Continental says that its Gatorskin is the UK’s favourite training tyre. We’ve been out and about testing the tyres on the UK’s back roads
Continental pitches the Gatorskin as a tyre suited for sportives, training and commuting. Although it’s not a full-on winter tyre, it also suggests that it can be used for winter riding. There’s also a Gatorskin Hardshell version that adds another layer of puncture protection.
It’s a tyre that has been around for some time, and has a bead-to-bead layer of Conti’s Duraskin puncture protection built in to resist cuts. Its tread is made of natural rubber. Although not as soft or as grippy as the Black Chili compound used in its premium tyres, this is fine on dry roads.
Conti makes the Gatorskin tyres in a range of sizes too. We’ve tested the 25mm folding variant, but it’s available in wired and folding 700c options from 23mm up to 32mm as well as 650b, 26 inch and 27 inch options.
With a recommended price of £34.95, the Gatorskin is around £15 cheaper than the Continental Grand Prix 4000 S II and £20 cheaper than the GP 4 Season tyre, so if you do hit a flint it’s not too expensive an option to replace.
It’s got a similar tread pattern to the GP4000 too, being predominantly slick with small side grips and includes wear indicators in the centre of the tread. There’s not too much weight penalty relative to the GP4000, with the Gatorskin tipping the scales at an extra 30g or so.
Run at around 90psi, the ride is adequately fast and subtle over bumpy tarmac, although you can feel the tyre’s increased rigidity from its more substantial sidewalls and increased puncture protection.
I’ve not had any flats when riding the Gatorskins. Punctures are a bit of dependent on bad luck rather than something you can say anything definite about, but it’s nevertheless reassuring.
The Continental Gatorskin tyre is a good quality mid-priced tyre that rolls well, although it’s not quite as subtle or as grippy as its more expensive brothers.