Looking for new tubeless road tires for this season. I almost never race so I’ve been using quick all round tires. The roads are everything from perfect asphalt to hard packed gravel. For “real” gravel I have a dedicated bike. Last season I used a pair of Veloflex Corsa Evo TLR, 28mm. Lovely feeling tires, but they did not hold air very well. And, despite the sealant doing it’s job, I experienced too many flats. At the end of the season my rear tire pretty much couldn’t hold air do to all the small damages to the tire. So, this year I want something else. My Bianchi has the CV layup so I really don’t need that much added comfort, so looking at 26-28mm wide tires.
Continental GP 5000 S TR
This is the “go to” tire, but I’ve always felt they are a “bit too German”. Meaning, they are effective, high quality and do the job. But there’s no life in them. Never used them tubeless, so perhaps they act different set up that way, but my earlier experience has been that they feel dead. No road feel.
Vittoria Corsa TLR
Simply feels good. Perhaps my favorite tubed tire earlier. But, as with the Veloflex tires they were a bit more prone to punctures. Seemed like small rocks really liked to stick to the pattern on this and dig themselves in. Never tried tubeless. Also, I’ve experienced that the outer part delaminates - furthering issues with “stuff” getting caught and causing wear and punctures…
Vittoria Corsa N.EXT TLR
Slower, but improved version of the above? Never tried, but they get good reviews.
S-Works Turbo 2BR
I have riding buddies that swear to the cotton tires from Specialized. Both have been racing at the highest national level, so I rate their recommendations highly. But they have been running the older non-tubeless tires. Reviews of these and the slightly more costly RapidAir are good. But American tires on an Italian road bike…
Pirelli P ZERO Race TLR
Schwalbe Pro One TLE
Panaracer Agilest TLR
From your list I’ve used the Conti GP5K S TR, Corsa N.ext, Schwalbe and Pirellis. Based on my experience I would go with the Contis for speed (they’re the fastest tyre that is also fairly durable) or the Corsa N.exts as an all round tyre with some light gravel use - they’re a lot more durable than the faster Corsa (which I’ve used tubed but not tubeless) but still grippy and pretty quick. The Pirellis I found to be fast but fragile. Schwalbes were OK but very porous, sealant would dry out very quickly and I had a couple of flats as a result of having no sealant despite topping up recently.
For me the GP5000TL and GP5000TR are just hands down the best choice. They are super fast rolling tires, and generally durable and flat resistant. I even commute on these tires! With regards to ride quality, “maybe” they aren’t the most supple feeling but my observation is that people are running grossly high pressure in these tires. I have a KOM I took running 30c GP5000TR at 40PSI, on a segment with 8000 people! The ride quality is great as far as I’m concerned.
It’s really hard to beat the GP5000 S TR as an all around great tire. Some may be a little faster but give up a lot in durability and puncture resistance. And why they stay on my bike year round. Hard to even justify having a separate training and racing tire unless you’re really trying to get every last watt and are fine replacing them often.
Challenge has a new tire (Criterium RS) that look amazing but no data yet. I’ve heard BRR will test them in February. I love their CX tires but have yet to try any road tires.
This is entirely a “depends” on the rim answer. To a certain extent, you really need to explore what tires work great with your rims and riding.
I have Hunt Aero30s, and GP5000 TRs are “ok” to mount. Not a pain, but not a cakewalk either. And they are a great tire, no doubt. Wear is great, speed is great, retention of air is great.
Last fall i tried the Turbo 2BRs and i’m converted. They mounted ridiculously easy and held air without sealant for a couple of days before fading a bit. They feel fast. Another great tire that my rims seems to be super happy with. By contrast, a set RapidAirs i had to literally cut off my rim to get them to release from the bead.
Tire/rim combinations are fickle. Some trial and error required.
All hookless rims and hookless compatible tyres comply to the same ETRTO standard so you’ll get a much more consistent (and good) fitting experience with any tyre that is compatible with your hookless wheels. Previously there was quite a bit of variation in both rims and tyres which led to some combinations that were a nightmare to fit.
I have a long, decorated history of being staunchly anti-Conti and pro-Vittoria when it comes to my tire of choice for the best ride feel.
However … the new Conti 5000S TR, if set up and run tubeless, is a revelation. It matches the Vittoria Corsa G2.0 in road feel, and I find it exceeds it in cornering grip — and the tests says it is also superior in rolling resistance (it is important that you use the STR, and not the earlier generation of Conti 5000s).
5/5 highly recommend them as a tubeless … they converted me from a non-believer.
This is my short list of fast tubeless I’ve tried and liked:
Conti GP 5000 TL (replaced by S TR, some notes below)
Pirelli P ZERO Race TLR
S-Works Turbo RapidAir (gen1)
S-Works Turbo 2BR T2/T5
And my gravel / training tire (rear only):
Pirelli Cinturato Velo TLR in 28 or 32 or 35 (I’ve run all 3 sizes)
I tried and “failed” to install the Conti GP 5000 S TR in 30c onto Enve 5.6 and Roval Rapide CLX. Took them to a shop and the same. By “failed” I mean we both could have forcibly installed them, but no way to remove them on the road if sidewall tear bad luck happened.
The state/county highways in CA are generally a minefield of small wires, nails, screws, and random chunks of metal. Thats why I run the slow but indestructible Cinturato on my rear training wheel. All other tubeless tires on my rear wheel have flatted within 500-800 miles. Tube tires I average a flat every 3 weeks on the rear wheel. I’m not alone - my coach recently attended a college training camp on the central coast, and because of the rain they could not do any of the climbing routes and had to ride on a lot of the state and county highways in San Luis Obispo / Santa Barbara counties. He has never seen so many flats
Conti 4000 always felt dead to me but I ran them tubed because of price/performance. The 5000 (tube) has a little better road feel, and the same with 5000 TL but you can’t buy that anymore. However other tires have better road feel, and my 5000 S TR experience on two different set of rims is enough to make me question the value of picking up another S TR for $60.
I really like the road feel of the gen1 RapidAir, you can still buy 26c version while waiting for the gen2 to show up again in stores/online. Currently I’m running a gen2 Turbo 2BR T2/T5 26c on my front wheel (Cinturato on rear), and its a little more durable and a little less road feel but better feel than Conti 5000 (tube). I had a gen2 2BR t2/t5 in 30c on the rear, but removed it to patch a “slightly too big for bacon at 80psi” hole in the center tread. Pretty happy with that, but definitely not the road feel of the RapidAir or S-Works Turbo (tube) tires.
Pirelli P Zero Race TLR was fine, but a little slower than gen1 RapidAir and on my rear wheel its gonna get a ‘stop the ride’ flat to insert bacon (or worse) just like the others.
I’ll probably try the S TR again, but only after the two gen1 RapidAirs that I picked up on sale.
Ive only ever had 5000TLs, TRs and Schwalbe and to be honest I couldn’t tell the difference. I almost had a corsa tl but it was too soft and porous with a dodgy valve that I couldn’t get it to seat. Took it to a bike shop and they couldn’t seat it either. I got 5000TL instead and it seated 1st time, dodgy valve and all, a few weeks later I replaced the valve. Touch wood other than one end of life rear blow out on one 5000, compared to the Schwalbe Pro 1 they are more robust.
This winter season, I have been using Vittoria Corsa Control TLR. Have done several wet-weather rides with them and I have really liked them quite a bit. They felt pretty grippy on wet roads and the ride quality has been enjoyable, although they are a bit on the heavy side.
Prior to that, I had been using GP5000s and wanted something different. In part, because I did not want to go through the fight of trying to get them mounted on my wheels. I may go with Corsas (non-Control) in the spring, rather than go back to GP5000s.
I’ve been running the Pirelli (set up tubeless) for ~6 months and have been very happy with them. No punctures to date, grippy, and reasonably durable; there’s no obvious signs of wear after ~5000km. I don’t think they are quite as quick as the previous generation GP5000 but I suspect the difference is immaterial outside time trialling.
I haven’t used the new Contis and running Corsas in UK lanes is asking for a puncture a ride in my experience. I’m tempted by the N.EXT however.
I have refused to touch Schwalbe since a sidewall blowout.
The other ones on the list to try are the Michelin Power Cup.
From the OP’s list I’ve used the Contis and the new Spesh 2BRs. I have to agree the Contis are very hard to beat, I found them fast, reliable, and to have very good grip. Ride feel is absolutely fine, even if not the absolute best, but to get the best you inevitably will give up protection. The Spesh 2BRs have been good so far but have less miles on them. Mounted up easy like the Contis, and have equally good grip and feel I would say. That’s all I‘ll commit to for now! I love Vittoria ride feel, both tubed and tubeless, but can’t stomach the RR losses.
I kind of “feared” that the Contis would be a preferred option for a lot of folks. It’s hard the beat the overall “package” they deliver. This year I’ll be mostly on my mountain bike so perhaps I’ll try them to see if they feel better than the tubed versions I’ve used before.
It seems like it’s a bit of a hit or miss with the laminated (??) tires. Some experience the same issues I have had, while others have been more lucky. That’s a shame as it it general seems like they have better road feel than the “single piece” design like the Contis.
Regarding fit I’ll contact Scribe to get their feedback regarding some of the candidates. If they say you basically need a crowbar to get a pair of tires fitted I’ll opt for something different
Current ranked list of options:
Guess the choice comes down to fit, price and availability.