Road Bike Tire Test: Continental Ultra Sport II

Published: by
Facebook like buttonTwitter like buttonEmail share button
  • Continental Ultra Sport II
Performance compared to all other road bike tires
(100% is fastest - lightest - thickest - strongest)
Pro Members get 9-point radar charts

Continental Ultra Sport II road bike tire on a rolling resistance test machine

NOTE: We have a test available of a newer version of this tire: Continental Ultra Sport III 2020

The Ultra Sport II is Continental's cheapest road bike tire and is one of the most popular road bike tires in the lowest price class. Not only because of its low price, but also because it's available in lots of different colors and sizes.


Ad Buy Continental Ultra Sport II at Amazon.com


I'm testing the Ultra Sport II 700 x 25C folding version. A wire bead version is available as well which costs even less. The Ultra Sport has a 3/180 casing, Conti's PureGrip compound, but no hi-tech puncture resistance layer.


It looks like Continental saved some money by skipping the extra layer of puncture resistance material that most other all-round tires have. No puncture resistance layer helps achieve a lower rolling resistance at the cost of lower puncture resistance.


The trade-off between rolling resistance and puncture resistance will always exist, a stronger tire simply will have a higher rolling resistance. Although the use of a better design and better performing materials helps, tire cost will go up as well.


The other low-end tires I have tested up to now (2015) are the Vittoria Zaffiro (review), which has a decent rolling resistance but low puncture resistance. And the Schwalbe Lugano (review), which has a decent puncture resistance but a very high rolling resistance.


Visit the road bike overview page and apply the "low price range" filter to see the current list of tested tires.


Let's see how Continentals lowest priced tire performs in our rolling resistance and puncture resistance tests.

Manufacturer Specifications


Manufacturer Specifications
Brand Continental
Model Ultra Sport II
Year 2015
Tire Type Tubetype (clincher)
Supplied By Bought in store
New or Used New
Mileage 0 km
Price Range Low
Buy At Ad Amazon.com
Manufacturer part number 0150011
TPI 3/180
Compound PureGrip
Bead Folding
ETRTO 25-622
Size Inch 28"
Width 25
Specified Weight 260 grams
Max Pressure 120
Made In Members Only
Available Sizes 32-630 (27x1 1/4)
28-630 (27x1 1/8)
23-622 (700x23C)
25-622 (700x25C)
28-622 (700x28C)
32-622 (700x32C)

Continental Ultra Sport II Test Results

Continental Ultra Sport II road bike tire on a rolling resistance test machine

Size, Weight, and Thickness Measurements


advertisement
Size, Weight and Thickness Measurements
Specified Weight 260 grams
Measured Weight 267 grams
System Adjusted Weight
(tire + inner tube (100 gr)
367 grams
Measured Width 26 mm (un-round)
Measured Height 24 mm (un-round)
Total Tire Thickness Center 3 mm
Total Tire Thickness Sidewall Members Only
Unmounted Casing Width No Data
Unmounted Tread Width No Data
All size measurements are taken at an air pressure of 100 psi / 6.9 bars on a 17.8 mm inner width rim.

Weight. Specified weight of the folding Ultra Sport 700 x 25C is 260 grams. My sample comes in at 267 grams, which is slightly over the specified weight.


Size. The measured width and height on a 17C wheel is 26 mm and 24 mm respectively. These are both average values for a 25C road bike tire.


Tire Thickness. The Ultra Sport II has a very good tread thickness at 3.0 mm which indicates there's plenty of rubber on the tire. Most all-round tires come in closer to 2.5-2.9 mm in this test.


The sidewalls also are a bit thicker at 0.70 mm than most high-end, high-performance tires that come in closer to 0.50-0.55 mm.

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
14.3 Watts
CRR: 0.00429
Rolling Resistance
100 PSI / 6.9 Bar
14.8 Watts
CRR: 0.00444
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.

When taking its low price into consideration, rolling resistance is good. The Ultra Sport II is able to outperform the Vittoria Zaffiro and comes very close to the slightly more expensive Continental Grand Prix (review).


At an air pressure of 120 psi / 8.3 bars, rolling resistance of the Ultra Sport II is only 0.3 watts higher when compared to the Continental Grand Prix. At the lower air pressure of 80 psi / 5.5 bars, rolling resistance is 0.5 watts higher when compared to the Grand Prix.


The Vittoria Zaffiro (review) had a decent rolling resistance at very high air pressures. At lower air pressures, rolling resistance of the Zaffiro skyrocketed. The Ultra Sport II, on the other hand, has a much better rolling resistance curve with a decent rolling resistance even at lower air pressures.

Puncture Resistance Test Results

Continental Ultra Sport II road bike tire on a rolling resistance test machine
Puncture Resistance Test Results (higher is better)
Puncture Resistance Tread 10 Points
Puncture Resistance Sidewall Members Only

As expected, because the puncture resistance layer has been omitted, tread puncture resistance is low. With a score of 10 points, it scores just as low as the Vittoria Zaffiro.


Sidewall puncture resistance is 4 points; this is an average score as most other road bike tires without reinforced sidewalls score 4 - 5 points on this test.

Conclusion


  • Continental Ultra Sport II
Performance compared to all other road bike tires
(100% is fastest - lightest - thickest - strongest)

Pro Members get 9-point radar charts

If you're looking for a cheap tire with a decent rolling resistance, the Continental Ultra Sport II is the way to go. Even at lower air pressures, rolling resistance comes very close to more expensive tires. The trade-off is that puncture resistance is below average because an extra layer of puncture resistance material has been omitted.


If you want cheap tires and don't care about puncture resistance, the Ultra Sports are perfect. If you're willing to spend slightly more, the Continental Grand Prix (review) or Vittoria Rubino Pro (review) are still my price/performance recommendations. Those tires have a slightly lower weight, lower rolling resistance, and a much better puncture resistance at a slightly higher price.


If you want to dig into the price/performance ratios yourself, jump to the road bike overview page and apply the low and medium price-range filter.

Ad Buy Continental Ultra Sport II at Amazon.com


RATING: 3.0 / 5
TEST VERDICT:
Recommended


Comments



Get updates on new articles
Road Bike Rolling Resistance Reviews
Excludes previous models/discontinued tires
Visit the road bike overview to view all
Brand Model Watts
VittoriaCorsa Speed G+ 2.0 (TLR)7.0 W
SchwalbePro One TT TLE Addix7.5 W
ContinentalGrand Prix 5000 TL8.3 W
MichelinPower Time Trial8.6 W
VittoriaCorsa Speed (tubular)9.1 W
SpecializedTurbo RapidAir 2Bliss Ready9.7 W
ContinentalGrand Prix TT9.9 W
ContinentalGrand Prix 500010.0 W
MichelinPower Road TLR10.1 W
HutchinsonFusion 5 Galactik TL10.1 W
SpecializedTurbo Cotton10.1 W
PirelliP Zero Velo TT10.2 W
ContinentalGrand Prix SuperSonic10.2 W
SchwalbePro One TLE Addix10.2 W
PirelliP Zero Velo Race TLR SL10.3 W
MichelinPower Competition10.9 W
ContinentalGrand Prix Force II11.0 W
BontragerR4 32011.5 W
ZippTangente Speed11.6 W
MavicYksion Pro UST Tubeless11.7 W
PirelliP Zero Velo Race TLR11.7 W
ContinentalGrand Prix Attack II11.7 W
VittoriaRubino Pro Speed11.9 W
VittoriaCorsa G+ 2.0 TLR12.2 W
VittoriaCorsa G+ (tubular)12.3 W
MichelinPower Road12.4 W
PirelliP Zero Velo12.5 W
VittoriaCorsa Control G+ 2.0 TLR12.6 W
SchwalbePro One (tubetype) Addix12.8 W
VittoriaCorsa Elite (tubular)12.9 W
VittoriaCorsa G+ 2.0 (open)13.0 W
HutchinsonFusion 5 Performance TL13.1 W
MaxxisPadrone Tubeless Ready13.1 W
MaxxisHigh Road13.2 W
ChallengeStrada Pro13.4 W
VeloflexCorsa13.4 W
SpecializedS-Works Turbo13.4 W
PanaracerRace L Evo 313.9 W
ContinentalGrand Prix14.0 W
ContinentalUltra Sport III14.1 W
VittoriaCorsa Control G+ 2.0 (open)14.1 W
MichelinPro 4 Endurance v214.2 W
ContinentalCompetition (tubular)14.2 W
HutchinsonFusion 5 All Season TL14.3 W
MichelinPower Endurance14.5 W
PirelliP Zero Velo 4S14.7 W
MichelinPro 4 Service Course14.9 W
MavicYksion Elite15.0 W
VittoriaZaffiro Pro G+ 2.015.2 W
VittoriaRubino Pro G+ 2.015.2 W
ZippTangente Course15.3 W
MichelinKrylion 2 Endurance15.4 W
SchwalbeOne Performance Addix15.4 W
PirelliCinturato Velo TLR15.6 W
SchwalbeOne TLE Performance Addix15.8 W
MichelinLithion 215.9 W
SchwalbePro One HT (tubular)16.1 W
PanaracerRace A Evo 316.4 W
SchwalbeDurano Plus Addix16.4 W
VittoriaRubino Pro Control16.9 W
ClementStrada LGG16.9 W
ContinentalGrand Prix 4 Season17.2 W
MichelinDynamic Sport17.3 W
PanaracerRace D Evo 317.4 W
SchwalbeDurano18.0 W
SchwalbeLugano II18.0 W
VredesteinFortezza Senso All Weather18.0 W
ContinentalGatorskin19.3 W
ContinentalGator Hardshell19.5 W
SchwalbeDurano DD Addix19.5 W
MichelinPower All Season21.3 W
MaxxisRe-Fuse22.6 W
View All
CX/Gravel Rolling Resistance Reviews
Brand Model Watts
PanaracerGravelKing TLC20.8 W
ContinentalTerra Speed TR20.8 W
MichelinPower Gravel24.1 W
PanaracerGravelKing SK TLC24.7 W
PirelliCinturato Cross Hard Terrain25.2 W
ChallengeGrifo Pro25.7 W
ContinentalTerra Trail TR26.0 W
HutchinsonOveride26.0 W
WTBRiddler TCS Light26.6 W
VittoriaTerreno Dry G+ 2.027.0 W
VittoriaTerreno Zero G+ 2.027.2 W
WTBNano TCS Light28.6 W
SchwalbeG-One Speed Super Ground V-Guard SpeedGrip28.6 W
ChallengeGravel Grinder28.7 W
VittoriaTerreno Mix G+ 2.029.4 W
PirelliCinturato Cross Mixed Terrain29.7 W
SchwalbeG-One Ultrabite TLE SpeedGrip29.8 W
SchwalbeG-One Allround Super Ground SpeedGrip29.8 W
VittoriaTerreno Wet G+ 2.032.2 W
MaxxisRe-Fuse Gravel33.9 W
View All
Mountain Bike Rolling Resistance Reviews
Excludes previous models/discontinued tires
Visit the MTB overview to view all
Brand Model Watts
ContinentalSpeed King II RaceSport19.1 W
ContinentalRace King Protection20.2 W
ContinentalRace King RaceSport22.4 W
SchwalbeRocket Ron LiteSkin Addix Speed22.6 W
SchwalbeRacing Ralph LiteSkin Addix Speed25.0 W
ContinentalRace King Performance26.3 W
SchwalbeRocket Ron TL-E Addix Speed26.7 W
SchwalbeRacing Ralph 2019 TLE Addix Speed27.0 W
ContinentalRace King Sport27.0 W
SchwalbeRocket Ron TL-E Addix SpeedGrip27.2 W
VittoriaMezcal TNT G+ 2.028.0 W
SpecializedS-Works Fast Trak28.0 W
SchwalbeRacing Ray TLE Addix SpeedGrip28.3 W
SchwalbeRacing Ralph TL-E Addix SpeedGrip28.7 W
ContinentalCross King Protection29.0 W
VittoriaBarzo TNT G+ 2.030.0 W
MaxxisAspen EXO TR30.6 W
IRCMythos XC30.8 W
MaxxisRekon Race EXO TR31.1 W
SpecializedS-Works Ground Control31.3 W
MaxxisIkon 3C MaxxSpeed TLR31.5 W
ContinentalMountain King II RaceSport31.5 W
MichelinJet XCR33.2 W
MaxxisArdent Race 3C EXO TR35.1 W
MichelinForce XC35.3 W
KendaSmall Block Eight35.6 W
MichelinForce AM37.4 W
MaxxisIkon eXCeption Silkworm38.2 W
VittoriaAKA40.7 W
View All
Touring Bike Rolling Resistance Reviews
Brand Model Watts
SchwalbeMarathon Almotion17.1 W
VittoriaVoyager Hyper17.7 W
CompassBon Jon Pass18.6 W
SchwalbeMarathon Supreme19.1 W
ContinentalSport Contact II20.6 W
SchwalbeMarathon (GreenGuard)21.3 W
SchwalbeEnergizer Plus21.5 W
CSTE-Series Reach21.9 W
ContinentalTop Contact II24.2 W
ContinentalContact II24.3 W
SchwalbeMarathon Racer24.6 W
SchwalbeKojak24.8 W
ContinentalCity Ride II25.1 W
SchwalbeMarathon Plus25.5 W
SchwalbeMarathon Mondial Evo26.7 W
VredesteinPerfect-E27.3 W
SchwalbeMarathon E-Plus27.4 W
ContinentalTop Contact Winter II28.5 W
VittoriaRandonneur32.4 W
ContinentalE.Contact33.4 W
View All
Fat Bike Rolling Resistance Reviews
Brand Model Watts
SchwalbeJumbo Jim LiteSkin PaceStar36.9 W
SchwalbeJumbo Jim SnakeSkin38.6 W
SpecializedFast Trak Fat43.4 W
VeeRubber Vee 845.8 W
SurlyLarry48.4 W
45NRTHVan Helga51.0 W
45NRTHHusker Du51.7 W
SurlyLarry 27 TPI53.0 W
VittoriaBomboloni TNT53.9 W
MaxxisMammoth54.7 W
PanaracerFat B Nimble55.4 W
KendaJuggernaut Pro59.2 W
View All