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Conti Gatorskin Tires - PSI

Old 07-25-20, 09:05 AM
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Conti Gatorskin Tires - PSI

I just got new 25mm Gatorskins to replace my older 23mm GP 4000's. I normally ran 110 - 120psi in the GP's but have read I can go much less with the wider Skins. I am 70 yrs. old, 180lbs. riding older Specialized Roubaix on 35-40 mile rides so comfort is most important. I see the spec range from Conti is 95 - 125psi but have read others run lower than this range on a 25mm tire for a smoother ride. Would like to hear from others how much air they put in their 25mm tires? Thanks.
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Old 07-25-20, 09:18 AM
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Two millimeters isn't very much wider. I'd probably try 90 psi front/ 100 psi rear.
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Old 07-25-20, 10:14 AM
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When folks advocate for running lower pressure for comfort, they are talking about suppler tires like the GP4kIIs, Vittoria Corsas, etc. in 25+ widths, not the puncture-resistant but opposite of supple Gatorskins. The only thing you'll notice by running those frozen garden hoses (TM BikeForums) at lower pressure is that they'll roll even slower and feel like you're riding through mud... on frozen garden hoses. I know this from personal experience.

Last edited by surak; 07-25-20 at 03:01 PM.
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Old 07-25-20, 10:42 AM
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If comfort is an important requirement Gatorskins were the wrong choice. I tried Gatorskins. While they were long lasting, they were harsh riding. I still have one that went about 4500 miles but I only use it on the trainer. What I have been using with great success are Specialized Turbo Pros in 28mm. My rear tire right now has about 4500 miles on it with no flats so far and only a little sign of wear. I'm a light weight though at 155 lbs. They may not be as supple as some but at $50 each, are a good balance of comfort and performance. https://www.specialized.com/us/en/tu...yABEgJcSPD_BwE
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Old 07-25-20, 11:01 AM
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So, why do you inflate your tires to 110 psi? Or 75psi, for that matter. Here's my criteria:
1) Low enough pressure to be comfortable (if this were not the first criterion, one could ride on aluminum rims without tires)
2) Low enough to be able to brake (again, the coefficient of friction of aluminum rims is low!)
3) High enough to be safe in turning and control - don't want the tires rolling off the rim
4) High enough not to bottom out against the rim
5) High enough to lower the rolling resistance

Likewise,with size, I want a size that's small enough not to add a lot of aero drag, but big enough to support me at a reasonable inflation pressure. And big enough to be comfortable.
When I was young, inexperienced, and overconfident, I tried to ride sewups at some insane pressure like 125psi. And I went with 21mm tires cuz "they had the lowest aerodynamic drag. Given that I weighed 100kg (220 lbs) that was really stupid, and highly uncomfortable.

Recent articles highlight the point that too high a pressure INCREASES rolling resistance on real (bumpy) roads and paths. Since that's what I ride on I went from 116psi on both tires to about 105-110 in back, and 95 in front. 26 mm Bontrager R3 tires (which I like, and which also run more comfortably than Gatorskins), running tubeless. This lower pressure is MUCH more comfortable and a bit lower friction if my subjective estimate by feel is correct.

So for now, 95/105 psi F/R in 26mm tires.

My next tire set will be 28s I think, just to check them out. I'll probably run 90/100 in those.

BTW, I'm now at 110kg (240lb). So I think that the op, who is 25% lighter, could probably get buy with lower pressure than he's riding now. My 2 cents.
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Old 07-25-20, 02:57 PM
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I would probably try something like 90psi rear/80psi front or thereabouts. Really the best way is experimentally--lower them until:
a) Pressure is sketchy for pinch flats, which at your weight is probably somewhere around 70psi for those tires.
b) Handling feels vague and/or you can feel the tires compress too much when out of the saddle.
c) They feel noticeably slower, although this can be easy to misinterpert. We tend to associate high frequency vibration with speed, so often times running lower pressures feels slower even when it isn't particularly.

I agree that Gatorskins aren't my favorite, but they're not terrible so you may as well run them out. If the GP4000s weren't flatting for you too often I'd recommend trying GP5000s as they're similar but slightly better in every way. Vittoria Corsas and Rubinos are also pretty nice, among other brands. Also GP 4 Seasons have the exact same puncture protection layer as Gatorskins but with better rubber--they're nearly as puncture protective, but much suppler and faster. The Gators only have better puncture resistance because the rubber is literally thicker and harder.

Honestly Gatorskins were a really influential product when they came out, and a lot of riders who loved them just keep buying them even though there are better options. I wish Continental would make a better performing product under the Gatorskin label, but hey, if it sells, why mess with it?

Last edited by cpach; 07-25-20 at 03:00 PM.
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Old 07-25-20, 07:16 PM
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8% more tire width is IMO about 8% less PSI. Having said that 120 PSI is WAY HIGH. Is there a reason you run your 23's this high?

I sometimes ask customers if they have a manual shift car and if so does it have a tachometer. If so do they run the rpm up to the red line each time they shift? Tire side wall pressure max is sometimes about marketing and not need. Andy
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Old 07-25-20, 07:49 PM
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Andy and All,
Interesting discussion and I will add my bit to the confusion. I worked for Goodyear tires for a few years as the shop service manager. Goodyear pounded into my head that they put the maximum pressure on the tire to keep folks from over inflating them, and to run them at that pressure to get optimum performance. So I made sure all of our technicians put the tire pressure indicated on the tire sidewall on every install. I never had any problems with that. Fast forward twenty years and I get a set of Bridgestones to replace some factory tires. The service manager informs me that they only put the tire pressure at what is on the door sticker and no more or it would void the warranty. So I let them do it. My wife drives about 60-75k miles per year as a Hospice worker. Six months and 30k miles the tires were worn out due to under inflation. So the moral in my mind is put in close to the recommended pressure from the tire manufacturer. Better performance and less wear on the outsides of the tire when inflated as prescribed by the manufacturer. JMHO, Smiles, MH
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Old 07-26-20, 01:48 AM
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Originally Posted by Mad Honk View Post
Andy and All,
Interesting discussion and I will add my bit to the confusion. I worked for Goodyear tires for a few years as the shop service manager. Goodyear pounded into my head that they put the maximum pressure on the tire to keep folks from over inflating them, and to run them at that pressure to get optimum performance. So I made sure all of our technicians put the tire pressure indicated on the tire sidewall on every install. I never had any problems with that. Fast forward twenty years and I get a set of Bridgestones to replace some factory tires. The service manager informs me that they only put the tire pressure at what is on the door sticker and no more or it would void the warranty. So I let them do it. My wife drives about 60-75k miles per year as a Hospice worker. Six months and 30k miles the tires were worn out due to under inflation. So the moral in my mind is put in close to the recommended pressure from the tire manufacturer. Better performance and less wear on the outsides of the tire when inflated as prescribed by the manufacturer. JMHO, Smiles, MH
This does not translate well to bicycle tires and is in most cases counter to the advise of the manufacturers. Bikes with rigid forks do not have much if any active suspension and setting tire pressure is more important for them than on a suspended car. On offroad bikes, as in cars actually ridden offroad, lower pressures provide better traction which must be balanced against handling and rolling resistance.
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Old 07-26-20, 06:41 AM
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At 70 myself I understand the need for comfort as a priority. Coming from southern AZ where every green thing has thorns I have tried gatorskins and would not recommend them. For me the major factors for comfort are wider tires, a more supple casing, and appropriate inflation for you combined weight, which can vary with your terrain. I ride in a bike friendly community on nice wide bike lanes with never a surprise pot hole that are frequently swept so with the 28s I have moved to on my bikes that will take them I run 65psi front and 80 rear, I weigh 180 and ride C&V bikes between 18 t& 24 lbs. I have a Tommasini Air Fork that is a little tight for 25s so has a 25 in the rear and 23 up front. A couple guys I ride with also recommend latex tubes but I have not tried them.
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Old 07-26-20, 07:05 AM
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I just switched from 25 to 28 Gatorskins, and have not changed inflation pressure. I always keep them inflated above 90 psi, seldom above 100. They feel too soft lower than 90, and once I got a pinch flat when they were lower, on a routine urban curb hop.

Comfort is not a huge concern for me on my bike (I'm "only" 63) (and I find many more important comfort issues than tire inflation). Efficiency is usually a greater concern. Of course, safety is utmost.

I've been using that brand for over five years now. I've been through four sets, my wife two sets, and we both love them for feel and puncture resistance. Puncture frequency is 10% of what we used to get here in goathead country. Last year I bought four 28s for under $100 when Nashbar went out of business.
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Old 07-26-20, 10:20 AM
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Originally Posted by andrewclaus View Post
Comfort is not a huge concern for me on my bike (I'm "only" 63)
Well you're a tougher 63 than I am.

Last edited by WizardOfBoz; 07-26-20 at 10:25 AM.
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Old 07-26-20, 01:03 PM
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At around 180 lbs + bike, I run 23mm Gatorskins on 15mm rims at around 100-105 psi front and 110-115 rear.
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Old 07-26-20, 02:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Mad Honk View Post
Andy and All,
Interesting discussion and I will add my bit to the confusion. I worked for Goodyear tires for a few years as the shop service manager. Goodyear pounded into my head that they put the maximum pressure on the tire to keep folks from over inflating them, and to run them at that pressure to get optimum performance. So I made sure all of our technicians put the tire pressure indicated on the tire sidewall on every install. I never had any problems with that. Fast forward twenty years and I get a set of Bridgestones to replace some factory tires. The service manager informs me that they only put the tire pressure at what is on the door sticker and no more or it would void the warranty. So I let them do it. My wife drives about 60-75k miles per year as a Hospice worker. Six months and 30k miles the tires were worn out due to under inflation. So the moral in my mind is put in close to the recommended pressure from the tire manufacturer. Better performance and less wear on the outsides of the tire when inflated as prescribed by the manufacturer. JMHO, Smiles, MH
60-70k as a hospice worker. Wow. I spent 10 years in hospice and averaged 25-30k. I covered a territory about 2500 square miles iirc.

As to the original post. I keep my 32c Gatorskins at 90f /100r on the commute for speed. 85f/90r on recreational riding for comfort. I weigh 245.

Last edited by stevel610; 07-26-20 at 02:06 PM.
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Old 07-26-20, 03:16 PM
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Originally Posted by cpach View Post
This does not translate well to bicycle tires and is in most cases counter to the advise of the manufacturers. Bikes with rigid forks do not have much if any active suspension and setting tire pressure is more important for them than on a suspended car. On offroad bikes, as in cars actually ridden offroad, lower pressures provide better traction which must be balanced against handling and rolling resistance.
Cpach,
I will agree that lower inflation pressures can help with traction and handling. A few examples: Tractor tires that are pretty large run at lower pressures but with a lot of air inside the tire (off road use). The Hoosier race ties we use on a short track car are set to 14psi during use but they also have larger capacity, and the construction and composition are only good for three uses with tire expansion and traction on clay being the factors to influence that. (again, off road use). As for handling, I wouldn't even consider riding a tubular tire low. My thinking is that the $100 tire is wasted with one pinch flat. And handling is compromised when the tire seems to move around during.cornering. A bit of history here; I spent some time with the Indy car guys in the 80's and when the switch from the old compound bias ply tire to radial tires, there were a few drivers who could not adjust to the squishy "feeling" they experienced in the corners. It felt as though the tires were going to break loose from the track and lose traction. At 211mph going into turn one and turn three that is a sure fire way to put a $1M car into the wall. The radial tires are still with us but there were a few who could not adapt to that "feel".
As to the original question, I have added some clinchers to a recent build. I used 23 cm four seasons for clearance reasons and they act soft with less than 110 psi. I weigh 185 but I prefer to use frame design for comfort more than tire pressure. Just my thoughts. Smiles, MH
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Old 07-26-20, 08:07 PM
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Originally Posted by surak View Post
When folks advocate for running lower pressure for comfort, they are talking about suppler tires like the GP4kIIs, Vittoria Corsas, etc. in 25+ widths, not the puncture-resistant but opposite of supple Gatorskins. The only thing you'll notice by running those frozen garden hoses (TM BikeForums) at lower pressure is that they'll roll even slower and feel like you're riding through mud... on frozen garden hoses. I know this from personal experience.
I used to run gators at 80-100 psi. I ran my P Zeros (same size) at 40
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Old 07-27-20, 04:24 PM
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after reading all the new articles and research on tire pressure. I run the pressure much lower. You have to experiment to get the best pressure though.
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Old 08-01-20, 08:54 PM
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Just switched from Hutchinson 23s to Gatorskin 28s and I love the ride quality. Much more comfortable and better handling downhill.

Not sure about the puncture resistance but I'm loving the performance of Gatorskins.
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Old 08-01-20, 10:14 PM
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Going to 25 from 23 won't be a big change. That said, as others have pointed out you don't need to go 120psi on the 23s. I'm similar weight as OP and for 23s I run 105psi. For 25s I run 95-100 psi. That's about as low as I'll go before I start feeling anxious about pinch flats at my weight and for the riding that I do (potholes, occasional rocky gravel).
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Old 08-02-20, 04:38 PM
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Originally Posted by surak View Post
When folks advocate for running lower pressure for comfort, they are talking about suppler tires like the GP4kIIs, Vittoria Corsas, etc. in 25+ widths, not the puncture-resistant but opposite of supple Gatorskins. The only thing you'll notice by running those frozen garden hoses (TM BikeForums) at lower pressure is that they'll roll even slower and feel like you're riding through mud... on frozen garden hoses. I know this from personal experience.
This simply isnt true. I highly question your personal experience.

Even the toughest tyres can provide much more comfort at lower pressure than 100+ PSI. I would suggest 80-90 PSI.
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Old 08-02-20, 04:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Racing Dan View Post
This simply isnt true. I highly question your personal experience.

Even the toughest tyres can provide much more comfort at lower pressure than 100+ PSI. I would suggest 80-90 PSI.
Lol at missing the point completely. As per VeloNews:
The stiffer the tire, the more air pressure matters
Many riders obsess over tire pressure. But it turns out that there is less need for that with better tires. Conversely, if the casing is bad, the tire will be slow, regardless of pressure. Lower pressures may feel smoother, but dropping from, say, 109 to 73 psi in a slower, vulcanized tire, is a five-watt penalty per tire. With an open tubular, the difference is negligible.
And I don't run anything even close to 90psi. At 140lbs, I run my 32mm GP5k TL at 50/55 and can still get PRs over 5+ mile rolling segments. Drop some 28mm Gatorskins below 70psi and they barely roll. I have plenty of better things to do than go nowhere fast on bad tires.
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Old 08-02-20, 05:10 PM
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Originally Posted by surak View Post
Lol at missing the point completely. As per VeloNews:
LOL all you want, but your claim that gators ride like a frozen garden hose even at reasonable pressure still isn't true.
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Old 08-02-20, 05:24 PM
  #23  
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Originally Posted by Racing Dan View Post
LOL all you want, but your claim that gators ride like a frozen garden hose even at reasonable pressure still isn't true.
You still miss the point that you can't achieve "reasonable" pressure with Gatorskins and achieve anything close to as good of a ride with real supple tires. Gatorskins exist only for puncture protection. Any other use case is a waste of time, effort, and money. You can ignore the evidence all you want, it doesn't make them good tires.

Just put on my first Gatorskin tire...think the feeling is coming back to my thumbs!
Looking for Recommendations on Wheels and/or Tire Upgrade for CX Bike --> Road Riding
So my rear tire gave up after 1000miles. Any recommendations for a new one?
So my rear tire gave up after 1000miles. Any recommendations for a new one?
Faster tire? Continental GatorSkin?
Wheel Choice Question
Am I Nuts? (28mm GatorSkins on Cypress DX Hybrid)

Oh sorry, I see that you have a wealth of experience with Gatorskins that completely nullifies the BF brain trust and experience.
​​​​​​
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Old 08-02-20, 05:41 PM
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Originally Posted by surak View Post
You still miss the point that you can't achieve "reasonable" pressure with Gatorskins and achieve anything close to as good of a ride with real supple tires. Gatorskins exist only for puncture protection. Any other use case is a waste of time, effort, and money. You can ignore the evidence all you want, it doesn't make them good tires.

Just put on my first Gatorskin tire...think the feeling is coming back to my thumbs!
Looking for Recommendations on Wheels and/or Tire Upgrade for CX Bike --> Road Riding
So my rear tire gave up after 1000miles. Any recommendations for a new one?
So my rear tire gave up after 1000miles. Any recommendations for a new one?
Faster tire? Continental GatorSkin?
Wheel Choice Question
Am I Nuts? (28mm GatorSkins on Cypress DX Hybrid)

Oh sorry, I see that you have a wealth of experience with Gatorskins that completely nullifies the BF brain trust and experience.

​​​​​​
These kinds of tyres are all abut the same, but You act like they are all hard like they are frozen, air or no air. Its simply isnt true. The difference to a "supple" tyre is marginal at best and is easily equalised by lowering the pressure a bit

Also Im not missing any point, but maybe you need to express clearly what you want to say. You said:

"The only thing you'll notice by running those frozen garden hoses (TM BikeForums) at lower pressure is that they'll roll even slower and feel like you're riding through mud... on frozen garden hoses. I know this from personal experience."

Clearly you claimed what i called out. Therefore no need to lol, except at you own ineptitude expressing yourself. You also claimed rolling resistance is higher than many other tyres, which is true.

bye!
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Old 08-02-20, 06:16 PM
  #25  
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...used to be, when I bought a bike on CL that came with Gatorskins, I used to swap them out and give the Gatorskins to the co-op. I hope someone got some use from them. Some of the stuff coming out of Thailand now rolls a lot better and seems to have almost equal flat resistance. I'm thinking some of the Vittoria products. I still run one set of Gatorskins on a bike I ride on the days when the recycling truck goes by and sprinkles little bits of broken glass all over the bike lanes. That's annoying as hell.
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