I didn't have a lot of confidence in the wet performance of the previous generation of these tires. This version seems to be a bit stickier when there's water on the pavement. I've only got about 100 miles on them so far, but it's a pretty good tire for my commute. I'll trade a bit of traction and weight for puncture protection if it keeps me from having to change a tube on the way to work.
I rode the length of the Katy Trail across Missouri on a new set of these tires. The surface of that trail is crushed limestone that had been softened by early Spring snow and rain. The hardshell provided tread and sidewall protection. The width provided superior stability. The PSI rating was higher than similar tires so my ride was faster, and the tread pattern was ideal for the trail surface. In addition, the tires were easy to mount, which hasn't always been my experience with hardshells.
I've ridden Gatorskins for over 20 years with no problems, and these are just the thing for an older rider or a long distance tourer who wants stability and security without excessive rolling resistance.
I like Conti tires, but usually they died a quick death of a thousand cuts in the Portland area. I blame the local basalt rock that is crushed and used for roads, winter, construction, etc. It is very hard, and when crushed usually has very sharp edges. I rode a set of Hardshells all winter over this stuff without a single nick. I've gotten to where with the bike I have these mounted on, I don't pay much attention to small debris short of nails anymore.
The overall ride with these is the same as a regular Gatorskin - a little harsh - with a little more rolling resistance. You can't race them, and if your manhood is at stake on weekend training rides you shouldn't use 'em then either. That said, the only real down I've experienced with them is that for a tire I want to use on a rainy day, they don't grip as well as a more cut-able tire. So no more 40 mph descents on curvy roads in the rain...
I have about 5000 miles on my first set of hardshells. Riding year round in the northwest, you get a lot of glass and road crud that cuts your tires up quite quickly. I was able to get over 2000 miles before a single cut occured, but no flats, even after 5000 miles!
But you'd hardly know it with the hardshells. They aren't the fastest-feeling tires I've had on my 32 pound commuting biketank, but the number of times I've not had to stop and repair tubes makes it worth it. If you're looking for fast and snappy feeling, look elsewhere, but these are as close to the perfect higher-pressure commuting tire as I've used in the last few years and I'm happy with them. The one flat I have had (staples!) I didn't notice at first because the 25s keep their shape well and are so sturdy. I'd give them an A- as a commuting tire.
26 mile round trip commute over every type of urban surface. Yeah, the feel is a little firm and they might be a little slow- but I'd rather make it home a few seconds slower than be stuck on the side of the road fixing a flat.
I put these on (700x23) in the spring and have probably 3000 miles on them. Only one cut in the rear tire, no punctures. I ride on mainly smooth pavement with the occasional strewn gravel, glass and usual road debris. The feel a bit more stiff than the Conti GP 4000 I ride on for longer training rides and long event rides. They are probably a touch heavier and and may more rolling resistance, but for day to day training a great choice I will stick with. I figure the added weight and rolling resistance are like resistance training.
I've used these (25c) for training and racing (including the Tour of the Battenkill) without a single puncture. A bit heavy (can feel it vs. the 23c Gatorskins) on the climbs, but perfect for training and brutal unpave racing.
About as puncture-proof as a Schwalbe Marathon at about 2/3 the weight. IMO the Conti Hardshell is the standard for flat resistance and durability. I recently replaced a Hardshell on my rear wheel. I weigh 205 and the tire lasted over 4000 miles until the wear dimples were gone. That's a rear wheel. Amazing. Flats were few and far between. The Hardshell sidewalls are far more durable than the GP 4000 with only a slight weight penalty.
These are durable, tougher-than-tough tires! I commute pretty carelessly over some really sketchy surfaces strewn with broken glass, gravel, bits of metal, the whole nine yards... and I have yet to get a flat with these tires after many months. That said, I hate these tires in the rain! They feel slippery and I don't have much confidence through the corners when the roads are wet. I plan to take them off and replace them with something grippier when it starts raining in the fall... but you can bet the Gator Hardshells will be back on my bike come spring.
Summer 2014 edit: I never got around to taking these tires off last winter. I got used to taking the corners a bit more carefully and the tires didn't give me too much trouble even in heavy rain. Still going strong now! I recommend these tires all the time to anyone who's sick of flats. Awesome.
Good tough tires, but dang hard to fit! They are very tight. I had to order a special tool to get them over my rim. Thankfully, I haven't had to swap a spare on the road yet, cuz I'm not sure how I'm going to do that. Hopefully they are as puncture resistant as they claim to be. So far, so good. Even in goat head territory.
IMHO the best commuter tires for city riding. Fast, great rolling, wonderful puncture resistance for the weight. 85 miles a week in Brooklyn and Manhattan on these and they're dynomite.
These tires work for me, daily to work and back, on the streets of San Francisco. They have a good feel and aren't as fragile as other road tires I've used. Punctures are almost a thing of the past.
I switched over to Continental Gators about 7 years ago getting ready for a century ride. Fan for life. Great rolling, smooth and have taken about everything the road can dish out. Now have them on 3 road bikes and only 1 flat in more than 2800 miles. The only flat was a direct hit on a 6 jagged rock at dusk on a canyon road - cracked the sidewall but stayed on the rim. I use the wire bead for most rides, carry the folding version when I am on an extended ride.