Road Bike Tire Test: Continental Gatorskin

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Contents and Test Summary

  1. Introduction
  2. Manufacturer Specifications
  3. Size, Weight, Thickness
  4. Rolling Resistance: 19.3 watts
  5. Puncture Resistance: 18 tread / 7 sidewall
  6. Conclusion: 3 / 5 Recommended
  7. Comments
  • Continental Gatorskin
Performance compared to all other road bike tires
(100% is fastest - lightest - thickest - strongest)

Continental Gatorskin road bike tire on a rolling resistance test machine

The Continental Gatorskin has been around for a long time and is well-known for its excellent puncture resistance qualities. This tire is available as both a folding and rigid version. The tire I'm reviewing is the folding 700 x 25 C version of the Gatorskin. Continental specifies this tire as a tire that can be used on the way to work or as a training tire. They seem to emphasize the puncture resistance qualities a lot, but nothing is said about rolling resistance.


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The Gatorskin uses a 3/180 carcass with DuraSkin fabric and a PolyXBreaker for increased puncture resistance. The rubber compound is a "Durable carbon black mixture." This seems to be quite an old compound which has been optimized for low wear and cold weather grip. Claimed weight of the 25C folding Gatorskin is 240 grams which is a low weight for such a strong tire.


When looking at the Continental road bike tires line-up, I noticed the new Grand Prix 4-Season. This seems to be a tire with the same properties as the Gatorskin but is a new design with the latest tire technology. The 4-Season seems to be close to a GP4000S with an extra layer of Vectran breaker and a DuraSkin sidewall. I'm looking forward to comparing this tire to the Gatorskin (edit: Gatorskin Vs GP 4-Season as it will be a good example of how much tire tech has progressed in the last ten years.

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Manufacturer Specifications


Manufacturer Specifications
Brand Continental
Model Gatorskin
Year 2015
Tire Type Tubetype (clincher)
Supplied By Bought in store
New or Used New
Mileage 0 km
Price Range High
Buy At Ad Amazon.com
Manufacturer part number 0100084
TPI 3/180
Compound carbon black mixture
Bead Folding
ETRTO 25-622
Size Inch 28"
Width 25
Specified Weight 240 grams
Max Pressure 120
Made In Germany
Available Sizes 32-630 (27x1 1/4)
23-622 (700x23C)
25-622 (700x25C)
28-622 (700x28C)
32-622 (700x32C)
23-571 (650x23C)
28-559 (26x1 1/8)

Continental Gatorskin Test Results

Continental Gatorskin road bike tire on a rolling resistance test machine

Size, Weight, and Thickness Measurements


Size, Weight and Thickness Measurements (Bike Wheel: 622x17C, Pressure: 100 psi / 6.9 bar)
Specified Weight 240 grams
Measured Weight 255 grams
System Adjusted Weight
(tire + inner tube (100 gr)
355 grams
Measured Width 26 mm
Measured Height 23 mm
Total Tire Thickness Center 3.2 mm
Total Tire Thickness Sidewall 0.7 mm
Unmounted Casing Width No Data
Unmounted Tread Width No Data

The measured weight is 255 grams, which is higher than the specified weight of 240 grams. With a measured width of 26 mm and measured height of 23 mm on a 17C rim, sizing is very close to its rated size of 25C.

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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 19.3 Watts
CRR: 0.00579
Rolling Resistance 100 PSI / 6.9 Bar 20.2 Watts
CRR: 0.00606
Rolling Resistance 80 PSI / 5.5 Bar 22.0 Watts
CRR:0.00659
Rolling Resistance 60 PSI / 4.1 Bar 26.2 Watts
CRR: 0.00785
Use the formula: RR (watts) = CRR * speed (m/s) * load (N) to calculate rolling resistance at a given speed and load

As expected, rolling resistance is very high. At 120 psi, rolling resistance is 19.3 watts. At lower air pressures, rolling resistance rises even more. At 80 psi, rolling resistance is 22.0 watts, which means rolling resistance is 8.3 watts higher when compared to a GP4000S II at 80 psi (13.7 watts).

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Puncture Resistance Test Results

Continental Gatorskin road bike tire on a rolling resistance test machine
Puncture Resistance Test Results (higher is better)
Puncture Resistance Tread 18 Points
Puncture Resistance Sidewall 7 Points

In the puncture resistance test, the Gatorskin shows us what it's all about. It's able to score 18 points in the puncture resistance test, which is the highest score of all tires tested to date. A puncture resistance score of 18 means it requires 64% more force to puncture than a GP4000S II (PR score of 11).

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Conclusion


  • Continental Gatorskin
Performance compared to all other road bike tires
(100% is fastest - lightest - thickest - strongest)

I like the fact Continental doesn't claim the Gatorskin to be a low rolling resistance tire but instead it is designed to achieve a high puncture resistance. With a puncture resistance score of 18 in our puncture resistance test, I can confirm that this is a very strong tire. If all you want from a road bike tire is high puncture resistance and you don't care about speed, the Gatorskin is a good choice.


While the Gatorskin is a good choice, It's quite an old-tech road bike tire. The newer Continental Grand Prix 4-Season (read review) might be a better tire with a double layer of Vectran breaker and a DuraSkin sidewall.

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RATING: 3 / 5
TEST VERDICT:
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