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Getting sick of gatorskin

Old 12-22-09, 09:30 AM
  #1  
mustang1
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Getting sick of gatorskin

Dont get me wrong, these tires are very good at puncture resistance, a little harsh riding, but nothing I cant get used to. Been using them for some time. But whenever you buy new ones, they're a bl**dy pain to install.

Is there a tire out there, that has the qualities of a gatorskin but are a lot easier to install? My LBS sells the following so it'll have to be from this list:

conti gatorskin
conti 4 seasons
armadillo
conti gp4000 and s
mich pr3

I'm guessing none of these tires are as flat resistant as gatorskin with exception of armadillo, and armadillo will be even more of a pita to install?

EDIT: Gatorskins are ok again.
Problem solved. Before I was using Specialized tubes tires of size up to 28mm. Now I'm using tubes that fit tres 19-25mm. They're a lot skinnier. And it's quite easy to install now. So I'm happy once again with gs.

Last edited by mustang1; 12-22-09 at 04:06 PM. Reason: new info
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Old 12-22-09, 09:44 AM
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SURELY your LBS will do a special order for you? Vittoria Rubino Protech, or from a Trek dealer, Bontrager raceXlite AC.

two folding tires to try that are every bit as robust as the gatorskins, but more supple.......

Vittoria rubino protech. every bit as good and faster too. grippy rubber for wet but ride well all summer. available 23,25,28.

aslo, Bontrager raceXlite AC. folding tires, coming on many of the madones, comes in colorways! dual compound tread. 23,25 maybe 28s but cant remember.

I have ridden both these tires extensively on gravel. no worries!


if you can't do a special order, the 4 seasons are the folding gatorskin with a woven Vectran (the fabric that's been to Mars!) flat breaker versus the polymer flatbreaker in the Gatorskin.

Don't even monkey with the armadillos.

Last edited by Bekologist; 12-22-09 at 09:47 AM.
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Old 12-22-09, 09:51 AM
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They're worse on certain rims. I've found that on Mavic rims, any tire seems more difficult to install. Same for old Wolber rims. One of the toughest combos I found was a 23mm Gatorskin on a '91 Wolber T410 Alpine rim. Holy cow, I was ready to murder someone. My current combo of 28mm Gatorskins on DT RR1.1 rims is tight, but not hellishly so.

I switched from short nylon levers to longer steel ones, and that helped. The brand I found is Insane, and they're not steel-core with nylon spoons, or safety coated... Just plain old steel. They get the job done, but you need to be careful about not scratching up your rims with them, especially if you use rim brakes.
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Old 12-22-09, 10:36 AM
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They're a huge pain to get on my rims (Rigida 'safety line' 26x1-1.25s) but sooo worth it. I love my gatorskins!
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Old 12-22-09, 10:38 AM
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Ok... I know this is going to come as a shock to people who have brand loyalty... but...

I will posit that ANY tire with significant flat protection is just as good at flat protection as any other tire. However, some will roll easier, some will install easier, some will be less expensive.

I have installed Bontrager Tires, Conti Gatorskins, Conti Vectrans, Vittorias, Specialized Armadillos and Michellins (with and without flat protection). I have found the Bontragers and Contis hardest to install but they do run quite smoothly. Armadillos are easier to install but, unless you get the 'dillo Elites, are a little rough rolling. Michellins are somewhere in the middle of the scale of ease of installation and good rolling comfort.
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Old 12-22-09, 10:44 AM
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I didn't think the Armadillos are that hard to mount, but I don't like the way they handle on wet pavement so I've retired mine.
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Old 12-22-09, 10:45 AM
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Originally Posted by Severian View Post
Ok... I know this is going to come as a shock to people who have brand loyalty... but...

I will posit that ANY tire with significant flat protection is just as good at flat protection as any other tire. However, some will roll easier, some will install easier, some will be less expensive.

Hey, everyone's got a right to be wrong.
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Old 12-22-09, 11:37 AM
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Gatorskins require special handling. First, after skinning the gator, you must dry the skin. Do this by first scraping and then tacking the skin to an approriate sized board. The skin should lay flat when fresh so that it stretches slightly as it cures and dries.

To cure the gator skin, you will need a ready supply of numerous 'possums. 'possums produce the secret ingredient. It's found in 'possum pee. That's why you need numerous 'possums. Keep the gator skin on the board in a dry shaded place. On about the third day, grab the first 'possum available, aim and squeeze. Spray the gator skin every time you catch the next 'possum. You will improve at catching 'possums and treat the gator skin more frequently. There is a graph somewhere on the interwebs showing the frequency of applied 'possum pee approaching the point of diminishing returns when applied to gator skin. In otherwords, eventually, the 'possum product will have done all that it will do.

You can accelerate the final curing by placing the board with the 'possum pee treated gator skin in a high temperature environment for several months. The author has discovered that the trunk of a large automobile, painted black is best for this purpose. To conserve energy, the aeration of the gator skin treated with 'possum P can be enhanced by using the above mentioned vehicle for commuting, grocery shopping, soccermomming etc. In about six months, the cure is in.

Now, then. Getting the treated, cured gator skin onto a bicycle wheel. By now the gator should be beyond objecting. Just check to make sure before proceeding.
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Old 12-22-09, 11:54 AM
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Originally Posted by JeffS View Post
Hey, everyone's got a right to be wrong.
I would dare you to prove me wrong. With citations, non-anecdotal evidence, actual math and statistics... but that's not how the game works is it?

There is no Consumer Reports for bicycle tires.
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Old 12-22-09, 12:08 PM
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are you using wire or kevlar bead (folding or not)?
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Old 12-22-09, 12:12 PM
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If my Michelin Transworld City's are any indication, I'd go with the PR3s. They are so loose that I can almost drop them on the rim. They do require great care in making sure the bead is properly hooked on the rim or they will lift off during initial inflation.
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Old 12-22-09, 12:12 PM
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Bontrager Hardcase is pretty easy to install and so far has proven good puncture resistance as advertised.
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Old 12-22-09, 12:15 PM
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https://aebike.com/product/kool-stop-...l4022-qc30.htm

BAM

Makes tire mounting so much easier.
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Old 12-22-09, 12:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Severian View Post
I would dare you to prove me wrong. With citations, non-anecdotal evidence, actual math and statistics... but that's not how the game works is it?

There is no Consumer Reports for bicycle tires.

Who knows. Maybe you're right. Maybe this is the one type of product in the history of manufactured goods where everything is equal.
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Old 12-22-09, 12:42 PM
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Originally Posted by TRUMPHENT View Post
... First, after skinning the gator, you must dry the skin. ...
Almost shot hot coffee out my nose. Made my morning! Thanks.
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Old 12-22-09, 01:01 PM
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Seriously, what tire is good for you also depends on where you live. I've also tried many types of tires. I've found that it really does not matter that much when you are talking about slick tires on a mountain bike, as long as there is a kevlar/puncture-resistance bead down the center. The house-brand from Performance and Nashbar perform just as well all-around as the more expensive brands.

Road bike tires, especially the lighter tires under 28c, are a different story. If you live where goat-head thorns are prevalent (western US), ultra gatoskins are the best that I've ridden so far. The ride quality is a little harsher than some tires, but that is no big deal to me. Not changing out tubes 2 times per month during most of the year, and 3+ times a week during the height of goat-head season is worth it to me.

The Bontrager Hardcase tires are as puncture resistant, and I can't tell the difference in ride harshness, but they really do feel like they roll slower, and have a little less traction in cool and wet weather. If they are on sale, I'll still put the race/light hardcase tires on the front. You don't need as much traction on the front.

Armadillos perform just as well as the ultra gatorskin with respect to punctures, but are noticeably heavier (really only noticeable in hilly or windy rides for me), and the rubber down the center of the tire wears out a lot faster for me than the ultra-gatorskins. I know other people where the armadillos last longer than the ultra gatorskins, though. It probably depends on how you ride (I like hills, and take curves fast).

Last edited by Pinyon; 12-22-09 at 01:05 PM.
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Old 12-22-09, 04:06 PM
  #17  
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EDIT: Gatorskins are ok again.
Problem solved. Before I was using Specialized tubes tires of size up to 28mm. Now I'm using tubes that fit tres 19-25mm. They're a lot skinnier. And it's quite easy to install now. So I'm happy once again with gs.
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Old 12-29-09, 06:08 AM
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Guys,
It ain't the lever, it's the lube.
Try WD 40, or dish soap and water.

Slip it in.
Bill
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Old 12-29-09, 01:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Severian View Post
There is no Consumer Reports for bicycle tires.
This seems to imply that Consumer Reports is something more than a compilation of anecdotal evidence. Granted, a lot of their reviews are based on systematic, repeatable testing, but a lot of it, especially the reliability rating, is based on self-selected samples (often, rates of problems reported by CR subscribers). Of course, they have a large sample size so their evaluation is probably pretty close to accurate. It's my experience that by aggregating enough anecdotal reports on bike tires you can arrive at a pretty good expectation of what you're going to get from them.
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Old 12-29-09, 03:48 PM
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Originally Posted by TRUMPHENT View Post
Gatorskins require special handling. First, after skinning the gator, you must dry the skin. . . .

. . . You can accelerate the final curing by placing the board with the 'possum pee treated gator skin in a high temperature environment for several months. The author has discovered that the trunk of a large automobile, painted black is best for this purpose. To conserve energy, the aeration of the gator skin treated with 'possum P can be enhanced by using the above mentioned vehicle for commuting, grocery shopping, soccermomming etc. In about six months, the cure is in.

Now, then. Getting the treated, cured gator skin onto a bicycle wheel. By now the gator should be beyond objecting. Just check to make sure before proceeding.
Bawhahaha! Excellent post
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Old 12-29-09, 04:22 PM
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Kenda Iron Caps work well for me...
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Old 12-29-09, 06:48 PM
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It sounds like you want a tire that is as light as the Gatorskin that's easy to install but equal in flat protection. I like the Conti Grand Prix 4 Seasons with Vectron; it's lighter then the Gatorskin, actually has a slightly tougher sidewall then the Gator but flexible enough to be easily installed.

Do not put WD40 on the tire to install, because you will end up getting some on the rim then your in for a load of fun when you try to stop. Soapy water works but your shouldn't have to that to mount tires. If anything your method of mounting may be the problem nor is hand strength a requirement.

The secret is a simple mechanical principle designed into all clincher tires and rims.

If you look at a rim with the tire and tube removed, you'll see a channel in its center. This is called the "well" (where the rim strip sits). The well is the part of the rim with the smallest diameter. A rim's sides keep the tire on when it's inflated. So to remove & reinstall a tire, you need to lift its edges over the sides of the rim. This is where the rim well comes in.

The reason most people think levers are necessary is because they work with the tire sitting up on the sides of the rim -- where it's designed not to come off. The sides with their slightly hooked top edge engage the tire so it won't blow off when inflated.

The trick is to position the tire so both of its bottom edges are in the rim well. Pinch the tire together all the way around as you pull up on a section with your other hand. Now almost the entire tire is in the rim's smallest diameter and this allows the last stubborn section to be pulled onto the rim for installation or up and over for removal. No levers needed...at least most of the time, tires like the Armadillos can be a pain to put on and using a tool like the VAR (https://www.cyclebasket.com/products....d=m5b93s281p92) helps a lot, or if you find for some reason your still having difficulty then get the VAR for good measure. Also another useful tool is the QuikStik that makes uninstalling and reinstalling fast. There are YouTube videos that show you how to use the QuikStik.
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Old 12-29-09, 07:42 PM
  #23  
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Originally Posted by bmwstbill View Post
Guys,
It ain't the lever, it's the lube.
Try WD 40, or dish soap and water.

Slip it in.
Bill
If you simply rubbed a bar of Irish Spring along the tire bead? I do this on zippers... slick!
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Old 12-29-09, 11:05 PM
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+1 dish soap and water.
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Old 12-30-09, 08:44 AM
  #25  
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Originally Posted by dynaryder View Post
https://aebike.com/product/kool-stop-...l4022-qc30.htm

BAM

Makes tire mounting so much easier.
Seriously,these things really work.
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