Continental Cyclocross Speed Update

Four years ago, one of the very first reviews I did on here was of the Cyclocross Speed.  That’s still one of the best read reviews on here, even though it is a bit embarrassing in retrospect.  There’s also an update here.  I loved the Speeds when I used them, but they’re not tubeless compatible, and hence, when I wanted to go tubeless, I had to switch to another tire.

I understand that some versions may be tubeless compatible.  My experience trying to mount these tubeless resulted in Chad having permanent hearing loss and a lot of latex to clean up.

When I was running the Speeds, I loved them because they were light, fast, durable, and great on gravel/limestone/pavement/other fast surfaces.  With a file tread, they’re obviously not intended for mud.

When recently we built up the Mandem, Brendan and I threw on what we had laying around.  At the time, that was a set of Clement XPLOR USH tires in 35c.  I have not run the USH on a regular bike, but on the Mandem, they were awful.  No matter how much you inflated them, they felt totally dead and draggy on hard surfaces.  When you cornered, they would push in turns…and then fall off the center tread onto the diamond side treads and feel totally unpredictable.  It was not an enjoyable ride–and for 2 people to ride a bike together and notice the tire drag, something’s gotta be wrong.

We swapped out the USH for a set of Speeds in 35c, folding bead.


As you can see, they’re pretty darn new on there–only about 100 miles thus far.  I can’t say how they’ll hold up on the tandem; they used to wear like steel on the Vaya.

The ride quality is totally different.  These feel so much noticeably livelier.  In corners, they’re predictable–no push, no deformation, no sudden rollover.  They’re just fantastic.  On pavement, they roll almost like slicks.  On gravel, they are great.  I do wish they were 38 or 40c tires, but they do a good job for 35s.  We recently took them through a wet, muddy creek crossing and they slogged through with aplomb.

We’re running these at about 85psi on the Mandem, with no ill effects.  They were a truly fantastic upgrade, and they have made the Mandem even more fun to ride.


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