Road Bike Tire Test: Continental Ultra Sport II

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  • Continental Ultra Sport II
Performance compared to all other road bike tires
(100% is best)
Pro Members get 11-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NOTE: We have a test available of a newer version of this tire: Continental Ultra Sport III 2020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"
Specified Width (mm) 25
Specified Weight 260 grams
Max Air Pressure (psi) 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


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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)
Total Puncture Score Tread 51 Points
Total Puncture Score Sidewall Members Only
Tread Puncture Force Sharp Needle 10 Points
Tread Puncture Force Blunt Needle No Data
Tread Total Tire Thickness 3 mm
Sidewall Puncture Force Sharp Needle Members Only
Sidewall Puncture Force Blunt Needle No Data
Sidewall Total Tire Thickness 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.

Static Grip Test Results


NOTE: Grip test data is only available on tires tested after November 2018. You can find more information about our grip test here: Introducing Grip Testing

Static Grip Test Results
Wet Grip Average No Data
Wet Grip Center No Data
Wet Grip Edge No Data
Grip in points = coefficient of friction * 100

Conclusion


  • Continental Ultra Sport II
Performance compared to all other road bike tires
(100% is best)

Pro Members get 11-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


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