TeamCBC Cycling Tip – Unofficial Tire Test with Surprising Results

A couple weeks ago I explained, in theory, how a tire with a better rolling resistance can help you ride as much as 1 mph faster. I compared my current tires, Continental Gator Hardshells, rated at 20 watts/each with Continental Grand Prix 5000 tires which are rated at only 10 watts/each. For those of you interested in the math, here is a calculator on power versus speed which shows how much an additional 20 watts will do for you:

In order to prove it, I bought a pair of GP 5000’s to test out. First I rode the Gators on a 25 mile course on April 27th. I then rode the Gators again on a similar, but longer, 30 mile course on May 4th. Finally I replaced the Gators with GP 5000’s and rode the same exact 30 mile course on May 6th. Each time I rode around mid-day.


DATE      TIRE                   SPEED       HR   TEMP  WIND

4/27 Gator Hardshells   18.6 mph     135      65      NNW@10

5/4   Gator Hardshells   18.4 mph     137      75      NNW@10

5/6   Grand Prix 5000   20.6 mph     141      65      WNW@7

According to the calculator, my speed should have increased by about 1 mph. Instead it went up by more than 2 mph! I can’t explain it, but the new tires just felt fast. Just to add another couple of data points, I compared the “Route 64 to the Old Route 1” Strava segment only. I rode that 6.8 mile stretch as fast as I could both days. The GP 5000’s beat the Gators 21.3 mph (HR=145) to 19.7 mph (HR=141) despite a stronger tailwind on Monday.

The bottom line, tires can make a big difference.

As always, let me know your ideas or comments.

Quote of the week: My ultimate fear is that when I die my spouse will sell my bikes for what I said that I paid for them.

Rick Bunnell

President, TeamCBC