Continental Travel Contact Review – Destroyed!

I have finally squeezed the last mile out of my Continental Travel Contact tyres (Twice!). I can now give you the grim specifics on how long they lasted, how well they performed, and how gracefully they failed. Consider this the Continental Travel Contact review; tested to destruction!

Continental Travel Contact side-wall damage.
Continental Travel Contact | side-wall damage.

I was able to squeeze 8,000 miles out of these tyres. To put that into context, the tyres that came as standard on my £350 mid to low range hybrid bike needed to be replaced after 900 miles. I expected to get more from the Continental Travel Contacts simply because the tread didn’t ever look very worn but, as you can see from the photo, it was the tyres side walls which failed first.

Continental Travel Contact tread wear
Continental Travel Contact | tread wear

The Continental Travel Contacts were treated to a rough 8,000 miles. I have carried heavy loads on tour, enjoy fast riding, strong braking and spirited cornering. Also the tyres were ridden year round through baking sun to salted and gritted icy roads. Most journeys from home lead me from the village where I live into Leicester, which is a pretty big city. The route encompasses busy roads with no cycle lanes and plenty of road debris.

Up to the point of critical side-wall failure, the Continental Travel Contacts performed excellently and I’ve also had my hands on a set of  folding CTCs recently, they don’t take up much space, which is great for stashing one as a spare.

Continental Travel Contact Review 26″ – Update (2012):

My new fully loaded touring bike takes 26″ tyres. There Continental Travel Contact tyres appear to be wearing at a slower rate. It’s too early to tell for sure but I expect them to outlast the 700c tyres by a considerable distance, very impressive!

Continental Travel Contact 26"
Continental Travel Contact 26″ | Tread wore out before the side-walls failed – just!

Continental Travel Contact Update (2014):

The 26″ Continental Travel Contact Tyres lasted for the entire trip from England to New Zealand (see Journal and Gallery), but only just! They ended up running for about 7,000 miles in the end over two bikes, but 90% of that was with very heavy loads.

As I rode south over the great dividing range towards Lakes Entrance, Australia, a slightly flat spot on my rear tyre, caused by some emergency breaking a few weeks earlier in India, started to wear thin. I could feel the bump.. bump.. bump as I rode along which I knew was accentuating the problem.

As I finally limped into New Plymouth, New Zealand my tyre was threadbear, the tread and side-walls were disintegrating under the weight of my fully loaded bike to point where it was becoming very dangerous – I should have changed them months ago. I dare say it would not have lasted more than another full day. What an epic life the Continental Travel Contact tyres had – what an adventure and what good value they were.

I don’t think any other tyre can do so much, and ride so far, for so little money. The Continental Travel Contact tyres which can be found for around £20 per tyre are the best value I have ever ridden and I always recommend them to friends that want a good value, proper touring tyre that’s suitable for mixed terrain.

I have always bought my Continental travel Contact tyres from Chain Reaction Cycles and it helps me out a little if you do to. I only recommend products I have used myself and are very happy with.

Have you tried the Continental Travel Contact tyre, what are your experiences with them?

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10 thoughts on “Continental Travel Contact Review – Destroyed!”

  1. Hi, My CTC rear tyre side wall has been slowly peeling off. I’ve had no problem til today when I got a puncture which I think came through the side. (I don’t ride many miles on my touring bike, but this CTC tyre is 5 years old, maybe it’s just the age…?)

  2. Superb review, James. Many thanks.

    I’m thinking of buying a pair of Travel Contacts for our tandem (we go touring (mainly on roads) in France each year), but have read comments elsewhere that they tend to skid when braking hard on wet roads.

    Have you found this a problem?

    1. Thanks David,

      No, I’ve never found them lacking in the wet. I’m pretty sure road bike tread patterns are purely aesthetic as there is no way for such a small surface area with such a lot of pressure/weight on it to aquaplane. So, with that aside, that just leaves the rubber compound as a possible culprit, but I’ve always found it to be very effective on the CTCs.

      I hope that helps, enjoy France :-)
      James

  3. Find CTC’s really great – just changed rear tyre after 7500kms (did 5500kms+ heavily loaded), though it’s not competely finished yet (we have a lot of glass at the bottom of the South Island, NZ). Inexpensive, not heavy, easy to ride on sealed and unsealed roads. Will continue to use them.

  4. Thank you for sharing this with us!
    I’m planning to bike from northern Europe to south east Asia with a some what heavy tourer, I will fit it with the Continental Travel Contact, would I need more then one pair? I’m thinking of bringing one spare fold able tire, is it unnecessary?

    1. Hi Andreas, thanks for your message.

      If you have 26″ wheels then probably not, if you have 700c you might need to be a little more cautious. Still, with either you’re very unlikely to need any replacements until you get to Istanbul (if you’re going that way?) and it would be a bit pointless carrying spares that far. My 26″ CTC’s lasted a very long way and the spares I took I didn’t even use. They consumed the lion’s share of a front pannier and were a heavy item. If I did a similar trip again I would leave them at home wrapped up and ask a friend or family member to post them to me if I needed them. I expect you’ll at least have a few weeks to a month of notice if they start to deteriorate. Just keep a cose eye on them and catch it early – then you have most time to take delivery of your backup tyres when you get to the next city.

      You can also temporarily repair sidewall failures by making sidewall patched from another tyre and gluing them behind the tears and rips of the ones you’re riding on. It reinforces it just enough to hold it all together.

      Hope that helps. Good luck on your trip!

  5. Thanks for the great review! I have a carerra kraken mtb but i ride mostly on road, so i need a good quality fast rolling tyre. Definitely switching from my mountain kings to the travel contacts now :)

  6. Continental Travel Contacts are the best! If you ride in Texas, you will need tough tires. The roads here are paved with something called ‘chip seal’. It is a very rough surface that will shred your tires as well as your nerves. I have worn holes in my Travel Contacts and they still keep going.

    I would also suggest packing a few strips of duct tape. It doesn’t weigh much and has multiple uses. I once made it home on a set of tires held together with duct tape. Without it, I would have been stranded.

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