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Big problems with continental gatorskin.

Old 05-22-12, 12:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest
I mean there are worse tires than Gatorskins, but there are much better ones, too. I'd give them a 3 or 4 out of 10.
Can you recommend a better flat resistant (knowing tires are not 100% resistance) then the gator?
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Old 05-22-12, 09:48 PM
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Originally Posted by dramiscram
I've been recommended continental gatorskin on this forum by few people for his lasting quality but, since I got my brand new tire, I had 4 punctures in 500 kms. With my previous tire (cheapest available Michelin I paid 13.95$ + taxes at my LBS) I got 1 puncture in the whole tire's life (about 2000 kms) on the exact same route ( rural road, lots of small pebbles and pot holes) What good is there in a long lasting tire if I get that many problems? I lost all confidence in the tire, won't dare go anywhere near riding this sh... First thing this afternoon on my way back home: stop at my LBS and buy a cheap MICHELIN Tire. Am I the only person having that many puncture with a gatorskin? Riding 61 kms every day I want more peace of mind!
Originally Posted by dramiscram
Yes I do check for Proper pressure every morning or two (never more than two days between pressure check since my flat last season was due to an underinflated tire, got my lesson there) and I always keep 105-110 psi in the tire. In fact I got 5 punctures but one was my fault because I left debris in the tire after the first puncture so it punctured 10 kms further. For the rest It's always small pebbles that I find in the tire. I can't be THAT unlucky !!!
Originally Posted by dramiscram
3 of my flats were defenetly pebbles,the one this morning I don't know yet because the bike is in the back of my van because I ran out of motivation this morning.
I got thinking about this thread, and some of your responses. And I'm reminded of a saying that is familiar to mechanics/engineers the world over.

"It's a poor mechanic/engineer who blames his tools/equipment."

You got 4 flats within 500km (300-miles) instead of admitting that you might have done something wrong. You blame the tire. Yes, there are (cheap) tires out there that if you use them you'll have nothing but problems with. Gatorskins as you have been told are not one of those tires.

So instead of blaming the tire, take a good long look at what it is that you are or aren't doing. That is more likely than not where your problem is. Also just how big are these "pebbles?" I find it hard to imagine a pebble causing a flat. Now a sharp sliver of rock, a sharp sliver of glass or metal yes. But pebbles, I'm sorry but I find that hard to believe.
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Old 05-22-12, 09:51 PM
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Originally Posted by MK313
FWIW, I've had bad luck with Gatorskins. I rode on stock Bontrager Hardcase racelite tires & never had a flat. I wanted something lighter & that provided a nicer ride. I switched to Gatorskins & got 2 flats in the course of a week or two. I switched back to the Hardcase racelite on the rear tire (I still use the Contis up front & will until they wear out, but I won't replace them with another set) & have been trouble free ever since. The tires do get good reviews here & elsewhere, so I don't bash them, but they definitely did not work for me & my uses. And no, I didn't do anything wrong, yes I did the whole look inside the tire for what caused the issue, etc.
Originally Posted by dramiscram
Same as me!
I have a 1k plus on my front Gattorskin tire and 2k plus on my rear Gattorskin tire and no problems with running over/through debris on the road.

If they were so problematic why do so many people use them without problem?
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Old 05-22-12, 11:41 PM
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Originally Posted by groovestew
I find it hard to believe that small pebbles could work their way into a Gatorskin. I've had that happen with other tires with tread where the pebble gets stuck in the tread and gradually works its way in, but Gatorskins don't really have tread for pebbles to get stuck in.
I've retired my Gatorskins for this reason. It isn't that they get caught in tread, but the Seattle streets seem to be covered in tiny rocks that are sharp and triangular shaped. This combined with my Clyde self (275-ish) and how rock hard the Gatorskins are at 115-120 PSI meant that I was getting lots of flats from these little rocks. The Gatorskins were great for about six months, but then they seemed to be just ripped to shreds by all the tiny rocks. For the first six months I could pick them out of the little holes they made in the outer casing without getting any punctures, but then it seemed like I was picking up rocks into the all the nicks I had in the rubber and that those were causing punctures. I went from almost zero punctures the first six months to getting flats several times a week, for several weeks. The first three months was before I started keeping daily track of my miles, but I probably put about a 1000 miles on them, roughly October to the end of March.

I had written off my experience as these tires just not being good for a Clyde on Seattle's streets before seeing this thread. The tires were rougher riding the than 1.5's I'm running now (a mix of Panaracer Pro-T's, Vittoria Rando Pro's, and Schwalbe Marathons on my tourer/back-up and my daily commuter) but they sure felt like I was a little faster. They also felt more nimble negotiating through the endless big cracks/debris/pot-holes of my commute. I also felt like I could get a lot more sideways (& thus faster) going through aggressive turns on them. I wish I lived somewhere where the roads weren't so rough and filled with tiny rocks and glass shards, but I think I am going to be sticking with my 1.5" tires. Maybe when I get back down to my "fighting weight" (210) I'll give them a try again during a summer.

I agree you have to watch the pressure on the Gatorskins closely, I religiously topped mine off every day or every other day, which was easy to remember because I was riding six days a week then, but a bit of pain. I don't recall getting any pinch flats after the first learning experience dismounting from a curb, but the couple of times I didn't air them up every other day I definitely noticed it and was worried I was going to pinch flat. It was better to top them off daily rather than worry about them on all the way on my commute in to work.

I'm tempted to try sealing up the nicks in the outer casing with some sort of glue to try and rehab these for summer, but expect I'll just end up having the same problems with them. After three Winter months on a T-Serv up front and a Marathon on the rear I've only had two flats I can attribute to sharp stuff in the road. The Marathon has had zero problems with anything getting caught in the casing and while the T-Serv likes to collect little rocks in the tread, none of these have worked their way through. Two glass shards have nicked two of the raised knobby-like tread areas that I'd like to seal up if I can, but that is nothing compared to all the nicks the Gatorskins collected. I'd guess my pair of Gatorskins have something like 60+ nicks in each tire.

Last edited by Medic Zero; 05-23-12 at 12:37 AM.
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Old 05-23-12, 12:12 AM
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Originally Posted by Pain
I would love to see this "rock" damage to Gatorskin. Unless it is on the sidewall then I don't believe it. If a rock went through a tire then you should have a hole that you could stick a pencil through.

You could legitimately complain about Gatorskins cornering grip on wet roads or ride quality, but puncture protection and wear are tops. Anything more bombproof is much more heavy and a drag to ride.
I switched to a new phone that I haven't been able to figure out how to transfer pictures from, maybe tomorrow I'll take another stab at that and upload some pictures of my pair of Gatorskins that are about cut to ribbons from the tiny little triangular rocks that seem to cover Seattle's roads. To be fair about a third of the nicks in the tires were caused by glass shards about the same size, but I'm continually amazed at how many of these little rocks get me.
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Old 05-23-12, 12:18 AM
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Originally Posted by tarwheel
No, these were folders. However, I had bought them a while back and stored them folded in my garage for a year or so. That may have made the bead stiffer or put a funny kink in them. Sometimes tires just vary. Even my mechanic had trouble mounting them, and he thought they were just a set that were on the small side within their range of variability.
I had an absolute bear of a time mounting mine the first time. Changing the first flat took a long time too. It got easier as they got broken in. That first flat was a pinch flat when I tried to dismount a curb like I would with a bigger tire, they didn't flat again for months. I had never run anything that skinny before. This was with the 26 and 1/8th inch Gatorskins. To be fair, I was mounting them on some pretty wide rims (Sun Rhyno-Lites), I suspect they would have gone on easier with something narrower.

Last edited by Medic Zero; 05-23-12 at 12:39 AM.
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Old 05-23-12, 04:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Digital_Cowboy
I got thinking about this thread, and some of your responses. And I'm reminded of a saying that is familiar to mechanics/engineers the world over.

"It's a poor mechanic/engineer who blames his tools/equipment."

You got 4 flats within 500km (300-miles) instead of admitting that you might have done something wrong. You blame the tire. Yes, there are (cheap) tires out there that if you use them you'll have nothing but problems with. Gatorskins as you have been told are not one of those tires.

So instead of blaming the tire, take a good long look at what it is that you are or aren't doing. That is more likely than not where your problem is. Also just how big are these "pebbles?" I find it hard to imagine a pebble causing a flat. Now a sharp sliver of rock, a sharp sliver of glass or metal yes. But pebbles, I'm sorry but I find that hard to believe.
I don't know YOU but I know ME. Before blaming the tire I checked and located every holes in the tire ( I keep the tubes until I checked them) So believe what you want but I'll never put gatorskin on my bike again!
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Old 05-23-12, 08:55 AM
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Originally Posted by Digital_Cowboy
I have a 1k plus on my front Gattorskin tire and 2k plus on my rear Gattorskin tire and no problems with running over/through debris on the road.

If they were so problematic why do so many people use them without problem?

Perhaps touching up on your reading comprehension skills would help in this instance. 1. I never said they are problematic, just that they did not work for me & my situation. 2. I have no idea why so many people use them without issues. I specifically said that I know that others use them with no issues & that I don't bash the tires, but that I was just reporting my experience.

Last edited by MK313; 05-23-12 at 11:55 AM.
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Old 05-23-12, 02:12 PM
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Originally Posted by dramiscram
I don't know YOU but I know ME. Before blaming the tire I checked and located every holes in the tire ( I keep the tubes until I checked them) So believe what you want but I'll never put gatorskin on my bike again!
Then how do you explain that between my two tires I have 3k miles (4828.032km) without a problem? Or the countless other people who also use them without problem?

Yes, it's possible that a bad tire (or two) has slipped past QC.

Pictures of what you're riding over would help. As like others here I find it very hard to swallow that riding over pebbles would case any but the oldest, baldest tires to flat.

And as anyone else here who is from Florida can tell you we grow some pretty big sand spurs. And those things DO do a number on a tire.

How ofter were you checking the pressure?

I talked about your problem with the staff at the LBS that I go to and they all found it hard to believe that 4 flats within 500km/300miles can be the tires fault.
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Old 05-23-12, 04:45 PM
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Jeez, digital cowboy, stop sniffing the conti. rubber.
Gatorskins are great tires, but they won't work for everyone.
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Old 05-23-12, 05:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Digital_Cowboy
Then how do you explain that between my two tires I have 3k miles (4828.032km) without a problem? Or the countless other people who also use them without problem?

Yes, it's possible that a bad tire (or two) has slipped past QC.

Pictures of what you're riding over would help. As like others here I find it very hard to swallow that riding over pebbles would case any but the oldest, baldest tires to flat.

And as anyone else here who is from Florida can tell you we grow some pretty big sand spurs. And those things DO do a number on a tire.

How ofter were you checking the pressure?

I talked about your problem with the staff at the LBS that I go to and they all found it hard to believe that 4 flats within 500km/300miles can be the tires fault.
I absolutely believe you and every other people that tells me they never had trouble with gatorskin! why would anybody lie on this great forum? It's just that I lost confidence in the tire. As for my bike it's a nakamura roadbike heavily loaded (40-50 pounds of stuff plus my 6 feet and 205 pounds) I know it's heavy but why did my cheap michelin handled the weight for 2000 kms last year with only one flat (pinched tube)? I check the pressure at least 3-4 time a week but often more than that. And, at last, it's not 4 but 3 flat the last one was also my fault (if it make you feel better ;-)) but still, as i said, it's a question of confidence. I'll keep the tire and probably put on my sunday ride for a month or two and see what happens.
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Old 05-23-12, 07:30 PM
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Did you buy the gators from a LBS, or online? I wonder if any online vendor sells cheap counterfeit copies?
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Old 05-24-12, 12:40 PM
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Originally Posted by lungimsam
Did you buy the gators from a LBS, or online? I wonder if any online vendor sells cheap counterfeit copies?
I got the tire on Ebay, I'll check with the seller, I hope you're not right.
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Old 05-24-12, 01:08 PM
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Originally Posted by dramiscram
I absolutely believe you and every other people that tells me they never had trouble with gatorskin! why would anybody lie on this great forum? It's just that I lost confidence in the tire. As for my bike it's a nakamura road bike heavily loaded (40-50 pounds of stuff plus my 6 feet and 205 pounds) I know it's heavy but why did my cheap Michelin handled the weight for 2000 kms last year with only one flat (pinched tube)? I check the pressure at least 3-4 time a week but often more than that. And, at last, it's not 4 but 3 flat the last one was also my fault (if it make you feel better ;-)) but still, as i said, it's a question of confidence. I'll keep the tire and probably put on my Sunday ride for a month or two and see what happens.
I carry about as much cargo as you do, and I weigh between 180 - 200lbs myself and so far as I've said I haven't had any problems with my Gatorskins. I think that it would help to have pictures of these "pebbles" that you're running over.

As I've run over some sizable chunks of gravel without problem.
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Old 05-24-12, 01:10 PM
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Originally Posted by lungimsam
Did you buy the gators from a LBS, or online? I wonder if any online vendor sells cheap counterfeit copies?
Originally Posted by dramiscram
I got the tire on Ebay, I'll check with the seller, I hope you're not right.
That is a very real possibility. As sadly there are cheap knock-offs of just about everything made these days. And as such the saying "Buyer beware" is even more relevant then ever before.
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Old 05-24-12, 05:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Digital_Cowboy
I carry about as much cargo as you do, and I weigh between 180 - 200lbs myself and so far as I've said I haven't had any problems with my Gatorskins. I think that it would help to have pictures of these "pebbles" that you're running over.

As I've run over some sizable chunks of gravel without problem.
I'll check if I can get good pictures but the I cleaned and put glue in every holes so I think you'll just see spot of glue. The problem was not sizable chunk but tiny sharp bit of gravel that got in the tire, three different places, as I said the other two flat were my fault ( pinched tube while mounting the tire and debris left in the tire)
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Old 05-24-12, 08:25 PM
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Originally Posted by dramiscram
I got the tire on Ebay, I'll check with the seller, I hope you're not right.
I'd be grateful if you could follow this up, maybe some pics of the inside of your tire? Not sure how to best validate that you have a real Gatorskin, but it would be amazing if people are counterfeiting bicycle tires.
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Old 05-24-12, 08:31 PM
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Originally Posted by dramiscram
I'll check if I can get good pictures but the I cleaned and put glue in every holes so I think you'll just see spot of glue. The problem was not sizable chunk but tiny sharp bit of gravel that got in the tire, three different places, as I said the other two flat were my fault ( pinched tube while mounting the tire and debris left in the tire)
I think that pictures of the roads that your using would be more helpful then those of the damage (that you've patched up) in your tires.

I've also ridden over/through patches of small loose pebbles and haven't flatted yet. As I said I weigh about as much as you do, and carry about as much cargo as you do. And trust me down here in Fl we have some pretty nasty roads/debris to deal with.

Originally Posted by drbenjamin
I'd be grateful if you could follow this up, maybe some pics of the inside of your tire? Not sure how to best validate that you have a real Gatorskin, but it would be amazing if people are counterfeiting bicycle tires.
Not just the inside but the outside would help as well.

You don't think that there are "cheap" knockoffs coming out of China and other countries?
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Old 05-25-12, 02:41 AM
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Originally Posted by Medic Zero
I've retired my Gatorskins for this reason. It isn't that they get caught in tread, but the Seattle streets seem to be covered in tiny rocks that are sharp and triangular shaped. This combined with my Clyde self (275-ish) and how rock hard the Gatorskins are at 115-120 PSI meant that I was getting lots of flats from these little rocks. The Gatorskins were great for about six months, but then they seemed to be just ripped to shreds by all the tiny rocks. For the first six months I could pick them out of the little holes they made in the outer casing without getting any punctures, but then it seemed like I was picking up rocks into the all the nicks I had in the rubber and that those were causing punctures. I went from almost zero punctures the first six months to getting flats several times a week, for several weeks. The first three months was before I started keeping daily track of my miles, but I probably put about a 1000 miles on them, roughly October to the end of March.

I had written off my experience as these tires just not being good for a Clyde on Seattle's streets before seeing this thread. The tires were rougher riding the than 1.5's I'm running now (a mix of Panaracer Pro-T's, Vittoria Rando Pro's, and Schwalbe Marathons on my tourer/back-up and my daily commuter) but they sure felt like I was a little faster. They also felt more nimble negotiating through the endless big cracks/debris/pot-holes of my commute. I also felt like I could get a lot more sideways (& thus faster) going through aggressive turns on them. I wish I lived somewhere where the roads weren't so rough and filled with tiny rocks and glass shards, but I think I am going to be sticking with my 1.5" tires. Maybe when I get back down to my "fighting weight" (210) I'll give them a try again during a summer.

I agree you have to watch the pressure on the Gatorskins closely, I religiously topped mine off every day or every other day, which was easy to remember because I was riding six days a week then, but a bit of pain. I don't recall getting any pinch flats after the first learning experience dismounting from a curb, but the couple of times I didn't air them up every other day I definitely noticed it and was worried I was going to pinch flat. It was better to top them off daily rather than worry about them on all the way on my commute in to work.

I'm tempted to try sealing up the nicks in the outer casing with some sort of glue to try and rehab these for summer, but expect I'll just end up having the same problems with them. After three Winter months on a T-Serv up front and a Marathon on the rear I've only had two flats I can attribute to sharp stuff in the road. The Marathon has had zero problems with anything getting caught in the casing and while the T-Serv likes to collect little rocks in the tread, none of these have worked their way through. Two glass shards have nicked two of the raised knobby-like tread areas that I'd like to seal up if I can, but that is nothing compared to all the nicks the Gatorskins collected. I'd guess my pair of Gatorskins have something like 60+ nicks in each tire.
Hey Med. Part of my commute has those little rocks you are talking about and a crap load of glass. Actually I call that part of my commute the "garden of glass" area. Twice a week I check the tires and I use a very sharp spoke that I sharpen to get anything out of the tire and then once a week (on Wednesday morning when I get to work and work on the bike before I start work) I will take the time to apply crazy glue to any rips that warrant it. It does help to prevent reentry.
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Old 05-27-12, 07:18 PM
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I've had 700x23 Gatorskins on my ride for the past 2800+ road miles and haven't flattened once. I pump my tires up before every ride to about 115-120 psi and I'm good to go. The tread marks are still apparent and the side walls are still completely rigid - showing no signs of wear. I may just be super lucky or something. When they need replacing, I will undoubtedly go with another pair or try the ever-so-popular Schwalbe Marathon Plus/Supremes. Gators are great, and I stand by that.
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Old 05-27-12, 07:31 PM
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Originally Posted by ZCow
I've had 700x23 Gatorskins on my ride for the past 2800+ road miles and haven't flattened once. I pump my tires up before every ride to about 115-120 psi and I'm good to go. The tread marks are still apparent and the side walls are still completely rigid - showing no signs of wear. I may just be super lucky or something. When they need replacing, I will undoubtedly go with another pair or try the ever-so-popular Schwalbe Marathon Plus/Supremes. Gators are great, and I stand by that.
No signs of wear after 2800 miles? You're riding on roads that are much nicer than most peoples.
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Old 05-27-12, 11:25 PM
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Originally Posted by ben4345
No signs of wear after 2800 miles? You're riding on roads that are much nicer than most peoples.
Why is that so hard to believe? I've 2+k miles on my rear tire and it doesn't show any noticeable wear either. Nor does my front tire and it only has 1+k miles on it.

And while I do not go out of my way to run over/through debris I don't got "heroic" lengths to avoid it either.

Just now looking at my tires there are no holes, cracks or gouges in either tire.
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Old 05-28-12, 12:12 AM
  #73  
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Originally Posted by Digital_Cowboy
Why is that so hard to believe? I've 2+k miles on my rear tire and it doesn't show any noticeable wear either. Nor does my front tire and it only has 1+k miles on it.

And while I do not go out of my way to run over/through debris I don't got "heroic" lengths to avoid it either.

Just now looking at my tires there are no holes, cracks or gouges in either tire.
Never said it was hard to believe.
Just that your roads are much better than mine.
I have had one flat and have several holes and nicks in mine about only <900 miles on mine. (front wheel). Gatorskins are good tires, but they're defiantly not miracle workers.

Yes, I keep them at 120psi. And I do pluck out glass, rocks, and other debris out on a regular basis.

Last edited by ben4345; 05-28-12 at 12:21 AM.
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Old 05-28-12, 09:11 AM
  #74  
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So this weekend I went from being a Gatorskin believer/defender to a Gatorskin doubter...In the middle of a 300km ride, out in the middle of nowhere, I noticed a bulge in the sidewall where the tire was starting to come apart near the bead. I stuck a boot in the tire and it got me home, but I'll be changing the tire out before riding that bike again. The tire has less than 2000 km on it (1200 miles) and otherwise looks to be in good shape.

It's entirely possible that whatever caused that problem could happen to any tire, but I don't have much brand loyalty for any product, and I'm thinking I might next try out some Schwalbes that get raved about so much.

Then again, I have another bike with Gatorskins with about 3500 kms (2100 miles) that are still going strong, and have never had a flat that wasn't my own fault (pinch flats).
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Old 05-28-12, 11:28 AM
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Originally Posted by ben4345
No signs of wear after 2800 miles? You're riding on roads that are much nicer than most peoples.
The treading on the tire is worn down to an extent, but the tread markers still show really well. The sidewalls themselves (which have a rigid, orange mesh tracking) have shown no signs of significant wear at all outside of maybe the orange becoming slightly faded. My ride runs through bricked neighborhoods, short roads connecting to a paved trail, and onto a major roadway. I tend to ride in the center or right tire track for all of my miles and don't ride on sidewalks/bike lanes at all due to the amount of debris and uneven pavement. I will admit, I ride pretty cautiously - always looking for cracks in the road, glass, and broken pavement. There are multiple times I swear I would get a flat going my route, especially the bricked roads which are usually loose and old which make for a horribly bumpy ride. A fellow commuter has Armadillos that haven't shown much wear at all and I swear if he wet them and cleaned them they'd look pretty much brand new. He has a tad over 2000 on his.

Tires are really subjective and it's hard to say a tire sucks based on 1 full usage of them. I rode Conti UltraSports, which I bought due to the low price. They lasted me about 1750 miles with maybe 2 pinch flats. I don't consider that too bad at all considering they were like 16 bucks each. Who knows? I may get new Gatorskins and run into the same problems as many of the other unlucky users around the forums.
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