This set of rubber is described by Continental as a ‘bikepacking’ tyre. With that said, the Continental Terra Hardpack tyres are made for mixed terrain days and/or multiple days out on the bike. It features a large contact patch that allows for low tyre pressure, to dampen rough terrain chatter. The tyres do just that, whilst still feeling lively on the sealed road. As the ‘hardpack’ name suggests, these tyres are designed for fast, dry conditions. The Hardpack tyre sits in the middle of Continental’s gravel tyre range. It’s not as speed-orientated as the Terra Speed, and has a less aggressive tread than the Terra Trail.
The tyre is smooth down the middle with tightly packed tread which helps keep rolling resistance to a low whilst on the tarmac. On the side, there’s pronounced shoulder lugs which help with cornering stability. The tyre’s carcass is built with Continental’s PureGrip compound, to offer a blend of good grip and durability. It also has ShieldWall protection that gives an extra casing layer to help ward off punctures. And as is the standard these days: they’re tubeless ready, which I set them up as. The Hardpack comes in 700c x 50 and 650b x 50 sizing. I ran these as 650b x 50.
I’ve put some miles into these tyres over the last few months. I suppose the first thing that stands out is the ‘zippy’ feeling of a 50c tyre. I have tried others out and most seem quite sluggish and, whilst the tyre width is welcome, they feel laboursome on sealed roads. The Terra Hardpack, on the other hand, offer a better sense of speed. This translates well to all roads, light trails, and bush tracks. The wide footprint, mixed with low pressure, easily absorbs most things in its path. Stability is good in the corners too – the sidewall lugs seem to do a good job of gaining grip, especially on loose gravel. Even in the wet they stack up well on smooth gravel and into potholes, but on steeper and more slippery surfaces they did spin up. That’s to be expected, however, because as I have alluded to earlier, these tyres are made mainly for drier weather.
The Hardpack is a tyre that rolls well on tarmac and adequality transitions to smoother gravel. On rowdier and wetter terrain, they aren’t the best. The wide contact patch allows for lower pressures to help dampen any rough terrain, and that leads to comfort – which is really what it’s all about when doing multiple days back-to-back. This set of rubber is best for warmer months with dusty gravel roads and flapping tee shirts. If your proposed route isn’t too technical, and transits between sealed and non-sealed roads blended with paths, cycleways and light trails, then these tyres are worthy of your consideration.
RRP: $68 I Distributed by Worralls
Reviewed by Liam Friary