How to Avoid Flat Tires is an issue all cyclists and triathletes deal with, click to see the Gatorskin Tires Review which will drastically reduce how many flat tires you get biking.
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I’ll give you some tips on which tires you can use, and what you’re going to have to give up to make sure that you’re avoiding as many flats as possible in those rough conditions.
I had been riding these Vittoria Open Corsa CX IIIs for a couple of seasons so they were coming to the end of their lifespan, so I decided that I would retire these and because winter was coming up and the roads would be pretty gnarly I would upgrade to a fairly flat resistant tire.
This is the Gatorskin Duraskin non-foldable tire, it took me one ride to realize how much ride quality I had actually sacrificed coming from those Vittorias. So I started doing a little bit of research on why these flat resistant tires are so poor in their ride quality, and what you can expect if you are going to go to a tire that is dedicated to those bad conditions.
If you make a tire either faster or more durable you’re going to sacrifice grip and a fair bit of ride quality.
A Vittoria Open Corsa tire weighs about 235 grams and the Gatorskin weighs about 290 grams. A difference of 55 grams, you might think that that’s not a big deal but testing actually shows that somewhere around 15 times the actual weight is the rolling resistance that’s put on to the tire. So that fifty five grams is actually an additional 825 grams of rolling resistance, 1.81 pounds. When you can spend the same amount on both of these tires and have a net rolling resistance effect of 1.81 less pounds with a Vittoria Corsa or a typical road tire; you’re going to notice a fair bit of ride quality difference when you go with a Gatorskin.
If you want to talk about watts of rolling resistance, anywhere in between 100 and 120 psi, which most people are going to roll their bike tires at, a Vittoria Open Corsa is going to have about 13 to 13.6 watts of rolling resistance. The Gatorskin has 19.3 or 20.2 watts of rolling resistance. So we’re talking about 60% more rolling resistance in the Gatorskin over a Vittoria Corsa. With some people spending hundreds of dollars on aero helmets, and aero shoes and aero pedals to save seven watts of rolling resistance. And just by choosing a different tire you can get seven watts of rolling resistance gain.
One of the biggest and most serious differences that I saw between these two tires was the control that I had with the bike.
So I don’t really have any stats to give you on the grip between these two tires but I’ll certainly say that anecdotally, I’ll say that this tire is not nearly as safe as a lot of the other tires out there.
If you’re strictly looking for a tire that is more flat resistant than the other tires out there and you’re not worried racing, and you just want a big burly tire that you’re not going to have to worry about flats with the Gatorskin is a good option because we do have some stats that show the Gatorskin is about 50% more flat resistant than the Vittoria tire. And Continental themselves say that the Gatorskin is more suited for grand touring and touring, not so much group riding.
But just know that you’re probably going to give up a fair bit of ride quality and as soon as you start riding in groups or you start riding a little bit faster, taking faster turns, you should probably be getting into a safer, more supple, more grippy, better suited tire where you have more control over the bike.
So there you have it folks, the Gatorskin is not a terrible tire. Good friends of mine absolutely swear by these. It’s just not a very good trade off for me for the vast majority of my rides.
Use it sparingly, in winter riding, in rough conditions, be extra careful with it. And just understand that it’s not going to be the same feel as a typical racing tire.