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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Continental Grand Prix 4 Season Sidewall Failure

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Almost killed descending Grimselpass due to catastrophic sidewall failure. Google search shows so many accounts of others having similar issues. Please check sidewall for threads unraveling. I spent the night in the hospital in Interlaken with a concussion and torn shoulder ligaments.

Never will I put a Continental tire again on my bicycle. I feel lucky to be alive since my Garmin showed I was descending at 54km/h when it blew. I don't want my wife to be a widower because of terrible quality at Continental.
 

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Is it a gran prix 4 season (which is what it looks like) or a 4000s or 4000s II ?

Most of the accounts I've seen of sidewall failures for Continental tires have been on the original 4000s tire. I don't see many, if any for the 4 Seasons.

I've been running gran prix four seasons on all of my bikes. Probably 10k miles on them across 4 sets (25mm and 28mm). The sidewalls all look as good as new. I get about 4k miles on the rear tread before I move it to the front.

Is is possible your brake was rubbing the tire? or your rim overheated or something?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Fixed the title, yes Grand Prix 4 Season. No brake pad alignment issues, perfectly on the track. Those tires are death traps. I feel lucky to be alive. Was going 51km/h when the sidewall failed.
 

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Would you mind linking other instances of this happening with this tire? PM if you prefer? I've been riding this tire for a couple of years under the impression that they are safe and reliable. I'm keenly interested to know that this isn't the case.

I haven't had so much as a flat tire on mine in over 2 years of riding them year round, some if it on crappy roads in crappy pacific northwest weather.

Edit: LOL the *only* instances I found doing a google search for "Grand Prix 4 Seasons Sidewall" were YOUR posts on other forums (slowtwitch). Everything else was for the 4000S tire.

I guess my point is, tires can fail for lots of reasons. There could have been a cut earlier in your ride, or you hit something on your fast decent and didn't realize it. Even an occasional manufacturing defect can occur.

I don't really see condemning the entire stock of these tires, or even all Continental tires, as death traps. From what I can see looking online, they seem to be safe and reliable.
 

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Search the Wheels/Tires sub-forum, Conti sidewall issues are not new, although I don't remember seeing any in quite some time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Migen21, you send me the money for shipping from Zurich Switzerland, I'll post my rear tire to you gratis. Find a nice 11% descent and try it for yourself.
 

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Migen21, you send me the money for shipping from Zurich Switzerland, I'll post my rear tire to you gratis. Find a nice 11% descent and try it for yourself.
Migen's point is good and valid one. I understand being upset and injured, this is cycling, sh*t happens. If it's a common problem with the model why not offer him, and all of us, links that help substantiate that as opposed to a snarky reply that just makes you like a shill.
 

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The picture shows a wear line leading to the ripped sidewall. It looks like a few MTB tires I wrecked in my early days due to misaligned brake pad. I've had a couple of sidewall failures a few years ago on GP4K's but it wasn't a ripped sidewall, it was a small section that failed along the direction of the casing which is angled to the rim, not parallel.
 

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I had a GP4000SII that I bought at REI rip apart on me. I bought the tire, inflated it to 80psi for the front and the next morning the tire had ripped similar to the one here. Not one mile of cycling on the tire. Luckily I was able to catch a refund at REI. I moved on to Michelin Pro 4 endurance after that which has been a very good tire.
 

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sorry to hear about the injuries.

tires, like all mass-produced items, are bound to have some small percentage of defects that still pass QC checks.

assuming it's allowable under Swiss law, you could try suing Continental for medical costs and/or pain/suffering.
 

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Migen21, you send me the money for shipping from Zurich Switzerland, I'll post my rear tire to you gratis. Find a nice 11% descent and try it for yourself.
Yes, actually, I'm going to take you up on this.

PM me your paypal address and what you need for compensation for the shipping of the tire to the west coast of the US (98021 zip code). I'll even throw in a little extra to cover your time and materials.

In the mean time, could we trouble you for a picture of the rest of the tire, or at least one that shows more of that side of the tire?

It's important to know if this is a one time problem for this tire, or if there really are safety concerns with the ALL Gran Prix 4 Seasons tires.

If there are, this is the first I've heard of them. Everything I've read about Continental side wall failures has been related to the older model Gran Prix 4000 S, which I don't use.

I really need to know if I should be pulling these 4 seasons off of my bikes, and if I do, what tire can I replace it with that is similarly durable, and has never had a sidewall failure?
 

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I had a sidewall fail on a rear, 25mm 4-Season. Fortunately, there was more annoyance than drama. It had 3500 miles on it, was obviously worn, and I shouldn't have tried to nurse it along. I replaced the tires with lesser Grand Prixes; the rear got a small sidewall tear pretty quickly and the front and rear both started flatting at 1700 miles. Replaced with Hutchinson Intensive. After they wear I'm likely going back to 4-Seasons. Notwithstanding the occasional defect another poster noted, you get what you pay for with 4-Seasons.
 

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Those tires are death traps. I feel lucky to be alive. Was going 51km/h when the sidewall failed.
You're being overly dramatic. 51km/h (about 32mph) isn't all that fast. A tire blowout doesn't necessarily mean you're crashing. Even if you do, chances are you'll get some good road rash but will be fine otherwise. Sorry to hear to fared a lot worse, though.
 

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Looks like a section of sidewall separated from the bead. Chances are pretty good that this is a manufacturing defect unless the tire was stressed excessively in that section. Was the tire difficult to mount?
 

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Yes the older ones had a reputation but from what I saw it was the threads breaking out. You could monitor it and it was mostly cosmetic vs. full blow outs. What happened to you sucks, sorry to hear it but there are thousands of loyal Conti users that have never had problems. See what Conti says and switch to whatever is makes you comfortable. Good luck.
 

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Yes the older ones had a reputation but from what I saw it was the threads breaking out. You could monitor it and it was mostly cosmetic vs. full blow outs.
This doesn't look like the typical Conti sidewall issue of fine carcass threads (the "TPI" stuff) breaking. Apparently, a section of bead or stranded kevlar bead core ripped away from the sidewall instantaneously. No monitoring this.
 

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The tire in the first post is not the GP 4000S that typically suffered from he sidewall failures. The OP titled the thread incorrectly, and I think it's causing folks to associate those problems with his issue.

The tire pictured is a Gran Prix 4 Season 320 TPI tire This tire has not had a history of issues like the GP 4000 has.

Just based on the picture, it looks like that tire was cut. Perhaps by brake rub, or perhaps by something in the road. I don't see frayed threads or any kind of thin area that might indicate a manufacturing defect.
 

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Just based on the picture, it looks like that tire was cut. Perhaps by brake rub, or perhaps by something in the road. I don't see frayed threads or any kind of thin area that might indicate a manufacturing defect.
Not sure how you can say it was caused by brake rub, as the 'cut' sidewall appears to have come from well below edge of the rim. Looks like it separated from the bead to me.

I notice the tire was mounted to a CF rim with CF braking surface. Given I gather this occurred during a long downhill decent, I wonder if the tire got overheated from too much braking. Just pure speculation on my part, but CF rims don't dissipate braking heat as well as AL rims.
 
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