Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Touring
Reload this Page >

Visual comparison: Conti's Top Contact II vs Gator Hardshell

Notices
Touring Have a dream to ride a bike across your state, across the country, or around the world? Self-contained or fully supported? Trade ideas, adventures, and more in our bicycle touring forum.

Visual comparison: Conti's Top Contact II vs Gator Hardshell

Old 02-09-16, 06:35 AM
  #1  
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: San Antonio TX
Posts: 799
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Visual comparison: Conti's Top Contact II vs Gator Hardshell

Wide awake at 4am this morning, I thought "well hey, maybe I'll just switch out the new tires that arrived yesterday and ride 'em into work". Two hours, a pinch flat, a hacksaw taken to shorten a fender mounting tab and much colorful language later and I'm done.

Despite my complete satisfaction with the 700x32 Conti Gator Hardshells and some glowing testimonies to the same I have decided to try the Conti Top Contact II tire. From what I could gather this tire gets rave reviews for wet weather traction in the UK.

Excuse the bad photo, here's a brand-new Top Contact 700x32 vs. a ~3,000 mile Gator Hardshell in that same size.



What you're supposed to be able to see is that the Top Contact is distinctly wider than the Gator. I suspect its a true 1 1/4" as marked on the sidewall vs. the famously narrow Conti Gators.

...and I'm glad I didn't gamble on a 700x35 width, these x32 Top Contacts are about the fattest tire I could squeeze under fenders on my '89 Schwinn Voyageur.

It will be interesting to try 'em out, I feel like these Top Contacts are my first actual "touring" tire.

Mike

Last edited by Sharpshin; 02-09-16 at 06:41 AM.
Sharpshin is offline  
Old 02-09-16, 06:50 AM
  #2  
Senior Member
 
bikemig's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Middle Earth (aka IA)
Posts: 20,591

Bikes: A bunch of old bikes and a few new ones

Liked 3,694 Times in 2,171 Posts
Do you have some links to those reviews? I'm a big of conti tires and I'm debating whether to go with the contis or schwalbes on a touring bike build.

I use the continental winter contact ii tires on one of my commuters; they're fine tires for crummy roads.
bikemig is online now  
Old 02-09-16, 07:08 AM
  #3  
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: San Antonio TX
Posts: 799
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Originally Posted by bikemig
Do you have some links to those reviews? I'm a big of conti tires and I'm debating whether to go with the contis or schwalbes on a touring bike build.

I use the continental winter contact ii tires on one of my commuters; they're fine tires for crummy roads.
Look on the vendor sites (Amazon, BikeTiresDirect etc.), but here's the one review that prompted me to try 'em....

https://roadcyclinguk.com/gear/conti...xwMixfRD8ZX.97

So, Top Contacts roll well enough if kept inflated to the stated maximum and seem to keep punctures at bay. Do they grip? On anything but spilt diesel or black ice, which will defeat anything, the answer is an impressed yes. Of course, grip on dry, warm, clean Tarmac is likely to be inferior to that of a slick race tyre, not least because the deep tread will squirm. Throw in anything from greasy, salty winter crap to fresh snow, farmyard efflux and even softening ice, however, and here is the tyre for the conditions.

...and here was the biggest con.... apparently they suffer from relatively high rolling resistance...

Continental Top Contact II Rolling Resistance Review

I have 26x2.0 Schwalbe Marathon Plus Tours (??? their top "world tire") on my mountain bike set up for commuting, seemed about as heavy as motorcycle tires putting 'em on. I know that's an extreme example but my impression from those tires and from reading around is that Schwables wear like iron and don't flat, but give a harsh ride.

What I'm expecting from these Top Contacts from reading around is a tendency to squirm and also a tendency to pick up little rocks in the tread. Folks also report they are a tad sluggish if even a little under inflated. Max psi for 'em in x32 is 85psi, I plan to run 'em at 90, figuring they'll be 80 a week later.

Mike
Sharpshin is offline  
Old 02-09-16, 02:47 PM
  #4  
Senior Member
 
indyfabz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 39,733
Liked 16,179 Times in 7,598 Posts
I use Top Contacts exclusively. Love them. Take them on pavement and gravel/dirt roads, including bumpy, mountainous ones. Rarely flat on the 35c size. They definitely get little piece of rock/gravel stuck in the treads, but that has not caused any problems. The only flats I have gotten on them were caused by things that would flatten any tire. And the observation about them being sluggish at less than max pressure is somewhat warranted. I wouldn't say 80 lbs. causes that. More like 75 lbs. Some people have complained about poor quality in the past. Since I have been using them for many years I understand. There seemed to be a period where the quality was not what it should have been. They seemed to wear quickly, and once they did wear, flats became much more common. That has not been my experience in the last 5 or 6 years.

For others: Keep in mind that I am talking about the Top Contacts. At one point they made a regular Contact, which was not as good.
indyfabz is offline  
Old 02-09-16, 03:10 PM
  #5  
Senior Moment
 
mantelclock's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: Connecticut
Posts: 188

Bikes: Velo Orange Campeur, 1976 Motobecane Grand Touring

Likes: 0
Liked 6 Times in 4 Posts
Originally Posted by bikemig
I'm debating whether to go with the contis or schwalbes on a touring bike build.
You might also look at the Conti Travel contacts. I've been using the 622-37's for the last three years with very good results under loads on very challenging surfaces.
mantelclock is offline  
Old 02-09-16, 04:47 PM
  #6  
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: San Antonio TX
Posts: 799
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Brief impressions from a short and direct (2 mi.) commute this am: The rolling resistance on my prior Conti Gators at 95-100 psi was so low it felt like cheating, like someone was pushing. Not quite like that on these new 85-90 psi Top Contacts tho the power of suggestion may have something to do with that perception.

On a 200 yard short cut up a gentle dirt and gravel path up a gentle slope the Top Contacts stuck much better and with better traction than my Gators have been.
Sharpshin is offline  
Old 02-09-16, 04:55 PM
  #7  
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: San Antonio TX
Posts: 799
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Originally Posted by mantelclock
You might also look at the Conti Travel contacts. I've been using the 622-37's for the last three years with very good results under loads on very challenging surfaces.
The Travel Contacts weren't an option for me as I couldn't find them in x32. I am long familiar with generally similar tires with the smooth-in-the-middle-knobs-on-the-shoulders configuration. It has been my impression that the intent of the knobs is so as to provide traction on loose and/or soft surfaces where the smooth center road tread provides insufficient grip and/or sinks in.

I do wonder how these tires corner on pavement compared to a more rounded road-oriented profile such as on the Top Contact II.

Mike
Sharpshin is offline  
Old 02-10-16, 06:11 PM
  #8  
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: San Antonio TX
Posts: 799
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Well, my ten mile each way commute times are about the same tho the brand new Top Contacts don't roll quite as easy as my ~3,000 mile Gators did, a tad noisier too. Maybe they're newer/stiffer but strangely enough the Top Contacts seem to transmit more of the small road vibration but soak up the higher magnitude stuff better.

A tad disconcerting too each time a paint stripe grabs your front wheel and nudges it. I wouldn't call it squirm, its more like the narrow center tread strip on the Top Contact has squared off edges that engage the slightly raised edges of the paint stripe. I expect this effect will decrease as the tires wear.

Definitely better than the Gators on loose dirt/gravel tho, more so than I would have expected.

Bottom line is, as long as they don't flat any more than the Gatorskins did (5 flats in 3,000 miles) these tires are good to go. I expect if I commonly rode faster than my usual 10-15 mph I'd more exacting.

Mike
Sharpshin is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Thread Starter
Forum
Replies
Last Post
richbrown
Touring
30
08-17-17 06:37 PM
Long Tom
Road Cycling
39
11-24-14 10:54 AM
hairnet
Cyclocross and Gravelbiking (Recreational)
5
10-04-14 12:06 AM
elkootcho
Commuting
9
04-10-10 07:42 PM
chico1st
Bicycle Mechanics
8
04-02-10 05:38 PM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Your Privacy Choices -

Copyright © 2024 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.