Featured User Review: Continental Gator Hardshell Tires

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Featured User Review: Continental Gator Hardshell Tires
by sean_f

Price: $40.00 at chainreactioncycles.com
Overall Rating: 5 of 5
Value Rating: 4 of 5

Bike Setup:
Cheap-as frame, 105 group-o, Aksium wheels

Favorite Ride:
I Like em all

Summary:
In a word, FANTASTIC! Of course, there are caveats on that description – these tyres are heavy, certainly won’t cut it racing; they can be expensive (I’ll get to this); and, they may not be the best all-weather tyre given only minor grip on the outer-edges.

These tyres, while very hardy, are NOT puncture PROOF, but they are VERY puncture resistant. I have had one major flat (on my first ride on them no less!) where I went past a building site and suffered a square-on puncture from a building staple – nothing was stopping that damn thing!


Another problem I’ve had is a split of the tyre wall from the wire beading resulting in a bulging wall when the tube was inflated. I sent an email to CRC with an explanation and some photos, couple of days later, I got word they would send me a new one as this was a manufacturing defect (that is a bit of applause for the CRC team I know, but they deserve it IMO/IME).

Problems aside, I like these tyres a heck of a lot. I can’t compare them really with any other of the ‘tough’ style tyres (Gator Skins, Armadillos, etc), but I know they’re better than my old Contis for toughness.

So, if you’re looking for a durable, puncture resistant tyre for commuting/training/venturing into the great beyond on your pedal-powered dream, and don’t mind spending a decent amount, then these make a great tyre and I highly recommend them.

Strengths:
- Solid build (in spite of my split-from-the-bead issue – I’m sure this was a one-off concern and Continental seem to have too good a reputation to let my one experience thwart anyone else’s view of the brand)
- Puncture resistance (remember though, they aren’t puncture PROOF)
- Continental’s warranty (admittedly assisted by staff at CRC)

Weaknesses:
Price in Australia! I called a few LBS and got prices ranging from $90-$120 a tyre! (Australian dollars of course). I got a pair of them shipped from the UK (Chain Reaction Cycles) for $100! Can’t confirm if this is a ‘weakness’ elsewhere in the world, but certainly in Oz where we get ripped off for everything cycling!

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