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.
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.
|Tire Type||Tubetype (clincher)|
|Supplied By||Bought in store|
|New or Used||New|
|Compound||carbon black mixture|
|Specified Weight||240 grams|
32-630 (27x1 1/4)
28-559 (26x1 1/8)
Size and Weight Measurements
|Size and Weight Measurements (Bike Wheel: 622x17C, Pressure: 100 psi / 6.9 bar)|
|Specified Weight||240 grams|
|Measured Weight||255 grams|
|Measured Width||26 mm|
|Measured Height||23 mm|
|Total Tire Thickness Center||3.2 mm|
|Total Tire Thickness Sidewall||0.7 mm|
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.
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||
CRR: Not Tested
|Rolling Resistance 120 psi / 8.3 Bar||
|Rolling Resistance 100 PSI / 6.9 Bar||
|Rolling Resistance 80 PSI / 5.5 Bar||
|Rolling Resistance 60 PSI / 4.1 Bar||
|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).
Puncture Resistance Test Results
|Puncture Resistance Test Results (higher is better)|
|Puncture Resistance Tread||18|
|Puncture Resistance Sidewall||7|
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).
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.
TEST VERDICT: Recommended