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  1. #1
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    Gatorskins vs. Armadillos

    I'm sure this has been asked before, but what does everyone recommend as the better commuting tire, the Conti Ultra Gatorskin or Specialized All Conditions Armadillo?

    I understand the Armadillo is probably more durable, but that you pay for that with lesser ride quality.

  2. #2
    Giant OCR2 pauly's Avatar
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    I'm partial to the Ultra Gator Skins. I have not yet had a flat/puncture since I first bought them. Amazing set of tires, I also heard that a lot of Pro's use them on training rides. Well that's what the guy at my local shop told me.

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    Senior Member PaulBravey's Avatar
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    Out of interest, what size gator skins do you have? I'm trying to decide on whether to get the 25s or the 23s - 25 is the largest size that'll fit and it'd probably be better for commuting whereas the 23 will be better for longer weekend rides.

  4. #4
    Senior Member balto charlie's Avatar
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    I have the spec. armadillo nimbus. No flats ever; however the ride is harsh. I run them near 100psi, perhaps I should drop it a bit. BUT I prefer to make it to work with no flats than have a smoother ride. I have to make the train so timing is everything for my ride. The trains only come every 40 minutes or so. Charlie

  5. #5
    Senior Member kf5nd's Avatar
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    I run my spec. armadillo nimbus at 80 psi, it's more svelte at that pressure, and still seems efficient.



    Quote Originally Posted by balto charlie
    I have the spec. armadillo nimbus. No flats ever; however the ride is harsh. I run them near 100psi, perhaps I should drop it a bit. BUT I prefer to make it to work with no flats than have a smoother ride. I have to make the train so timing is everything for my ride. The trains only come every 40 minutes or so. Charlie
    Peter Wang, LCI
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  6. #6
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    kf5nd ... GO ASTROS!!!

  7. #7
    Giant OCR2 pauly's Avatar
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    I'm rolling on 23's. I find they are quite comfortable to ride with and very durable as well.

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    I've never tried gator skinds, but my armadillos (25s) seem to work real well, although I got one flat right after I got them (shard of glass). None since. The recommended pressure is 115-125 psi. I run near the 125 mark. The ride is firm, but not particularly harsh (I think that being on a steel touring bike helps a little).

  9. #9
    orange claw hammer Bryan T's Avatar
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    I'm very happy with the Gatorskins, 3k+ commuter miles and counting.
    I run them 90 - 100psi. One very minor occurence: I developed a slow
    leak in one of them. Changed the tube, and soon got another leak.
    I discovered a tiny burr of the belt on the inner part of the tire, which
    was causing the leaks. I put a small piece of gaffer's tape on it, which is
    really strong, cloth-like stuff like duct tape, used in the film industry.
    No more slow leaks, heh. They ride pretty nicely too, although when they
    were new, they felt slippery compared to the Michelin axial pro's I'd been running.

  10. #10
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    The Armadillo has a puncture resistent sidewall that the Gatorskin does not have. The Armadillo is known to be the most flat resistent tire on the market and one of the longest lasting tread lives. But these Armadillo positive traits have two negative traits that some just cannot get over and one is a bit harsher ride due to the stiffer flat resistent sidewall. Even though the sidewall of the Armadillo says 125psi that is max psi not recommended psi; since I only weigh 162 I only put in 95 in the rear and 85 in the front; this lesser pressure improves the ride a lot. Also the sidewall is so strong that once I rode one flat for 5 miles (slowly as an experiment) and the sidewall never roughed up nor came off the rim nor damaged the rim! The other negative trait is the tire weighs 345grms, but that's not bad considering if you bought a average 220 gram tire, put a thorn resistent tube in at 120 grms and a Mr Tuffy at 90grms your still up to 330grms!

    The Armadillo tires are very rugged, I rode over a 10th of a mile section of solid broken pane glass and not only did I not get a flat, I had only one small cut; and I could hear nothing but crunching glass. But that is not near as bad as running over goatheads; where I use to live goatheads ruled and destroyed bicycle tires like crazy intil I started using the Armadillos. I went from an average 3 flats a week and destroyed dozens tires with mileages running from 60 miles minimum to no more then 750 miles; tried Slime tubes and Mr tuffy's and none of that worked, (don't use slime tubes they do not stop leaks above 60psi).

    Then one day a LBS told me about the Armadillos, now after 4 years and 16,000 miles I've had 2 flats, one was from a faulty tube, and the other was from a worn out tire. With the Armadillo I use just a 65grm ultralight Specialize turbo tube and no liners-you don't need thorn resistent tubes or liners.

  11. #11
    8speed DinoSORAs Ed Holland's Avatar
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    I've been on 700x23 Continental gatorskins for the last year. V impressed with the resistance to punctures (now I'm doomed...) and also the milage I'm getting - these are good hard wearing tires with a nice ride quality. I used to use Hutchinson Excel Kevlar, but they were very prone to sidewall failure at the bead, long before the tread was worn out.

    Cheers,

    Ed
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    I don't know about tacks, but I once cut-off a very small piece of frayed brake cable end, and one of the strands got right through the armadillo tire. It was quite an annoyance, since I couldn't see the small strand and punctured the tube twice, before I could see that little devil. I have been much neater with my cable cutting ever since. I am sure this could have happened with any tire though...

  13. #13
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    I got myself a pair of the Gatorskins 25. I have been really happy so far.

    Larry

  14. #14
    You need a new bike supcom's Avatar
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    For the last two years I have been using Armadillo tires exclusively. I have used the Turbo and All Condition Armadillos on a road bike and a combination of Hemisphere, Nimbus, and Team Control/Master Armadillos on an MTB.

    In many thousands of miles, I have had a total of three flats using Armadillos in all kinds of conditions. All three of these flats were caused by large pieces of wet glass that would have probably ruined most other tires. In general, I have been very pleased with the performance of the tires.

    However, all is not perfect. I have noticed that after several thousand miles, the Turbo Armadillo (discontinued) had to be replaced because the tread separated from the inner belt and casing. The tread layer developed cracks where it joins the sidewall and eventually broke free. On my tires, the tread layer did not appear to be glued to the inner layers so the tread came right off like it was a large rubber band stretched around the tire.

    I am watching a pair of the All Purpose Armadillos that look like they may be developing a similar failure, but it is too soom to tell. So far I have not seen this failure mode in the Hemispheres (which have about 2000 miles) or the other styles of Armadillos.

    I may try the Continental Gatorskins next time I need tires to get a comparison.

  15. #15
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    I've gone about 5,000 miles with an Armadillo on the front and a Gatorskin (2) on the back. The miles have been mostly commuting miles with plenty of broken glass along the way. In that time I've had 4 flats on the Gatorskins, none on the Armadillo. All of the flats have come from broken glass. I would say that the Armadillo is the tougher tire. I've had no flats on it and it looks like it is good for another 2,000 miles. However, in fairness, rear tires always flat more often and wear out quicker than front tires. Next time I'll put the Armadillo on the back for a full comparison.
    The moral arc of the universe is long, but it bends towards justice. M.L.King

  16. #16
    kipuka explorer bkrownd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikdes
    I understand the Armadillo is probably more durable, but that you pay for that with lesser ride quality.
    That's pretty much the story. Another thing you might also consider, if it matters to you,
    is comparative grip in wet or cold weather. Harder rubber and stiffer construction probably means
    less grip in those conditions. I got the $51 GP 4-season gatorskin rather than the $32 vanilla
    gatorskin because I was particularly concerned with wet weather grip. (not that I
    ever actually found a real quantitative measurement of such a quantity, mind you...)
    Doing well so far...
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  17. #17
    You need a new bike supcom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blwyn
    I've gone about 5,000 miles with an Armadillo on the front and a Gatorskin (2) on the back. The miles have been mostly commuting miles with plenty of broken glass along the way. In that time I've had 4 flats on the Gatorskins, none on the Armadillo. All of the flats have come from broken glass. I would say that the Armadillo is the tougher tire. I've had no flats on it and it looks like it is good for another 2,000 miles. However, in fairness, rear tires always flat more often and wear out quicker than front tires. Next time I'll put the Armadillo on the back for a full comparison.
    Although the Armadillo may be the tougher tire, you cannot neccessarily conclude that from your setup. Rear tires are far more susceptible to flats than front because there is more weight on the rear tire. If you really want to compare tires, swap the front and rear and see if you get the same performance.

    If the Armadillos are the tougher tire, than you are better having it on the rear anyway.

  18. #18
    Steel is Real. markw's Avatar
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    What about the panaracer tourguards? I'm seeing them onsale for under $20 each in the folding style. Not bad on weight either. Any one have issues with those?

  19. #19
    Senior Member Dchiefransom's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=froze]The Armadillo has a puncture resistent sidewall that the Gatorskin does not have.


    The Gatorskins have a bead to bead protecting layer that does protect the sidewall, but they have an extra layer under the tread area. I have used Armadillos for commuting, and am currently riding Gatorskins for recreation. The Gatorskins are just as rough feeling to me as the Armadillos, since both have stiff sidewalls. I have only had one flat on rec rides on a Gatorskin, and one pinch flat one time on an Armadillo. If the bike will fit them, I recommend the 700X25 Armadillos, running around 100 psi. These would only clear on my Trek 1000, not my other bikes. The 25s are bigger than most, looking like other company's 28s and even 32s. My present bikes will only fit the 23s. Even with the higher pressures, the ride still has not much rolling resistance. It feels like I'm using no effort when cruising on smooth, flat pavement. The older version of Armadillos had a separation problem that was corrected on the present models. When my Gatorskins wear out on my Trek 420, I might switch back to Armadillos

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by blwyn
    I've gone about 5,000 miles with an Armadillo on the front and a Gatorskin (2) on the back. The miles have been mostly commuting miles with plenty of broken glass along the way. In that time I've had 4 flats on the Gatorskins, none on the Armadillo. All of the flats have come from broken glass. I would say that the Armadillo is the tougher tire. I've had no flats on it and it looks like it is good for another 2,000 miles. However, in fairness, rear tires always flat more often and wear out quicker than front tires. Next time I'll put the Armadillo on the back for a full comparison.
    Blwyn; that's not a fair test! Most flats are on the rear because you can usually swerve enough to avoid the front from hitting something but the rear will get it. Try switching the tires around and retest then get back to us with your flat test results.

  21. #21
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    [QUOTE=Dchiefransom]
    Quote Originally Posted by froze
    The Armadillo has a puncture resistent sidewall that the Gatorskin does not have.


    The Gatorskins have a bead to bead protecting layer that does protect the sidewall, but they have an extra layer under the tread area. I have used Armadillos for commuting, and am currently riding Gatorskins for recreation. The Gatorskins are just as rough feeling to me as the Armadillos, since both have stiff sidewalls. I have only had one flat on rec rides on a Gatorskin, and one pinch flat one time on an Armadillo. If the bike will fit them, I recommend the 700X25 Armadillos, running around 100 psi. These would only clear on my Trek 1000, not my other bikes. The 25s are bigger than most, looking like other company's 28s and even 32s. My present bikes will only fit the 23s. Even with the higher pressures, the ride still has not much rolling resistance. It feels like I'm using no effort when cruising on smooth, flat pavement. The older version of Armadillos had a separation problem that was corrected on the present models. When my Gatorskins wear out on my Trek 420, I might switch back to Armadillos
    Dchie; not to argue with you but the Gatorskin does not have bead to bead protection, if you go to their web site they explain that to you. The only tire they have that does have bead to bead protection is the 4 Seasons. The difference between the Gatorskin and the 4 Seasons besides the sidewall protection is the rubber is thick on the Gatorskin and the Gatorskin has more plies in the tread then the 4 Seasons. The Duraskin sidewall is a fabric that covers both the Gatorskin and the 4 Seasons, but the 4 Seasons adds a puncture resistent belt...but these puncture resistent belts are nothing like the Armadillo.

    http://www.conti-online.com/generato...orskin_en.html

    http://www.conti-online.com/generato...season_en.html

  22. #22
    You need a new bike supcom's Avatar
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    I examined the 2004 All Condition Armadillos on my commuter bike today. The rear tire, with only 1500 miles is definitely starting to show tread separation at the sidewall. I'd say that Specialized has not yet mastered the construction of this tire.

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