The Continental Sprinter Gatorskin Tubular essentially marries the qualities of the Sprinter Tubular with the Gatorskin clincher. Not too tricky, but very effective! If you need a training tubular with maximum flat and sidewall protection, this is the tire for you. With excellent grip and high volume, the Sprinter Gatorskin Tubular rides and feels much better than you'd expect from a tire with such protection.
The casing is constructed from three layers of Continental's proprietary polyamide fibers. This casing gives the Sprinter a light and firm, but resilient ride quality. You get just enough suppleness to eat up bumps and cracks, but you keep shape for cornering and braking under load. The first layer of protection over the casing is the excellent, lightweight DuraSkin mesh that covers from sidewall to sidewall, and over the top of the casing. You get an extra layer of puncture protection while protecting the sidewalls from abrasion.
The main puncture protection is from the SafetySystem Breaker, a belt that sits between the DuraSkin mesh and the tread rubber. The flexible, densely woven, nylon fabric is reinforced with Kevlar for maximum protection from debris, thorns, and glass. It is crucial to overall ride quality and road feel that this belt be both thin and flexible, as in the tubular version the layers over the casing must move and flex with the casing. Otherwise the tire is too stiff, and then you might as well be riding a heavy duty clincher.
The grippy, textured tread wraps over these underlayers with a thick center for maximum wear, but tapers down along the sidewalls, offering just the right feel in corners. The Sprinter Gatorskin takes advantage of it's higher volume casing on rough surfaces and the tread complements that volume. If you train on rough roads, or are preparing for a roubaix-like event, this is a great tire choice, and the 25mm size is perfect. Many local riders use the Sprinter Gatorksin for racing and training, though we feel it is better as a training and mileage tire. One advantage Conti offers is the removable valve core, which not only allows you to easily add extenders, but also to run sealant for extra protection. You may not need it with the Sprinter Gatorskin, but it is a great option for those who live in areas where thorns lurk in every crack and crevice in the road.
Please note: Excel cannot accept returns on tubular tires that have been glued to a rim.