Style vs Practicality – Conti GP4000 Ltd. Edition Tires

Continental GP4000 Ltd. Edition White Tires - style vs practicality gallery

If last week's post about Willy and randonneering had an underlying theme it might have been the relationship between style and practicality. Willy aptly demonstrated you don't have to sacrifice one for the other, but cycling gear typically involves a trade off. The latest featherweight carbon component may not survive an innocent tumble. Helmets keep us safe but on some skulls they look positively goofy.

Each of us calculates the relative merits of the gear we choose. Who, in hindsight, would pass up the chance to rethink some of those choices, especially if the hindsight was provided by a dental mirror stuck to your forehead.

I thought about that scale when trying to position today's offering. On one extreme, there's riding without brakes (except on the track)... I can think of no better expression of style with zero practicality. The other extreme, practicality with zero style is tougher to identify but I'll nominate the do-rag. Unless you run a 4.5 forty and have some Afro-American street cred you've got no business going there (think Kip in Napoleon Dynamite)

Enter Continental's GP4000 Ltd. Edition White Tires. Reportedly handmade in Germany by naked Heidi Klum look-a-likes, these alabaster beauties slip on to carbon rims with an audible sigh (perhaps that was me).

Judge the images for yourself. I'd call it "Road Formal". There's just one small problem. The tires are WHITE!

And roads are SHITE! Hell it was almost impossible to photograph the bike without despoiling the tires, and I carried the bike from place to place like a temple virgin with tender feet.

I don't know what I was thinking, but short of removing my brakes for my next ride these Contis come as close to absolute zero on the practicality axis as is possible. I figure I have one ride, one chance to blind the wheelsuckers, to mesmerize the spectators with their brilliance. Sure I can try and clean them, but they'll never be the same.

Or I can peel them off and mount them on the garage wall to ride one day when all the streets are bleached white by global warming. It's a tough call... wonder if I can order a second set.

Continental GP4000 Ltd. Edition White tires are priced at $125 per pair

29 Responses to Style vs Practicality – Conti GP4000 Ltd. Edition Tires

  1. Pingback: Legs, Feeling No Pressure » Product review: Continental Grand Prix 4000

  2. I agree. Those would be white tires for at least 10 minutes.

  3. Matthew says:

    Nice. I’ve had these in my Probikekit cart for a few weeks, but haven’t decided whether or not I really needed them (I’m an Ultremo, not a Conti). This helped.

  4. brett says:

    i just set some white tires up on my 09 roubaix and they were white for all of about fifteen feet. most certainly worth it for the first ride, but that is about the extent of it.

  5. Eric says:

    I like to think of brakeless riding like telemark skiing, not necessarily practical but an interesting challenge.

  6. christopher says:

    Is it not true that we cyclist are consumed with our own vanity at moments? I believe that our bikes are personal reflections and by god I want my shit to look good. Keep it up!

  7. BR says:

    Those tires are cool and would look great on a white steel road bike.

    Style is subjective and practicality has limits.

    A buddy of mine is a former area rep for a huge cycling distributor. These days we only share common interest in Hot Rods. In a recent chat I mentioned that my 1995 Carnac Road shoes are once again coming apart in several critical places and that they sure don’t make wood glue like they used to. These shoes have spent more than their share of nights in Vicegrips, my bench vice, clamps, as well as a few miles wrapped in boxing tape – clearly I have no shame. I have literally ridden every penny of value out of these shoes.

    So my friend says that he has a pair of Northwave “pro quality size 48′s” new in the box for $100. He described them as “serious road shoes and that Mario Cipollini rode in the same shoe and they are chrome” Excuse me? http://www.pezcyclingnews.com/photos/tech/northwave/northwavethreeboth.jpg.

    I ride a triple cranked steel bike with a Brooks B17 and a hand me down pair of 700×28 tires (Thanks again,Michael). I am not flashy in any way but I will take the jabbing and deserved snickering as I peddle along in these “look at me” shoes.

    …and Michael…I’ll take those white tires off your hands when they lose their shine. I have no shame.

  8. willy in pacifica says:

    I love to color match tires with my bikes.

    I have a set of green tires on my green bike, red Michelin Pro Race 3′s on my light blue bike with red accents and light blue on my Ti bike. I even go one step further and try to match everything to the proper colored Chris King hubs.

    Once you go with colored tires the bike never looks the same with plain black tires.

    willy in pacifica

  9. I just did a fun cycling event where most of the bikes were fixed gear and brakeless (http://vimeo.com/4225237). I had always misunderstood riding with no brakes but I was blown away at the skill of many of these riders. The good ones can definitely do without brakes! The majority of these riders are an accident waiting to happen though.

  10. Richard says:

    If BR’s riding conversations feature the same hilarity as his written comments, then it’d be brilliant to spin a few miles alongside. Genius. It’d have to be an overcast day though ‘cos maaaan those shoes are BLING! Glint of sunlight off those badboys and you’d surely go blind.

    Michael, that bike looks sweet from every angle. The white tyres are worth it even if you only get the single Mayfly day of glory before they fade.

    • BR says:

      Hi Richard – The shoes are in the closet at home performing double duty as a night light or a mirror. My wife raised an eyebrow when I showed them to her which is a good sign as opposed to her usual pointing and laughing. I told her to imagine Mario when I wear the shoes but I don’t think I can pull that off. If the shoes fit well and I still can’t stomach the glare I have a good variety of spray paint in the garage. BR

  11. Richard,

    Yes that Brendan character definitely has his moments when we’re on the road together. I may have to ping Oakley and ask whether they could formulate a special “welder glass” lense for my Radars. I’m concerned sunlight hitting those shoes might create the equivalent of snow blindness. And then there’s the hazard of starting grass fires, now that the California rains have stopped.

    You’re right… the Enigma is going to sit their ready to go with those tires until the stars align or Liz Hatch shows up for a ride.

  12. tom says:

    thats why you have to get the all white vittoria’s. the sidewalls stay white, and if you live in a somewhat rainy climate, the treads turn white again after a good wet ride. my white hubbed, white rimmed dt rr1450′s never looked white-ier.
    but yes, $125 for some limited edition colored tires is silly….but so is 11-speed super record….

  13. kaiko says:

    we both have white tires now!

    it rained today, which meant that my tires got washed off but at the same time they have brake dust water all over them. so, yeah, that white’s not going to last long. i think i’m aiming for a light gray color when the summer’s over.

    still, those continentals look beautiful on your bike. sexier than heidi klum, even.

  14. Ronnie says:

    Bike style is an interesting thing. I have a custom IF Road and Waterford Track, so there definitely is some ego there, but I promised myself only to mess with (clean, fix, admire, primp) my bikes in so much as to ride them. To quote something or other I read “Vanity destroys a man’s natural confidence.”

  15. David says:

    I wonder where whitewall tyres would come on your graph?

    My first serious bike was a Raleigh Palm Beach Ca.1966 with luxurious whitewalls. As a wild kid I pedalled that poor bike over every possible surface… I can even recall riding it in the shallows at the beach. The tyres lasted for years and always seems to look pretty good after a clean.

    Of course in the Sixties we were more concerned with style than practicality!

    • David,

      I’d say considerably more practical than white side down. I remember the whitewalls on my dad’s car, and trying to get them clean when he washed the car.

  16. Dougie says:

    Another very amusing look at the fads and fashions of cycling California style. Mustn’t let America destroy your grammar though Michael. Your email is bouncing my reply to your comment on my blog for some reason.

    All the very best
    Dougie

  17. gavin says:

    The Superclamp + Magic Arm bike stand is something I never thought of.

  18. mark rushton says:

    Don’t forget you can put your tyres in the washing machine and they generally come out pretty well.

    i have a pair of the Chrome Northwave Aerator shoes from about 2 years ago. In hindsight, I should have gone for white Sidis. More class,poss.as blingy and just as expensive. Those Northwaves haven’t been out in a while.

    • The washing machine is brilliant Mark, never would have thought of that. I’m not sure I can fit the wheels through the door though ;-)

      I can’t wait to see Brendan’s new shoes in person. They may already be visible from space on Google Earth. BR?

  19. BR says:

    Let’s ride early Saturday so nobody sees me…I’ll either be wearing the loosely bound antiques or the Flash Gordon Specials. Both are equally disturbing for different reasons. I’ll never again point and laugh at a geezer cycling with a skateboard helmet, terry cloth wrist bands, and tube socks up to the knee.

    • We’re on but I insist you wear the new shoes. I’ll bring a camera to record the solar flares.

      • Richard says:

        BR – Tube socks up the knee with those silver pumps would be so far round fashion’s crazy wheel as to surely end up back at PRO. Especially if you couple that combo with your skate helmet, terry bands and six buck safety goggles. You should stop pointing at yourself in the mirror and laughing though – that way madness lies.

        Michael – I can’t wait to see the gallery from Saturday’s ride. Do not forget thy camera!