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New Continental Aero 111 Road Tire is Fastest Ever, Even at Low Speeds

dt swiss wheels with conti aero 111 tire on a black background.
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What happens when some of the top wheel, tire, and aerodynamic experts get together? They make the world’s fastest tire, and then create some very fast wheel+tire systems. And the best part is, they work at normal speeds, not just pro peloton warp drive.

The new Continental Aero 111 road bike tire is the result a collaboration between them, DT Swiss, and SwissSide. We covered the patent filing for this in early 2023, and now the tires are finally available. Here’s how they work…

Aero gains for all

closeup of dt swiss wheels with conti aero 111 tire

The project came about as DT Swiss was looking for ways to further improve overall system aerodynamics. They say they were quite happy with their wheels, rims, spokes, and hubs, so the next level was the tire.

conti aero 111 tire on dt swiss wheels in the wind tunnel.

They partnered with SwissSide to design it, then brought in Continental to actually make it. By using scooped divots along the tire’s cornering edges, they’re able to smooth the airflow to reduce drag. In their words:

“Specially designed aero cavities in the patented tread pattern function as vortex generators, creating turbulent airflow on the surface that enables the air to stick to the rim shape of the front wheel. The result is a maximization of the sailing effect by delaying the flow separation from the rim, resulting in the ultimate aero wheel tire system.”

What’s more impressive is that the benefit is seen even at normal human speeds:

Straight on, performance is similar to the popular GP 5000, but it starts to get much faster with any crosswind, even creating negative drag in severe crosswind angles, which keeps it more stable, too. Yes, that’s “negative drag”, also known as propulsion…this wheel/tire system actually makes you faster in crosswinds, but that’s not even the best part.

Most drag charts we see are at Pro Tour rider speeds of 40-50km/h. This one shows the drag reduction at 30km/h (18.64mph), a speed many of us cruise at all day long.

In fact, they say what makes this tire really special is that it can reduce drag so much at low speeds. The chart below shows how its performance is consistent even as you increase your speed to 45km/h, but notice how the GP 5000 changes:

Up to a certain point (about 15º wind angle), they say the beneficial “sailing” effect is more pronounced on standard tires at higher speeds, which is a good thing if you can hold 28mph. But for most of us, having a tire that produces improved aerodynamics at 18mph is far more beneficial. But wait, there’s more:

The aerodynamic benefits are exactly the same with the 29mm width, the curve just moves up slightly…sorry, no “negative drag” here. Note that this data is with a shallower rim, but still shows benefits at 30km/h.

Summary: The Continential Aero 111 tire is meant as a front tire only, you can use whatever you want out back. They say gains are achieved regardless of rim height, but it’s offered in 26mm and 29mm widths to suit personal preferences. The 26mm will be the most aerodynamic, but for long-distance riders who want something with a bit more volume to improve comfort, the 29mm will still offer more aero benefits than standard tires.

Aero 111 tire details

cutaway view of conti aero 111 bike tire.

The 48 cavities are the key differentiator. The rest should sound familiar for Conti fans. Their Black Chili rubber compound provides wet-and-dry grip and low rolling resistance. An ultralight and tough Vectran breaker sits under the tread cap to resist punctures. and a tubeless-ready casing lets you set it up without tubes for the least rolling resistance.

It’s tubeless compatible with both hooked and hookless rims. Max tire pressure is 72psi on hookless (TSS) rims, and 102psi on hooked (crochet) rims. Claimed weights are 250g (26mm) and 280g (29mm).

DT Swiss wheels sold with continental aero 111 tires pre-installed.
Aero wheel-tire systems (WTS) shown with 26mm tires. Endurance WTS with 29mm tires also available with shallower carbon rims.

You’ll be able to get the tire on its own from Continental through its normal retail channels MSRP is around $/€120 per tire. DT Swiss will offer complete wheel+tire systems with a slight discount for adding the tires compared to buying it all separately. Options are:

CARBON 1100 DICUT
Aero 26mm/28mm and Endurance 29mm/30mm: + €150 for front AERO 111 + rear GP 5000 STR + 2 TPU tubes fully mounted.

CARBON 1400 DICUT
Aero 26mm/28mm and Endurance 29mm/30mm: + €100 for front.

ALU AR / ER 1600 SPLINE 30
Aero 26mm/28mm and Endurance 29mm/30mm: + €50 for front AERO 111 + rear GP 5000 STR + 2 Butyl tubes fully mounted.

ALU A / E 1800 SPLINE 30
Aero 26mm/28mm and Endurance 29mm/30mm): + €70 (E) / + €80 (A) for front AERO 111 + rear GP 5000 STR + 2 Butyl tubes fully mounted.

Additionally, SwissSide will sell the tire individually and as a wheel-tire system. Canyon will also spec the WTS on select bikes.

DTSwiss.com

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James Lumbert
James Lumbert
9 days ago

Really? Is this technology (which sounds suspiciously similar to marketing language) what’s driving our tire choices? What was that line from P. T. Barnum? Oh yeah, “there’s a sucker born every minute”. Sixty per hour! To whom did YOUR mom give birth?

Tom
Tom
9 days ago

Same price I paid for a high performance tire for my car. Granted, I had to buy 3 more at that price, but $115 for a mass produced bike tire is officially stupid. Guess I’ll keep buying Conti 5000 TR on special at $55.

nooner
nooner
9 days ago

Free speed? Marginal gains? Sign me up!

Larry Falk
Larry Falk
8 days ago

I’m actually shocked every tire manufacturer doesn’t make an aero tire.

Veganpotter
Veganpotter
6 days ago

If this has the GP5000 TT casing, it’s still going to be slower than the Corsa Speed and Veloflex’s fastest tire when you account for rolling resistance. At least at realistic yaw angles.

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