Continental GP Force £29.95
On a visit to the Continental cycle tyre factory in Korbach, Germany, I asked when the company would offer a 25c version of the Supersonic lightweight clincher. I needn’t have bothered; something of the sort already exists in the shape of the GP Force. Conti’s front- and rear- specific Force and Attack road clinchers broke some kind of mould – geddit? – when first launched several years ago. The idea is that the front tyre operates in different conditions to the rear, which is more likely to puncture, wears more quickly and supports more weight. This means it can be of narrower cross-section and thinner tread, with a lighter carcass. Known as Tyre Positioning System, the concept is currently raced by Conti-sponsored Rapha/Condor/Recycling.
That’s all very well, but road cycling made do with same-size rubber front and rear for a long time. The front tyre plays a major part in dampening road shock that would otherwise reach the handlebars, determines front end grip and accounts for, depending on weight distribution, around 45percent of rolling resistance. That means there is a sound argument for a fatter front tyre, or at least, one as fat as the front, especially where speeds are lower and comfort, rolling resistance and grip more important.
Step forward the GP Force, which at a 24mm section and 210g weight fits the bill almost precisely. If anything, it is a better proposition than a 25c Supersonic since it is more likely to fit the average road bike. The carcass has a single Vectran puncture protection breaker strip, tougher and more cut resistant than Kevlar and proven in the GP4000 clincher and Competition tubular. The Black Chili tread means that colour is black only front and rear.
So far I have ridden a pair of GP Force tyres in the Cheshire Cat Sportive and several early-season sporting TTs. The results have been beyond expectations, even for time trialling. With the tyres inflated 90/95psi front/rear, rolling resistance over any surface is notably low, grip and steering accuracy exceptional and comfort almost to armchair standards. The first of these really made itself felt towards the end of the Cheshire Cat as legs began to tire and was evident on cut-up Surrey lanes during events such as the Redhill CC Sporting 19. And, thanks to the Black Chili tread compound, no cuts or punctures. Recommended.