The latest tyre to join Continental’s training range is the Gator Hardshell, which is a development of the proven UltraGatorskin.
Made in Germany, the Hardshell uses the same tread pattern and compound as the parent tyre and has the same Duraskin ProTection sidewall reinforcement applied to the same carcass with Aramid anti-puncture belt.
The difference lies in the way the carcass is folded; like the UltraGatorskin, the fabric is folded around the bead to overlap its opposite side under the tread, creating a three-fold construction directly under the tread. However, where the UltraGatorskin’s carcass stops there, that of the Hardshell continues right down to the bead on both sides, increasing sidewall thickness to three layers plus the Duraskin ProTection layer.
RCUK blagged a pair at the Cycle Show and has taken them for a spin. The tyres have a folding bead and 25c section. Expecting a slightly stiff ride, we were pleasantly surprised to find a supple, fairly rapid and responsive feel at 95 front/100rear that no doubt owes much to the greater air volume of the 25c section. We’d expect the 23c version to be a little less comfortable but, on this brief showing, the extra material in the sidewalls has not appreciably stiffened the ride.
The expected grip from the natural rubber tread was present and correct and both clinchers ran perfectly true after easy fitment to Mavic Open Pro Ceramic rims.
Availability is slated for mid November and the price will be around £39 for the folding bead tyre.
More soon on RCUK…