I've been meaning to write about these tires for a while - I received a set last summer from my Continental Sales Rep, Adam (back in Tennessee) and then neglected to mount them on any wheels before moving to Oregon. Well, Oregon winter weather came and went - spent on my favorite winter tires from Michelin - and I've now switched back to using my Bontrager Race X Lite Aero wheels; on which I had installed the 4000s'.
I've spent a lot of time on Michelin tires - which I love; but I don't really like the break-in time required to scuff them in and wear off the waxy residue on the rubber. I've never had that problem with and of the Continentals I've ridden. I can install them and immediately go take a nice, fast, aggressive descent and not hear the "chirping" sound that I've come to know as my new Michelin's skip through a corner. The Continental tires bite the pavement beautifully in a loaded corner from day one and the 4000s iteration is no different. In fact, in the 250+ miles I've ridden on them so far (with plenty of high-speed, twisty downhills) I have yet to find their cornering limit. I can't push these tires hard enough through a corner at 40+ (or a tight hairpin at 25-ish) mph for them to let go and make me wish I hadn't done that. I'll attribute this to Conti's claimed 30% improvement in grip. Hard to measure exactly - but noticeable in cornering confidence.
Now, all new tires are faster when compared to older tires - maybe marginally; but they're faster. Continental claims a 26% decrease in rolling resistance on the 4000s; but in the real world I'm not sure I'm ready to confirm that. Granted, my studies are not exactly scientific. But, I don't feel myself going measurably faster. And the reality check here is - a 26% decrease in rolling resistance does not result in 26% more speed. Rolling resistance is one of the smallest factors that a rider has to overcome; so the improvement is small at best.
What I notice in addition to the extra grip is the compliance. I don't recall that Continental has made any claims - but I do notice a smoother ride versus the other Conti's I've ridden; which were already pretty comfy tires to ride. The 4000s' are so cushy that I've spent more time than I'd like watching my tires to see if they're going flat. Which they haven't - which is almost all I'll say about the puncture resistance of the Conti's - due in part to the Vectran Breaker which is woven into the tire's casing. (Sorry, flats are the only thing in life I'm superstitious about; so I don't talk about them. Weird, I know.)
So all this is to say that I'm quite happy with the tires and would recommend them to anyone if you're looking for a good, fast, cushy, grippy tire - with excellent tread life to boot! The center ridge on mine has still not worn off - after over 250 miles on NW Oregon's rough and/or chip-sealed roads.
But, if you're headed to the store to pick up some tires, be sure to get the "s" model. There is a Gran Prix 4000 which came out almost 2 years ago and is a great tire. The 4000s incorporates Continental's new "black chili" rubber compound - which gives this tire it's improved characteristics and unique ride.