CONTINENTAL CONTACT PLUS TYRES
700x35c Long term test (5 months) 978g £39.95
The Continental Contact Plus Tyres are available in a host of sizes from a lightweight tour typical 700x28c, right up to 700x47mm. I’ve been running their 35mm sections on my beloved fixed gear winter/trainer for the last five months, and they’ve delivered in pretty much every respect.
Continental's Contact Plus Tyres are described as being city/trekking tyres. They’re also designed to cope with the demands of faster e-bikes. This section is perhaps, an obvious choice for the latest generation of gravel or cyclo cross bikes that earn their keep on asphalt, not forgetting the latest generation, of disc-braked expedition tourers. Since we’re on the subject, the sidewalls also sport two measurements - 622x37mm and 700x35, which is slightly confusing.
Beneath the big, grippy tread pattern, the contact plus employ a very similar puncture repelling system to Schwalbe’s iconic Marathon series. Rated 7, the highest in their scale. A beefy rubber strip sits beneath the casing, designed to deflect any sharps, pushing them out with a capillary action, before they can cause a flat.
There’s a Kevlar belt under this, which is about as dependable as things get. Turning our attentions to the sidewalls and operating pressures range from 56 to 85psi - pretty standard. Bodes well for winter, when a few psi can make all the difference. Reflective detailing is another definite plus but the absence of dynamo track may disappoint fans of bottle dynamos.
Compared with Schwalbe's Marathon Plus mounting is, generally speaking, a faff-and-tool-free business. Provided of course, you’ve observed the directional arrow. I’ve needed a single, composite tyre lever when fitting the final 15% aboard some very deep section rims but that’s hardly taxing.
Run between 75 and 85 psi, the contact plus are no slouch. True, slicks of comparable sections, including Vittoria Voyager Hyper , or even the Schwalbe Marathon GT accelerate faster and, as might be expected their friskier personas tell, over longer, day type distances.
Nonetheless, the Contact Plus roll surprisingly efficiently, whether bombing around town, or cruising along the lanes. Dropping the pressure to 60-65 delivers some more grip, say on greasy back roads, carpeted with leaves. Through town, wet manhole covers and similar ironworks haven’t foxed them either. I wouldn’t go so far as to say you can attack potholes but their portly, compliant nature certainly takes the sting out of pock-marked roads.
There’s some light trail potential too. I’ve tackled unmade roads and less challenging singletrack in complete confidence, thanks to the blend of grip, puncture repelling technology and super refined ride quality.
I’ve regularly hustled along 1in7 descents at 35mph plus without any hint of skittishness. Nor spiteful, when carving into the corners at 25-30mph. Loose surfaces require common sense but dropping the pressures to 58 psi, made a big difference when negotiating freshly lain chippings.
The water channelling grooves do an excellent job of flushing flints, glass and indeed thorns from the tread. I’ve given them a quick purge with a stiff brush, while giving the bike a good, sudsy bucket clean. Nonetheless, I’ve made a beeline for anything that might induce a flat.
Lanes layered in dung and hedge clippings, shards of broken glass and even the odd drawing pin have made negligible impression on the casings. No flats in 5 months and approximately 1800miles.
Oh and I’ve run bog standard, rather than goo impregnated. Wear is also extremely pedestrian. Admittedly, I’ve not been luging heavy loads but the tread and sidewalls still look extremely fresh.
Schwalbe Marathon GT have a definite edge in terms of speed and seemingly, rival them in terms of durability. I’d opt for the GT, if you weren’t looking to venture beyond metaled road.
A moot point with contemporary, disc brake builds and the trend for bigger frame clearances. However, well worth double checking they’ll fit a rim braked build, with full length mudguards.
These points aside; I have been delighted by the continental contact plus. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend them to anyone seeking an ultra dependable, big section tyre for touring, commuting and general riding.