When I bought the Rose Backroad gravel bike, it came with the stock Continental Terra Trail 40 gravel tires. The Rose had low-profile aluminum rims ready for tubeless, which, along with the Continental tires (also tubeless), made for a perfect combination. I’m going to tell you how it has gone for me and what my impressions have been with the Continental gravel tires.
– Gravel Tires and Treads
I had never tried the Continental tire brand before, neither on the road nor in mountain biking, but now I have on gravel. The stock setup came with a width of 40, which might be a bit narrow for pure gravel riding. My intention was also to compete in cyclocross with the Rose bike, but the tire width didn’t allow it since the maximum is 33.
The first rides were on the road to get used to the bike’s position, gearing, and the new geometry of gravel bikes. I must say that the geometry is a bit peculiar because it’s not a mountain bike, not a road bike, and certainly not a cyclocross bike. They are generally taller, especially in the headtube area. We’ll discuss the handlebars another time because the riding position deserves a separate post.
– Gravel Tires on the Road: Continental Terra
On the road, they roll well, very well, I would say, but you have to keep in mind that you need to inflate them with a lot of pressure, above 3 (BAR). With my 80 kg weight, I ride on the road with 4 BAR, and the tires roll very well. However, if you lower the pressure to 2 or 2.5, you’ll notice a significant drag.
When you reduce the pressure of the Continental Terra tires, they drag heavily on the road, and you can barely ride smoothly. They have too much grip and drag due to their tread pattern.
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The tread pattern on the Continentals is very square, meaning it’s not a round gravel tire; it has a very vertical cut on the sides. That’s what I like the least about them.
The treads are round and continuous all around the tire, except for the sides, which are a bit more aggressive.
– How do they perform on trails and paths? Continental Terra Trail Gravel Tires
This is where they excel. I’ve used the Continental Terra Trail Gravel Tires on a variety of terrains: from wide gravel tracks, concrete, asphalt, to pure mountain trails where I typically ride my MTB, and the experience couldn’t have been better.
Despite having a width of only 40, the tire offers exceptional grip. Even as it begins to wear out, it still maintains its qualities. Perhaps the hardness of the compound could be improved; in my opinion, they are somewhat hard, and the casing doesn’t absorb as much as it should, so you feel the bumps a lot. It doesn’t smooth out the terrain irregularities but provides a strong grip.
It offers excellent grip, especially on tricky downhill sections with wet rocks. I’ve even ventured into MTB trails, and the Continental Terra Trail Gravel Tires performed very well. I haven’t noticed any loss of traction in over a month of use across various terrains, including mud and wet conditions.
It’s true that I mounted them with inner tubes and a Tannus tire liner, which deformed my tires and created an odd feeling when riding on the road with high pressures. You could feel a touch of hardness when passing over the valve due to the liner.
Would they perform better as tubeless? Probably yes; that strange hardness sensation might not be there. But in my case, they have exceeded my expectations.
- On the road: Good with high pressures (starting from 3 BAR)
- In MTB areas: Very good (2 BAR with an 80 kg cyclist without issues)
- On gravel and trails: Very fast with exceptional grip
- To improve: In my case, I would be more comfortable with a larger size like 42 or 45.