Continental's Gatorskin is one of our favourite training tyres. It’s very quick and it’s tough enough for winter riding, audax and fast commuting – so long as you keep it topped up to its recommended pressure and don’t leave ﬂints and the like embedded in the tread.
But for those wanting more puncture protection and wear life, Continental have introduced a new Hardshell version. There’s a bit more tread rubber, a wider polyester breaker strip under the tread, and a three-ply rather than two-ply polyamide casing to help prevent slashed sidewalls.
This adds 48g for our folding 700x23 Hardshell (273g) compared to the equivalent Gatorskin, but in spite of that weight gain we were unable to detect any noticeable difference in rolling resistance between the two tyres even using back-to-back roll-down tests.
Among the training tyres we’ve tested, only the Gatorskin itself and Michelin’s excellent Krylion Carbon have been quicker, and while it’s early days yet, the Hardshell seems more puncture resistant than either. It’s available in 23, 25 and 28mm widths, in folding or wire (£29.95) versions.