My last tires were Avocet Road 30 700x23C kevlar. I’m always partial to road tires with the least amount of tread on them and I love the head-turning advertising Avocet did on these back in the early 90’s. When I saw a pair on closeout, I had to buy a few to keep around in case I tore up a tire on a distance tour. Sure the tire case looks like human skin, but they’re light and cool to have around.
A couple years back, I decided that I better start using the tires and put them on my commute bike. But now I’m flatting too much. I guess 10 year old rubber just can’t take road and running path that forms the bulk of my commute. I’ll fold them up and keep them around if something drastic ever happens.
I’m sick of picking out rocks and thorns that always seem to puncture the rear tire casing. so I picked up a new set of commute tires from Performance. Unfortunately, their selection was pretty shitty so I resorted to trying Continental again:
[Review after the jump]
Continental. Tire purgatory
I love the way Continental looks. As you might have read before, I hate the way Continental is overbuilt.
But, again, I love the way Continental tires look. I always fall into that trap and buy Continental when I’m in the store.
This time I accidentally got two slightly different tires. They’re both Continental Ultra GatorSkins, but one was 700x28C and the other was 700x23C. I meant to buy two 28C’s because I’m sick of flats—I should have looked closer. Oh well, I’ll put the 23C on the front tire which never seems to flat anyway.
Which way is forward?
The shtick with the tire is their DuraSkin sidewall lining. I love consists of a “extremely durable polyamide fabric” which I take it is Continental’s term for “a lot of rolling resistance.” I’ve worn away the sidewall of my old Avocet Cross tires (I assume it was from riding it in zero degree weather in Illinois) and since my commutes are super slow, I suppose it can’t hurt. I do like the look of the sidewalls, though I actually prefer the Continental’s trademark dark-thread sidewall more. It looks just fine when riding them.
The tire is mostly smooth but with a small lizard footprint-type inverted tread thing on the shoulder. What purpose does it serve? I don’t know, maybe it’s supposed to grip onto something. These treads have a staggered placement so there is definitely two ways to put these tires on.
I have no idea which way you’re supposed to put them on. Odds are, I probably put them on backwards.
Putting them on
The 23C came on easily in the front tire. Of course this is relative to my previous experience with Continental which means I still had to resort to prying them with the tire lever.
Maybe Continental stopped making their beads too tight.
Then I hit the rear tire. Multiple attempts to put it on. Two snakebites destroy two tubes. “Fuck! Fuck! Fuck you! Damn-fucking-German-engineers-with-no-faith-in-physics! Fuck!” Okay, part of it may be these Performance ultralight tubes which I notice I destroy pretty easily. Plus I’m angry that they all have 60mm stems. Look Performance, not all of us have these super deep aero rims you know.
In any case, I drove back to Performance and got some Michelin tubes with a 35mm stem. It cost a little more but I’m superstitious. I’ve flatted 4 for 4 Performance tubes in the last month.
This time I was a little careful and didn’t use a lever. My fingers still hurt, but I got it on.
Ever notice how when you work your ass off to get tires on, the final bit flips in very easily? It’s like the tires taunt me.
We’ll have to see how they ride later. My guess is they ride just fine. After all, the only thing I want to do with them is ride on road and path to work and back without flatting.
Is this too much to ask?