Continental GatorSkin DuraSkin Folding Tire

27 Aug

Since I live in an area where the streets often have a lot of broken glass on the road I used to get a lot of flat tires, so a few years ago I started using Bontrager Race Lite Hardcase Tires on my main road bike. The Bontrager Race Lite Hardcase Tires offer triple flat protection: a Kevlar belt provides puncture resistance, anti-pinch ribs stop pinch flats, and bead to bead woven construction dramatically reduce your chances of cutting your sidewalls. However, they offer more rolling resistance than I would like and they don’t handle well in the rain. Several of my friends use the Continental GatorSkin DuraSkin Folding Tire (formerly known as Ultra GatorSkin) and they rave about how well it performs, so I decided to give them a chance and am certainly glad I did.

Continental GatorSkin DuraSkin Folding Tire

Continental GatorSkin DuraSkin Folding Tire

After riding over 1,000 miles on my first pair of Continental GatorSkin tires I have to say I dearly love them! They seem to have a lot less rolling resistance than the Bontrager Hard Case tires, and they handle much better in the rain as well. This tire has a smooth center tread and “grips” on the shoulders that allow you handle corners even when there is a lot of debris on the road. As for glass, I ridden through a lot of recently and the tires still look line new.

Continental GatorSkin DuraSkin Folding Tire

Shoulder Grips On The Continental GatorSkin Tire

My biggest test with these tires came last week on hot asphalt. You might have heard the old joke that those of us in the far north only have two seasons: Winter and Construction. The truth is that we have four seasons (almost winter, winter, still winter, and summer). Anyway, last week it seemed like every major road with 30 miles of my house was getting a new layer of asphalt—and one day I got forced into riding over fresh, piping hot, asphalt. The moment I hit it I could feel the temperature rise—the soles of my feet were really hot and I was scared to stop or even slow down! However, I made it through without any problems.

I asked my friend Eric, a Navy commander on the East coast, for his opinion about these tires and he said, “I weigh 220 pounds without any gear or water bottles and put the GatorSkins through the paces. I’ve ridden hard on milled roads, over gravel, off the road onto crud, across Indiana, on lousy Park Service roads at 100 F and have had two flats in 3 years. One was from a stem failure and the other from a puncture (sharp rock, I guess). I buy one new tire every 2000 miles and put it on the back and rotate the old one to the front. While the front tire has a flatter profile, the ‘corners’ are generally pristine and ready to service some pretty staggering turns at speed. They are great tires. I even put the wider ones (28 mm) on my commuting bike and get those with the hard bead. They are bullet proof, which is probably suitable for the neighborhood near the base.”

Continental GatorSkin DuraSkin Folding Tires come in several sizes, including: 26×1 1/8, 650 x 23C, 700 x 23C, 700 x 25C, 700 x 28C, 700 x 32C, and 27 x 1 1/4. Some of these sizes are available in both foldable and wire-bead. I use the 700x25C and it has a maximum inflation of 120psi, but Continental recommends you run them at 95psi. However, since I am not a lightweight rider I keep mine inflated to 120psi.

These tires retail for around $65 (depending on size), and should be available from just about any bike shop. By the way, these tires are handmade in Germany.


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36 responses to “Continental GatorSkin DuraSkin Folding Tire

  1. Mark

    August 27, 2013 at 8:52 AM

    How are these to get on the wheel? My past experience with Gatorskins is that they are a pain to get on the wheel.

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      August 27, 2013 at 7:09 PM

      Fortunately, I’ve not had to take them OFF yet, but the wireless bead was VERY easy to get on (without tools).

      • northernwalker

        August 29, 2013 at 4:49 AM

        I’ve had good experiences of using these tires (and getting them on and off) compared to, say, Schwalbe

  2. jessicawylie

    August 27, 2013 at 10:01 AM

    Good to know. My husband’s bike tires are awful for busting on the road all the time. We cycle mainly in urban areas but constantly have to patch his tires. We are on the hunt for better tires and are looking for recommendations.

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      August 27, 2013 at 7:10 PM

      Urban riding really does require tires with better flat protection — I hope these work for you!

  3. Randy

    August 27, 2013 at 4:52 PM

    I had my 1st flat on the Gaterskins yesterday after 1800 miles.

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      August 27, 2013 at 7:11 PM

      Randy, someone else asked how these tires were to get off — since you have 1,800 miles on your set what would you say?

  4. Melissa

    August 27, 2013 at 8:18 PM

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      August 27, 2013 at 10:10 PM

      ATTENTION EVERYONE: PLEASE, PLEASE click on the link about — it was the best laugh I’ve had in years! Read the entire post — it keeps getting better! Thanks Melissa for sharing!!!

      • Richard Masoner (@cyclelicious)

        September 3, 2013 at 1:35 AM

        After reading that reddit I tried to install my Gatorskins inside how and… well, I can’t see how somebody could do that accidentally. Think of it as my own personal Mythbusters. Fun story, but suspicious :-)

        • All Seasons Cyclist

          September 3, 2013 at 6:08 AM

          It does make you wonder how he ever got the tire on in the first place!

  5. Randy

    August 27, 2013 at 8:56 PM

    I have the wire bead tires and they are hard to get off with out the proper tool. I will go with the foldable gaterskins on my next set

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      August 27, 2013 at 10:10 PM

      Conti tires with wire beads are generally harder to put on the most other tires (but they make some great tires).

  6. anniebikes

    August 27, 2013 at 8:58 PM

    Contrary to how they function, I just like the large orange GATORSKIN logo on black side walls. Very spiffy and appealing. Some day I may actually try them! Nice to know they come in 27″ size for my touring bike.

  7. Jason Pearlman

    August 28, 2013 at 12:07 AM

    “Winter and Construction”; love it. I’ve got a pair of Gatorskins on my road bike and one of my commuters, and yeah, they take a lot of worry off of the ride, though like any tires, still need to be kept at regular pressure and checked regularly.

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      August 28, 2013 at 10:06 AM

      I check my tire pressure before every ride (I have several bikes and seldom ride the same on two days in a row — and they all lose a bit of pressure just sitting in the garage).

  8. Adam C. Henderson

    August 28, 2013 at 7:59 AM

    VERY Timely post! Thanks! Did a double-take on the price… that seems very reasonable!

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      August 28, 2013 at 10:06 AM

      I think they are a great value — especially considering the peace of mind they give me!

  9. peteplowman

    August 28, 2013 at 11:06 AM

    I have got over 3500 miles on my Gatorskins so far, with just 3 punctures…..I love them

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      August 29, 2013 at 2:49 PM

      That is amazing! I normally change my other tires every 2,000 miles — I can’t wait to see how many miles I get on the GatorSkins!

  10. JennyO

    August 28, 2013 at 6:00 PM

    I just want to let you know I listed you in my top 15 and nominated you for the Versatile Blogger Award,

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      August 28, 2013 at 6:11 PM

      Thank you! That was very kind of you!

      • JennyO

        August 28, 2013 at 8:09 PM

        Yes well, you did turn me on to Road ID ;) and someday I’ll be on a bike, but my workout clothes are fresh and like new because of your site ;)
        Happy Trails!

  11. essiep

    August 29, 2013 at 10:50 AM

    I carry a metal tyre lever to get them back on the rim. The plastic ones just bend or break under the force. the problem is worse on Mavic rims I find.

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      August 29, 2013 at 2:50 PM

      One of my mountain bikes has Mavic rims — they are night and lightweight rims, but a real pain when it comes to changing tires!

  12. Eugene

    August 30, 2013 at 4:46 AM

    I love Gatorskins and they were the only tyres that could withstand South African (and British!) road conditions, but for some reason Continental don’t sell them in mainland Europe! I can’t find them anywhere in the Netherlands and might have to import them from the UK. Weird for a German tyre… Mybe they ahve a different name over here?

    Think I need to do it before the winter conditions set in. Brilliant tyres

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      August 30, 2013 at 2:55 PM

      There is a note at the bottom of the GatorSkin page that says, “Some sizes and versions are not available in all countries.” I have no idea how or why they choose some countries and not others. Ride safely!

      • Richard Masoner (@cyclelicious)

        September 3, 2013 at 1:45 AM

        Packaging differs for different companies, and that’s a lot of SKUs if you have to replicate for a dozen different markets for all of your products.

        I haven’t seen Conti tires made for the German market (for example) but I do know that the French Hutchinson changes the sidewall text on some of their tires depending on the target market. Hutch “Secteur” (which, BTW, is an absolutely fantastic tire for the commuter who rides 700 road) is “Sector” for the USA market.

        • Richard Masoner (@cyclelicious)

          September 3, 2013 at 1:46 AM

          Sorry – I mistyped that first phrase: “Packaging differs for different markets

        • All Seasons Cyclist

          September 3, 2013 at 8:36 PM

          Thanks for the information — Hutchinson tires are not very popular my part of the world — but Conti tires seem to be everywhere.

  13. MikeW

    August 30, 2013 at 11:52 AM

    Great review. I’d buy these tires. In the summer here some places have those terrible goat head thorns. Hopefully these would repel them.

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      August 30, 2013 at 2:51 PM

      I’ve never had to deal with goat head thorns — but I’ve read a lot about them — you have my sympathy!

      • MikeW

        August 31, 2013 at 11:42 AM

        Route familiarity and selection is a commodity when those are around! They’re not everywhere, fortunately! Have a great weekend.

  14. homegrowncompany

    September 10, 2013 at 1:18 PM

    Heard these are awesome!
    I got 4 flats in my last century ride.
    A gal I saw told me about these.
    Good to hear they work!


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