Saturday, January 16, 2010

Mitch Byer's Hardshell Review

Mitch is rad, but if you read this blog you probably already know that. Awhile back he picked up a Conti Gator Hardshell. We asked him to write a review after he had ridden on it for awhile. Here it is:
I recently got my hands on a Hufnagel track bike for an amazing price that I couldn't pass up on. While putting it together I found that my rear 28c Vittoria Randonneur wouldn't fit in the drop outs because of the tight clearance. I went over to 21st Ave Bicycles to see what type of tire suited my fancy. I saw the Continental Gator Hardshell and was interested in it right away due to it coming in 700x23c. The Hardshell is pretty similar to the Gatorskin, but has a thicker, stickier mold to it. Putting the tire on it slid on my rim without me having to put up a fight at all, which as many of you know is always a nice feeling. First time riding it on the street it was a typical rainy Portland day. I wanted to see how it would hold up for some short skids. Right away it stuck like crazy, even with the roads being wet. A few days into this tire I started to do some laps at Mt. Tabor. It was beautiful to have on the shortened more curvier route because of how grippy and fast the tire is. After a few weeks it has become a tire with completely predictable skids, uncanny grip on dry as well as wet pavement, and the security of having the "hardshell" to eliminate just about anything on the street without getting a puncture in it. I am fairly hard on everything that I own, especially on tires. It has blown my mind for a rear tire!

The goods: Comes in many different sizes, very easy to put on, has a thick shell for puncture protection, very grippy.

The bads: If you're not used to grippy tires, it may take a little while to get used to.

Overall: It is an amazing tire. I am totally bought on it and will most definitely stick to the Hardshell. I recommend this to all roadies who ride through the winter, or anyone who wants a durable, grippy tire that comes in steel, kevlar, or a foldable bead.

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