German brand Continental is one of the world’s leading tyre manufacturers and has been creating bicycle tyres since its inception in 1871.
Continental was founded in Hannover, Germany, in 1871, 15 years before the first automobile was manufactured. It started out by manufacturing rubberised fabrics for raincoats, hot-water bottles, and solid tyres for bicycles and carriages.
After 20 years, Continental had its first major breakthrough, becoming the first German company to create a pneumatic tyre for bicycles in 1892. While the technology has changed over time, most modern bikes still use pneumatic tyres of some kind.
With the emergence and popularisation of motor vehicles, Continental’s attention turned to automobile tyres for the first half of the 20th century, leading to multiple innovations. The first Mercedes car was fitted with the brand’s tyres, plus the company developed a cord tyre, adopted carbon black material for its tyres, and filed a patent for a tubeless car tyre in 1943.
A period of international expansion ensued over the second half of the century, but by the time the company reached the 2000s, it was ready to move its cycling production to China to protect profits. That all changed when Jörg Malcherek, then marketing director for the cycling division, came up with the ‘Deutsche Technik’ (German Technology) slogan. With that German-inspired slogan, the brand kept most of its production in Germany where the majority of its premium tyres are still produced, including the famous Grand Prix and Gatorskin ranges. In 2018 that production expanded with Continental creating its first tubeless road tyre, the Grand Prix 5000 TL.
Alongside the road range, Continental also manufactures mountain bike and gravel tyres, plus also has a wide range of tubes, clothing and other accessories.
The horse on Continental’s logo was first used in 1875 and has been present ever since. It’s inspired by the coat of arms for the city of Hannover, where the company was founded, with the horse symbol used regularly throughout the region.
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