TESTED: Continental Grand Prix 4000
The Continental Grand Prix 4000 is billed as the successor to the GP 3000. It's a clincher weighing 205 grams a piece and comes in most race orientated sizes - 20m, 23mm and 25mm. We've been running a set of 23s in early season training and events and so far we are mighty impressed. So it seems have many pro teams as they have taken it on as their tyres for the coming season. And no one's fussier about tyres than a bunch of pro riders.
The GP 4000’s are made with Vectran and Continental have also included an all new 'Vectran breaker belt' too, developed and patented by Continental. This means the GP4000 has even better reliability than the famous puncture resistance of their former leader in this category, the GP3000 - Conti state that "The extremely strong Vectran fabrics are more flexible and lighter than all other puncture protection materials. Vectran offers more resistance to cuts than Aramid, is five times as strong as steel and features less weight than a nylon double breaker. It also maintains strength in the wet."
Well we can report after several thousand kilometres not a cut in sight and no punctures to date either, so they've got that bit right.
The advanced Activated Silica Compound (ASC) increases the "handling threshold" which basically means how far you can lean and push the tyres in the corners, this is, they say, for even safer yet faster cornering and it manages to reduce the rolling resistance of the Grand Prix 4000 too. A new anti-cracking formula prevents UV light from damaging the compound and increases the mileage performance.
The new tread certainly looks like the older GP3000 and a bit of the Force/Attack thrown in. Cornering grip is excellent and in the wet they are really sure-footed. We've also run these on some track wheels and on some icy club runs and they really stick.
It never ceases to amaze me how many riders will spend hundreds of pounds on quality wheels and then throw on a pair of cheap tyres. Nothing can negate wheel performance quicker than a pair of stiff wooden tyres with an inflexible side wall and heavy bead. Then there's the rider who rides their tyres into the ground. Not only will this mean you're waiting for them to fix flats all the time on the club run, but it also means they are putting their safety and yours on the line. Tyres should be replaced regularly for all these reasons and the benefits of fresh rubber should not be underestimated.
Continental have now added new tread wear indicators to help riders gauge the life of their GP4000 tyre, so this helps takes the guesswork out of changeover time. A riding friend of mine once said that - 90% of punctures happen in the last 10% of a tyre's usable life - which is very true. The GP4000 has the advantage over their Force/Attack models of being uni-directional so you can swap front for rear after a few weeks/months to keep wear down to a minimum and spread the life of the tyre.
In addition to the popular standard Conti colours, they offer the Grand Prix 4000 in some snazzy new Xserallic colours from the Merck Corporation. For example, the new gold, silver and bronze options could be an ideal choice if your bike style is anything like Paolo Bettini's. Or perhaps would you prefer a deep metallic blue to match your team kit... we're already undecided... decisions, decisions.