Specialized Armadillo or Conti Gatorskins?

Discussion in 'Road Bikes' started by tomk, Aug 27, 2010.

  1. tomk

    tomk Member

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    2 days in on my new Allez and already two flats. I've been riding on unswept roads in the Lehigh Valley just north of Allentown PA. The bike was fitted with Mondo Sport tires but I already have a torn sidewall!

    I was down at REI yesterday and their tech recommended I switch over to Continental Gatorskins. I did a little research and also uncovered the Specialized Armadillo.

    Reviews on both are largely positive. My tire size is 700x23.
    I can handle the extra weight fine (only about 8oz total for the Armadillo over the Mondo) as I am not racing. I want to be able to ride and enjoy the bike where I want to ride without worrying about fragile racing tires.

    Any recommendations on these two tires? Anything else to consider?

    Cheers!
     
  2. runbikeswim

    runbikeswim New Member

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  3. awinter

    awinter No longer a newb!

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    I was going to go with the Specialized myself for the same reasons as the OP, but my LBS recommended that I go with Mr. Tuffy liners instead. My LBS said that the Armadillo and Gator Skins were way heavy and handled like pigs.

    So far I have 200 miles without flats where I had 3 in 3 days before.
     
  4. tomk

    tomk Member

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    Thanks for the responses. I ended up with the Armadillo Elites as they had them in stock at the LBS plus gave me a little discount and mounted them at no charge. (i guess they felt bad for me as i just got the bike from them, or they are just good guys! Support your LBS when you can.) They siad this is what they use for training tires and most guys get a couple of seasons out of them. Cost a little more but I was DOA and wanted to ride. I'll post a report after I put a few miles on them. If anything happens to these my wife may kill me!
     
  5. speedfan

    speedfan speedfan

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    Maxxis Refuse

    The Refuse has worked better than these others for me. I have had zero road flats, only flats were stems pullin loose after extended use.
     
  6. tomk

    tomk Member

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    Was only able to put about 9 miles in on the Armadillos last evening (it was rush hour and just not safe to be out) but I like the tires. Not as fast as the Mondo's and a little more harsh but the LBS inflated to 125 psi and I normally like 110.
    Now to see if we can get some miles on these babies! It was nice to go more than 2 miles on my new bike without a flat!:)
     
  7. froze

    froze Banned

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    I've had both of those tires when I use to live in the Desert of California due to Goatheads: Tribulus terrestris - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia These suckers penetrated the Conti Gatorskin like nothing, in addition the Gatorskins had fragile sidewalls like you have on your current tires. The Armadillo withstood the goatheads without ever having a flat in over 15,000 miles of using them, the tires last about 5,000 miles. And the Aramidillo has a very tough sidewall. Just go to an LBS that sells both and feel the difference in the sidewalls between the two. BUT, the tough sidewall makes for a very harsh riding tire and difficult to put on, plus the Armadillo is very heavy, about twice as heavy as a Gatorskin. But you have to weigh out if you want the leading tech for flat protection or a lighter tire that's decent protection, but not the best.

    There is another tire you may want to consider called the Kenda Konstrictor. This tire weighs as much as a Conti but has the stronger sidewall...again though making the tire a pain to put on, but worth it when you don't get flats. The Kenda is way tougher then the Conti and will last longer.

    Either the Specialized or the Kenda will be easer to install if you get one of these VAR tire tools: randonneurextra: Making life easier: VAR tire lever
     
  8. tomk

    tomk Member

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    Froze - really good info! I ended up with the Specialized Armadillo Elite as that is all they carried at the LBS where I bought the bike (Cyclodrome near Allentown PA):
    Specialized Bicycle Components : All Condition Armadillo Elite Tire

    According to the website they are 280g vs. 405g for the standard Armadillo and 310g for the Mondo Sports I replaced. So, at least I did not pick up any weight. I will take a look at the Kendra you suggested but their website is down at the moment.

    I've got two short rides (16 and 20 miles) on the back roads around Lexington KY and so far so good.
     
  9. froze

    froze Banned

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    That Elite is a decent tire. There's another tire called the Serfas Seca-Rs Folding Tire which looks just like the Kenda Konstrictor and has the same specs, not sure though if they are the same, but reviews have been high and these only cost $38 retail. There are a handful of tires on the market that perform as good if not better then more expensive tires in every category except serious pro racing. I search the internet for the best deal because my LBS sells tires, like the Specialize, for $40 and up, I got the Kenda's on closeout from JensonUSA that retailed for $45 for $18. For that price I tired them on a whim, and after 1500 miles there's no visible wear, and whats really weird no cuts? Even the Armadillos had cuts but no flats. Once I tried them and like them I ordered 3 more pairs. If you have a fav tire you can type in the brand and model in the search and find low prices on them that way. I have weird logic in that I can't see spending more then $40 for a tire when I know they won't last long.
     
  10. tomk

    tomk Member

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    I really wish I had had more time to shop around but I had a shredded sidewall on a brand new bike (only 2 miles) and was headed out for a trip the next day. I'll research the suggestions and grab a spare set so I don't have to make an impulse buy next time!

    BTW - the Elites are foldable and pretty easy to install. I got them for $54 from the LBS and they mounted them for no charge.