First Impressions: Continental Grand Prix 4 Seasons

The winter cold hit Northern Virginia this weekend.  With temperatures hovering around freezing, I gutted out a 17 mile ride on Saturday.  Today’s highs were to be a few degrees colder than Saturday.  I pondered whether  or not to head out.  I probably would have passed but for two things:

1.  I was keenly aware that you all were desperate to learn my opinion of my new tires.  It would not be fair to keep you waiting any longer than absolutely necessary.

2.  I went out to dinner last night and things got out of control.  I needed to ride to counteract the effects of copious amounts of fried foods and key lime pie.

So I pedaled another 26 miles today, giving me 43 on my new Conti 4S tires.  By the way, “Conti” is an abbreviation for “Continental” (which all the cool cyclists know) and “4S” is short for “Grand Prix 4 Seasons.”  I realize “Grand” is omitted in the acronym.  I have no idea why – some things defy explanation.  The uber-cool cyclists further abbreviate this to “C4S.”  I shall therefore use this term.

So what do I think of the C4S?

– I think it’s damn near impossible to evaluate a tire when you’re trying to avoid frostbite.

– The ride seems to be a little more comfortable, but that could be all in my head.

– On a couple of turns, it seemed like I cornered very fast, almost “ziplike,” but that could be in my head.

– The tires felt fast, but there was no evidence of that in my times, but that could be because it’s difficult to ride at fast speeds when you are trying to avoid frostbite.

– The tread pattern looks neat, but I’m pretty sure it’s useless.  Unless, of course, the nice cornering is due to the tread.  I suspect cornering performance has far more to do with the composition of the rubber than a millimeter-deep pattern on the tire.

The tires performed splendidly in their most important functions, namely staying inflated and staying on my wheel rim.  In the end, that’s what I really hope for and anything else is just gravy.  Here’s hoping the perceived improvements are not just psychosomatic.  Time (and warmer weather) will tell.


21 thoughts on “First Impressions: Continental Grand Prix 4 Seasons

  1. that tread pattern is scientifically desgined using vast amounts of data and testing to be cool looking.

    These tires probably have the black chili rubber which is actually pretty good.

    I’ve noticed that Grand Prix’s have their own noise as they roll.

    I noticed that GP4000s felt fast too.

    • I have read that is precisely the reason tread marks are placed on road tires – research has shown that customers expect to see one and are less enthused about buying a bald tire. As always, the companies are eager to please their customers!

    • There is a saying I am found of, which is rather crude. I’ll clean it up a bit here: “If I am going to get screwed, at least make it feel good.”

  2. I don’t think you (or I for that matter) will be getting a job doing product reviews. Waxing lyrical over a product is a tad tricky!

    I guess it must be the Old Squaddie in us.

    Does it work? Yes – good. No – bin it!

    I’ll have to try those tyres, never fitted Contis before, looking forward to your long term opinion mate.

    • I can only imagine the fantastic salary and benefits we are throwing away! Still, I find it necessary to stick to my core principles and tell the people what I think. At least until a proper offer is made; then we can discuss all manner of my writing style.

    • One of the few Velominati rules that I remotely come close to following. Congratulations to you as well for your harrowing winter ride near the Med.

      You realize, of course, the Canadians are laughing at us.

  3. 23c! That a skinny set of tires. I guess its too late to refer you to the Rivbike tire width selection guide for speed comfort and wheel longevity, so I won’t complicate your life by mentioning it.

    Congrats on getting out in the cold. Cold weather rides are scientifically proven to improve appreciation for warm days.

    • By all means, point me to the guide. I suspect these tires will wear out one day and I’ll be even better prepared next time.

      I hate cold weather. That cannot be stressed enough.

  4. Well done for riding in the cold. I am sulking in my tent at the moment until the temperature gets above 3C. I am very impressed by your attention to detail when it comes to cycling gear.

    • I’m always trying to learn and it is increasingly apparent to me that I have more to learn than most.

      I have it on good authority that it will begin to warm in a few weeks. Until then, we’ll all just have to muddle through as best we can!

  5. ‘Twas cold for cycling yesterday. How kind of you to do it just to appease your awaiting public;0) Glad the tires provided a decent ride. It’s over time that they will prove themselves.

  6. I was all kinds of proud of myself for getting out on the Mt. Vernon Trail yesterday, braving the wind and freezing temperature. Until I got to the trail. And saw people running in shorts. I decided they had some severe metabolic dysfunction that allowed them to do that. Gimme my neck gaiter.

    • I’ve been noticing that a lot this winter as well. My wife (a runner) is as perplexed as well. Who runs around barelegged at freezing temps? I grant you, the wind chill isn’t as severe as when cycling, but that’s just crazy.

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