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wind_magic 12-12-2007 06:30 PM

Puncture Resistant Bike Tires
Hi folks,

I've been riding my bicycle a lot to get used to it because I know I will be using it while cruising and I could use the exercise too. I ride on gravel roads for the most part and I have found that I am getting flats a lot, mostly on the back tire. Some of it is because I carry some extras on the back of the bike and it puts a lot of weight on the back tire, but most of it is just the nature of the beast, gravel road are hard on tires, including car/truck tires.

What I'm thinking about doing is switching over to some more puncture resistant tires and tubes and I was just wondering if anyone had any experience with them. I'm leaning towards something called an Armadillo tire and whatever thick puncture resistant tubes I can find, I don't have any brand names for those yet but I am looking. As I understand it the only real downside to something like this is that the tires weigh more which makes hill climbing a little tougher.

Anyone have thoughts about avoiding punctures ?

Freesail99 12-12-2007 06:46 PM

I myself just got a bike the other day. I am riding it to try and help my heart, which has been giving me problems. Weight will also add to your getting flats.
When my kids were little they always got flats on there bikes on the farm. I don't remember the name, but there was this green stuff that you put inside the tires so they didn't get flats. I will tell you it worked and I think it cost under 10 bucks to do both bikes. I would try that first to stop the punctures.

wind_magic 12-12-2007 06:58 PM

Hi FreeSail99, thanks for the response. I read something about that goop too and it seems like it would work. I also read that you can get tire liners that go between the tube and the tire, supposed to cut back on punctures too. I am definitely going to have to do something because I average about 1 puncture per 50 miles or so, so I'm always fixing flats. It's enough of a hassle that I have pretty much stopped riding as a result and haven't ridden much in the past 2 months. If I could just stop getting so many flats then I'd go back to riding every day like I was.

hellosailor 12-12-2007 07:00 PM

Dunno about brands, but there are kevlar/aramid "ribbon" tire liners that you can put in between your tire and the tube. They're sold as a loop, sized to fit specific tire sizes, in the belief that if you can't puncture that outer ribbon--you can't puncture the tube on the other side of it.

Not expensive, not heavy, web shops like BikeNashbar carry them.

Freesail99 12-12-2007 07:05 PM

Your welcome. With my kids jumping off of everything in site on there bikes, fixing flats was all I was doing. The green goop worked and worked well. I used a 6 inch pry bar to get the tire & tube on and off the rim. It worked well. I use to carry it with me, things were so bad before the green goop. Give it a try.

sailingdog 12-12-2007 07:30 PM

A couple of solutions...

As mentioned previously, tire liners can work, but only really protect the tread, not the sides of the tube. If you cycle in an area with thorns...the sides can get punctured as well...

Slime—this stuff works. IIRC, it's a gel-like polymer compound that you pour into the tubes and then ride the bike for a bit to spread around. It then coats the interior of the tube and will form a seal around punctures. Works pretty well.

Freesail99 12-12-2007 07:52 PM

Slime, is the stuff I used for my kids bikes. I couldn't think of the name. Great stuff.

JimHawkins 12-12-2007 08:53 PM

What is puncturing your tires? The weight of stuff on your bike shouldn't cause punctures. It might cause a blowout if you try to carry your keel, but in that case the tire explodes, not just the tube.

If you are getting punctured by thorns, the tire liners work pretty well. It's true they won't protect the sides of the tires, but most thorn punctures are not in the sidewalls, they're in the tread. We have lots of thorns around here and I used to get punctures all the time. Since I started using tire liners I rarely get thorn punctures.

You may be getting punctures from your own spokes. There should be a strip of rubber around the inside of the wheel to protect the tube from the nib of the spoke. If it's missing they can puncture the tube.

If you're getting punctures from nails and trash in the road, you might need to go to puncture resistant or self-sealing tubes. Both of these cost more and weigh more than tire liners.

You could also be getting punctures because the tube is pinched between the rim and the tire. Underinflating the tire can cause this, as can poor tire installation technique. Try adding some baby powder inside the tire, outside the tube to decrease friction between tube and tire, and inflating the tube slightly before putting the tire back on.

Proper pressure in the tires is also important. The higher the pressure in the tire, the more it tends to deflect attacks.

sailingdog 12-12-2007 09:04 PM

If you're getting spoke punctures, then you need to get a proper rim strip.

wind_magic 12-12-2007 09:13 PM

Hey folks, thanks for all the great responses.

I have had spoke punctures, but that was because I wasn't inflating the tires enough and I have stopped getting those since I have become more careful with the tire gauge. I know those because they typically either puncture from the inside or puncture from both the inside all the way through the outside of the tube making two holes. I have a strip of rubber that goes over the spokes on the inside, and I really don't suffer these kinds of punctures anymore since I have become more careful. These punctures are no longer a concern, I can live with this.

The kind of punctures I am getting now are from road debris. If you have never lived on a gravel road let me tell you what it's like - you might think of these quiet little roads with squished down rocks and such, but in reality they come through and "fix" the roads a few times a year with a grader. Every time they do this the rocks get disturbed and redistributed, and the effect is that a lot of sharp rocks stand straight up like caltrops. Even in cars and trucks we country folk suffer a fair number of flat tires because of this, a few per year. On a bike it is even worse because the tires are not as thick as on a car.

Like I said originally, I get about 1 puncture per 50 miles that I ride, that's often one or sometimes even two flats during a day if I go on a long ride. It has just been a fact of life, and it's one that I am not very willing to live with anymore. I need some kind of a solution to this problem.

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