Hearing about Black Chili for the first time, you might think that Continental Tyres have gone into the business of food. But this isn’t grandma’s secret recipe for a nourishing bowl of chilli; this is a revolutionary tyre tread compound, highly prized by cyclists and motorists alike. That’s because our patented Black Chili compound has unbeatable grip, speed and durability, equating to a road performance that’s not only dependable but also… rather spicy.
Black Chili compound is exclusively manufactured at the Continental factory in Korbach, Germany, combining the very latest polymers with specially developed carbon black particles and filler materials. Both cars and bikes benefit from this technology. Fitted to a bicycle, tyres with Black Chili give riders supreme confidence whether they’re tumbling downhill on a mountain bike or time-trialling on a road bike. Fitted to a car, drivers can expect maximum grip during acceleration, cornering and braking on wet or dry roads.
The improvement is dramatic. But don’t just take our word for it. The professional cycling elite has long relied on this exceptional tyre compound. Geraint Thomas and Team Sky have won the world’s biggest bike race, the Tour de France, using Competition Pro LTD tyres made from Black Chili. And for this year’s Le Tour, six out of the 22 teams taking part in the three week race around France are using Black Chili compound in their hand-made tyres.
So how did this legendary compound come into being? At the Continental R&D labs in Korbach, our heroic team of engineers grapple with one of the fundamental problems of tyre construction. Essentially, the running properties of a rubber compound of a tyre are determined by three co-dependent factors:
The challenge is that when you make improvements in one area, there’s a performance penalty in at least one other area. A compound which offers maximum levels of grip, for example, will wear out faster and roll slower. Conversely, a compound optimised for higher speeds or greater durability has a reduced ability to grip.
The Black Chili compound is different because it takes advantage of the latest innovations in polymer and other raw material research. For the first step, we refine proven natural rubber with special synthetic rubbers into a high-performance tread mixture. Next, the mixture is combined with special nanometric carbon soot particles. Finally, the surface and shape properties are optimised for the best use case of the tyre.
The result is that Black Chili compound provides a truly unprecedented level of performance. Compared to Activated Silica Compound – our previous best performer – Black Chili tyres have 30% higher grip, 26% less rolling resistance, and 5% increase in mileage. The speed and grip advantages are readily apparent, applied to either a bike or a car tyre.
Furthermore, the science behind Black Chili is in constant development; we can adjust the formulation of the compound to match individual requirements of new Continental tyres rolling out of the factory in Korbach. In other words, it’s possible to tailor the tyre to the specific needs of the vehicle. The compound technology is so sensitive and complex, however, that Black Chili cannot be manufactured anywhere else in the world.
You can personally experience the innovations of Black Chili on either two wheels or four, as high-performance tyres for both bicycles and cars. Here’s a sample of the custom formulations available in our premium tyres.
Car / SportContact™ 6
For the SportContact™ 6, we developed a new Micro Flexibility Compound to ensure optimal contact between the tyre and the road surface. The compound provides shorter braking distances and better acceleration at low and high temperatures – in dry or wet conditions.
Bike / Continental Grand Prix 4000 SII
For athletes demanding the ideal combination of comfort, speed, and low rolling resistance, the Grand Prix 4000 SII is the best all-rounder. The Black Chili compound provides excellent grip, high mileage, and efficient rolling, plus a Vectran puncture protection insert for added security.
Car / WinterContact TS 860
The Cool Chili compound is a variation on Black Chili specially made for the WinterContact TS 860; a Maximum Traction Silica Compound which stays flexible in all winter conditions, substantially improves braking performance, and provides excellent grip in the wet.
Bike / Mountain King
With superior grip and fast rolling, the Mountain King is the perfect companion for exploring trails and hilly terrain. The continuous central tread and grippy outer lugs are made with Black Chili, and the ProTection technology – three plies in the sidewalls and four under the tread – mean the whole tyre has greater resilience and is less vulnerable to damage.