With out a doubt the best tire for the rider who wants the best protection from rock, glass, thorns and wire from car tires. I tried many brands, the gator skin hard shell may be difficult to get on but it's worth the time it takes to mount them.
After two flats in two consecutive rides on a 12 mile urban commute, decided to give the Gators a try. So far, so good; zero further flats. Will buy again and recommend if you're experiencing trouble with punctures.
It's true that it is a stiff tire:
1). Contrary to other reviews, I did not experience any difficulty mounting the tires. They went on totally by hand, the only tool used was a pump to inflate.
2). Inflated to 90 PSI, the ride is harsher than the Vittoria Zaffiros used before. The ride has mellowed somewhat with mileage, could be due to a variety of factors.
About as puncture-proof as a Schwalbe Marathon at about 2/3 the weight. IMO the Conti Hardshell is the standard for flat resistance and durability. I recently replaced a Hardshell on my rear wheel. I weigh 205 and the tire lasted over 4000 miles until the wear dimples were gone. That's a rear wheel. Amazing. Flats were few and far between. The Hardshell sidewalls are far more durable than the GP 4000 with only a slight weight penalty.
I've been using these for years and swear by them. The roads I ride are littered with junk that'll puncture most tires, except these. I've never had an issue changing out a flat on a ride, since the tires are warm enough to re-seat.
For those who complain that they're too hard to install properly, here are a few tricks I've picked up over the years.
1. heat the tires to make them more pliable before attempting - lay them in the sun for 20 minutes, or a warm oven. Seriously!
2. don't let the bead get seated until you fit both sides of the tire over the rim. you'll need that little bit of extra room.
3. all else fails, try a little baby powder OR dish soap to get them seated. soapy water is what mechanics use on car tires for the same issue.
4. don't try to muscle them onto the rim - you'll damage the bead. try the steps above first.
5 still having problems? take them to a bike mechanic & have them show you how to do it right.
These are durable, tougher-than-tough tires! I commute pretty carelessly over some really sketchy surfaces strewn with broken glass, gravel, bits of metal, the whole nine yards... and I have yet to get a flat with these tires after many months. That said, I hate these tires in the rain! They feel slippery and I don't have much confidence through the corners when the roads are wet. I plan to take them off and replace them with something grippier when it starts raining in the fall... but you can bet the Gator Hardshells will be back on my bike come spring.
Summer 2014 edit: I never got around to taking these tires off last winter. I got used to taking the corners a bit more carefully and the tires didn't give me too much trouble even in heavy rain. Still going strong now! I recommend these tires all the time to anyone who's sick of flats. Awesome.
I use Continental Gator Hardshell on our tandom and will use nothing else. Tha're a great tire and hold up very well with over 300 pounds riding on them. We are running custom Zipp carbon wheels and the tires mount up with no problems what-so-ever.
If you want a great heavy duty tire and are more concerned with durability, safety than weight, the Hardshell is the tire for you!
I was hesitant about spending a lot on a tire for a long time but after trying all kinds of tires and getting sick of flats I decided to try these. Well 1800 miles later I love them! No flats so far! I ride in Houston, about 50 or more miles a day pending weather, I come across bad roads, there is all kinds of crap on these streets, cans, bottles, glass, nails, screws, rocks, wire, wood, steel, a rake, a shovel, no kidding,, anyway these tires still look new, I ride a road bike and ride pretty hard, I love the ride, the grip, all of it. I will buy these tires always from now on.. Try them you will love them!
I have an 11 mile (one way) commute that varies from rural to city (bike lane) routes. As you might imagine, lots of debris (rocks, glass, metal, you name it) from time to time in the bike lanes. New commuter bike this year, and on the first ride in, picked up something that cut through the rear tire. In the past, I've used Gatorskins as my go-to robust tire.
This time, went with the Hardshell, I was happy to find it in 32mm folding, and on sale. I've been riding on this for a couple of months. Tread still looks great, no signs of cutsbreakswhat not. I expect to get many, many worry-free commute miles.
One oddity - this tire must run very slightly small, my commute went from 10.7 to 10.8 miles. The 10.7 value was based on three bikes, three different tires. They were all consistent at 10.7, this tire has been consistent at giving me 10.8.
Very happy with this tire, I'll grab one for the front once I either wear out, or flat, the tire that came on the bike.
Put in 4000 miles of solo riding during the COVID summer. Had one flat when I picked up a staple. These are no harder to mount than other tires I've tried, and definitely easier than some.
I should have taken heed of previous reviews emphasizing that these hardshells are impossible to mount. I assumed that the reviewers simply didn't have enough experience in changing hardshell cases...wrong assumption. I have been an avid road cyclist for 20+ years and have changed hundreds of tire tubes, and these Continental Gator Hardshell 700c road tires are the worst I have ever encountered. I broke 4 tire levers and ruined 3 tubes trying to mount these; they clearly were not worth the discounted price that I paid for them. And no, I am not riding on them...they went in the trash.
These tires work for me, daily to work and back, on the streets of San Francisco. They have a good feel and aren't as fragile as other road tires I've used. Punctures are almost a thing of the past.