When it comes to Continental Tires, I’ve had only bad experience. And yet, with the rising prices of my weapon of choice, I decided to take the risk. Here’s my brief review of Continental Terra Trail. Can they break the curse?
I’ve tested a lot of rubber in the past. For road bike, my current go-to is WTB, namely their beefy 30mm Exposure model. I’ve had some experience with other brands, of which some were really good, like Vittoria, Panaracer and Michelin, and some really, really bad, including Challenge and Continental. I cannot fathom what people actually see in Continental road tires. I went through a few sets and they were either low quality or puncured very easily.
When I started riding gravel, my first choice was based on price and unfortunately, I decided to go with 2” 650b Continental Race King. I was again very disappointed. Thou I had almost no issues with punctures, the bike felt sluggish, they were hard to put on the rims and I could never seat them properly, resulting in serious wobble. I really tried, but apparently nothing helped and as soon as my wallet allowed, I’ve switched to WTB, first Byway and then Horizon. The latter are now my favourite dry season tires for all-road rumble.
But since WTB Horizon are almost entirely threadless, I was in the market again for some winter rubber. Due to COVID-induced logistics issues, my beloved American brand (WTB) almost doubled in price (from €50 to almost €90), so it was very hard for me justify the purchase. And believe me, I can be very unreasonable with buying overly expensive stuff. I was also limited in options since I use 650b wheels and my frameset fits up to around 2” of tire width. Not a lot of choice for a tan sidewalls lover.
Against my gut, I decided to give Continental a chance again. With no expectations, I ordered myself a new set of 650b Continental Terra Trail. I’ve seen them in the past, but only 700c model was available back then, so it must have been the newest addition. The price was right - around €25 for one. They were easy to put on and the bead popped in at first try. Now that’s more like it. And yes, it’s a tan sidewall. They are of course tubeless ready, but I don’t really care about that.
Compared to Race King, it’s an entirely different thing. The best of two worlds, so to speak. After doing over 3000km I can say they roll great on smooth surface, but are also capable in loose sand and mud. Recently I gave them a shot in the snow and there was plenty of grip. I’ve had two punctures, but to be honest, both times I went straight through a pile of shattered glass and despite cold it, was easy to change the tube.
Thou I still don’t trust them, I’m very satisfied with Continental this time. Terra Trail are durable and versatile option for on and off-road riding. These tires are good for gravel riding in harsh conditions and provide great performance in mud and snow. I’d definitely buy them again, taking Continental would be consistent in manufacturing.