A round, black, piece of rubber aka a puncture resistant, durable tire, well suited for daily abuse.
These tires are kind of a pain to mount especially the first time around. You will need your man hands for these.
Lots of miles + very few flats = good training tire.
Well, it's that time of year again, the days are getting shorter and colder, the trees are nearly naked, and summer feels like a distant memory. This time of year means off season training is about be in full force. This also translates into winter riding with all the crappy conditions and rough ass roads that accompany the winter months.
Yes, it's a tire review. We are hesitant to even post such a review. Why? Because tires and the performance and durability experienced by those who ride them are typically all over the page. Try to find reviews of any tire out there and it will read the same, one review reads something like this, "best tires ever, I got over 3000 miles out of ‘em and no flats" followed by the very next reviewer that says, "worst tires ever, flatted 10 times in the first 100 miles".
So, with that said, one thing we have always tried to do at TriBomb is to pass along information about the gear that has performed above average for us, and that's what this review is all about.
You know how it goes. Training tires get very little attention, (until there's a problem) training tires are the lowly workhorses that we use and abuse until we are done with ‘em and they get tossed like yesterday's news. Our MO usually goes something like this, buy new training tires, ride the crap out of said tires, start getting flats, rip ‘em off, trash ‘em, repeat.
That being said, we have had the Continental Ultra Gatorskin tires on a set training wheels for parts of two seasons now with very little to complain about.
We actually ended up with these tires by accident. A last minute trip to the LBS in desperate need of new tires one afternoon left us with these tires as our "choice". It ended up being a pretty nice discovery...accidental, but nice.
Yes, there are lighter options. Yes, there are smoother riding options. Yes, there are options with less rolling resistance. Yes, there are even prettier options. But, for a bombproof, flat resistant, beat the hell out of ‘em type of tire, we haven't come across many options that can match our experience with this tire. After countless miles and flat numbers that could be counted on one hand we have been very impressed with this tire.
The Continental Gatorskin uses a bead to bead layer of DuraSkin, a mesh that helps protect the
sidewalls, and a layer of Kevlar for extra protection for a total of 170 tpi. The end result? These layers combine to make an extremely puncture resistant, super durable tread. These tires are
are not light, weight is in the 240g range. But for all the nastiness of harsh winter riding and crappy road conditions these tires make an excellent off season tire choice.
The puncture resistance of this tire is, in our experience, about as good as it gets. Looking back over our Garmin files we have put well over 3000 miles on these tires and while worn, they're still going strong. We've even used this tire quite a bit on the trainer, mainly when we're too lazy to change out the rear wheel, but nevertheless it's even survived that abuse. Honestly, we felt like we got our money's worth a long time ago, so any trainer use that might lead to the demise of our rear tire was accepted. However, it actually still looks pretty good.
We typically run these tires at 100-110 psi and that seems to be a good range for overall ride quality.
Don't misunderstand us we aren't touting this as a speedy, race day ready tire. Quite the opposite actually, this tire was made for the abuse that few other tires can withstand. For the most part, the Gatorskins have been tough as nails...well, almost. Unless you target road hazards like a heat seeking missile, these tires should give you many miles of trouble free riding.
TriBomb Bottom Line
If you're looking for a super smooth race day clincher (if that's how you roll on race day) look elsewhere. Bottom line is simple...one tough ass tire.