The Continental Gator Hardshell is the on of the most puncture-resistant tires Continental’s lineup with touring and road bike qualities.
It offers a 3-ply 60 TPI carcass reinforced with a wider PolyX breaker underneath the slick center tread, which is a tightly woven polyester fibre to prevent object from penetrating the tire.
Besides the breaker, the trie also features the bead-to-bead DuraSkin polyamde fabric, giving the tire its characteristic reddish weave on the sidewall. It serves both as an added layer of puncture-protection and sidewall-reinforcement.
Naturally, all this added protection adds some weight, but as far as puncture-protection for fast commuters and road bikes go, this tire is nothing short of asthonishing in that department.
Continental Gator Hardshell ride quality
The Continental Gator Hardshell is the souped-up version of the Continental Gatorskin in terms of puncture protection. That means a similar 3-ply 60 TPI casing that’s going to be stiffer than the likes of the Continental Grand Prix 4-Season, or the Continental Grand Prix 5000.
Where this tire differs from the Gatorskin is that Hardshell refers to the same PolyX breaker and DuraSkin sidewall protection as used the Continental Gatorskin, except the breaker covers a larger area. This tire is also stiffer because of the added weight.
This is an excellent touring, commuter, or winter tire, but it’s not the fastest, most supple road bike tire, because it’s not designed to be. It’s both stiffer and harder.
Continental Gator Hardshell weight
A good width for a winter tire is 28mm. A 700C tire with a such a width, weighs 330 grams in the folding version.
There’s no road bike tire in Continental’s lineup that packs more puncture protection than this tire, so the weight is actually ok within its category. In fact, the weight is 30 grams above the average weight of a road bike tire with a 28mm width.
You should buy this tire if you want to absolutely minimize the risk of running a flat in the cold and rain. And it’s probably only when you directly compare them side-by-side with a summer tire, that you might notice a difference in ride feel.
Continental Gator Hardshell puncture protection
The Continental Gator Hardshell has the following puncture protection:
Puncture protection and mileage are the strengths of Hardshell-ProTection. A wider PolyX Breaker®, the specialist against punctures under the tread centre and shoulders provides for great reliability. The 3×60 TPI three-ply carcass covers the entire tire and makes it a real bastion against urban detritus. The outer sidewalls of the tire are reinforced with DuraSkin® fabric providing even more reliability due to the casing being so well protected.
Continental Grand Prix 4-Season buying options
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Johan van Seijen
Johan van Seijen is the founder of restoration.bike. His passion for cycling in general, and restoring older bikes turned into a website to share his knowledge with a broader audience. Starting out on his father’s road bike and riding classics as the Amstel Gold Race and Liege Bastogne Liege he has shifted his attention to trail, XC, and gravel riding since. No matter how much he loves writing about everything related to cycling, nothing beats actually using his ever-expanding bicycle collection.