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Gatorskin Hard Shell or Grand Prix Season 4

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Gatorskin Hard Shell or Grand Prix Season 4

Old 01-18-11, 03:39 PM
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Gatorskin Hard Shell or Grand Prix Season 4

Yes I did do some searching before posting this but I wanted to get some more opinions from people who have used one or both of these tires before I make a decision.

I am getting some new tires for my road bike (700x25) and need some advice. I am thinking about either the Gatorskin Hardshell or the Grand Prix 4 Season.

I ride mostly on side streets and bike paths and had issues with flats so I started using heavy duty puncture resistant tubes and that took care of the problem, but I am getting a new bike and want to use regular tubes again so I wanted a tire with good puncture resistance.

I don’t ride in bad weather and I mostly stick ride in the summer months when it is warm outside.

I would like a tire that lasts a long time, and I don’t do any racing or high speed riding, mostly at a moderate pace for longer distances (up to 30 mile or so per ride).

Which of the two (Gatorskin Hardshell and Grand Prix Season 4) would have better puncture resistance and which would have more durability as far as treadwear?

I see that the Grand Prix Season 4 has a bit more tread to it, versus the Gatorskin Hardshell is bald in the middle, but again I try not to ride in the rain or bad whether anyway so I guess that would not be a concern.

Any advice would be much appreciated.
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Old 01-18-11, 03:58 PM
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Hardshell will be more durable and have better puncture resistance. The ride isn't nearly as good and traction is miserable IMO.

For your application, I'd strongly prefer the 4 Seasons. It has good but not excellent flat resistance, but it's a much better all around tire.
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Old 01-18-11, 04:05 PM
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Originally Posted by banerjek
Hardshell will be more durable and have better puncture resistance. The ride isn't nearly as good and traction is miserable IMO.

For your application, I'd strongly prefer the 4 Seasons. It has good but not excellent flat resistance, but it's a much better all around tire.
+1 on that. 4 seasons are also excellent trainer tires - I've used mine on the trainer for 2 yrs and have had only the most minimal wear.
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Old 01-18-11, 04:33 PM
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I've used both the 4 Seasons and the Gatorskin and haven't noticed a significant difference in durability. The 4 Seasons is supposed to grip better in wet conditions, but if you're not pushing the limit, you may not notice the difference. 4 Seasons was quite a bit more expensive last time I checked.
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Old 01-18-11, 04:37 PM
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G p 4 k s .
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Old 01-18-11, 04:41 PM
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I have two seasons of commuting on my GP4 Seasons. I don't keep track of the miles, but I would estimate I have at least 3000 miles on my set. I don't recall ever having flatted on them.

The threads are visible through the tread, but no bulges or cuts, so I keep riding them. I added a set of tire liners so I can extend their life a little longer. I'll probably run them until they fail.
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Old 01-18-11, 05:22 PM
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Thanks

Thanks for the replies so far. I actually thought that the Gp seasons were more puncture resistant than even the gator hardshells as they have an extra layer of something or other. They are more expensive but I don't mind if they suit me better. I don't really ride in the rain so traction is not a huge concern (unless you are talking about dry traction) and I don't race so I don't have a need to take corners quickly either.

They both sound like decent tires I just don't know if the extra dough for the 4 Season is worth it for me.
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Old 01-18-11, 06:49 PM
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Originally Posted by banerjek
Hardshell will be more durable and have better puncture resistance. The ride isn't nearly as good and traction is miserable IMO.

For your application, I'd strongly prefer the 4 Seasons. It has good but not excellent flat resistance, but it's a much better all around tire.
You obviously haven't ridden the Hardshell. They're a way different ride than the old Gatorskins. The Schwalbe Durano Plus is another option. This holds especially true for the OP's stated uses, "I ride mostly on side streets and bike paths...".

Also see Cycling Plus, January 2011, pp. 78-84 if you have any lingering doubts.
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Old 01-18-11, 09:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Terex
You obviously haven't ridden the Hardshell. They're a way different ride than the old Gatorskins. The Schwalbe Durano Plus is another option. This holds especially true for the OP's stated uses, "I ride mostly on side streets and bike paths...".

Also see Cycling Plus, January 2011, pp. 78-84 if you have any lingering doubts.
Has the "old" Gatorskin been completely replaced by the GS Hardshell? I liked the Gatorskins and I like the 4 Seasons too but don't know much about the Hardshells.
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Old 01-18-11, 10:32 PM
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Originally Posted by billydonn
Has the "old" Gatorskin been completely replaced by the GS Hardshell? I liked the Gatorskins and I like the 4 Seasons too but don't know much about the Hardshells.
I just order some of the "non-hardshell" gatorskins from PBK today. Not sure if these are remaining stock or if they will continue to make both. The hardshells are about $10 more and 90 grams heavier (listed weight). I'd be curious to hear how they ride compared to the old version now they have toughened up the sidewalls (which is not where I get punctures, but I've had one blow out once).
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Old 01-18-11, 10:51 PM
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I ride 4 seasons and like them. But I have also used Mich. Krylion Carbons and Panaracer Protex Duro and gotten similar mileage and puncture protection. The reason I mention the other two is that they can usually be found for less money and if you don't ride in the wet their traction is just as good.

I wouldn't pay too much attention to the tread in regards to rain riding. Bike tires don't hydroplane like car tires. Bike tire tread really only gives an advantage in loose material like mud/snow/gravel, but the pattern on a 4 Season is pretty insignificant in that regard.
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Old 01-18-11, 11:00 PM
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Originally Posted by SpongeDad
+1 on that. 4 seasons are also excellent trainer tires - I've used mine on the trainer for 2 yrs and have had only the most minimal wear.
That is a tremendous waste of a good and expensive tire.

Ultra Sports are cheap and also last forever with trainer use.




WRT OP: 4 seasons.
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Old 01-19-11, 06:35 AM
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tires

There were some questions re: Gatorskin vs Hardshell (I am getting this out of Conti's 2010 catalog):

The "Ultra Gatorskin" is now just called Gatororskin. Same tire, they just dropped the "ultra" part.

The Gator Hard Shell is supposed to have more of the tire protected than the Gatorskin and is a bit harder and heavier from what I can tell.

The GP 4 Season, at least in the catalog says it offers the highest level of puncture protection which is part of what confused me as I thought the Gator Hardshell was tops for that. The GP is also a bit softer ride I think.

So I still am debating the Gator Hard Shell vs the GP 4 Season, but if the puncture protection is about the same then I think I would prefer the Grand Prix 4 Season's better ride. Still thinking about it though, thanks again for the replies so far please keep them coming. I probably won't be making the purchase for another couple of weeks so I have some time to think about it.
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Old 01-19-11, 06:35 AM
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Originally Posted by TMonk
That is a tremendous waste of a good and expensive tire.

Ultra Sports are cheap and also last forever with trainer use.
As there is no wear, there is no waste. I also ride them on the rode, so it saves me what would be the weekly trouble of swapping tires on my PT wheel.
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Old 01-19-11, 08:48 AM
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I've always had pretty good luck with the Ultra Gatorskins. However, the last set was a flat magnet. I got 11 flats in one month. I then tried the Gatorskin hardshell and no flats since in about a year of riding. If you go to the store and do a comparison feel you'll notice how much thicker the hardshell is.
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Old 01-19-11, 09:04 AM
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I actually just bought a pair of Hardshells and rode them for the first time today on my commute (700x25). They felt fine, definitely not as harsh as my Armadillos, which I usually commute on.

From what I read on the forum, I don't think I'm as picky as most about tires (my main concern is flats), but they didn't feel too hard or anything and traction didn't seem to be an issue either.

The first thing I noticed when I handled them though was that the sidewall wasn't as firm as I would have expected on $50 heavy-duty-type-tires. So we'll see if that is an issue.

Last edited by walnutz; 01-19-11 at 09:04 AM. Reason: readability
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Old 01-24-11, 08:45 AM
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Thanks again to every one for the info, I am kind of like walnutz, my main concern is flats also, not so much other factors and since my bike will take 700x25 I may get a little better ride out of the Gator Hard Shell than if I had a 23 mm tire. I still have not heard back from Conti as to which one of the two (hardshell vs GP 4 season) has better puncture protection so I am going with the hardshells as they are a bit cheaper.

Will see how it goes, I don't have a lot to compare them to as the only other set of tires I had were Vittoria Rubino Pro but used them with those very heavy puncture resistant tubes, but as I said I am kind of changing my strategy, use regular tubes with a tire that has a reputation of being puncture resistant.
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Old 01-24-11, 09:02 AM
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I have not compared the GSHS side-by-side with the Ultra Gatorskins, but in my very limited experience, additional flat resistance can make for a "taller" tire. Ultra Gatorskins are almost too tall for my bike (see below). Previously, on a different bike-- a Trek 560 Pro Series, which came factory-equipped with 700x25C tires-- I tried mounting Schwalbe Maraton Plus 700x25Cs, and there wasn't enough clearance in the front fork or under the rear brakes. On that bike I couldn't even use the tires.



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Old 01-24-11, 09:19 AM
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I used all the tire listed here in the above threads, and I ride the GP 4000s. They hardly ever flat and are the fastest and smoothest 25c I have ever ridden.
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Old 01-24-11, 03:33 PM
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Originally Posted by lunacycle
I have two seasons of commuting on my GP4 Seasons. I don't keep track of the miles, but I would estimate I have at least 3000 miles on my set. I don't recall ever having flatted on them.

The threads are visible through the tread, but no bulges or cuts, so I keep riding them. I added a set of tire liners so I can extend their life a little longer. I'll probably run them until they fail.
I never forget a flat tire.
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Old 01-24-11, 03:50 PM
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"I see that the Grand Prix Season 4 has a bit more tread to it, versus the Gatorskin Hardshell is bald in the middle"

For reasons not necessary to go into here (but can be found here), bike tires don't need treads to function well.
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Old 01-26-11, 10:23 AM
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Thanks again to all, I am going with the GSHS as Continental did finally get back and advise that they had a bit better protection against flats than the others. I also appreciate the info about the "taller" tire, will see how that goes, my bike has long reach brakes and is a relaxed geometry so hopefully they will fit ok.
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Old 02-10-11, 06:08 PM
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I just mounted some Hardshells up and at least in 700x28 size they run about 1mm narrower (25mm) and 1.5mm shorter than the Gatorskins they replace in the same size. They were also much easier to mount. So much so that I wouldn't mind changing a tube out in the middle of a ride anymore with these.

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Old 02-10-11, 08:39 PM
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I hear you. The old Gatorskins were soooo hard to mount that on the few occasions I did get a flat, I could barely get them off/on. i've punctured them with a piece of radial tire wire (extremely difficult to find), and a piece of animal bone (extremely gross to find).
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Old 02-10-11, 08:53 PM
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I would go with the Grand Prix 4 Season. If you look in their catalogue, you will see that both tires rate even, in regards to puncture resistantcy. My GP 4 Seasons are equally hard to mount on Campy wheels. With almost 5k miles approaching on these tires, I've have had only three flats. Rotate consistantly is the key to a long tire life.

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