The Continental Contact II is Continental's most all-round touring tire, Conti even calls this their Jack of all trades. The Contact II has a triple layer 180 TPI carcass, 25 km/h E-bike rating, Eco logo and a 'SafetySystem' anti-puncture layer. Although the Contact II is a direct competitor to the very popular Schwalbe Marathon range of tires, it doesn't have a thick anti-puncture layer. It instead uses a thin layer of kevlar reinforced nylon (SafetySystem) under the tread.
The biggest advantage of using a stronger but thinner layer of anti-puncture protection is the weight savings. With a factory specified weight of 620 grams for the 37-622 version, the Contact II is 110 grams lighter than the Schwalbe Marathon (read review). If equal rolling resistance and puncture resistance can be achieved with just this thin layer, the lower weight is a nice bonus. Continue to read about the full test results.
|Supplied By||Supplied by Continental|
|New or Used||New|
|Specified Weight||620 grams|
Size and Weight Measurements
|Size and Weight Measurements (Bike Wheel: 622-17C, Pressure: 60 psi / 4 bar)|
|Specified Weight||620 grams|
|Measured Weight||623 grams|
|Measured Width||34 mm|
|Measured Height||31 mm|
|Tread Depth||1.8 mm|
|Total Tire Thickness Center||4.2 mm|
|Total Tire Thickness Sidewall||1.95 mm|
The measured weight of my sample of the Contact II is 623 grams, this is very close to the specified weight of 620 grams. On my 17C rim, at an air pressure of 60 psi / 4 bar, the 37-622 Contact measures 34 mm wide and 31 mm high. Most 37-622 rated tires measure closer to 35 - 37 mm wide.
With a measured tread depth of 1.8 mm, the Contact ends up in the middle of the pack. Because the usage of only a thin layer of anti-puncture material, the Total Tire Thickness Tread measurement comes in at 4.2 mm. 4.2 mm is a very low measurement and comes close to the thickness of fast road bike tires (3 mm). While the total tire tread thickness is low, the sidewall is much thicker than comparable tires and comes in at 1.95 mm thick.
Rolling Resistance Test Results
|Rolling Resistance Test Results (Speed: 29 kmh / 18 mph / 8 m/s, Load: 42.5 kg / 417 N)|
|Inner Tube||Conti Tour 28 (170 gr butyl)|
|Rolling Resistance 90 psi / 6 Bar||
|Rolling Resistance 75 psi / 5 Bar||
|Rolling Resistance 60 psi / 4 Bar||
|Rolling Resistance 45 psi / 3 Bar||
|Rolling Resistance 30 psi / 2 Bar||
|Use the formula: RR (watts) = CRR * speed (m/s) * load (N) to calculate rolling resistance at a given speed and load|
Rolling resistance at an air pressure of 60 psi / 4 bar is 24.3 watts, this is 3 watts more than the Schwalbe Marathon. When dropping air pressure, rolling resistance rises to 28.9 watts at 45 psi and 39.4 watts at 30 psi. At these lower pressures, the disadvantage of the Contact II grows to 5.1 and 8.9 watts respectively.
When we look at the charts, it's obvious rolling resistance at low air pressure is really bad. When you make sure air pressure never drops below 50-60 psi, this might be an OK tire. If you like to run low air pressure for increased comfort or just don't check your air pressure often, forget about this tire.
Puncture Resistance Test Results
|Puncture Resistance Test Result (higher is better)|
|Puncture Resistance Tread||11|
|Puncture Resistance Sidewall||7|
|Puncture Factor Tread *||46|
|Puncture Factor Sidewall *||14|
|* Puncture Factor = Puncture Resistance * Total Tire Thickness
Puncture Factor provides a more realistic puncture resistance score for touring tires
In the puncture resistance test, the Contact II scores quite low. In the tread puncture resistance test, it scores a low 11 points. In the sidewall puncture resistance test, on the other hand, it scores an above average 7 points.
When we also combine the total tire thickness measurements with the puncture resistance scores (Puncture Factor), the Contact scores even lower. With a Puncture Factor Tread score of 46 points, it's at the bottom of the pack. While the Puncture Factor Tread score is very low, the Puncture Factor Sidewall score of 14 points is at the top of the list. The high sidewall scores are of limited use as I think the Tread scores are much more important for most touring/e-bike usage.
I find it hard to judge the Continental Contact II, it doesn't really stand out at anything. When we exclude the slight weight disadvantage, the Schwalbe Marathon (read review) performs better on every test. To make it even worse, performance in the puncture resistance test is very low. For touring/e-bike usage, puncture resistance is just as important as rolling resistance. I would have given this tire a recommended 3/5 rating if puncture resistance was at least average.
At the moment, I just don't think there is a tire on the market that beats the Schwalbe Marathon on rolling resistance/puncture resistance and price. Given that the Contact II is close to the same price as the Marathon, I can't recommend it.
VERDICT: Not Recommended