Many upgrade wheels for performance. Those unable to drop thousands on a set may consider new tires. Stock tires work well when getting into the sport, but performance tires can improve the overall experience thanks to lighter weight, grippier rubber compounds, or improved puncture protection. Introduced last year, the updated Continental GP Force and Attack tires are one such upgrade to consider.
They’re a unique offering from the German manufacturer because they’re available in a bundle or individually. Also, the updated size selection for the bundle is limited to one offering of 700 x 23 [GP Attack] – 25 [GP Force]. Compared to the stock Mavic Yksion Elite tires I was running, I lost 35g of rotational weight and gained a lot more confidence around fast corners and climbs. Read on past the break…
One of the more interesting features of this set is their TirePositioning System [TPS] which takes inspiration from motorcycles. They use a 700 x 23 front tire and 700 x 25 rear to achieve faster handling upfront and a smoother ride out back. Their BlackChili compound gives the tires the grip they need, while their Vectran Breaker builds flat protection into the casing. The folding set has a TPI of 3/330 (110 tpi casing overlapped three times).
The characteristic that has stood out most is the cornering. One of my favorite descents features an ‘S’ turn mid way through, and if the apex is hit perfectly riders go through a seesaw motion from one corner to the next. The tires grip better than glue during similar maneuvers, and sustain it throughout the ride. However, for me they aren’t the most supple or comfortable tires out there. Weighing 180lbs, I varied the tire pressures within their recommended range of 110 – 120 psi hoping to find a softer ride. They were better at 110 psi, but there are other options I would consider if looking for a smoother tire. Recently, I’ve kept the pressure around 118 in the front and 116 in the back which is a happy medium for me. Debris covered road shoulders had me worried about flats, but after months of riding I’ve been in the clear (knock on wood) likely thanks to the Vectran Breaker and good line choice (luck).
I’ve gotta hand it to Continental for beating their claimed weight by 15g. The received set weighs 385g total, with the GP Attack at 168g (F) and the Force at 217g (R). Actual widths on 17mm (internal width) rims were 25mm (Attack) and 27mm (Force), which is good considering trends are moving toward wider tires anyway. For an upgrade that improves weight, traction, control, and speed, the $150 Continental GP Attack and Force set are a solid option to consider. Otherwise, they’re individually priced at $75 for single tire replacement or to mix and match.