It surprises me a little that the 4000Ss do so well on the rolling resistance tests, because, while they're 'nice' enough, they don't feel particularly fast or supple to me. The 4000Ss don't feel slow (I use a lot of them for training and often on the rear for races that I ride to), but Michelins have always felt faster to me. Then there are Vittoria EVOs, which are almost on another planet.
Wow! Sometimes, when I can be bothered, I'll put 2 on for a race, and it almost feels like I'm riding a different bike. FWIW, i've never had a Veloflex or many of the other super-high-end, 'race only' tyres.
Here's a boring little story about about my love/hate/like relationship with Continental over the last 25 years.
I was a Conti lover through the '80s and '90s, then a Conti hater, after I finally tried Pro Race 2s about 10 years ago; and now, thanks to the 4000S, I've returned to being a part-time Conti user.
Ya see, young'ns, in the late 1980s, 20mm clinchers (and even 18mm, sometimes!!), pumped up to 150psi+ were all the rage for a while, and the trusty old 'standard' Continental GP with the brown/tan sidewalls were good for this purpose. They were affordable, easy to get, rated to 150psi, durable and puncture resistant enough, and handled the high pressures very well without going out of shape. I used the 20mm GPs, pumped up to a jazllion psi for years, and loved the "road feedback". It felt fast to me (I didn't know any better back then).
So, stubborn me was stuck on skinny tyres for a long time; right through the '90s! I also used 20mm GP3000s when they came out, and occasionally some high-end Vredesteins, only coz they were also were rated to high pressures. Despite all the science coming out about fatter tyres being faster (and obviously more comfortable), I still stuck to my trusty, rock hard 20s. I refused to change!!
I should ad that, through most of this time, I was an 85kg+ masher, who easily pancaked low-pressure tyres. This was a big part of my attraction to very high-pressure tyres.
Then, later on, 23mm Pro Race 2s (along with more 'exotic' tyres, like high-end Veloflex and Vittorias) came out and became more are more ubiquitous amongst the cool kids, but I still subbornly stuck to my 20mm Contis, pumped up to 160psi. (Incidentally, that reminds me: try getting a 20mm GP3000 on or off a Rigida DP18. Yikes!!).
One day -- I think in 2002 -- my 20mm Conti Ultra exploded off the rim on my way to uni (I later found out, after repeating the same "pumping up conditions" on another 20mm Ultra, then measuring the pressure, that the blown tyre may have been pumped up to 185psi!! D'OH!!). Luckily, I wasn't far from a bike shop, but, shock horror, they had no 20mm tyres; only 23s.
I had to get to uni in a hurry, so I had no choice but to buy a "hidesously fat" 23mm tyre from this shop, which was a slick Vittoria (I can't remember the model), and went on my way.
Well, this was the first time I'd ridden a 23mm tyre in over ten years. I'm not kidding. Even though I pumped it up pretty hard (probably to 130 to 140psi!!), I was still able to instantly recognize the benefits of the fatter tyre. Being a slick Vittoria (it may have been a Diamante model) obviously didn't hurt my 'first' impression. It felt faster and glided over road imperfections like I couldn't believe -- man, compared to the knife-edge feel of rock hard 20mm tyre, this 'fat' 23 felt like it was floating over the road imperfections.
So, this experience FINALLY convinced me to try the Pro Race 2 that everyone was talking about, even if it was just once.
Long, long story short (I could go longer
) -- and back to the point -- I tried the Michelins, came to my senses, and never looked back. I weened myself off high pressures by first pumping the Pro Races up to about 130psi (I know, I know, they were only rated to 116), then gradually reduced the pressure. The 23mm Michelins obviously felt so much better than the 20mm Contis that i became a Michelinphile and a Conti hater/basher.
I swore off Contis forever, telling people that they were like riding on garden hoses. Even the 23mm GP3000s felt crap to me. When the first Attack/Force models came out, I got sucked into the hype and bought some, but these were also horrible (I gather the current ones are much better), so, it was back to Conti-hating.
It wasn't until the GP4000S came out tested well on the Bike Tech Review test -- and after lots of people started talking about them -- that I finally tired one (yep, only one). I decided they were ok enough to use as rear training tyres (jee, how generous of me), then, after using them for a while, I eventually started sometimes using them as rear race tyres. Now I also occasionally use a Four Season or Gator as a rear on my wet day bike.
As others have said, the GP4000S is a very good all-round tyre, without being super-fast. They provide decent wear and puncture protection; feel good enough (a LOT of people around here race on them); and are affordable and easy to get.
The cool kids don't like me for this, but I usually use different tyres for front a rear: for eg, a 4000S on the rear, and I like something grippier and nicer-feeling on the front, like a Pro Race 3 or 4 (I even still have a few Pro Race 2s), or a Vittoria EVO CX, even if just for the placebo effect during races.
On the pressure: I'm now about 77kg, and usually use 110 front and 120 to 125 rear . I know I could use less, but we race on good roads here (Melbourne), and I'm still a bit of a 'tyre-pancaker', who probably spends too much time riding off the saddle.