The Continental TopContact II is Continental's top of the line tour/e-bike tire. This tire is handmade in Germany, has folding beads, a 3/180 TPI carcass, state of the art rubber compound and a double layer of Vectran puncture protection. It also comes with the ECE-R75 certification which makes it suitable for up to 50 km/h e-bikes. Continental claims this to be the ultimate tour/e-bike tire with a low rolling resistance, high puncture protection, and long life.
The double layer of Vectran puncture protection used in the TopContact is the same material Conti uses in their top performing road bike tires like the Grand Prix 4000S II and Grand Prix 4-Season. Those tires are among the top performers in the rolling resistance and puncture resistance tests. The double layer of Vectran is much lighter and thinner than the softer but thicker material the Schwalbe Marathon uses to protect against punctures. This offers a different kind of puncture protection, both have pros and cons.
Because this is a 'premium' tire, it also comes at a premium price. The TopContact II is a good bit more expensive than our favorite tire: the Schwalbe Marathon (read review). It's obvious this higher price also ups our expectations. Let's see how it performs on our tests.
|Model||Top Contact II|
|Supplied By||Supplied by Continental|
|New or Used||New|
|Specified Weight||600 grams|
Size and Weight Measurements
|Size and Weight Measurements (Bike Wheel: 622-17C, Pressure: 60 psi / 4 bar)|
|Specified Weight||600 grams|
|Measured Weight||584 grams|
|Measured Width||37 mm|
|Measured Height||35 mm|
|Tread Depth||2.5 mm|
|Total Tire Thickness Center||4.4 mm|
|Total Tire Thickness Sidewall||1.05 mm|
Specified weight of the 37-622 TopContact II is 600 grams, my sample comes in at 584 grams. The measured width on a 17C rim is 37 mm, height is 35 mm. It's nice to see a tire that's rated to be 37 mm wide to actually have a width of 37 mm. Most other 37-622 tires seem to measure less than 37 mm.
I've measured tread depth at 2.5 mm, which is the highest value I've measured up to now. This is a good indication that service life will be good. The Total Tire Thickness Tread measurement comes in at 4.4 mm. 4.4 mm is much less than the 7.3 mm of the Schwalbe Marathon, which uses a 3 mm thick anti-puncture layer. Total Tire Thickness Sidewall comes in at 1.05 mm, which is also on the low side.
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|
With the lower weight and thin anti-puncture layer, the TopContact should rock in the rolling resistance test, Right? Not exactly. Rolling resistance is higher than the Schwalbe Marathon (read review) at all air pressures. At very high air pressures, even the cheaper Continental Contact has a slightly lower rolling resistance. The TopContact improves at the lower end of the air pressure range.
Although the TopContact has a higher rolling resistance than the Schwalbe Marathon, it isn't a slow tire. On average there seems to be only a 3 watts per tire disadvantage, which will be hard to notice and can easily be made up by other factors like better service life or grip on wet roads.
Puncture Resistance Test Results
|Puncture Resistance Test Result (higher is better)|
|Puncture Resistance Tread||16|
|Puncture Resistance Sidewall||6|
|Puncture Factor Tread *||70|
|Puncture Factor Sidewall *||6|
|* Puncture Factor = Puncture Resistance * Total Tire Thickness
Puncture Factor provides a more realistic puncture resistance score for touring tires
In the puncture resistance test, which measures the force required to puncture the tire, the TopContact performs excellently. With a score of 16 points in the tread test, it scores 2 points more than the Marathon. In the sidewall test, it performs great as well. With a score of 6 points, it scores 1 point more than the Marathon.
Because the TopContact doesn't use a thick layer of puncture protection material, Puncture Factor comes in lower for both the Tread and Sidewall calculations. With a tire thickness of only 4.4 mm at the center of the tire, Puncture Factor Tread ends up at 70 points. With sidewalls with a thickness of just 1.05 mm thick, Puncture Factor Sidewall ends up at 6 points, which is average.
The Continental TopContact II doesn't impress, rolling resistance is higher than I expected from the top of the line Continental touring bike/e-bike tire. It does perform very well in the raw puncture resistance tests. Puncture Factor, on the other hand, is only average because of the absence of a thick anti-puncture layer. The pros are a good tread depth, good volume, and a low weight.
The TopContact isn't a bad tire, but based on our tests, I would prefer the Schwalbe Marathon (read review) as it performs better in almost all tests and is available at a much lower price point. If you're willing to spend, it might be worth trying.
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