Last week, I took my winter tyres off my winter bike in preparation for whatever attempt at summer the British weather is planning to make in 2013. A week or two back I took them off my Stoemper and so it seemed a good moment to reflect on a full winter and over 1,000miles of riding on the GP 4 Seasons.
Through this winter gone I ran both 25mm and 28mm versions of the tyre on two different bikes. I’ve ridden them in all weathers from snow, to rain, to sleet, to sunshine and showers in a range of temperatures from -2c to +20c which plenty from which to form a view.
In previous winters, I’d ridden on the Vittoria Pave 24mm clincher and I’ve loved those tyres but I wanted to try something new this time.
The GP 4 Seasons is a very highly regarded tyre, it’s very popular and when I asked around for suggestions of the best winter tyre, it kept getting suggested.
The only negative comment I’ve heard about Continental tyres in general (and including the GP 4 Seasons) is that they slip in wet conditions but on the plus side, they roll well, they’re tough and they last very well.
I’ve not found them to lack grip in any of the conditions I mentioned above, in fact I found them thoroughly confidence inspiring and very dependable. This was to the point that after pumping up my tyres at the start of a winter ride, regardless of the weather, I simply didn’t think about them again on the ride. I rode on plenty of wet slippery roads too and in my mind the criticism didn’t stack up.
In the 1,000miles of riding on them, there was only one puncture and that was from a piece of stone so sharp that I find it hard to imagine any bike tyre would have not had the same issue.
I like tyres and I believe in spending decent money on good ones. I’m prepared to pay for speed, reliability and grip as on a racing bike the contact patch is so small that I’m not prepared to shortcut grip and safety to save a few quid. I have no hesitation to recommend the GP 4 Seasons for anyone looking for a fast, capable, dependable winter race tyre. They are a race tyre though for winter and it’s possible to find more puncture protection if you commute in a city, but for recreational riding and training through the winter, I don’t think you can go wrong with these tyres.
The ride quality is similar to a GP 4000s (to me) but they feel a touch more substantial somehow (that could be in my head) – in fact if you think of the GP 4 Seasons as a beefed up and winterised GP4000s that’s probably a good place to start from
The wear rate is excellent as none of the tyres I’ve been running are showing much signs of tread wear as yet. A small amount on the rear tyre but there is at least another winters training left in them – probably 2 winters worth depending on mileage.
As I mentioned I ran both 25mm and 28mm and both are fast but the 25mm seemed the better all round choice for me as they felt faster but sacrificed a little comfort compared to the 28s. The larger 28mms didn’t seem to lose much speed to the 25mm but they did offer quite a bit more comfort. Winter is a time when you’re not likely to be looking to set many personal bests and the comfort of the 28s was very nice indeed. Overall I preferred the 25mm and will happily put them back on the bike next winter.
For me, the GP 4 Seasons get a big thumbs up. They’ve performed exactly as I’d hoped and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed riding them. Sure there are plenty of other tyres around and some are also winter tyres but if these have made it onto your shortlist – there is no reason I’ve found to take them off, or not to buy them.
If you’d like to look back at my first thoughts on the GP 4 Seasons, you can find them here: http://girodilento.com/first-look-continental-gp-4-seasons-winter-race-tyres/
Thanks for reading.