One of the most popular articles on our site is our ‘how to fix a flat tire on a Bicycle.’ The theme of the article is not only to show you how to fix a flat, but also shows you things you can do prior to leaving your house to reduce your chances of being left on the side of the road. One of those things you can do is choose the right tire. This article is going to dive into some of the benefits of the Continental Gatorskin tire and see why it’s one of our favorite road/all-round bike tire for general day-to-day use.
Continental Gatorskin Tires
The continental Gator skin has been around for quite some time a now. While Continental has various other well-respected models in their lineup, the Gatorskin is well known in the biking world for being a rugged, heavier tire made of a durable rubber compound and a puncture resistant insert that significantly reduces the chances of getting a flat while you are out on your ride.
Having been somebody that has used Gator Skin tires on their own bikes over the years and having putting thousands of miles of use on them, I can personally claim to never ever remembering having a flat tire during that time.
If you have been reading our recent bike commuting series of articles and are thinking of starting to use your bike for commuting to work, going on group rides or just running general errands, then this tire is probably going to be the tire you want to consider.
There are actually two different types of Gatorskin tires – folded and rigid. For our discussions here though, we are recommending going with the folded model. The folded version comes in various sizes (Please be aware this could be country specific);
32-630 (27×1 1/4)
28-559 (26×1 1/8)
OK, so let’s take a closer look at the materials and see why this tire is so resilient and durable over time. Continental says the tire is made out of a beaded layer of Duraskin, sidewalls with a ‘built-up mesh’ and a layer of Kevlar for maximum protection. They talk about things like ‘extremely durable polyamide fabric’ which in layman’s terms means the tire has ‘plenty of rolling resistance!’
The natural rubber compound used on the Gatorskins may not be as ‘grippy’ as the ‘black chili’ compound used on the higher end Conti models, but this is still a good performing tire and more than holds it’s own in both wet and dry conditions.
Here’s a couple of snippets of the material and technology used from the Continental Website;
With our PolyX Breaker®, we bring our car expertise to the bicycle tyre segment: Polyester has been used successfully for years in car tyres and been tried and tested many times. The extremely resistant polyester fiber is woven tightly crosswise. In this way, a very high fabric density is reached which not only makes the Breaker more resistant to foreign objects but is also especially resistant to punctures. The rolling resistance is also not negatively affected by the PolyX Breaker®.
Tyres with DuraSkin® sidewall protection have to be able to roll with the punches. They are used under the harshest conditions. On messenger bikes, the tyres skid along curbs; on touring bikes, they cross continents without wearing out. In racing cycling, they have to endure tough tests such as the Paris-Roubaix. The high-quality polyamide fabric protects the tyre casing against the worst conditions. These tyres stand out thanks to their brown sidewalls.
If you are looking for a rugged, well-made tire that is built to last and will handle all year round use with great puncture resistance, then this is your tire! Competitively priced and cheaper than some of the other Continental models like the GP 4 Season tire and the GP4000, this is our pick of ‘best all-round tire’ for bike commuting and general all-around use and is highly recommended!
Read the great reviews over at Amazon.