Road Bike Tire Test: Continental Grand Prix SuperSonic

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  • Continental Grand Prix SuperSonic
Performance compared to all other road bike tires
(100% is fastest - lightest - thickest - strongest)
Pro Members get 9-point radar charts

Continental Grand Prix SuperSonic road bike tire on a rolling resistance test machine

The Continental Grand Prix SuperSonic is Continental's lightest road bike tire. With a specified weight of just 150 grams for the 700x23C version, the SuperSonic is so light that it will be hard to find an even lighter tire from any other manufacturer. To accomplish this extremely low weight, the SuperSonic comes with a thin 3/330 TPI casing with a minimal layer of rubber on top, and no anti-puncture protection whatsoever.


This is a review of the new 2017 version of the Grand Prix SuperSonic that comes with a new "tread pattern." The SuperSonic now looks just like the Grand Prix TT (read review) which, in my opinion, looks really good. The center part of the SuperSonic and TT is the same as any other slick tire, but the edge part of the tread has been made thinner and has a very fine diamond pattern. Making the edge part of the tread thinner seems like a good optimization as most of the time, the edge of the tire isn't used a lot.


It will be obvious to most people that the Grand Prix SuperSonic is a no-compromise tire designed for minimal rolling resistance and weight. It doesn't offer good puncture resistance and mileage. All of this is clearly stated on the box and Continental's website.

Manufacturer Specifications


Manufacturer Specifications
Brand Continental
Model Grand Prix SuperSonic
Year 2017
Tire Type Tubetype (clincher)
Supplied By Bought in store
New or Used New
Mileage 0 km
Price Range High
Buy At
Manufacturer part number 0101080
EAN4019238668704
TPI 3/330
Compound Black Chili
Bead Folding
ETRTO 23-622
Size Inch 28"
Width 23
Specified Weight 150 grams
Max Pressure 145
Made In Members Only
Available Sizes 20-622 (700x20C)
23-622 (700x23C)

Continental Grand Prix SuperSonic Test Results

Continental Grand Prix SuperSonic road bike tire on a rolling resistance test machine

Size, Weight, and Thickness Measurements


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Size, Weight and Thickness Measurements
Specified Weight 150 grams
Measured Weight 179 grams
System Adjusted Weight
(tire + inner tube (100 gr)
279 grams
Measured Width 25 mm (un-round)
Measured Height 22 mm (un-round)
Total Tire Thickness Center 1.9 mm
Total Tire Thickness Sidewall Members Only
Unmounted Casing Width 62 mm
Unmounted Tread Width Members Only
All size measurements are taken at an air pressure of 100 psi / 6.9 bars on a 17.8 mm inner width rim.

Unfortunately, my sample of the 700x23C Grand Prix SuperSonic, which I've bought in store myself, has a much higher weight of 179 grams as compared to the specified weight of 150 grams. The higher weight will influence the rolling resistance tests a bit, but I guess it will be tough to find a 150 grams SuperSonic in stores. I'm happy that 95% of all tires on this site are store bought as manufacturers always happen to supply tires that are much closer to the specified weight.


On my 17C rim, at an air pressure of 100 psi / 6.9 bars, the 700x23C SuperSonic has a maximum width of 25 mm and a height of 22 mm. Although this tire measures close to 25 mm already, I do hope Conti releases the SuperSonic in the bigger 700x25C size as well as it seems to be a popular size these days.


As expected from a tire that is pretty much the lightest road bike tire out there, the total thickness of the tread comes in at 1.9 mm which is much lower than most all-round road bike tires that come in closer to 2.5 - 3.0 mm. As my sample of the SuperSonic is much heavier than the specified weight, I expect a true 150 - 160 grams SuperSonic to be even thinner at 1.6 - 1.7 mm thickness. The sidewalls have a thickness of 0.50 mm which is the same as the other Conti tires that come with a 3/330 casing.

Rolling Resistance Test Results


Rolling Resistance Test Results
Inner Tube Conti Race28 (100gr butyl)
Rolling Resistance
140 PSI / 9.7 Bar
Not Tested
Rolling Resistance
120 PSI / 8.3 Bar
10.2 Watts
CRR: 0.00306
Rolling Resistance
100 PSI / 6.9 Bar
11.0 Watts
CRR: 0.00330
Rolling Resistance
80 PSI / 5.5 Bar
Members Only
Rolling Resistance
60 PSI / 4.1 Bar
Members Only
All numbers are for a single tire at a speed of 29 km/h / 18 mph and a load of 42.5 kg / 94 lbs.

Use the formula: RR (Watts) = CRR * speed (m/s) * load (N) to calculate rolling resistance at a given speed and load.

Because the Grand Prix SuperSonic isn't available in the 700x25C size, I've gone for the biggest available size which is 700x23C. In general, the bigger tires will have a slightly lower rolling resistance at the same air pressure. Because all tires are tested at the same air pressures, the smaller tire will have a slight disadvantage.


The Grand Prix SuperSonic has a very low rolling resistance but gets outperformed by the slightly bigger 700x25C Grand Prix TT (read review). I'm sure that if a 700x25C Grand Prix SuperSonic had been available, it would be at least on par with the Grand Prix TT at 9.9 watts at 120 psi / 8.3 bars. At lower air pressures, the difference between the 700x23C SuperSonic and 700x25C starts to become a bit bigger because of the smaller volume of the 23C SuperSonic (volume of the tires becomes more important at lower air pressures.)


As the differences between the Grand Prix TT and Grand Prix SuperSonic are so small, it will probably come down to the weight of the tires that determines which will be faster. If my sample of the SuperSonic was closer to the specified weight of 150 grams, I'm sure rolling resistance would have come in a bit lower for the SuperSonic.

Puncture Resistance Test Results

Continental Grand Prix SuperSonic road bike tire on a rolling resistance test machine
Puncture Resistance Test Results (higher is better)
Puncture Resistance Tread 7 Points
Puncture Resistance Sidewall Members Only

In the tread puncture resistance tests, the SuperSonic scores a very low 7 points which is 1 point less than the 8 points the Grand Prix TT scored. 7 points really is a low score as some (road bike) tires come with stronger sidewalls than that. In the sidewall puncture test, the SuperSonic scores a decent 5 points.

Conclusion


  • Continental Grand Prix SuperSonic
Performance compared to all other road bike tires
(100% is fastest - lightest - thickest - strongest)

Pro Members get 9-point radar charts

The big question that I've asked myself over the last 18 months: Is the Grand Prix SuperSonic faster than the already fast Grand Prix TT (read review)? After testing both tires, I'm sure the Grand Prix SuperSonic will be slightly faster than the Grand Prix TT, but only if you can find a SuperSonic that comes close to the rated weight of 150 grams. If both tires have the same weight, it looks like rolling resistance will be too close to call.


I rate the SuperSonic 4 out of 5 as my sample had a much higher weight of 179 grams and I'm skeptical of anyone finding a true 150 grams 700x23C Grand Prix SuperSonic. On top of that, the Grand Prix TT will be the better choice as it offers a slightly better puncture resistance. Please consider leaving a message if you've used the SuperSonics (or Grand Prix TT) as I'm very curious to the real weight of these tires.

RATING: 4.0 / 5
TEST VERDICT:
Recommended


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