I’ve gone from buying affordable tires to buying pricier tires in recent years. I think it’s a wash when it comes to getting the best value.
I don’t care much about rolling resistance. I just want a light tire that lasts forever. Is that too much to ask? Of course. The GatorHardshell was heavier than I’d prefer. My bias is toward folding tires and a bit lighter, but still strong. Continental works for me.
Jobst Brandt, who helped usher in the smooth Avocet tire, once went with the Continental Ultra, an economy tire. He paid for it with a horrific crash on the backside of Mt. Hamilton when the tire casing blew. It turns out that tire’s bead-casing joint isn’t reinforced to the degree found with the more expensive Continental tires.
Jobst is not light. That and his propensity to ride tires until the casing shown through, turned against him.
On the other hand, you could be riding a brand new $70 tire and slash it with a shard of glass. Ka-ching.