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Well, I've been out a lot lately in both good and not so good weather - but invariabley on the Somerset Levels, here inthe UK - some of the roads are less than kind too. I currently have Conti Ultra Sports on and (touches wood!) they're still good after some long rides. But others have suggested for my France ride I should consider Gatorskins? 
 

I am tempted to stick with what I know works......what are your thoughts?

Cheers,

 

Tony

21 comments

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cyclesteffer [346 posts] 5 months ago
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Neither - Continental Four Seasons.

Ultra sports puncture too easily although they are fast.

Gatorskins have terrible wet grip and feel "wooden", they also flatten off badly and cut up.

Conti Four seasons, are fast, light, grippy and have mega puncture resistance. Worth paying the extra for.

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mike the bike [1098 posts] 5 months ago
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Correct.

Gatorskins are the most over-rated tyre I've had the misfortune to ride, I have seldom been so disappointed by a product from a big name manufacturer.  I suffered flat after flat and was never happy with the grip, wet or dry.  A change to Schwalbe Duranos solved all those problems at a stroke.

But I still buy Conti products, the GP4000 II is a remarkable tyre for summer riding on my best bike and my daughter loves her Cyclocross Speeds, which are amazingly comfortable.

  

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Grahamd [976 posts] 5 months ago
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GP4000 II for me too. 

I use GP 4000 II on my best wheels for the summer and use Gatorskins on my regular wheels for poorer road conditions. The Gatorskins are more robust IMHO, yes as with all tyres they can suffer a puncture, but have never  torn one, whereas I have torn GP 4000s on two separate occasions.

 

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Zermattjohn [285 posts] 5 months ago
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Gatorskins are notoriously difficult to fit/remove. I've snapped a number of tyre levers, and hurt a lot of fingers getting them on. They're pretty puncture-proof, so fortunately it's pretty rare you'll need to remove them on the road. Also, they're very "dull" feeling. GP4000s are a hell of a lot better in my opinion, and offer decent puncture resistance too. French roads are (mostly) a lot better than in the UK, so you'll feel the benefit of more supple tyres.

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Psycheonabike [38 posts] 5 months ago
1 like

Be great if there was a Poll facility in here...  3

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sergius [558 posts] 5 months ago
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I run both Conti GP4000SII and Gatorskins. 

The GPs cut up badly and I get a few punctures on them (same as Schwalbe Ones).  I replaced the rear (it's always the rear!) GP with a Gatorskin and haven't had a puncture since.

 

Inspecting it the other day, it doesn't really seem to have been cut up at all either - which is quite unusual as I've not ever managed to have a tyre last long enough to worry about wear before; they've had so many nicks and cuts before then they get downgraded to turbo usage.

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Psycheonabike [38 posts] 5 months ago
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Blimey....this is so polarised!

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captain_slog [458 posts] 5 months ago
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Zermattjohn wrote:

Gatorskins are notoriously difficult to fit/remove.

I think it's a matter of being lucky with your tyre/rim combination. I have fairly feeble fingers but haven't had too much difficulty with my Gatorskins. The 32mm folding-bead ones are certainly easier to fit than the same-size, wire-bead Vittoria Randonneurs they replaced.

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Yrcm [44 posts] 5 months ago
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Definitely worth replacing the Ultrasports with something, they're basically a budget tyre and not too robust or puncture resistant, you don't want your trip spoiled uneccessarily by flats. My road bike came with them and I replaced them with Schwalbe Duranos, which are another option that will give you a bit more puncture protection but still roll and grip well. 

Nothing much wrong with Gatorskins in that respect either, have them on the road tandem and they've been very reliable.

This is a useful resource if you want to look at how different models of tyre compare https://www.bicyclerollingresistance.com/

 

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OR_biker [46 posts] 5 months ago
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I've tried a few different Conti's and found that I can't get much out of them on my back wheel.  Used Gatorskins a couple times and they squared off pretty badly by around 500 miles, and were completely worn down before I hit 1,000.  Heard 4 Seasons were supposed to be better... lasted just over 600 miles before threads were showing, though they felt a lot better than the Gatorskins.  I'm around 89 kg's, and they were all 25c tires, if that helps at all.

As for my front wheel, I've been quite happy with the 4 Seasons as well as the Ultra Sport, though I got a wire-bead Ultra Sport and it seemed to ride a bit stiffer than the few folding ones I've used.  Could have just been that one tire, though.  Gatorskins lasted quite a bit longer as a front tire, but really don't feel like they roll well to me.  Even though the 4S seems to have better grip in the wet than the Ultra Sport, I still tend to go with the US since it's a fair bit cheaper and I feel like it rolls better than the 4S, and both have been similar for me as far as puncture resistance on the front.

However, personally I've had the best experiences with Michelin.  The old Krylion Carbon has been the tire that has lasted the longest for my back wheel - just under 2k miles on the two I've tried, and the latest one has logged a few hundred more on my trainer.  Currently, I have a few hundred miles on a Pro 4 Endurance and I love it!  Rolls better for me than any Conti I've tried, much softer than the Gatorskins or the old Krylion Carbon, and I've been able to find it on sale for only a few bucks more than the Ultra Sport.  Unless it completely falls apart on me in the next few hundred miles, it'll be my new go-to tire.

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StraelGuy [1515 posts] 5 months ago
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I'm something of a Conti fanboy (I run Conti Grand Prix GT on my summer bike that I love) but I'm running Michelin Pro Endurance on my winter bike that I bought to replace Conti 4 Seasons. I find the Michelins have just as much grip but roll much better and seem to be very long lasting, they've got ~1,900 miles on them and they're barely started squaring off (I'm 65kg).

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Jetmans Dad [58 posts] 5 months ago
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I am a big, heavy rider (over 100kg), but my Gatorskins have almost 4000 miles on them without squaring off, cutting up or puncturing at all. I bought the folding version and they fitted very easily on my R500s. I have been so pleased with them I am going to buy  another pair to replace them.  

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Tjuice [261 posts] 5 months ago
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Clearly lots of opinions...

I'll add a +1 for Conti GP 4 Seasons.

I have been riding them for many years and my winter bike has never seen any other tyres.  I'm riding on pretty beaten up roads around Oxfordshire in all weathers and, touch wood, have had very few punctures.  In fact, the only one I can remember was towards the end of a ride where I had completely bonked so was a bit zoned out and went straight into a really sharp pothole as I was braking towards a junction.  Given most of my weight was on the front end and I did not unweight at all, funnily enough, I got a pinch puncture.

 

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Richard1982 [107 posts] 5 months ago
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"Gatorskins are the most over-rated tyre I've had the misfortune to ride"

This! ​I now run GP4000s II's year round on my training wheels.

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SpikeBike [102 posts] 5 months ago
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I have tried Gator/4Seasons/GP4000s on my commute into and out of London.

 

Gators on rear last 2500 miles for me before they are ripped up too much to keep on rear.

4Season lasted half that although they feel a much better tyre to ride. I found them terrible on wet drains.

GP4000s feel amazing and are 100% the best in dry and wet conditions but on London roads I ripped them off after 6 weeks! Biggest waste of money for a commuter bike. Dont do it to yourself. I might as well have set fire to £80! (while covering my hands with grease and standing in the p$ssing rain)

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Psycheonabike [38 posts] 5 months ago
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SpikeBike wrote:

I have tried Gator/4Seasons/GP4000s on my commute into and out of London.

 

Gators on rear last 2500 miles for me before they are ripped up too much to keep on rear.

4Season lasted half that although they feel a much better tyre to ride. I found them terrible on wet drains.

GP4000s feel amazing and are 100% the best in dry and wet conditions but on London roads I ripped them off after 6 weeks! Biggest waste of money for a commuter bike. Dont do it to yourself. I might as well have set fire to £80! (while covering my hands with grease and standing in the p$ssing rain)

 

So what do you use?

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Joe Totale [64 posts] 5 months ago
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I agree with some of the other posters here, Gatorskins are the worst tires I've ever used. They're expensive, have no grip and are a pain in the backside to fit and remove. They're tough but they still get punctures. 

The 4 season is a much better tyre but is still expensive and don't have the greatest life due to the supple grip they have. 

IMO good quality tires with good puncture proofing that aren't too expensive are Schwalbe Duranos or Specialized Roubaix's but the best ones are definately Michelin Pro 4 Endurances. 

I've used them all winter and haven't had a puncture, they're grippy and roll nearly as well as summer tires like a GP4000 andthey're long lasting , mine still have plenty of life left for next winter and they're not too hard to fit and remove.

Also they don't cost too much, you can get them for £25 each at Decathalon. 

This website is a great one to compare many diffferent types of tire with, especially with regards to toughness and rolling resistance:

https://www.bicyclerollingresistance.com/

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StraelGuy [1515 posts] 5 months ago
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Agree Joe. The current version of the Pro 4 Endurances is the Michelin Power Endurance, they're great tyres.

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SpikeBike [102 posts] 5 months ago
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I use Gators for commuter, Schwalbe Pro One for weekend bike as longer rides I prefer the cusioning of tubeless tyres. Used to be 4000s for weekend bike

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mike the bike [1098 posts] 5 months ago
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A couple of contributors here seem to be directly comparing Gatorskins to GP 4000S II, as though they were intended to do the same job.  They are not.  

The Gatorskin is basically a commuter or bad weather tyre, for use where puncture protection, grip and reliability are paramount.  It was in this context that I found them lacking in every respect.

The GP4000S II is a tyre for fast training or even racing, where low rolling resistance is the primary requirement and the occasional flat is accepted as part of the package.  That's why I still rate them highly and buy them for summer use.  

Any attempt to use either tyre in inappropriate conditions can only lead to disappointment, a condition all too familiar to we cyclists.

 

 

PS A couple of people have also praised the Michelin Pro4 Endurance and this may be the tyre that breaks all the rules.  It's light, comfortable and fast but somehow shrugs off punctures.  How do they do that?  I've been running them for a couple of years on Bike No2 and, if there could be only one tyre in the world, this would be the one.

(They are now obsolete, although still available at some retailers, and have been replaced by the identical Krylion Endurance at around the same price.

Despite Michelin's nomenclature the new Power Endurance is not the same; it lacks the sidewall protection layer.  See www.bicyclerollingresistance.com for details.)

 

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ibr17xvii [338 posts] 5 months ago
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I have the GatorHardshell on my winter bike & although the puncture protection is excellent they are diabolical in the wet which for a winter tyre is ridiculous.

When they wear out I'll be after something else probably in 28's.