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Faster tire? Continental GatorSkin?

Old 09-06-16, 12:40 PM
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dingadinga
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Faster tire? Continental GatorSkin?

By reading reviews in Amazon, I found it interesting to see that many people gained speed from stock tire to a better tire, e.g., Continental GatorSkin tire, as much as 10~15%. If that's true, I guess it would be the single most important and cheapest upgrade. Is this a common knowledge? If it is the case, I feel so stupid that I had spent all the money on upgrades (bike, wheels, components) except the cheapest and most effective way.
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Old 09-06-16, 12:43 PM
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Tires and PSI do make a great difference.

10-15% seems way to high.
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Old 09-06-16, 12:57 PM
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Check out Bicycle Rolling Resistance | Rolling Resistance Tests
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Old 09-06-16, 01:00 PM
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This is the first time I've ever heard of Gatorskins being called a "better" tire. I've heard them called a lot of things, but never in admiration.

Their GP4000S is a good tire, though.
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Old 09-06-16, 01:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
This is the first time I've ever heard of Gatorskins being called a "better" tire. I've heard them called a lot of things, but never in admiration.

Their GP4000S is a good tire, though.
Right, not Gatorskins, but GP400S II. I did copy paste wrong.
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Old 09-06-16, 01:21 PM
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I haven't been on IIs yet but I was very impressed with the older ones. They were faster (had less rolling resistance) than a lot of tires. Also had a supple ride and gripped really well in corners and while stopping.
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Old 09-06-16, 01:24 PM
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The GP4000S IIs are great tires for road bikes. I like them and have Michelin Pro4 Endurance series on my other 2 bikes. I agree that 15% is still high, but you should realize a difference between your existing tires and the Contis.
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Old 09-06-16, 03:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Rider_1 View Post
Trolling, or just not observant, 'cause I've seen plenty of praise. Also, I love my Gatorskins. They were definitely "better" than the Kendas that came on my bike. What's wrong with them?
Compare them to a faster race tire with a higher tpi and they won't feel so great anymore. Gatorskins are a fine tire, but I wouldn't call them a "supple" or "fast" tire by any means.

It's just different strokes for different folks. I run gatorskins on my fixed gear because you can skid them and they hardly show any wear. Skid a gp4000s and kiss that tire goodbye!
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Old 09-06-16, 03:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Rider_1 View Post
Trolling, or just not observant, 'cause I've seen plenty of praise. Also, I love my Gatorskins. They were definitely "better" than the Kendas that came on my bike. What's wrong with them?
Gators are not known for their great ride characteristics...

my fave description is they're like rolling on pieces of frozen garden hose.
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Old 09-06-16, 03:13 PM
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Originally Posted by dingadinga View Post
as much as 10~15%
You're unlikely to see anything close to 15% unless we're talking about very different types of tires, like if a bike came with a knobby cyclocross tire and you switched to a road racing slick. Within a category? Even a kevlar-belted slab of rubber like a ThickSlick Deluxe won't make you 10% slower than a good racing slick, unless maybe if you're going very slow so that aerodynamics aren't extremely dominant.

However, yes: in terms of making sure that a bike is what you want it to be, tires are just about always the first place you should look. They're a relatively cheap modification, and they have a much larger impact on how a bike performs, where you can use it, etc than most other aspects of a bicycle do.

Gatorskin
Gatorskins are a pretty good compromise tire, having decent tread life and puncture resistance while still rolling reasonably well. But they're not particularly optimized for suppleness and lightness. From Conti's lineup you might be more interested in a GP4000S.
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Old 09-06-16, 03:29 PM
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Also, to the OP, I wouldn't believe everything you read in Amazon reviews.
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Old 09-06-16, 03:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Rider_1 View Post
Trolling, or just not observant, 'cause I've seen plenty of praise. Also, I love my Gatorskins. They were definitely "better" than the Kendas that came on my bike. What's wrong with them?
I had a friend once who had a pretty good metaphor for what we're doing, so I'm going to steal it from him. Talking about the differences (especially in feel) between bike tires "is like dancing about architecture." You can do it, but it doesn't make a lot of sense.

Gatorskins are very good at not getting flatted. And they don't cost too too much. But that's about all the good you can say about them. Go do a ride with a pair. Then switch to another tire like Grand Prix 4000-S or any other racing tire held in good repute. Notice how the feel compares between tires. It's very hard to put into words (hence the "dancing ...") but easy and obvious to notice.

Gatorkins have a very high rolling resistance, almost double GPs. The ride is harsher. It doesn't grip as well through corners. Etc. These are trade-offs you make for the puncture resistance but I feel like a lot of better tires aren't much more prone to flats, which means the performance really isn't justified. Even in the winter there are better options.

Here's an interesting review: Continental Gatorskin Rolling Resistance Review
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Old 09-07-16, 03:17 PM
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I've been riding Gatorskins on my road bike for nearly five years now. I certainly can say that they aren't the fastest tire on the market, but they're bombproof on flats. The 25c at 95 psi gives a much better ride than most of the 23c I've ridden. If you plan on doing any kind of competition, Gatorskins may not be your best bet.
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Old 09-07-16, 03:33 PM
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Also, to the OP, I wouldn't believe everything you read in Amazon reviews.
This.

Typical Amazon reviews:
"I just got the package from UPS and haven't even opened it yet but I love it! Five stars!!!"
"Great product, had it for years, does everything I could ever really need. Wrong color. One star."

Did you find these reviews helpful?
Yes = The reviewer agreed with or confirmed all of my biases, however ridiculous.
No = The reviewer proved my biases were wrong.
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Old 09-07-16, 06:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
I had a friend once who had a pretty good metaphor for what we're doing, so I'm going to steal it from him. Talking about the differences (especially in feel) between bike tires "is like dancing about architecture." You can do it, but it doesn't make a lot of sense.
Was your friend Frank Zappa?
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Old 09-07-16, 06:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
I haven't been on IIs yet but I was very impressed with the older ones. They were faster (had less rolling resistance) than a lot of tires. Also had a supple ride and gripped really well in corners and while stopping.
4000s II is not the absolute fastest road tire out there, but it's in the top 10, maybe top 5 and it rolls very well considering its durability.
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Old 09-07-16, 09:12 PM
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I recently replaced my old Vittoria Randonneurs with a set of Specialized All Condition Armadillo Elites, and the Specialized tires are noticeably faster. Not 10~15%, but I have gained about 1.5km/h on my average speed since replacing the tires, which is about a 6% increase for me.

They're supposed to be pretty good at preventing flats, too, but I can't really speak to that yet - I've only got about 375km on them so far, so not enough time to comment on their puncture resistance.
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Old 09-07-16, 11:53 PM
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I have continental GP 4000 S II on my fast bike and love them

for my daily commuter, I have used different tyres. Gator hardshell are crap in the wet as you slip and slide. Schwalbe Durano Plus are bombproof, and much better than Gators

I'm collecting a new bike for commuting today, and the tyres fitted are Continental 4 seasons,.... I've never tried these, but will use them till they need replacing, and will most probably use Durano plus during winter, then switch to GP 4000 in spring

Mitchelin have a few new tyres that seem pretty good aswell
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Old 09-08-16, 06:13 AM
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I must try some of these magical GP4000s and see how much better my biking experience is. I guess I've wasted the last 17k miles by riding on Gatorskins.
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Old 09-08-16, 06:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
From the link: "At 80 psi, rolling resistance is 22.0 watts, which means rolling resistance is 8.3 watts higher when compared to a GP4000S II at 80 psi (13.7 watts)"

Can anyone explain to me what that means in real world terms? For example, in my regular 14 mile one way commute to work, how much faster will I be on GP4000s than on Gatorskins?
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Old 09-08-16, 06:23 AM
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Originally Posted by billyymc View Post
From the link: "At 80 psi, rolling resistance is 22.0 watts, which means rolling resistance is 8.3 watts higher when compared to a GP4000S II at 80 psi (13.7 watts)"

Can anyone explain to me what that means in real world terms? For example, in my regular 14 mile one way commute to work, how much faster will I be on GP4000s than on Gatorskins?
Changing from gators to 4000s saves you 16 watts. That's 8 per tire.

For most people 16 watts is 10% or more of their average power output.

So if it's taking you an hour to ride 14 miles, you might save 6 minutes or so.

That's just a guess, there are a lot of other factors like traffic and lights, so your time savings might not be that good.

I would no recommend changing though if you don't watch where you are going and plow through glass and debris regularly. The GP4000 sidewalls are not as durable as gators and will damage more easily.
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Old 09-08-16, 06:35 AM
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Originally Posted by andr0id View Post
Changing from gators to 4000s saves you 16 watts. That's 8 per tire.

For most people 16 watts is 10% or more of their average power output.

So if it's taking you an hour to ride 14 miles, you might save 6 minutes or so.

That's just a guess, there are a lot of other factors like traffic and lights, so your time savings might not be that good.

I would no recommend changing though if you don't watch where you are going and plow through glass and debris regularly. The GP4000 sidewalls are not as durable as gators and will damage more easily.
My commute takes me 45-50 minutes depending on how my legs feel that day and if I'm making it a workout commute or not. So you made my point - it MIGHTsave me 5 minutes. Probably less. I'll trade that for the better flat resistance any day, especially once I'm riding in the dark and temperatures in the high 20's in the mornings.
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Old 09-08-16, 08:27 AM
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Originally Posted by John_V View Post
I've been riding Gatorskins on my road bike for nearly five years now. I certainly can say that they aren't the fastest tire on the market, but they're bombproof on flats. The 25c at 95 psi gives a much better ride than most of the 23c I've ridden. If you plan on doing any kind of competition, Gatorskins may not be your best bet.

Good point, what is often absent from the which is best, is how they are to be used. Sounds to me like Gatorskins are a poor choice for a racer, but might be just fine for a recreational or commuter rider.
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Old 09-08-16, 09:04 AM
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Originally Posted by dingadinga View Post
By reading reviews in Amazon, I found it interesting to see that many people gained speed from stock tire to a better tire, e.g., Continental GatorSkin tire, as much as 10~15%. If that's true, I guess it would be the single most important and cheapest upgrade. Is this a common knowledge? If it is the case, I feel so stupid that I had spent all the money on upgrades (bike, wheels, components) except the cheapest and most effective way.
People posting this kind of stuff in reviews do not understand the "scientific method".
Dozens of variables to consider when making comparisons.
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Old 09-08-16, 09:07 AM
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Originally Posted by ThermionicScott View Post
Was your friend Frank Zappa?
No, but he was a huge Zappa fan. Did I just learn that my friend ripped that saying off?
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