Compared to two, three years ago, we have a lot of good tires for gravel in the market now. The problem is choice: we don’t know, what should we choice. Are newer tires better than older, like reviewed Gravelkings SK? There is only one way to check it: buy, ride and test. I’m still looking for best tires for my usage: a lot of tarmac, but often very bad quality, some gravel, preferably dry conditions because I don’t like mess. Last time I decided to try something other than Gravelkings AC/Mud, something probably faster. After reading a lot of reviews, a lot of comments, chose Continental Terra Speed in size 700x35c.
Continental had some gravel-specific tires before, but they are not as solid, as competition: yes, cheap, light and fast, but not durable, also not compatible with tubeless system. New Terra Speed and Terra have to change this situation: these tires should be much more durable, are tubeless compatible and use Continental best compound: BlackChili. Of course, they also cost more than older tires. Are they worth that additional price, or maybe the better option is to buy two or more pairs of worse, but cheaper tires? Let’s check this.
Similar to Schwable G-one, but different
First look on Terra Speeds: they are very similar to Schwalbe G-One’s. Yes and no. Yes, because pattern is similar, but here knobs are bigger and with more space between them. Also, Terra Speeds use slightly harder rubber than G-One’s. It should be advantage: according to many users, a lot of new Schwalbe tires wear too fast because too soft compound. You can think, that more space means a lot of advantages on mixed, wet conditions. Hm… unfortunately not, but I will write more about that on next paragraphs. Why not similar to G-One’s? Because I think, grip is better on for example road with some sand. You can feel more comfortable here, it’s not perfect, but better than many, many slick-similar tires for gravel.
They are fast, but in my opinion not as fast as Gravelkings SK 700×35: it’s because of compound of course, and also probably because of a little higher weight. Difference is not big, but noticeable. We can hear them on fast, road-bike-specific ride on tarmac, but it’s nothing strange. If you are looking for something really fast, you should choice “diamond” pattern tires. They probably will not able to provide superb grip on each gravel and singletracks but will faster on roads and good paths. What about comfort? They are harder than G-One’s, but much softer than Greavelkings SK and we can feel it during ride: I can say, that Terra 700x35c is similar to GK SK 700x38c in comfort level: they are better in this section. Ride on tarmac, ride on pavements, also on good gravel: everything is very comfortable, different than many CX-specific tires.
Fast, tubeless easy, but not all-round
Few words about grip. On tarmac, there is no issues, maybe except hard cornering: sometimes I felt, that they can “escape” and I will crash. Fortunately, it didn’t happen anytime. On dry gravel grip is fantastic: you can look at that pattern and thing: it’s not possible. Yes, it’s possible and these tires are great on dry gravel. Dry. I must highlight that, because on wet conditions, on mud, everything changes: they lost grip and can’t provide driving confidence. I have few situations with mud, and they failed every time, also, they can fail on sand and we will lose control very quickly. It was big disappointment for me, because many other gravel-specific tires are pretty good on dry and also wet conditions without such issues. Of course, there are second Continental gravel tires: Terra Trail. Probably they are much better for dry conditions, but in that situation, we can’t talk about “all round” tires, right?
Terra Speeds are tubeless compatible, and I can recommend them, if you are looking for such tires. They inflate without issues on my DT 460b rims with about 40-50 ml of sealant per tire. I didn’t observe issues during ride, didn’t observe wearing issues or too rapid air leakage. Finally, I can say, that Continental Terra Speed is nice choice. Not the best, not the best for me and my requirements, but still very good. If you are looking something for dry conditions, to use without tubes, you can buy them and probably will be happy. If you are looking for something more all-round, probably better choice is to use tires with different knobs pattern, like Gravelkings AC/Mud I reviewed few months ago. If you have any question, please write comment.