The all-new Grand Prix 5000 Tire from Continental is a worthy successor to its Grand Prix 4000 S II, a tire that stood atop its road clincher tire range for a dozen or so years and a favorite among cyclists worldwide. What made the GP4000 so universally loved was that it was truly a competition worthy tire in terms of weight, grip, and rolling resistance, but unlike typical racing rubber, the tire was actually durable enough to fend off debris so you could train on it daily, while also lasting quite a while so you could rack up some miles before the threads began to show. As one of the world's largest tire manufactures, Continental has a host of technologies and compounds it can lean on giving it the ability to build the highest quality tires, hell the majority of the pro peloton rolls on them, and while we weren’t quite sure how Conti is able to create a road tire that's significantly faster, more comfortable, and less prone to flat than its previous version, somehow it did.
We'll start with its rubber compound as it continues to use Black Chili balance. The rubber compound is critical because it defines the tire's grip, rolling resistance, and longevity. Typically, you can't alter one without it affecting the other which is exactly where Black Chili shines. Using the latest knowledge of polymers and raw material research, Conti uses special synthetic rubbers along with proven natural rubber, creating a high-performance mixture. To it, it adds super-tiny carbon black particles, optimized in shape and surface properties. The complex compound technology is so exclusive that Conti only manufactures tires using Black Chili compound in its Korbach, Germany plant. The tiny size of Black Chili particles allows them to mold to variable road surfaces more readily. It gives the tire greater ability to conform to imperfections in the road surface for excellent grip in demanding situations, such as high-speed cornering, while also reducing rolling resistance. Since the Black Chili particles are so small, more particles fit into the contact patch of the tire, reducing wear and increasing longevity.
Another returning element from the GP4000 is its Vectran technology right under the tread to boost puncture protection. Vectran is a synthetically manufactured liquid-crystalline polymer fiber that's not unlike spider silk, that gram for gram is stronger than steel. To create it, Conti spins the melted liquid polymer Vectra and processes it further into a multi-strand thread where it enjoys tremendous tear resistance at a very low weight, an ideal puncture protection breaker for a high-performance road tire as it's lighter, more flexible (the key to not affecting rolling resistance), and better protects against cuts than a comparable nylon breaker.
What is brand new on this tire is its Active Comfort Technology. Continental doesn't go into great detail here other than mentioning that it's embedded in the tire construction and helps to absorb vibrations thus leading to a smoother ride. The other new bit of technology is Lazer Grip where it uses a laser to etch a micro profile that extends over the tire’s shoulder for next-level cornering confidence.