Survival and a Twister|
Wednesday, November 01, 2000
Continental Twister Pro & Survival Pro Tires
Every year, the leading bicycle tire manufacturers come out with new tire models. To many, this may seem to be a bit of overkill. After all, they're just tires right? Well, for 2000, Continental released an entirely new tire line. This new line, however is no minor revamp of last year's models. Continental has introduced two entirely new tires with very distinct tread characteristics.
If you're riding a lot of hard pack conditions, or if you're into cross country racing, the Twister Pro may be the tire for you. If you're riding wet sloppy conditions like we often find here in the Northwest, then the aggressive Survival Pro is worth a look.
The last few years, we were inundated with new semi-slick tire offerings. While the semi-slick market has cooled, Continental hasn't abandoned the overall concept. The Twister Pro isn't a semi-slick though. The Twister Pro is a low-profile knobby tire. The lower profile knobs offer reduced rolling resistance while still providing just enough bite for braking and acceleration. The side knobs are more aggressive to provide a good solid bite when leaning into fast corners.
This tire is designed for good hard pack trail conditions. If you're riding anything more than the occasional mud patch, you'll quickly find yourself sliding out of control. But on hard pack these tires really shine.
The low-profile knobs help make the tire extremely lightweight. This weight savings directly translates into quick acceleration and braking. The knobs, while greatly reduced from a traditional tire, offer ample grip for braking and climbing. On a hard pack trail, the Twister Pro's offer just as much traction as a full knobby and sometimes a bit more.
The Twister Pros are quick and responsive performers. If you always ride in "ideal" conditions, you will love these tires. Since most of us don't ride in "ideal" conditions every time, you will likely want a more general-purpose tire for those sloppy days. If you're into racing, then the Twister Pro's will help you find the podium.
Lighter than most semi-slick tires on the market, the Twister Pro starts at 450 grams for the foldable kevlar bead and tops out at 510 grams for the wire bead. Both are available in a dual compound as well.
If Hard pack conditions are a rarity where you ride, then the Twister Pro definitely isn't for you. The Survival Pro is more your speed. The large, aggressive knobs will dig in and bite in even the sloppiest of conditions.
While Continental calls this a 26x2.3 tire, though the aggressiveness of the knobs make it seem a little bigger. As such, the tires may not fit on the rear of all cross-country bikes. The tires were just a hair too big to fit onto some of our test bikes. This is more an issue with the bike than the tires. The bikes we had problems with were light-weight racing bikes where big tires were likely not considered in the design.
The tires were designed for the mud and it shows. The extra deep knobs are well spaced allowing the tread to shed mud quickly.
The Survival pro is available with a wire bead and a foldable kevlar bead. The wire bead weighs 700 grams while the kevlar weighs in at 630 grams.
Both the Survival Pro and Twister Pro tires are available with what they call ProTection. This is a protective sidewall mesh made from their proprietary Duraskin technology. If you're prone to sidewall cuts and abrasions then you may want to consider the ProTection option. There is a 10 gram penalty per tire for this option, but it can be a life saver.
When riding in the nastiest of conditions, these tires really shined. They seemed to dig in and find something solid to grip even when I didn't think they had a chance. While they were built for mud, they work equally well on rocks, roots, hard pack and loose dirt. If you're looking for an all condition tire, the Twister Pro won't let you down.
For 2001 you'll be able to get both tires in tubeless versions as well.