Which rubber to ride on your bicycle is a very subjective choice. Vittoria Rubino Pros have been a long time favourite bike tyre of mine. I recently put a set of Continental Grand Prix 4000s tyres on my Wabi Special bicycle. This article is my subjective comparison.
Following is a quick snapshot of the differences between the bike tyres.
|Continental Grand Prix 4000S||Vittoria Rubino Pro|
|Manufacturer summary||Top choice of serious race bike specialists all over the world, and has been for many years.||High mileage tyre designed for long service life; the perfect all rounder.|
|Weight (claimed)||205 g||225 g|
|Pressure||110 psi (recommended), 120 psi (max)||100-145 psi|
|Threads per inch||330 TPI||150 TPI|
|Price (A$ Wiggle, 16/5/14)||$41.00 (list price $68.98)||$26.46 (list price $45.96)|
It is perhaps a little unfair to make a comparision as to these two bicycle tyres: the Vittoria Rubino Pro is marketed as an all-rounder; the Continental GP4000S is marketed as a race tyre. Nonetheless, that is what I am going to do. A fairer comparison is possibly the Vittoria Diamante Pro vs the Continental GP4000S; or the Vittoria Rubino Pro vs the Continental Gatorskin.
Vittoria Rubino Pro
Vittoria Rubino Pros have been my reliable bicycle riding partner for more than 7,000 km; probably closer to 10,000 km actually. I have had one 700 x 25C tyre, and five 700 x 23C tyres on three different bikes, including a multi-gear Fuji Absolute 3.0 flat bar road bike running a Fulcrum Racing 5 road wheelset, and two Cell Bikes fixie/singlespeeds, one of which runs Halo Aerorage track wheels. I have only worn out one tyre; the rest are still in use. I have only had one puncture when a shard of glass penetrated the rear tyre.
Vittoria Rubino Pros sound and feel fast. They roll really easily, and I have completed two Brisbane to the Gold Coast charity cycle rides on them — 100 km averaging more than 30 km/h.
As the tyres get to more than 30 km/h, they begin to get a high speed tyre sound — it is a nice aural accompaniment that makes me feel like I am riding fast.
Around corners, I do not get inspired by their grip — in fact, I am somewhat tentative around corners on these tyres.
The outstanding feature about these tyres is how long they last. When tyres last this long, why skimp on cheap rubber?
Continental Grand Prix 4000S
When asking my bike riding buddies about tyres, Continental GP4000S tyres are always popular. When I got my Wabi Special, I decided to try them out. (Note that there is a newer version of this tyre, the Continental GP4000S II).
The Continental GP4000S are almost silent in comparison to the Vittoria Rubino Pros. The give very little feedback in a straight line as to how fast you are going — they just get on with their business quietly and efficiently. While their lack of feedback makes them feel almost wooden, I think that the reality is the reverse, they are a very fast rolling tyre.
When I initially fitted the tyres, they appeared to be coated in a tacky silicone compound similar to that found on new motorcycle tyres. As with new motorcycle tyres, they need to be used for a few rides before this coating scrubs off. During this time, the tyres felt squirrely; not actually losing traction, but feeling as if they might. With the coating scrubbed off, the tyres are confidence inspiring. Around corners, the GP4000S emits the sound of rubber clawing at the road. The tyres inspire confidence with aural feedback as to what the tyres are doing.
I have only done about 500 km on these tyres so far, so I can not comment on longevity. Needless to say, I have not yet had any punctures.
So which tyre is best?
They are both great bike tyres, but excel at different things.
Having ridden the Continental GP4000S, I can see why amateur bicycle racers love it. The tyre is fast in a straight line and grips like glue in the corners. A great combination for outright speed freaks!
The Vittoria Rubino Pro has been my trusted training companion for many years, and will continue to be so. The tyre has low rolling resistance in a straight line, high puncture resistance and seems to last forever. A great go-to tyre for most uses!