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I disagree that they grip fine. They grip OK in the dry, but in the wet the give way suddenly and don't stop sliding
A helmet saved my life
Those who claim to be able to judge the sideway grip difference between two tyres, while astride a bike, amaze me. Walking on water must be second nature to them.
They have my admiration.
Oh c'mon Mike, they stop sliding when you hit something.
I was surprised they are so popular in England considering the weather. Their roads must be really bad.
Gators never inspired confidence in me for wet weather riding. I'm happy with the Rubinos so far. They don't appear to wear as well, but seem to grip and roll better. The Gators didn't fail me but I'd still probably try the Schwalbe Duranos next time if I wanted to go more durable again.
I probably ride a lot quicker than most riders do in the wet and hence I'm more likely to find the limits.
Tyres that I've used a reasonable amount in the wet;
- Rubino. Good all rounder, for many this is the right balance between cost, protection and performance. Griped OK in the wet providing they weren't over inflated. Note there have been 3 iterations of this tyre since I last used them.
- GP4000. More sporty than the Rubino, but similar wet weather grip
- GP4000s chilli. Noticable wet weather improvement over the 4000, similar to pro2race
- Pro2Race. Excellent wet weather grip. In other ways not so suitable for Sydney.
- Gatorskin. I've used about 6 of these and there are some different versions marketed, not sure of the exact difference 'Dura skin' 'hard shell'. The problem for me is that it simply doesn't give the level of wet weather grip that I want. Put the power on exiting a corner in the wet and you can spin it. BTW I haven't had any of the side wall problems reported, the side walls have been fine for me.
So currently I am running the following tyres on the road bikes;
- OCR has none, I nicked them and put them on the fixie. The bike needs some new parts so no rush to replace them.
- Fixe has my last pro2race on the front and my last gatorskin on the rear
- Focus has GP4000s chilli. this is my race bike and when I need some more tyres I will nick these and replace them with new pro3race which I got cheap (got 4 tyres), probably do latex tubes as well.
My solution to decent commuter wet weather grip is to use my old race tyres and wear them right down, using tyre liners. the fixie is used for commuting.
A helmet saved my life
Trying my luck. Decided it is impossible to rely on reviews. I've had 2 tubes go recently after a remarkable run with my commuting roadie, I think these UltraSports are just plain wearing thin. Hopefully the Gatorskins will do what the marketing says... at least they were fairly cheap for the 2 tyres/2 tubes pack from Wiggle?
It's just experience. To put it simply it is a matter of listening and feel. As stange as it may sound/read, you can hear a tyre under stress. It "hisses" more (on a dry road). You also get a feel for the little movements that happen near the limit. If you learn to recognize these, you are far less likely to have a big lose. This applies to both MTB and road. Best learnt on a MTB though.
Last edited by Nobody on Thu Dec 01, 2011 7:43 am, edited 2 times in total.
Thanks for posting this. I found it interesting.
forgot to mention one other;
Michlen Axial (spelling?) At circular quay, CBD Sydney: Hit a tiny patch of water dropped from a bus, the wheel did one rotation the wet patch on the front tyre hit a white line and it tucked sending me down the dry road.
Hard to evaluate the tyre on a single incident, but it didn't re-grip once it slid off the white line onto what was dry rubber against dry tarmac. The tyre is a bottom end cheapie, so I guess I got what I paid for
A helmet saved my life
You'll have to wait for the annual peer-reviewed study on bicycle tyre grip then.
2 Years on Schwalbe Durano Plus' on 3 different bikes - 0 flats
2nd ride on Gatorskins (So 2 days) - 1 flat
I really don't get these comments. I cannot understand how anyone could not know if their tyre has broken traction, even if only for a moment. All it takes is being able to notice that and a bit of experience on a Gatorskin and any better tyre in the wet and you can judge a difference in grip. In my case going from Gatorskins to GP4000 (with Black Chilli compound) meant that losses of traction in the wet went from a common occurrence to non existence. So while I cannot give a quantifiable GP4000 has x times as much grip as a Gatorskin I can say that I am able to push harder on the GP4000s without finding their limit compared to the Gatorskins of which I regularly found their limit so I can safely say the GP4000 has substantially more grip in the wet than Gatorskins.
They are classified as very different tyres though? And the 4000 is 25% more expensive? You've got to compare apples with apples. I'm sure 150 dollar tubulars have less rolling resistance as well, but they aren't really in the same class are they?
Precisely Xplora. Dont expect too many here to understand the point you are making. Half of them are having a good stir, half of them are dills, and the third half are over egoed would be jet pilots who really are a bunch of dills.
That means 150% of contributors to this thread, less two here present , are mugs. Mathematically , I have proved my/your point.
When everyone else is "a dill" and you're not, it usually points to something else.
Also, Rubino Pros are about the same price a Gators. Gators will last longer and so be better value. Cheap car tyres are great value too and I'm not interested in them either.
Rubino pros don't last as long, its true, but at least you only have to wrestle them on once and the don't require regular shaving for stray hairs
So we get the leaders we deserve and we elect, we get the companies and the products that we ask for, right? And we have to ask for different things. – Paul Gilding
but really, that's rubbish. We get none of it because the choices are illusory.
I think that's supposed to be the ultimate tradeoff with these - a good all weather training tyre that lasts a lot longer than most, and hopefully has solid puncture resistance - at a particular price point. My Gators arrived today. See how we go!
Thank you Nobody. I am a masochist, expected a spanking, and really enjoyed it.
At least we got some variety into this gator bashing thing of drubies. 150% in fact
Well, my comments where in a direct reply to suggestions that people are unable to tell the difference between the grip of tyres in the wet just by riding them so really the apples with apples is irrelevant, I can still tell the difference just by riding them. However, they are both popular options considered for training, commuting, audax riding and other recreational road riding and as such two tyres that someone may be deciding between and worth a direct comparison. Highly appropriate for me to compare the two since I went from one to the other, on the same bike being used for the same purpose. Another worthwhile comparison would be with the Rubino or Rubino Pro (both cheaper than a Gatorskin) but my limited experience with them is not enough to make a definitive assumption that they are superior just because the one time I rode on a set of Rubinos in the wet I didn't lose grip. mikesbytes on the other hand is able to comment and rates the Rubinos above the Gatorskins for wet weather grip.
So please, instead of saying it's not a fair comparison or that we couldn't possibly tell the difference, can the Gatorskin fans just accept that in our experience Gatorskins are an inferior tyre in terms of grip in the wet. Your riding conditions, riding style etc may mean that your experience is different and/or that the grip difference is not important to you in much the same way as there are people out there who push the limits much more than me in the dry and would be able to notice difference in grip in dry conditions that I can't. Doesn't mean they're wrong, it would actually be worthwhile listening to them and taking into consideration their experience because maybe at some time in an emergency I could find myself in need of that extra grip I never needed before.
The fairness of the comparison is simply related to the feature set. All weather, long wearing training tyre good for commuting isn't supposed to be the same as a race oriented tyre. If I was only concerned about grip and speed, I'd put that Force/Attack combo on my bike, but puncture resistance and hard wearing rubber is more important to me (plus they were damn cheap from Wiggle - 7 Conti tubes and two tyres for 91 bucks? Sold.
So let's break down that features then:
1. All weather - wet grip is very important in this regard. I believe the Gatorskin fails this feature, the GP4000 is a far superior all weather tyre.
2. long wearing - yes the Gatorskin has harder, longer wearing rubber but the relevance of this will vary depending on where you ride. I have found the tyres are cut up well before the tread is worn down and that actual tyre life is no better than the GP4000 because of this. So in terms of tyre life for my conditions it's a tie between the two. If you are riding on cleaner roads with less stuff to cut the tyres up then this could swing in favour of the Gatorskin. Any worse conditions that what I ride in and you probably don't want to consider either tyre and instead go for a more cut resistant tyre.
3. puncture resistance - the vectran breaker in the GP4000 is in my experience better protection that the PolyX one in the Gatorskins. When swapping to the GP4000 my puncture rate went down. If this is your top priority though maybe consider a GP4Seasons with double vectran breaker or another tyre more concerned with puncture protection like the Schwalbe Marathon Plus. I haven't ridden those tyres so can't give first hand experience but reports indicate they do better in terms of puncture protection. Marathon Plus is reportably a long wearing tyre too.
4. training tyre good for commutting - this is really a combination of the above three. As I said both tyres are popular choices for this use and it really comes down to personal usage and preference.
5. Price - Depending on where you go and what specials are on you're looking at around $5 to $10 difference per tyre. Between myself and my wife we'd go through 6 a year, at current PBK price that's $197.82 for Gatorskins and $227.58 for GP4000S. To put another option in the mix it'd be $145.80 for Rubino Pros so if price was the issue I'd be going for them.
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