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Gatorskin tires

Old 04-27-20, 05:05 AM
  #1  
jkrm
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Gatorskin tires

I am new here and pretty new to cycling. I have a Fuji Tread 1.0 that is about 3 years old and needs new tires. I was looking at the Continental Gatorskin 700c X 32, to replace the 700c X 35s that came with the bike. REI has a nice price on them now through mail order. I have a couple of questions.
  • I ride almost exclusively on roads. In fact there is only one stretch on one of my routes, about mile long, that consists of packed dirt or stone dust, maybe some small stones. Would this tire be OK for that?
  • I have not changed a bike tire for maybe 50 years! A couple of reviews for this tire said it was hard to mount, and no bike shops are open around here now. Does anyone have any experience as to whether these tires really are harder than most to mount? Are there any hints or videos to help me out? I don't want to get the old tires off, and then find I can't mount the old or re-mount the old tires and be without my bike.
Thanks,
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Old 04-27-20, 05:19 AM
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Get a kool stop tire lever to mount the new tires and tire levers to get the old tires off. The gatorskins will be fine for the ride you describe. They're good tires. I don't find them difficult to mount but some tire/rim combinations can be tough. I find that tires with steel beads tend to be a little easier to mount than folding tires.

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Old 04-27-20, 05:21 AM
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I have 28-622 gatorskins on one of my bikes. One rim is a 19-622 Weinmann clincher from the 80ies, the other a 2019 19-622 Ryde Zac. Mounting worked without problems and without tools.
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Old 04-27-20, 06:09 AM
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I haven't found Gatorskins to mount any differently than other tires. You'll find the tread to last a while and puncture resistance to be excellent. Rolling resistance is excellent compared to many other puncture resistant tires but not compared to most road tires. As a result, you'll find a slight speed reduction - not a big deal for casual biking. Gatorskins are an excellent value tire.
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Old 04-27-20, 06:26 AM
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Originally Posted by bikemig View Post
Get a kool stop tire lever to mount the new tires and tire levers to get the old tires off. The gatorskins will be fine for the ride you describe. They're good tires. I don't find them difficult to mount but some tire/rim combinations can be tough. I find that tires with steel beads tend to be a little easier to mount than folding tires.
If you need tools to mount or remove tires you had better take them with you on the road or you will be stuck when you get a flat.
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Old 04-27-20, 06:41 AM
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YouTube is your friend. Often my first choice. You likely have cyclists in your area. For example, pre pandemic, cyclists in our small town meet Friday morning at Starbucks. If you were here, one of our garage mechanics would help you out. The other place to look for fellow riders is Strava and FB.

one thing I love about biking is the community that it develops.
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Old 04-27-20, 06:49 AM
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Welcome! I used 32C Gatorskins on a tour. I installed them and had to do one rear flat repair, non-puncture tube failure, and don't recall them being significantly more troublesome than other tires. Certainly not the worst. They ride well and can handle gravel. I prefer to use slim, smooth metal tire levers rather than the thicker plastic ones, but that's just years of shop experience talking.
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Old 04-27-20, 07:01 AM
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Originally Posted by bikemig View Post
Get a kool stop tire lever to mount the new tires and tire levers to get the old tires off. The gatorskins will be fine for the ride you describe. They're good tires. I don't find them difficult to mount but some tire/rim combinations can be tough. I find that tires with steel beads tend to be a little easier to mount than folding tires.
@bikemig is referring to the Kool Stop Tire Bead Jack, which makes quick work of mounting the most difficult tire beads.






And for tire levers, I'd recommend Pedro's, as I've never broken or bent one yet, unlike every other type I've tried.
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Old 04-27-20, 07:08 AM
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Originally Posted by dsbrantjr View Post
If you need tools to mount or remove tires you had better take them with you on the road or you will be stuck when you get a flat.
Sure the OP can take the kool stop tire jack along. Personally I find it is a great tool for home use and I bring only tire levers when riding my bike.

Last edited by bikemig; 04-27-20 at 07:14 AM.
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Old 04-27-20, 07:09 AM
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Originally Posted by thumpism View Post
Welcome! I used 32C Gatorskins on a tour. I installed them and had to do one rear flat repair, non-puncture tube failure, and don't recall them being significantly more troublesome than other tires. Certainly not the worst. They ride well and can handle gravel. I prefer to use slim, smooth metal tire levers rather than the thicker plastic ones, but that's just years of shop experience talking.
+ 1 on using thin metal tire levers rather than the thicker plastic ones.
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Old 04-27-20, 08:18 AM
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Like the other responders, I find Gatorskins to be a good compromise between puncture resistance, tread wear, and (lack of) stiffness for better road shock absorption.

Originally Posted by jkrm View Post
I ride almost exclusively on roads. In fact there is only one stretch on one of my routes, about mile long, that consists of packed dirt or stone dust, maybe some small stones.
You can find Gatorskins in 35 width, though maybe not at REI. There's not a huge size difference, but wider tires may help when you get to that "packed dirt or stone dust" stretch. It really depends on the path; some surfaces with that description are practically paved roads, and some are mush pits waiting to trap the unwary cyclist.
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Old 04-27-20, 08:38 AM
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Thanks to all! I have ordered the tires and tubes. I might order the Kool Stop tool, or try getting them on without it first.
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Old 04-27-20, 08:40 AM
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Here in the desert SW Gatorskins are very popular, more difficult to mount and change until you get some miles on them, and not the nicest ride. Some of the "tubeless ready rims" can make the issue worse. You might want to carry the kool stop tire jack on early rides.
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Old 04-27-20, 09:15 AM
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I have some 700x32 gators on my commuter bike and think they are great. Nice to ride. I didn't find them any harder than most other tyres to mount. Some tyres can be harder to mount due to specific rim designs, but a little time and patience can overcome most. I recommend Pedro's tyre levers, strong and easy to use.

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Old 04-27-20, 09:29 AM
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Originally Posted by jkrm View Post
Thanks to all! I have ordered the tires and tubes. I might order the Kool Stop tool, or try getting them on without it first.
Ideally, clinchers should be able to be mounted without tools, and dismounted with minimal tools. Just make sure that you have just a little air in the tubes, and that when you get to the point where you have both beads inside the rim for part of the tire, that you make sure that those beads are in the center well of the rim when you try to get the remainder of the bead inside the rim elsewhere.
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Old 05-02-20, 11:50 PM
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I've been using Gatorskin Hardshells for the past 5+ years and they are great, tough tires. Mine are a bit tough to mount when they tires are brand new. However, I can mount them only using my hands (it's technique, not as much strength). They are easier to mount as time goes on, and when doing a road side repair (which is rare), the tires are relatively easy to mount because they are warm (I live in Southern CA)
I've concluded one reason the brand new tires are hard to mount is they are "cold". The tires have been in my relatively cool garage, on the shelf So now, before I mount new tires, I set them out in the sun to warm up a bit and I think that makes it easier to mount. .
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Old 05-03-20, 12:10 AM
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Originally Posted by thumpism View Post
Welcome! I used 32C Gatorskins on a tour. I installed them and had to do one rear flat repair, non-puncture tube failure, and don't recall them being significantly more troublesome than other tires. Certainly not the worst. They ride well and can handle gravel. I prefer to use slim, smooth metal tire levers rather than the thicker plastic ones, but that's just years of shop experience talking.
I have put Gatorskin 28's on my sister's bike and it was easy. I have no idea of her rim brand. She later removed on to put a new tube in and she said it was easy on and off.

I put Continental GP4000SII in 28 on my Alexrim A23. I am very glad I had my old metal tire levers, especially since they have spoke hooks. I actually thought I had a bad tire it was so hard to get on. Now when I removed them to put on Compass tires in 28, I could get them off bare handed. I later put the Continentals back on the A23 rims when the Compass tired went on a second set of wheels and could do it by hand.
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Old 05-03-20, 06:56 AM
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A couple of friends can't stand them, citing how difficult they are to mount. I don't get that--I've never needed tools, even to dismount them. My wife and I have been using them on four or five sets of wheels over the last five years. Even my wife, whose grip isn't as strong, loves how easy they are to change, and especially how seldom that task needs to be done.

Hopefully your rims work well with them. Get familiar with techniques such as pinching the beads together into the center of the rim while pulling them off, and verify your rim strip/tape is installed right.
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Old 05-03-20, 09:44 AM
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I have 2 sets. One regular and Hardshell, both 32c. I like them and would buy them again. The regulars mount as easily as any other tire. Hardshell's are a little more difficult but still ok. I need a lever with the Hardshells.

Bycyclerollingresistance shows them both about the same resistance. For me the regular version are more comfortable. No flats with either set ridden over several years.
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Old 05-03-20, 09:58 AM
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Originally Posted by andrewclaus View Post
A couple of friends can't stand them, citing how difficult they are to mount. I don't get that--I've never needed tools, even to dismount them. My wife and I have been using them on four or five sets of wheels over the last five years. Even my wife, whose grip isn't as strong, loves how easy they are to change, and especially how seldom that task needs to be done.

Hopefully your rims work well with them. Get familiar with techniques such as pinching the beads together into the center of the rim while pulling them off, and verify your rim strip/tape is installed right.
Most cyclist do not seem to know the proper way to mount/dismount a tire, even those who have been riding for years. I’m constantly hearing about these “hard to mount” tires, the GP5k being the one I hear most often. No such thing as a difficult tire, just bad technique, as it only takes me a few minutes to mount a brand-new GP5K, and it is EASY. No tire jack, no cursing, no sweat beading down my forehead, and no busted fingers.

I eventually just figured it out, but I’m sure there’s plenty of YouTube videos on the subject.
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Old 05-03-20, 10:04 AM
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Originally Posted by jkrm View Post
I ride almost exclusively on roads. In fact there is only one stretch on one of my routes, about mile long, that consists of packed dirt or stone dust, maybe some small stones. Would this tire be OK for that? ,
For the kind of riding that you describe, I think it's real easy to overstate the benefits, if any, of bicycle tire tread.
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Old 05-03-20, 11:03 AM
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I've been a fan of Gatorskins for years, riding on the mean streets of LA. I even did an Eroica on a set of Gator 28s, no problem, dirt or pavement. I don't find them any more difficult to mount when new, and they do get easier each time off and on to mount. What are worse for me are Panaracer Paselas. I've tried both wire bead and flixi, and they are a pain to mount when new, and take many times off and on, to loosen up later. Luckily, i can get sometimes 2 or 3000 miles on both Gators or Paselas before flats become an issue. I finally bought the Koolstop tire jack to help me mount he Paselas, but don't usually carry it on rides. The worst combination for me are Mavic MA40 rims and new Paselas, which I have on 3 bikes.
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Old 05-03-20, 11:14 AM
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I used to use Gatorskins on my Synapse, in 23mm and 25mm sizes. They were fine. I still managed to pick up a goathead puncture once in awhile riding in Los Angeles. Eventually I moved to GP4000 in 23mm, 25mm, and later 28mm. Now I use GP5000 in 28mm on that bike.

On my Quick hybrid I use 32mm GP4Season. Maybe slightly less puncture resistant than Gatorskins, but a nicer ride and better traction.

I would rank them as such in terms of puncture protection:

Gatorskins > GP4Season > GP5000 > GP4000sII

In terms of ride and handling:

GP5000 > GP4000sII > GP4Season > Gatorskins

If you can find Gatorskins in a 35mm width, that's going to be a pretty good tire for your type of riding. 32mm will do, but 35mm will feel nicer on gravel and packed trails. Plus 35mm you can run a slightly lower pressure for a less jarring ride. If you were doing more road riding and less trail riding, 32mm would be a prefectly acceptable option.

My Quick hybrid has 32mm tires on it. Since I don't ride offroad much, this is ideal for me. If I did ride offroad more, I'd go 35mm or 38mm.
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Old 05-04-20, 11:21 AM
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Thanks again to everyone. The tires arrived on Thursday but the tubes didn't get here till Saturday. After a day of "quarantine", I put one on on Sunday. I thought it was going to be really easy, but the last bit of getting the tire bead into the rim was a bear! I was close to giving up and ordering a Kool Tool, when I tried one more time and managed to get it on. I made rather liberal use of tire levers, but followed the advice in one of the videos I watched to check around the entire perimeter of the tire for signs of the tube poking out before inflating. I rode it fifteen miles this morning so it must be OK.

Today (Monday) was a sunny day so I took the advice of leaving the next tire out in the sun for an hour or so. Getting it on was still hard, but it went a lot faster than the first one. I am not sure whether I just learned something doing the first one, or if the warming in the sun did the trick. Probably a bit of both.

Anyway, thanks again. The bike rides really nice with them. But I think I may buy a Kool Tool for next time.
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Old 05-04-20, 12:01 PM
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It's easier to mount on a wider rim, kind of hard on the 1.5s
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