the two other big performance tire brands – Continental and Vittoria – lagged. This made it harder to justify buying a set of wheels with hookless beads. Wheel brands came out with their own tires to help sell in the new wheels and Zipp, ENVE and CADEX all made tires for hookless beaded wheels.
Perhaps because of the ardent affinity triathletes display toward Continental, the most bankable triathlon wheels made even by brands championing this recent tech have remained made with hooked beads. Most of the wheels made with hookless beads have been more road specific, such as Zipp’s 303 S and 303 Firecrest, and its 353, its 404 Firecrest, and the 454. Zipp's deeper wheels still made with hooked beads are the 808 Firecrest, the 808 NSW, and the 858 NSW.
Likewise CADEX. The 36, 42 and 654 wheels are all made with hookless beads. Not so the Disc and 4-spoke. The ENVE 7.8 remains a wheel with hooked beads. Common sense tells us that all these wheels will go hookless at their next update, thanks to this tire.
The tire has been around in recent weeks and months, and not just underneath Colbrelli. Continental says this tire was also ridden by Filippo Ganna for his World Championship time trial victory last month. As part of our coverage of the Zwift Tri Battle Royale – the mano a mano duel between Lionel Sanders and Jan Frodeno – a photo essay of Lionel’s new Speedmax was run here. All the specs were provided except the tire, which was “top secret.” The tire was clearly a tubeless Continental 5000 of some sort, based on the tread pattern. It was this tire, ridden by both Frodeno and Sanders.
This new Grand Prix 5000 S TR is available now at about 80 Euros per tire. That is just under USD $93. As might be expected, the existing 5000 TL is now on sale for between $48 and $65 everywhere.