Grab the Gatorskin before flat-tire crocodile tears start falling.
The Continental Gatorskin Tires are a bit less costly than the ever-popular G.P. 4-Season. However, like the 4-Season, the Gatorskins are made for the insults of gritty winter riding. Comparatively, they're a bit slower, a bit heavier, but it's because they are unmatched for puncture-proofness. The secret to their durability on bad roads is twofold and is due to Continental's materials technology.
They use Duraskin anti-cut fabric to give the sidewalls extra protection against cuts. It's a polyamide (nylon) mesh that is bonded onto the sidewall plies. It acts like the ripstop material you'd find on ultralight jackets or tents. In the event that you do encounter a sharp object with potential to cut the sidewall, the Duraskin mesh will resist and most importantly limit the extent of the damage. The second line of defense is a puncture resistant layer under the tread called Poly X Breaker. It's a dense layer of tough nylon, designed to add serious protection. With the tread and sidewall bolstered against the hazards of the road, you'll worry less about grit and gravel on the edge of the road and more about enjoying your ride.
Continental Gatorskin Tires have Black tread with Black Duraskin sidewalls. They're available in 700 x 23c and 700 x 25c folding versions.
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I had this on my loaded commuter bike riding 20 miles per day for 1 year and they held up well. I never got a flat while riding with these tires. They wore flat in the middle and overtime the duraskin sidewalls started deteriorating (it was kept outside in the heat).
These tires get 3000 - 4000 miles of flat free riding. The ride quality is good and they have good handling. These might not be want you want on race day, but when logging big training miles I have not found a better tire. Their biggest weakness is their side walls that are prone to flats. These tires are available in 700 x 25 which offers better rolling resistance and comfort with lower tire pressure.
In my opinion, you can't find another tire that excels at everything like the Gatorskin. Extremely flat resistant, good feel, exceptional quality, good grip wet or dry, and long lasting. I liked them more than GP4000, especially for the price--Gatorskins last longer and felt about the same to me. Specialized Armadillos offer superior flat protection, but reduced feel. And I could go on. As a recreational rider, the Gatorskins are the perfect balance of the necessary attributes in a tire.
I went with 25c on my road bike, happy with the change from 23c. The comfort difference is noticeable, but I don't notice a difference in rolling resistance. Recommended. And when comparing the tires, both 23 and 25 both tend to be a little closer to 24, so the difference isn't huge.
I'm just finishing my third hard season on Gatorskins. Averaging 6000 miles a year between training and racing, I average 2 flats per year - that's 6000 miles per flat per tire. I've been ridiculed for racing on a "slow" tire, but I inevitably pass the guys talking trash as they change a flat in Seattle rain. They're invaluable in ultras and double century races. Last month a LBS convinced me to at least swap out my front tire for a GP 4000. It is stickier and corners a bit better, but doesn't feel any faster. About 1100 miles in, I rode right through a broken bottle - 4 nasty jagged pieces of glass. The GP 4000 sidewall was slashed to confetti. The Gatorskin rear with 2000 miles on it? Couldn't care less; it just scratched the printing on the sidewall. I replaced the front with a Gatorskin and I'm done experimenting. They're usually good for 2500-3000 miles. The only real downside is reduced braking performance in the wet. Not bad, but not as as good as Vittoria Open Corsa type tires with more crown pattern.
They definitely work as advertised. About 2k miles on these tires and still going strong without a flat. Use these on my carbon road bike instead of lighter tires. I hate holding up a group ride, or getting left behind for that matter, due to a flat tire. Very impressed.
Last summer i was seeming to have bad luck with flats everywhere i went. A friend referred these tires to me and told me he hadn't had a flat yet. Sure enough the man was right, its been just over a year now and not a single flat. They are losing air pressure ever so lightly but are still kicking hard.
Get yourself some Gatorskins. I opt for these over faster tires even for races because it's always faster to finish the race without flatting. I just wont take the chance riding on an ultra light race tire. About the durability of these tires: I have done 1,000 miles with zero flats. No joke.
I rode over 15 miles with a goathead stuck in my front tire too scared to pull it out in fear I'd let the air loose. When I got home I pulled it out and the tire held air. After about 150 miles the rubber has worn to a nice grippy tread that rides better than new.
There might be lighter tires out there, but I don't care. These are awesome. Not a lot of thorns where I live, but I have ridden over broken glass quite a few times with no ill effects. Would recommend them highly.
Does anybody know whether these tires (700 x 23 OR 700 x 25) will fit a Specialised Tricross rim? The bike currently has the factory fit "Alex rims S480" and I now want to use more of a road tire when on the pavement. Thanks....
I've been riding these on my road bike for the last 3000 miles and I couldn't be happier. Very few punctures and the ones that do get through are usually pretty serious pieces of metal (industrial staples and construction stuff). Smooth rolling even at lower pressures and great traction. Pretty good in the wet too. Good to occasionally swap front to rear to keep wear patterns even. I don't even shop for tires, I just buy a new set of these when its time.
I have ridden quite a few other tires, thinking I could find something better than these. There is nothing better. Durable, hold the road on the fastest descents and at speed; I NEVER worry about how my tires are doing. Iron Horse Road Race: there is so much to be aware of roaring down Molas pass; I'm not worried about my tires. I KNOW how they are doing. I put on 4-5000 training miles a year and these will last most of the season: 3000 miles is not unusual. Really. And they take the grief from the road. The KELVAR belt is amazing and the side walls chuck away most everything I don't see. I check my tires after each ride and pull out all the junk that gets stuck in them so it doesn't advance. This has to be one of the best all-around tires out there. No alligator skin; just great tires!!
Haven't put a ton of miles on these tires, but so far I love them. Riding on the roads around my house in western PA (that are scattered with debris and crap) I've been fine and haven't flatted yet with roughly 100-200 miles on them.