Tire Test - Continental Gator Hardshell

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Test Summary

Conclusion: 3 / 5 Recommended
Weight: 273 grams
Rolling Resistance: 19.5 watts
Puncture Resistance: 20 (tread) / 8 (sidewall)

Continental Gator Hardshell road bike tire on a rolling resistance test machine

The Continental Gator Hardshell is a tire that is not the main target of our website as we mostly focus on low rolling resistance tires. We did get a lot of requests to test the Gator Hardshell as people are curious about how it compares to the still very popular Continental Gatorskin and Continental Grand Prix range. Continental marks the Gator Hardshell as their most puncture resistant and longest lasting road bike tire which makes it a perfect training tire.

Buy Continental Gator Hardshell at Amazon.com

When looking at the specifications of both the Gatorskin (read review) and Gator Hardshell, we can quickly conclude that the Gator Hardshell is pretty much a beefed up Gatorskin. For the same 25-622 size, the Gator Hardshell is 30 grams heavier which has been put to use to offer more protection and more durability.

Continental doesn't specify the compound they use on this tire, but we're quite certain the compound is the same as used on the Gatorskin.

The Gator Hardshell is available in the 23-622, 25-622, 28-622, 32-622, and 32-630 sizes. All 622 sizes are available in both a folding and rigid bead version. We've tested the folding 25-622 version of the Gator Hardshell as we think saving 75 grams per tire is money well spent.

Manufacturer Specifications
Brand Continental
Model Gator Hardshell
Year 2019
Tire Type Tubetype (clincher)
Supplied By Bought in store
New or Used New
Mileage 0 km
Price Range High
Price Amazon.com
Manufacturer part number 0100313
TPI 3/180
Bead Folding
ETRTO 25-622
Size Inch 28"
Width 25
Specified Weight 270 grams
Max Pressure 120
Made In Germany
Available Sizes 23-622 (700x23c)
25-622 (700x25c)
28-622 (700x28c)
32-622 (700x32c)

Continental Gator Hardshell Test Results

Continental Gator Hardshell road bike tire on a rolling resistance test machine

Size and Weight Measurements

Size and Weight Measurements (Bike Wheel: 622x17C, Pressure: 100 psi / 6.9 bar)
Specified Weight 270 grams
Measured Weight 273 grams
Measured Width 26 mm
Measured Height 23 mm
Total Tire Thickness Center 3.7 mm
Total Tire Thickness Sidewall 1 mm
Unmounted Casing Width 65 mm
Unmounted Tread Width 26 mm

Weight. The specified weight of the folding 25-622 Gator Hardshell is 270 grams, our sample comes in quite close to the specified weight at 273 grams.

Size. Just like the Gatorskin, and many other 25-622 rated tires, the Gator Hardshell has a width of 26 mm and a height of 23 mm.

Tire Thickness. Here we can see an obvious difference between the Gator Hardshell and Gatorskin. Tread thickness of the Gator Hardshell is 3.7 mm while the Gatorskin has a tread thickness of 3.2 mm. The sidewalls also are made thicker and have a thickness of 1.0 mm while the Gatorskin has a sidewall thickness of just 0.7 mm.

The tire thickness measurements tell us the extra 30 grams of weight can be traced back to a thicker tread and sidewalls. The Gator Hardshell definitely will be more durable than the Gatorskin.

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Rolling Resistance Test Results

Rolling Resistance Test Results (Speed: 29 kmh / 18 mph / 8 m/s, Load: 42.5 kg / 417 N)
Inner Tube Conti Race28 (100gr butyl)
Rolling Resistance 140 psi / 9.7 Bar Not Tested
CRR: Not Tested
Rolling Resistance 120 psi / 8.3 Bar 19.5 Watts
CRR: 0.00585
Rolling Resistance 100 PSI / 6.9 Bar 20.5 Watts
CRR: 0.00615
Rolling Resistance 80 PSI / 5.5 Bar 23.1 Watts
Rolling Resistance 60 PSI / 4.1 Bar 27.4 Watts
CRR: 0.00821
Use the formula: RR (watts) = CRR * speed (m/s) * load (N) to calculate rolling resistance at a given speed and load

As expected, the Gator Hardshell doesn't excel in the rolling resistance tests. What does surprise us is that it's still very close in performance to the Gatorskin (read review). At the higher air pressures, it comes within 0.2 - 0.3 watts. At lower air pressures, the disadvantage grows to 1.1 - 1.2 watts which still will be hard to notice in real-life.

When compared to the fastest rolling tires, you'll be losing quite a lot of power with the Gator Hardshells. When we compare the Hardshell to the brand new Grand Prix 5000 (read review), rolling resistance is close to double of the Grand Prix 5000. For a set of tires, 20+ watts of power is lost in the tires (at 18 mph / 29 km/h, 85 kg total weight.) when compared to the fast Grand Prix 5000.

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Puncture Resistance Test Results

Puncture Resistance Test Results (higher is better)
Puncture Resistance Tread 20 Points
Puncture Resistance Sidewall 8 Points

The puncture resistance tests are the natural habitat of the Gator Hardshell. When compared to the Gatorskin that already has a very good puncture resistance, puncture resistance of both the tread and sidewall has been increased by 10-15% to 20 points in the tread puncture test and 8 points in the sidewall puncture test.

When we compare the Gator Hardshell to all other road bike tires that have been tested by us, it now takes the title as the most puncture resistant road bike tire. The Gator Hardshell replaces the Pirelli Cinturato Velo TLR (read review) that also scored 20 points in the tread test but only scored 7 points in the sidewall test.

It's also good to mention that the Gator Hardshell has twice the rolling resistance of the Grand Prix 5000, but it also has twice the puncture resistance of the Grand Prix 5000.

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Continental Gator Hardshell road bike tire on a rolling resistance test machine

The Continental Gator Hardshell is basically a beefed up Continental Gatorskin. Puncture resistance has been increased by 10-15% while rolling resistance has gone up by just 2-5%. Tread thickness has been increased from 3.2 mm to 3.7 mm and the sidewalls have gone from 0.70 mm to 1.00 mm. With the increased tire thickness, the Gator Hardshell definitely is going to last longer than the Gatorskin.

We rate the Gator Hardshell 4 out of 5 as it takes the most puncture resistant road bike tire crown and we think it's a better buy than the Gatorskin if you're looking for a training tire.

Buy Continental Gator Hardshell at Amazon.com

RATING: 3 / 5


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