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Clydesdales/Athenas (200+ lb / 91+ kg) Looking to lose that spare tire? Ideal weight 200+? Frustrated being a large cyclist in a sport geared for the ultra-light? Learn about the bikes and parts that can take the abuse of a heavier cyclist, how to keep your body going while losing the weight, and get support from others who've been successful.

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Old 08-19-11, 10:07 AM   #1
Pinyon
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Back to Ultra Gatorskins

I cut a big gash in a tire sidewall about two years ago, and the nearest bike shop did not have ultra gatorskins. Since it was my commuter bike anyway, I went ahead and got a Bontrager Race Lite Harcdase. They are slightly heavier than the gatorskins, but I actually found that they were also much less prone to punctures than ultra gatoskins or armadillos (goathead thorns are very bad here). I was sold, and started buying them as other tires wore out ever since.

Until this year...when my county fell in love with extra rough-grained chip-n-seal. Chip-n-seal has always been popular here, but they used to include sand or crushed stone in the aggregate mix. Now, they just use the bigger stuff that is mostly in the size range of dried lentils and small-grained rice.

That type of chip-n-seal tears the rubber right off the outside of my rear Bontrager Race Lite Hardcase tires. I've had a couple of tires that started falling apart on roads with that rougher chip-n-seal. You can see big patches of green kevlar belt along the center of the tire, and the loose rubber slaps my brake calipers. Scary stuff.

So...I'm back to the ultra gatorskins. Maybe I should order some Schwalbe marathons next time?
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Old 08-19-11, 03:49 PM   #2
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I am just starting on a set of Gators on my new bike, so I only have about 60 miles on them. In those 60 miles, they have seen some chip seal, broken pavement, and even some dirt/gravel and are no worse for wear. I am hoping they hold up well. I am used to riding 32c tires on the road, so even these 28c tires are taking some getting used to. The flat resistance/durability of these tires is something that is still in the back of my mind just because they look more fragile than what I am used to riding. From what I read, the Contis are pretty good tires, so we'll see.
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Old 08-19-11, 03:59 PM   #3
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I wish Gatorskins worked for me, a little better ride than the Armadillos. But I flatted several times caused by small stuff on smooth trail. 700 X 25's.

Then after 1000 miles the cords were showing through. 2 different tires, both wire bead models. I did hear that only wire bead models had this problem but it aint worth $50 to find out again.
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Old 08-19-11, 04:45 PM   #4
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I was never very impressed with Gatorskins. I really liked Vittoria Rando Cross tires for durability and grip. On the other hand, chip seal is pretty rare for me.
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Old 08-20-11, 11:03 AM   #5
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I wish Gatorskins worked for me, a little better ride than the Armadillos. But I flatted several times caused by small stuff on smooth trail. 700 X 25's.

Then after 1000 miles the cords were showing through. 2 different tires, both wire bead models. I did hear that only wire bead models had this problem but it aint worth $50 to find out again.
I've had more flats with the folding bead ultra gatorskins than with the wire beaded ones. What do you guys ride?

I switched from Armadillos years ago because of how fast the center bead wore down for me. I would end up with a pronounced flat spot down the center in about 800 miles or so, and you could see the belt peeking through in about 1200 miles. I did not get flats, but was a afraid to corner in the rain riding on the kevlar belt.

My first few ultra gatorskins were great (2500-3000 miles), but now they only last me about 1500 miles or so. Maybe I was spoiled. I have found that I get fewer flats on the road with wider back tires. I ride 28s on the rear now. The extra tire weight is worth fewer flats to me.

I still get occasional punctures (three since...April of this year?), but with wider tires, slow-leaks don't result in pinch-flats on the road. I'd much rather fix things like that in my garage.

Thanks for the responses guys. Maybe I'm just being picky...or cheap...
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Old 08-20-11, 01:18 PM   #6
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Hmm...I guess it's different for everyone. I've been riding gatorskins for about 3500 miles, not a single puncture flat (one pinch flat). When I changed a tire recently because it had worn to the thread, there were between 10 and 20 cuts in the rubber, but none that punctured the kevlar. And my regular commute has some pretty rough patches of road.
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Old 08-20-11, 06:53 PM   #7
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I've had more flats with the folding bead ultra gatorskins than with the wire beaded ones. What do you guys ride?

...
I used 25's....wire beads.

Wow, my Armadillo lasted 5000 without a puncture. The belt started showing through about 4500. I pushed it to 5000 figuring I'd flat but never did. At that point, it was time to change flat or no flat.
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Old 08-22-11, 08:49 PM   #8
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For a puncture resistant smooth roller 700s: wire Gatorskins #1 favorite, K. Bontrager's xlite Hardcase #2, ..., and bringing up the rear Schwalbe M Supremes DNF. I felt lucky to dump the SMSs on eBay for close to what I paid, I think the Marathon line is THE most overrated, and on average the heaviest.

I will say this year on the pacific coast seems the worst, all the rain in the spring has generated an endless supply of thorn-like junk on the roads and our small government road maintenance is pretty terrible. It's the year of flats.

Not to sound like Schwalbe hater, SMSs on my 26" tourer have been good, and my sprinter rocks R.1's. (Favorite still has to be GP4000 black chilli, for the right bike and a good road).
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Old 08-23-11, 04:17 AM   #9
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Im a good 270+ pounds, i ride on bad chipseal, and gravel with heavy underbrush on either side of it regularly, and I have only had a whopping 2 punctures in the last year and a half. One of which was from a tube defect, not an actual puncture. I ride with either Conti GP4000's (for fast rides), while my usual roadie/trainers/high mileage tires are Schwalbe Durano Plus. Ive got CPX22 rims, with the front laced radial, and the rear two cross drive, and radial opposite. Technically, according to the general information usually given on this forum, i should be in puncture city at my weight, with those Contis, and with the roads im riding on. Yet im not...and I honestly do not understand how so many others get punctures?

It leads me to assume that either some of them arent running proper tire pressures, or they dont have a quality wheel builder truing and maintaining their wheels (i get mine inspected about every 500 miles and trued when they get more then 1/8in. out).
It also makes me wonder if that is why there is such an underlying hatred for folding tires here also? Because both of those problems can be slightly worked around, or avoided all together with a metal bead tire. Where as with a foldinf tire under inflation and an out of true wheel will just make things worse, by pinching easier with low pressure, and having more room to move on the wheel that is out of true.

Maybe its my attentive riding style of avoiding trouble spots coupled with my anal retentive maintenance schedule, that i religiously follow, that keeps me puncture free? Or maybe im some sort of ultra light clydesdale...i dunno. But i honestly cant figure out why there are so many punctures, and why people feel the need to go to (in my opinion unridable) super hard, super heavy, super reinforced tires?

Yeah, its late, and these are the things that cross my mind at 3 in the morning.
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Old 08-23-11, 06:19 AM   #10
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Beanz and I have discussed this before, I love gatorskins he doesn't. At the same time, I like them as sort of a training tire for my road bike around the glass covered NYC streets, if I really wanted max flat protection I might use something else. I run the 25c and the folding version and have had 1 or 2 flats in the year that I've ridden on them.
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Old 08-23-11, 06:42 AM   #11
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I have about 2000 miles on my set of 28 wire bead Gatorskins, so far so good. No flats yet, all in all I like the tire. Course, not that I say that I'll get a flat tonight. My only complaint with them so far is that they are slippery when the pavement is wet. Do I think they are worth the hype? Probably not, but they are nice tires.
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