Continental took the standard Gatorskin tire and made it tougher. While employing the same technology, casing and compound, the Gator Hardshell Tire gets additional protection and changes the emphasis from a great all-around protection tire, to one that adds a little weight, and only slightly reduces overall performance and feel. If you want to maximize your protection, without losing much road feel and cornering comfort, the Gator Hardshell is for you.
The principal flat protection on the center of the tire comes from Conti's PolyXBreaker, a cross-hatched polyester fiber that the company has used in performance car tires for many years. The woven material is very dense, yet flexible, making it ideal in preventing pinches and punctures, but also matching the suppleness of the casing and DuraSkin layers. In the Hardshell version, Conti extends the PolyXBreaker over the outer edge of the center tire surface with a wider PolyXBreaker belt. This does not negatively affect rolling resistance, but slightly diminshes the cornering feel of the Gatorskin version. It is a tradeoff that tips the balance towards protection. DuraSkin technology protects the supple casing. DuraSkin is a polymide mesh fiber that wraps the casing from bead to bead, and is designed to protect your casing from sidewall abrasion and puncture. While still offering protection in the center of the tire, the primary reason it wraps the entire casing is to provide a consistent feel in all riding situations. This protective combination makes the Gator Hardshell optimal for chip-seal, gravel roads, and rough road conditions; all reasons why we added the 700x28 option in this model.
The rubber itself is Conti's durable carbon-black compound, which offers excellent wet and dry grip, as well as delivering extended tread wear. Gatorskin is often referred to as the Kilometer King for its incredible long life, and with additional protection, the Gator Hardshell holds up even better. Yes, you add a little weight and sacrifice a little feel, but compared to other high quality, highly protective tires on the market, Conti is not only competitive, but still leads the pack.