Author Topic: Continental gator skin bicycle tires.  (Read 1318 times)

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Offline Westinghouse

Continental gator skin bicycle tires.
« on: November 28, 2022, 09:21:19 pm »
When the first set of Continental gator skin bicycle tires arrived in the mail, I thought I had been taken. They were very light. The side walls felt almost like paper. The contact part of the tire was thin. Nothing at all like a schwalbe Marathon which I had come to trust. I decided the gator skin tires would be good for running around locally, and that was all. They looked substandard and cheap. However, I have had a complete change of mind about those tires since then. I just finished a bicycling tour of about 1300 miles. On the front rim was mounted a 700x32 continental gator skin. It had about 50 miles on it before it was used on this tour. It went through gravel, broke and glass, sticks and stones, berries, cones and all other manner of debris found on sidewalks and roads in America. Quite a few times the glass crunched and broke under this tire. It has held up and withstood all that. The only puncture came from long distances on the interstate highways in Arizona and New Mexico. Those wires flatted the back tire also which was much thicker and beefier than the gator skin. Interstate wires will flat marathons and Marathon supreme. Spend too much time on the interstate and you will find a wire in your tire. The Continental gator skin tire is stronger and more durable than it appears to be. It is lightweight, strong, and for its size and weight long-lasting.

Offline OHRider

Re: Continental gator skin bicycle tires.
« Reply #1 on: November 29, 2022, 08:46:45 am »
I put a set of Gatorskin's on my road bike this year- 700x25. No problems so far but mileage isn't that high either.  I stopped using Continental 4000's in the last couple of years because I kept getting sidewall damage and subsequent flats- as you mentioned the sidewalls seemed to have little material in them. Once a sidewall is damaged I scrap the tire (I'd put a dollar bill in the area to get me home if needed).

I know a lot of people swear by Gatorskin's but I also hear complaints about a rough ride.  My road bike is titanium with carbon fork and seatstay's and I think it is a very good ride even with the Gatorskin's.

I'll likely try a set on my gravel / touring setup after they wear out.

PS our NE Ohio roads are typically pretty crappy with more than our share of potholes.

Offline BikeliciousBabe

Re: Continental gator skin bicycle tires.
« Reply #2 on: November 30, 2022, 08:41:05 am »
PS our NE Ohio roads are typically pretty crappy with more than our share of potholes.
In September I rode from Vienna to the PA border at Orangeville.  I can attest to the above.

One road (I think it was King-Graves) was so bumpy I could only do about 5-7 mph for fear of jarring loose a kidney.  Most annoying since it was pretty much flat.

Offline OHRider

Re: Continental gator skin bicycle tires.
« Reply #3 on: November 30, 2022, 08:59:57 am »
PS our NE Ohio roads are typically pretty crappy with more than our share of potholes.
In September I rode from Vienna to the PA border at Orangeville.  I can attest to the above.

One road (I think it was King-Graves) was so bumpy I could only do about 5-7 mph for fear of jarring loose a kidney.  Most annoying since it was pretty much flat.

My wife and I did a short ride in that area about the same time. We started at Mosquito Lake SP and rode to the airport- they had a small air show going on  I remember it as a mix of decent and bad roads.  There is a pretty good bike trail in the area that runs north-south.  Could possibly do a short tour in that area.

Offline PeteJack

Re: Continental gator skin bicycle tires.
« Reply #4 on: January 20, 2023, 05:13:08 am »
One reason for using Conti's rather than Marathon Plus is that if you do get a flat in a Marathon+ they are a nightmare to take off at the side of the road.

Offline froze

Re: Continental gator skin bicycle tires.
« Reply #5 on: January 20, 2023, 06:19:33 pm »
My experience with those Conti tires is sidewall damage, kind of a nightmare on the road when you can't repair the tire.

A tight-fitting tire is actually a good thing, in case of a flat or blowout a tight-fitting tire is actually a lot better because the likelihood of it coming off the rim is a lot less, which really becomes important with a loaded bike.

If for some reason you need an emergency spare tire just to get you to a bike shop, then the Conti would be great for that since it is lightweight and will fold up; although you can take a beaded tire and twist into a figure 8 and store those as well.

Yes, Schwalbe Marathon tires are very tight fitting, but there are ways to make it somewhat easier to install. The first thing you need to do before putting on the tire is try putting talcum powder on the tube and bead of the tire; then make sure you use a very strong set of tire irons like the Lezyne Power Lever XL, these are impossible to break; then you need a second tool called the Kool Stop tire Bead Jack, that's right Jack, this thing works like a dream, instead of lifting the last section of the tire out away from the rim and up as a lever will do which all that does is make it more difficult, it slides it up alongside rim and then into the rim.

By the way, if the baby powder doesn't work, you can do a soapy solution and that will work better.

Kool Stop Bead Jack is the same principle as the VAR tire lever but it's made a lot stronger than the VAR, I have both of those levers, and while I never broke the VAR, had a feeling when using it on the Schwalbe Amotion tires that it could break, so instead of finding out, I ordered the Kool Stop.  Problems with the Kool Stop; one is that it is longer than the VAR and thus won't fit into small or medium seat bags, but it will fit in longer ones, the VAR is shorter and has no problem fitting in any seat bag; the second problem is the side of the lever that goes on the edge of the rim was not made very deep, in fact, it is quite shallow and I had trouble keeping it on the edge, sort of strange the company did that and then over the years never corrected it, but I managed to get it to work, it just isn't ideal.
« Last Edit: January 20, 2023, 06:21:40 pm by froze »

Offline kd_ca

Re: Continental gator skin bicycle tires.
« Reply #6 on: February 20, 2023, 01:28:35 am »
Have had decent experience with Gatorskins though I've found them to be really sketchy on wet roads with downhill curves that have soil run off.  I ride with 700x32 Gatorskin on rear and 700x35 Continental Contact Plus on the front (to give me grip).   I can manage a bike with the rear wheel sliding out from under me, but cannot manage one with the front wheel sliding out.

Offline froze

Re: Continental gator skin bicycle tires.
« Reply #7 on: February 20, 2023, 08:45:31 pm »
Have had decent experience with Gatorskins though I've found them to be really sketchy on wet roads with downhill curves that have soil run off.  I ride with 700x32 Gatorskin on rear and 700x35 Continental Contact Plus on the front (to give me grip).   I can manage a bike with the rear wheel sliding out from under me, but cannot manage one with the front wheel sliding out.

I'm sorry, but I'm confused.

You put Contact Plus on the front to give you grip, I get that, but then you put Gatorskin on the rear but find that it slides out...so why not just put a Contact Plus on the rear if you already know you like the grip of the tire?

Offline kd_ca

Re: Continental gator skin bicycle tires.
« Reply #8 on: February 20, 2023, 11:21:05 pm »
The slides that I've had with the Gatorskins on the rear have not risen to the level of lets replace it as I did with the front.

My Gatorskin on the rear still has quite a bit of life left in it.  Plus I have the previous Gatorskin from the front wheel that I replaced with Contact Plus.  In a quest to save $$, once I've used up both Gatorskins on the rear, then I can justify replacing the rear with a Contact Plus.

Offline Pat Lamb

Re: Continental gator skin bicycle tires.
« Reply #9 on: February 22, 2023, 07:05:58 am »
Have had decent experience with Gatorskins though I've found them to be really sketchy on wet roads with downhill curves that have soil run off.  I ride with 700x32 Gatorskin on rear and 700x35 Continental Contact Plus on the front (to give me grip).   I can manage a bike with the rear wheel sliding out from under me, but cannot manage one with the front wheel sliding out.

I'm surprised you're able to get any grip on "wet roads with downhill curves that have soil run off."  That's a recipe for any tire to start sliding.  Perhaps the front wheel grip is from extra width on the front Contact?  A better approach would be to slow down coming into the curve and try to ride as straight as possible across the mud streaks.

Offline PeteJack

Re: Continental gator skin bicycle tires.
« Reply #10 on: February 22, 2023, 10:02:04 am »

I'm surprised you're able to get any grip on "wet roads with downhill curves that have soil run off."  That's a recipe for any tire to start sliding.  Perhaps the front wheel grip is from extra width on the front Contact?  A better approach would be to slow down coming into the curve and try to ride as straight as possible across the mud streaks.
Perhaps he's Tom Pidcock in disguise. https://youtu.be/fl5Xq3o_1TY?t=290

Offline froze

Re: Continental gator skin bicycle tires.
« Reply #11 on: February 22, 2023, 10:54:30 am »

I'm surprised you're able to get any grip on "wet roads with downhill curves that have soil run off."  That's a recipe for any tire to start sliding.  Perhaps the front wheel grip is from extra width on the front Contact?  A better approach would be to slow down coming into the curve and try to ride as straight as possible across the mud streaks.

Perhaps he's Tom Pidcock in disguise. https://youtu.be/fl5Xq3o_1TY?t=290

But, did you notice how slow he was going doing that? He could have gotten around that curve faster not skidding...yeah I know, he was just showing off, but the reality is I, and others that I knew back in the '70s and 80s use to do that stuff all the time in the mountains of S Calif when the roads were wet either from rain or heavy fog, for fun, and only if we knew we had to replace our tires, so we would burn off the bad tires to have a little fun before replacing them.  That sort of skidding around curves is old-school stuff, and I'm sure others around the country and around the world were doing the same stuff, and they were probably doing it before the 70's!

Offline hondo77

Re: Continental gator skin bicycle tires.
« Reply #12 on: February 22, 2023, 02:28:56 pm »
One reason for using Conti's rather than Marathon Plus is that if you do get a flat in a Marathon+ they are a nightmare to take off at the side of the road.

I have used Durano Plus and Marathon Plus from Schwalbe. Durano Plus is a dream to take off and put on. Marathon Plus is only slightly harder to put back on. For me, anyway. I've had tens of thousands of miles experience with the Durano Plus whereas I have only ridden Marathon Plus for several hundred miles.

On topic, I used Gatorskins several years ago. Then I got three flats on a single ride and on the same tire (it wa no't worn out). That was the end of Gatorskins for me.

Offline wildtoad

Re: Continental gator skin bicycle tires.
« Reply #13 on: February 22, 2023, 02:56:51 pm »
For those running relatively narrow tires for touring, Gatorskins are an okay choice. I ran them for "winter" road riding in the Bay Area for many years. They served me well, rarely flatted and lasted quite a while. Not the best riding tires, and there are better choices nowadays for the type of riding that I was using them for.

Anecdotally, I did a small group, self-contained pavement tour last summer, and only one rider had problems w/ flats. Rider was running 25c Gatorskins on a loaded bike. Now, I believe current bicycle tire science would suggest that running such narrow tires at the necessary high pressures to support a touring load = a setup more vulnerable to road debris punctures. That was certainly the case on this tour. But otherwise, frequent punctures on tour involve bad luck, weather conditions, road conditions, more bad luck, rider error, etc. etc. etc.

Glad to hear that the OP was happy with their tire choice and had a good tour.