LAS VEGAS, NV (BRAIN) — Continental had two new road tires to show here at last week's Interbike show that were a direct result of the German company's wholly owned factory in China.
The new $40 Grand Sport Race folding tire has technologies and features that Conti has not previously been able to offer at that price. The other new model from the Chinese factory is the Ultra Sport II, which is available in wire bead for $20 or folding for $25.
Continental broke ground on the factory in the eastern Chinese city of Hefei in late 2011. The plant will supply the Chinese auto and motorcycle markets as well as bikes; initially its capacity for bike tires is about 1.7 million units a year.
Continental has offered Asian-made tires in the past, from contracted factories in Taiwan and Thailand. But those tires did not have the technologies and materials that Conti's German-made tires have, said Brett Hahn, the company's North American brand manager.
"In the past we've jobbed out to partner suppliers who didn't have the rubber technologies; they were basically off-the-shelf tires," Hahn said. "Now the tires from China have our proprietary rubber and proprietary casing technology. It's a Chinese factory with German knowhow and German materials."
The Grand Sport Race, for example, has Conti's Pure Grip rubber compound and NyTech anti-flat belt and a 60 tpi casing. The model will be available in 23-, 25- and 28-millimeter widths. The 23-millimeter tire weighs 230 grams. The Ultra Sport II also has Pure Grip rubber and a 60 tpi casing. It will be available in 23, 25 and 28 widths with a wire or folding bead and in 27 -inch sizes in wire bead only.
Hahn said mountain bike tires will be available from the Hefei factory by next spring.
In other news from Continental, the company has tweaked its popular upper-end clincher, the German-made GP 4000S II, with new colored sidewall options and an improved Black Chili rubber compound. The GP 4000S II also will be available in a 28-millimeter width for the first time. The colors — red, blue, yellow, orange and green — will be available only on the 23-millimeter size.
For now the Black Chili compound will be available only on German-made tires. The improved version is said to offer 3 to 4 percent less rolling resistance and a similar improvement in durability, with the same road adhesion as before.