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Gatorskins for touring?

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Gatorskins for touring?

Old 09-18-16, 12:42 AM
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MAK
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Gatorskins for touring?

Does anyone use Gatorskins to tour? I mostly stay to paved roads but will occasionally do some dirt or crushed stone (think C&O Canal, Erie Canal type terrain). I know that the Gatorskins will be fine on the road but since they don't have much of a tread, how are they off road? I have no plans for way off road wilderness riding.

I'm replacing the Continental Top Contact 37c tires on my 520. The tires do go on the bike but the clearance between the tire and fender (raised to its max) is so close that pebbles caught in the tread scrape the fender and sound like arcing electricity. I also had to abort a ride because mud got so caked between the tires and fender that the wheels almost stopped spinning. They don't make Top Contact 35's so it is either Top Contact 32's or Gatorskin 32's.

I've looked at Schwalbe but I want folding tires and most of the Schwalbe are non-folding and very heavy for the riding I do. Even the Schwalbe 32's seem to be too high for proper clearance due to the extra flat protection.

If anyone knows of a wide/lower profile with excellent flat protection good for my uses, I'm all ears.

Thank you
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Old 09-18-16, 02:55 AM
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My last tour had a 28 Gatorskin on the rear and a 28 4-Season up front. The Gatorskin did alright as long as I kept the pressure up near the max. Anything less and it started getting squirly on downhill curves and uneven surfaces. It had three flats in 2200 km. One an industrial staple that no bike tire could stop. One a thin bit of casing wire as tires are want to pick up on main trucking routes. Perhaps some of the very heavy, very slow “plus” tires would resist puncture. The last was an 1 1/4 inch roofing nail that enter through the center of the tire and exited through the sidewall just above the rim. I’ve never had a tire that would be ridable after such sidewall damage. Also the Gatorskin was pretty “squared off” but still had a good number of miles left in it save for the sidewall damage.

Neither tire is suitable for much in the way of off road touring. Deep gravel would be hard to navigate and any slippery mud or clay would put you down in an instant. I carry a set of Conti AT Ride 40mm folding tires for dirt sections of touring. They’re something of a gravel grinder tire with excellent traction in slippery conditions and can be run at low pressure for greater traction, floatation and comfort.

But back to your question. I’ve been asking myself the same thing but going from a 28 to a 32. I considered the 32 Gatorskin but bought the 32 folding Hardshell for the rear just because it has so much sidewall protection with only a small weight penalty and it was at a super sale price. Haven’t toured with it yet so that’s all I can say .
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Old 09-18-16, 05:33 AM
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I love my gatorskins and think they are fine on firm and somewhat smooth unpaved surfaces. I wouldn't use them if I expected much loose and deep sand, loose gravel of any depth, or mud. I would use them on most crushed limestone surfaces. I don't mind pushing or carrying the bike over short distances of bad surfaces but id much of your trip will be mud I'd probably use a different tire.

Personally I prefer to pick routes that are either:
  1. Devoid of a lot of poor surfaces where I ride road tires.
  2. Off of the pavement as much as possible where my mountain bike makes sense.
If I do go somewhere that will require more serious off road tires, I like to go with cross country MTB race tires. Something like the Kendal Slant Six or the Stans No Tubes Raven with lots of small low knobs works well. In that case I take the mountain bike and stay off pavement as much as I can.

Basically I either avoid the dirt as much as possible and take a road oriented bike or embrace the dirt and take the MTB.
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Old 09-18-16, 05:39 AM
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Gatorskins are my new favorite for that type of touring. I used up a pair of Schwalbe Marathons over the last 8,000 miles and I don't plan on using them again--too heavy and I don't need that level of toughness.

My wife recently rode 250 miles on the unpaved Katy Trail, and almost 200 miles RT on the rougher Mickelson Trail, and she enjoyed the security and toughness of the Schwalbes. But she took them off right away, didn't like them on pavement.
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Old 09-18-16, 08:34 AM
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MAK, The one thing about the Gatorskins is that they don't provide "excellent flat protection" that you put in your last sentence. The Continental Touring Plus does offer excellent flat protection and I have a 32 mm set on my touring bike.

This level of protection does come at a weight penalty. Gatorskins are 350 grams for folding and 420 grams for non folding while the Touring Plus is 605 grams and non folding only. The T+ also has a deeper tread pattern.

The Gatorskins remind me of my old Continental Top Touring tires. They're almost a large roadie tire. Nice ride and weight, but little more than minimal puncture resistance.

Brad
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Old 09-18-16, 09:45 AM
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My wife and I have used Continental Gatorskins on several long tours , including a ride across the U.S. I have to agree with Brad about the degree of puncture resistance. during the 3700 mile cross country tour we had 13 punctures on 28 mm tires; about half of these were due to goat's heads (puncture vine). We have also used 32 mm Continental tires. However, on a 4 week tour where we were using 32 mm Schwalbe Marathon tires, We had 4 punctures in the last 4 days of the tour. All were from puncture vines.

While I believe the ride handling of the 32 mm Continental are really good, the Schwalbe Marathon has better puncture resistance. I don't think changing out a tube is a big deal, and often go with the Gatorskins. The tradeoff seems worth it. I prefer the Schwalbe when I don't know the conditions I'll be riding in. For me a good compromise is to use 32 mm Continental tires, and carry a folding spare. I believe the combination is close to the weight of a pair of Schwalbe Marathons.

The 28 mm Continental Gatorskins handled the 5-miles of gravel road construction easily. It was also a long and fast downhill.


Puncture vine

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Old 09-18-16, 10:26 AM
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Schwalbe Marathon Supremes have thin tread. You could try them in 35mm. My last one lasted me about 3500km before something damaged the sidewall. Plenty of tread left. I wasn't that impressed.

Regarding fender clogs: you can have all the space in the world, when you roll over the correct type of semi dry mud, your fenders will clog. Riding through water, or even wet mud, will dislodge the dry mud.
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Old 09-18-16, 10:49 AM
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I had Continental Travel Contact tires on my Trekking Bike, for Years ..

That is a Trekking tire with the Gatorskin mesh in it. 37 is as Narrow a 700c as they offer

My Bike used the 26" version .. 1.75" wide 559-47. Designed for riding past the end of the pavements.




./.
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Old 09-18-16, 11:00 AM
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I like them for touring but agree with the others that there are other tougher tires out there. They are reasonably light weight, reasonably tough, and reasonably priced. Certainly a 700 x 32c (or 28c) folding Gatorskin makes a fine spare tire on a tour (assuming you are riding primarily on paved roads) at 325 grams.
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Old 09-18-16, 11:47 AM
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Schwalbe Durano plus in 25 or 28 .... beats the crap out of Gators.... and much much better Gator Harshell, and they grip well in the wet and dry (Gators are very bad for wet and you will crash)...

and they roll better. Gators feel like hosepipes

Durano Plus have the Schwalbe puncture resistance of 6 (same as Marathon Plus, and according to Schwalbe, there is no other road racing tyre that offers the same puncture resistance) .... many people buy Gators because their LBS stock them because the LBS makes more profit on Gators than Durano Plus

this my my tire choice for winter in 25's

in summer, I use Continental Grand Prix 4000S II
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Old 09-19-16, 05:40 AM
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We've used 32 mm Gatorskins on the GAP, Erie canal and a myriad of other rail trail surfaces with no grip issues. When required to detour we've ridden on hard pack, and wood chips trails without problems.
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Old 09-19-16, 07:43 AM
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Originally Posted by dim View Post
Schwalbe Durano plus in 25 or 28 .... beats the crap out of Gators.... and much much better Gator Harshell, and they grip well in the wet and dry (Gators are very bad for wet and you will crash)...

and they roll better. Gators feel like hosepipes


Durano Plus have the Schwalbe puncture resistance of 6 (same as Marathon Plus, and according to Schwalbe, there is no other road racing tyre that offers the same puncture resistance) .... many people buy Gators because their LBS stock them because the LBS makes more profit on Gators than Durano Plus

this my my tire choice for winter in 25's

in summer, I use Continental Grand Prix 4000S II
I have never used Duranos, and wonder about their use on a loaded bike, but given that I have used and ridden Gatorskins for years in the wet and have yet to crash, loaded, half loaded and unloaded, I question your statement.
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Old 09-19-16, 11:43 AM
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Originally Posted by djb View Post
I have never used Duranos, and wonder about their use on a loaded bike, but given that I have used and ridden Gatorskins for years in the wet and have yet to crash, loaded, half loaded and unloaded, I question your statement.
I also wondered about this remark. I have also used Gatorskins for years and have not had any problems with them on wet roads. Actually, I like how they feel on wet roads, and felt that they are pretty "grippy", especially when cornering. In Oregon the roads seem like they are always wet from October to June. Like you, I ride almost every day, regardless of the weather.

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Old 09-19-16, 11:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Doug64 View Post
I also wondered about this remark. I have also Gatorskins for years and have not had any problems with them on wet roads. Actually, I like how they feel on wet roads, and felt that they are pretty "grippy", especially when cornering. In Oregon the roads seem like they are always wet from October to June. Like you I ride almost every day, regardless of the weather.
I haven't experienced issues on pavement but have slipped a few times on wet wooden bridge decking on rail trails with Gatorskins.
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Old 09-19-16, 12:09 PM
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Love my Gatorskins. I don't do too much off road riding but they've held up when I have. No flats in the 10K miles I've used them. Previously I was using Continental Touring Plus tires and, while I suffered no flats in 5K miles, I found that they wore out faster than the Gatorskins. They made it harmlessly through goathead country in Wyoming this summer. Several were stuck in the tire but never punctured through. No issues on wet roads. The only time I put my bike down on Gatorskins was when I took a corner too fast and went from a paved road to a patch of gravel unexpectedly. I'm certain that accident would have happened regardless of the tires I was using. The Continental Touring Plus tires I had were more prone to sliding in the rain and put my bike down twice in the rain using them.
@Doug64 post above has a great photo of goatheads.
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Old 09-19-16, 01:12 PM
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Originally Posted by badger_biker View Post
I haven't experienced issues on pavement but have slipped a few times on wet wooden bridge decking on rail trails with Gatorskins.
Nothing short of studded tires will keep you from slipping on those! Super slick...
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Old 09-20-16, 12:55 AM
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Originally Posted by djb View Post
I have never used Duranos, and wonder about their use on a loaded bike, but given that I have used and ridden Gatorskins for years in the wet and have yet to crash, loaded, half loaded and unloaded, I question your statement.
well, it seems that it's not just me who dislike them for the wet?:

Gatorskins in the wet... « Singletrack Forum

continental ultra gatorskins | CycleChat Cycling Forum


https://www.boards.ie/b/thread/2056896842/3?


http://www.tritalk.co.uk/forums/view...329a639598219f

loads more info on google ....

2 weeks ago, I bought another bike for my daily commuting (200+ miles a week) .... it's an older Specialized S-Works and came with GP 4 Seasons tyres .... it's the first time that I am trying these tyres .... so far, so good, but looking at the rear tyre, it seems to be wearing down pretty fast (I've done just over 300 miles so far), and check the pressures every 2nd day. But saying that, we have had hot weather here in the UK over the past 2 weeks (mini heatwave)

so, looks like I will stick with Schwalbe Durano Plus for winter, then switch to Continental GP 4000 S II for spring/summer next year

Last edited by dim; 09-20-16 at 01:09 AM.
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Old 09-20-16, 07:10 AM
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hey, they are only tires, so use whatever works. For me, the Gatorskins roll reasonably well, they have fairly good flat protection (I ride about 4-5000km per season and usually get about 1 flat per year) and they last a reasonably long time. I am a light guy but I do nearly always have a pannier or two on my bike, so they work well unloaded or more or less loaded, I just change the pressures.
I've got a lot of two wheeled experience, bicycle, motorcycle, a bit of racing experience on motos, drive and slide a car in winter up here in Canada, and have a pretty good feel for traction, and can't honestly say that the Gatorskins have ever been a worry to me, they just work ok for me and last a good long time.

I would hazard a guess that a rear 28mm gator on my bike lasts about maybe 7000km before it starts getting a bit squared off and maybe starts to get a thinner tread, but again, Im real easy on tires being a light guy. This summer I was on a week long supported trip and there were tons of sections with dirt roads and really bad pavement sections with holes, rough patches, you name it, and the gators at a nice low pressure, maybe 80 or so, handled wonderfully and on every downhill curved section I passed all the roadies who had to baby thier expensive light road tires, and many of them getting pinch flats, but the gatorskins worked a treat. Sure, part of that was the right pressures for the conditions, and I like technical stuff and really get off on pushing it to the edge of traction, but they worked great. Wasnt wet , but its just an example.

in the end, you have to ride diff tires yourself and depending on your riding experience, take what you will from that, but remember, tire pressures make a HUGE diff in how a tire feels going around corners. This cannot be understated.

again, safe riding
Ultimately one has to ride on a given tire at diff pressures to get a feel for how they ride, so safe riding on whatever you ride, thats all that matters.
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Old 09-20-16, 10:14 AM
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on my custom wheels i ride gatorskins all the time there great tyres ,here in Ireland the roads are anything but smooth never once had a problem.
now having said that there on my road bike so no heavy loads well except for the pilot.with a good bit of luck i'll be buying a new tourer in the next few weeks and i'll be using these wheels and tyres for touring.
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Old 09-20-16, 11:57 AM
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Include me with the "I didn't know Gatorskins were so lame" group.

I've done 1 1/2 tours on 'em, the whole 2,000 miles of a TX-NY tour, and the last 750 miles of a UK/Ireland France Tour (after my Conti Top Contact II's self-destructed).

Tho I have killed two of them along with several other types on my rough urban commute, my impression has been that Gatorskins hold up well.

I am waiting on some Schwalbe Marathon Pluses to get here to see how they work out.

Mike
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Old 09-21-16, 12:04 PM
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I took delivery of the 700x32 Marathon Pluses last night, rode 'em in this morning.

I surprised me that they are actually slightly narrower than a 32mm Gatorskin. They might roll a tad faster, but the ride feels harsher. After wresting them into place on the rims last night I'm not really looking forward to my first flat.

They are not as heavy nor as massive as the motorcycle tire-like 26"x2.0 Marathon Plus Tours on my mtn. bike, one of which tires was terminally damaged by roadway debris on my commute this past spring. So I ain't expecting these new tires to be immortal either. If I destroy one a year I'll be about at parity with my Gatorskin experience.

About the only area where Gatorskins stumble IMHO is traction in the dirt relative to tires like the Marathons and Conti Top Contact II's that have actual tread patterns, but navigation is still doable on Gatorskins and it ain't like those other tires turn your bike into a mtn. bike.

Having tried prob'ly a half dozen different tires now, I can say that Gatorskins are probably my favorite tire.

Whether these new Marathons I'm riding also grow on me remains to be seen.

Mike
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Old 09-21-16, 02:25 PM
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a pair of VAR tire tools are my tire conquering tool kit , 3 levers to get them off . used all at once.
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Old 09-21-16, 02:42 PM
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I'm trying out a Vittoria Rubino (not Pro) 28mm on the rear wheel. It's a 60 TPI, 365gr. clincher. To me, it looks to be a solid tire that rides reasonably well, so I'm probably going to buy more of them in the future.
Have anyone else experience with this tire?
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Old 09-21-16, 03:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Sharpshin View Post
I surprised me that they are actually slightly narrower than a 32mm Gatorskin. They might roll a tad faster, but the ride feels harsher. After wresting them into place on the rims last night I'm not really looking forward to my first flat.
hey there Mike, take a looksie at this great video of a British chap giving a very comprehensive tutorial on a great trick to help in these $#$@!$%%$@!! type of situations where the air turns blue


using an old strap really does work, but I have just used my hands to do more or less the same thing, and gaining the few mm's here and there that carries on up to the last bit up top can make all the difference--it really does.

I have also wet the rim for the last bit with spit and that can help a treat also, easy to do out on the road where you dont have access to a bit of soap or whatever, but it can help for that last wee bit.

often too tires get a bit easier the next time they are on/off, so perhaps do a trial run in the dry and warmth of your house with a strap, and perhaps already they will have stretched out that teensy smidgen that makes it less of a bear to get on.

PS, every time I see that vid, I am more and more convinced that at the end of it , he hops into his Spitfire without batting an eye to intercept the incoming Me109.....;-)
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Old 09-21-16, 03:24 PM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
a pair of VAR tire tools are my tire conquering tool kit , 3 levers to get them off . used all at once.
I pinched a tube levering the first Marathon Plus over the rim, and noticed that getting it off and back over the rim the second time around wasn't quite as hard. So the back one I put it on first with no tube to stretch it out a tad, dismounted it again, and then put it back on with a tube. Seemed to help.
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