Author Topic: Need information on Continental Gatorskin.  (Read 1531 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Westinghouse

Need information on Continental Gatorskin.
« on: March 10, 2020, 05:39:32 pm »
I have here a set of Continental Gatorskin dura skin bicycle tires, 700 by 28. I plan to use them for a long distance, loaded tour. In the past I used Schwalbe Marathons to great satisfaction. If there is a better touring tire, what could it be? I bought Schwalbe new only to find they will not fit the bicycle frame. They expand too far and rub on the frame. I will not buy 26 inch wheels, so here I am with the considerably lighter thinner Continentals. Can anyone give me a good idea of what kind of distance these tire will go before needing to be replaced? Is there anyone who has toured on a loaded bicycle with these tires? I read some entries on a forum, but the numbers varied so much it baffled me. One said 200 miles and I know they are much better than that. Another said 10,000 kilometers, , and I think we all know better than that. If you have seriously toured on Continental Gatorskins, what can I expect for mileage?

Offline aggie

Re: Need information on Continental Gatorskin.
« Reply #1 on: March 10, 2020, 09:52:45 pm »
Not sure what the max mileage is but I toured with a pair and put over 2k miles on them.  Never had a problem with them.

Offline Pat Lamb

Re: Need information on Continental Gatorskin.
« Reply #2 on: March 10, 2020, 11:16:07 pm »
Off topic: it's hard to keep track of tire names.

That said, I usually get about 2,000 miles on plain old Gatorskin (rear) tires, given a total load around 250-270#.  As you know, front tires seem to wear more slowly.  The Gatorskins seem to ride better than the Marathon (possibly with a suffix) I tried a while back, but the Marathon lasted between 3,000 and 4,000 miles, IIRC.  I'm not sure what the Duraskin variant is; how do the tire weights compare between plain Gatorskin and Duraskin?

Offline Westinghouse

Re: Need information on Continental Gatorskin.
« Reply #3 on: March 11, 2020, 08:15:44 pm »
I do not know the difference in weight. It is not noticeable by hand when I pick them up. I think the dura skin is reinforcement on  the side walls. I am trying to figure out how far I can go before getting a new tire. I don't want to find out by POP !!! and PPSSSsssssttt.

Offline jbruced

Re: Need information on Continental Gatorskin.
« Reply #4 on: March 12, 2020, 06:31:34 am »
I had a set of Gatorskins on my bike. I am a heavy rider, 250+lbs, and I got about 4,000 miles before replacing them. I have Gatorskins on the bike now as well.

Offline Westinghouse

Re: Need information on Continental Gatorskin.
« Reply #5 on: March 12, 2020, 07:12:02 pm »
OK, at least 2000 miles, and more. So, going from FL to San Diego, it would be advisable to rotate in San Antonio perhaps buy new in El Paso, or a spare. If I complete this trip, I will report the mileage and wear-tear facts. Marathons will go all the way across with much tread to spare. It is hard to guess very accurately. Much climbing with a load wears back tires faster than cycling on a smooth, more nearly level surface. I imagine chip seal roads kill tires faster than smooth asphalt. Rotating means higher average mileage for both tires. Too man variables to say for sure all that accurately. I'm trying to get a general idea from other peoples' experiences. At $30.00, a tire should be durable.

Offline froze

Re: Need information on Continental Gatorskin.
« Reply #6 on: April 05, 2020, 06:55:17 pm »
The Conti Gatorskin or the Gator Hardshell is not considered a touring tire, sure you can tour on any tire but is it the ideal tire? no, unless you're credit card touring and going from inn to inn, but it's not ideal for loaded touring.  I have read here where people have, but like I said it is not classified as a touring tire, take that anyway you want.

Schwalbe does make the best touring tires in the business, and their newer Almotion is the top of the line touring tire from Schwalbe, followed by the Marathon Supreme, the Supreme is about 200 grams lighter than the Supreme, but the Supreme takes 2 more watts to pedal which is a non issue since you won't be going fast enough to have watts do anything for you.  The puncture resistance is higher on the Almotion and that's why it weighs 200 grams more due to the anti puncture layer, the Marathon Greenguard has the best puncture resistance but it weighs about 100 grams more than the Almotion, but again that's why the Greenguard weighs more because it ayer of any tire on the market.  Also the heavier the tire the longer it wears because the tread thickness also increases with weight.  So if you the max wear you would want the Greenguard, I have about 1,200 miles on mine and there is no indication that they're wearing, they still look new with no cuts and of course no flats, and I heard of people averaging between 7,000 to 8,000 miles on a pair while loaded touring; while the Supreme averages between 5,000 and 6,000 miles; I haven't heard about the Almotion but as a guess I would say between the Greenguard and the Supreme.

Now if the weight of the Greenguard bothers you and lasting 8,000 mile you could don't care so much about, but you want a lighter tire with superior puncture resistance, you could do one or both of two things, you could put in Stans sealant, this stuff weighs roughly 19 to 23 grams, and or you could also install a Panaracer FlatAway kevlar liner, this liner weighs about 28 grams, and I tried to drive a thumb tack through it and all I did was bend the tack and never penetrated the kevlar, but I easily penetrated a Mr Tuffy with a tack, also I could cut the Mr tuffy like it was butter with a pair of scissors, but I was hurting my hand trying to cut the FlatAway. The disadvantage of the FlatAway is that it's a one tire use strip, and it cost $15 a pair.

Speaking of strange things you can do, since most of your weight is on the rear tire and thus most of the tire wear (and flats) will be on that tire, you could use a Greenguard (or an Almotion) for the rear, and a Supreme on the front in an effort to cut some weight while keeping the rear free of any hassles.  Or any combination you want as long as the longer wearing tire is on the rear.

Another way to save weight is put a wider tire on the rear, this will make the tire last longer plus you can use less PSI which will give you smoother ride; but then in the front you could go with a narrower tire.  I've done that and it works fine, I do carry a lighter weight spare then either of my main tires, and it's a bit narrower than the front and not as durable as the front, so if by some slim odd chance I blew the rear I would simply move the front to the rear and put the spare on the front till I find a suitable tire for the rear.
« Last Edit: April 05, 2020, 06:59:42 pm by froze »

Offline Patco

Re: Need information on Continental Gatorskin.
« Reply #7 on: April 06, 2020, 12:11:37 am »
I have, except for one short trip on Schwalbe's, toured with Gatorskins (hardshell). 700X28. I did not like the Schwalbe tires and I have never, I say again, never, had a problem with Gatorskins. Fully loaded (panniers front and back) and credit card trips with just rear panniers. Also, Continental website considers Gatorskins as a touring tire. Ride what you want.

Offline staehpj1

Re: Need information on Continental Gatorskin.
« Reply #8 on: April 06, 2020, 06:01:26 am »
Obviously it will depend on the load as well as how far you are willing to wear them down, but yeah probably at least 2000 miles.  Assuming no rotation I'd think the front tire would be likely to make the whole trip and you'd probably need to replace the rear.  Making it the whole way on both with a light load isn't completely out of the question though.

I rode from San Diego to Pensacola on skinny gatorskins (700x23) and a really light load of ultralight backpacking gear and me weighing over 200#.  The gatorskins weren't new when I started and I made it most of the way across Texas before replacing them with a pair of 700x25 gatorskins.  If they had been brand new at the start I think i might have made it to Pensacola with enough wear left that I could have made it to St Augustine if I had been going that far.

I like gatorskins pretty well and have used them for heavy, medium, and ultralight touring with good success.

Offline driftlessregion

Re: Need information on Continental Gatorskin.
« Reply #9 on: April 10, 2020, 11:29:13 pm »
I always tour with Gatorskins and get about 2500 miles on them. I also hate the harsh ride they provide but I hate flats more so I put up with it.

Offline staehpj1

Re: Need information on Continental Gatorskin.
« Reply #10 on: April 11, 2020, 06:03:21 am »
I always tour with Gatorskins and get about 2500 miles on them. I also hate the harsh ride they provide but I hate flats more so I put up with it.
I feel someone should comment on the "harsh ride" part of your comment.  At least from my perspective that comment is only applicable if you are comparing them to less supple tires, not most of the tires folks typically recommend for touring. If compared to most of the tires with very much puncture resistance the ride is quite good, certainly far better than the much heavier choices with heavier sidewalls that are often used. The ride is decidedly more harsh than something designed as a performance oriented pure road tire with no nod to puncture protection.

So basically if you are comparing them to something like the Marathon Plus or other tire designed to be super puncture resistant they ride like a supple performance tire.  If you compare them to a real performance tire that wasn't intended to compromise on performance they will seem stiff and harsh.  The weights of the three tires will give some clue as to why that is.  The MP weighs more than double and the performance tire a lot less.  That said he biggest difference in the ride is the relative stiffness of the sidewall.

I choose them because they have the most supple ride of the tires I have used that have a good level of puncture resistance.  I have considered going to a more supple tire, but that would most likely mean i'd be choosing something with much less puncture resistance.  The gatorskin is a pretty good compromise with a reasonably puncture resistant belt and a fairly supple sidewall (at least compared to other tires with any nod toward puncture protection).

Offline canalligators

Re: Need information on Continental Gatorskin.
« Reply #11 on: April 11, 2020, 09:58:12 pm »
Here's another aspect of "harsh ride": You may not care; I don't.  I've never been bothered by a harsh ride on any bicycle; diamond frame, crank forward or recumbent.  Unless you're riding on Texas chip-seal, you may not care either.

I will say, less facetiously, that I use the Gatorskins.  They've held up well and aren't particularly susceptible to punctures.

Offline staehpj1

Re: Need information on Continental Gatorskin.
« Reply #12 on: April 12, 2020, 05:50:10 am »
Here's another aspect of "harsh ride": You may not care; I don't.  I've never been bothered by a harsh ride on any bicycle; diamond frame, crank forward or recumbent.  Unless you're riding on Texas chip-seal, you may not care either.

I will say, less facetiously, that I use the Gatorskins.  They've held up well and aren't particularly susceptible to punctures.
FWIW, I think of it in terms of a balance of sidewall suppleness/performance/weight/puncture resistance and maybe with cost/wear factors thrown in as well but less important.  The first three factors are pretty much interrelated and tied together.  I always figured that for most touring the gatorskin struck a pretty good balance.

Speaking of Texas chip seal when I rode the ST, I rode all the way across Texas along the long southern portion on gatorskins and the buzz was pretty bad, but that was more because I was on skinny 23mm ones than because I chose gatorskins.  I switched to 25mm ones near the end of the way across Texas and the ride was much improved on the rough chip seal.  If I was on 28mm ones the ride would have been plush by my standards.  I'd have started out with 25mm, but had enough wear left in the 23mms that I wanted to use up.  28mm would be a bit much on the crit bike frame I was riding though.

Offline froze

Re: Need information on Continental Gatorskin.
« Reply #13 on: April 12, 2020, 01:30:48 pm »
That's the other crazy thing a few of you are talking about, running on 23 or 25 mm tires and weigh 250 pounds or so, I guess, total weight, including bike and gear and person?

According to psi calculators at 250 pounds, if you're using a 23 tire you would need to put in about 105 psi on the front and 160 in the rear, so on the rear tire you're exceeding its max rated psi. Fine you scream at me, instead you use a 25 tire, great for the front at 88 psi, but the rear you'll need 137, again exceeding the max rated psi for any tire.  You could use a 28 on the rear but be marginal, a 32 would be better.

Here's the other bit of news, according to the Bicycle Rolling Resistance site; the Conti Gatorskin weight is only 255 grams for the 32 size, but it's rolling resistance is at 26.2 watts at 60 psi (the watts usage goes up as the PSI goes up, and it's puncture resistance rating is a 18 on the tread and a 7 on the sidewall, with a tread thickness of 3.2 mm.  Compare that to a Schwalbe Marathon Supreme that weighs 380 grams for a 32, rolling resistance is 19.1 watts, puncture rating is 75 and 3, tread is 5.0 mm.  So all around except for weight which it makes up for with lowering rolling resistance the Marathon Supreme is better to use just from stats alone.

Just something to chew on...not the tires, the information.


Offline staehpj1

Re: Need information on Continental Gatorskin.
« Reply #14 on: April 12, 2020, 05:17:18 pm »
I don't believe the calculators especially when riding on surfaces like chip seal.  I have found that the smoother the surface the higher the pressure you want.  I find I make better time with fairly low pressure on chip seal or other rough surfaces.  I don't think that is all because of the comfort.  I could be wrong, but I think the tires actually roll better with less pressure on those surfaces.  So I didn't run anywhere near the pressures you suggest.  I don't recall how high of a pressure I did run (it has been a few years and the bike has been on loan to my daughter for a number of years).  I don't take recommended max pressures too seriously, but I probably didn't exceed them too awfully badly.  Truth be told I never bother to check what the max is.  I run what feels like a reasonable amount of drop.

Would a wider tire have made sense for my ST ride? Sure, but I decided to wear out the tires that were on it.  When I switched from 23mm to 25mm I was just about out of Texas.  The road surfaces were about to improve greatly.  I was done in Pensacola and when I got home I wanted to have 25mm tires on.  So no 28mms and 32mm wouldn't fit at all.  Also I really prefer not to have tires that barely fit in the frame's clearance where any little spoke/wheel problem stops you with tire rub.

Part of the choice of riding that bike was to ride my old race bike from 1990, so it didn't really have to make complete sense in my mind.  It was a sentimental choice as much as anything.  It was fun talking to all the ex racers who commented on the bike, the rims, and so on.  I was going really light with a bivy and pretty minimal gear (14# base) so I figured it was doable.  It was a different kind of tour from what most folks are looking for, but it was fun.

Edit: Fwiw, I have run 32mm and 28mm gatorskins on other bikes on other tours with heavier loads.
« Last Edit: April 12, 2020, 05:36:23 pm by staehpj1 »