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  Topic Review (Newest First)
02-03-2008 07:23 PM
Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post
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.
Yes, I've used these, and they work 90% of the time...the 10% they don't is when a chunk of glass bounces off a curb and into your sidewall.

I would never recommend going to a heavier tire unless you do BMX or "back-country" cycling. Gravel roads are still roads. I would go with a 1.5-1.6" lightly treaded economy tire like a Continental, and make sure it is at least 90 lbs. PSI...hard is fast. Put in the Kevlar liners to keep "cuts" from letting in grit, which is what kills the tubes.

I have a Marin Point Reyes with 110 lb. PSI 1.4" slicks, but I'm in a city. I do ride year round, however, even in snowy Toronto.
02-03-2008 01:24 PM
wind_magic Just bringing this thread up to date with my recent experience.

I did finally get an armadillo tire from specialized, a tire place that makes, well, specialized tires for bicycles! The tire was easy to install, no different than any other tire really, and i also put a puncture resistant tube inside. So far, so good, that's the best I can say about it. It has been so cold the past few weeks I was not able to ride but today it was up in the 40's and 50's and I got out for a while. The tire rides fine, I did not notice the hard ride that I have heard some people talk about with the tire. Not much else to say, I've only ridden this tire for maybe 10 miles so far so I don't know yet how well it is working, but so far it seems to be okay. I had been having flats about every ride or two (or three), and I didn't have a flat on this ride ... but it's too early to say it's a trend.

As a funny side note, I got covered in mud, it was funny. The roads are still covered in ice and slush from the ice storm we had Thursday night and mud was flying everywhere!

Edit, and on the topic of helmets, no, I don't wear one, but that doesn't make it a smart decision. I have been over the handlebars once this year when I came down a steep hill and the front wheel got lodged between me and the earth, bent the rim all to hell and ended up on my back with the bicycle beside me. I try to be careful when I ride and I ride in places where there are very few cars, I can take a 10 mile ride sometimes and never see a single moving automobile where I am, but certainly a helmet would be a smart addition. I do ride with goggles, I've had too much crap in my eyes to ride without goggles - bugs, dirt, grit, bees, even the wind starts to dry your eyes out if you ride far enough. I should change that to relative wind I guess.
12-20-2007 04:35 PM
sailingdog IMHO, you really should be wearing a helmet if you're bicycling. Serious head injuries are more common on bicycling falls than they are on motorcycle ones, mainly due to the fact that you're much higher off the ground on a bicycle generally. Speed has little to do with it.

BTW, I used to race semi-pro many years ago and was a team medic/mechanic for almost ten years.
12-20-2007 02:09 PM
JohnRPollard These are the Armadillos I currently use:

They make them for mountain bikes too. See the whole range here:

I can't say whether these are better/comparable to John's Continentals, but it's probably worthwhile to compare.

Originally Posted by Johnrb View Post
John - BTW - do you follow road cycling closely?
John, I don't really follow cycling too closely. In the past I've followed Lance and the Tour, and I study the technological developments a bit, but that's about it. I'm mostly just a hack fitness/recreational rider, but I do push myself reasonably hard when I'm out there. I am fortunate in that the metropolitan region where I live has hundreds of miles of paved bike trails as well as hundreds of miles of maintained gravel trails, much of it rails-to-trails.
12-20-2007 01:35 PM
Johnrb John:

The problem is Wind Magic mentioned "I ride on gravel roads for the most part" which rules out road bikes. I used to ride my mountain bike on trails, gravel roads as well as single track and never had a flat over many years so I too wonder if there's a problem with the wheels or spokes. I expect the knobby tires I formerly used also afforded some flat protection.

I do a lot of cycling over the summer, all on roads now. I haven't seen the tires you use but I've been very pleased with the Continental Duraskin (Ultra Gatorskin) tires (with Flat Protection System) I found several years ago. No punctures (touch wood) and tremendous wear. Wind Magic, if you can't find the ones mentioned by John, try looking for the Continental Tires I've linked to below. The web description mentions flat protection.

John - the above link is the tire I use. BTW - do you follow road cycling closely?
12-20-2007 09:42 AM
JohnRPollard Hi WindMagic,

Sorry to chime in so late, I missed this thread when you posted it last week.

I use the Specialized Armadillo tires on my roadbike (700 x 23C). I really like them. I can't say that I had any great problem with punctures/flats on my previous tires (one per every few thousand miles, roughly) but since going to Armadillos I haven't had any (touch wood).

The only negative comment on the Armadillos I can make is that the rubber seems to be a bit harder, so they do not have quite the same stickiness/adhesion as my previous tires, especially when the road is damp. I've had a few close calls where the rear tire has dropped out on me while braking and cornering, but that's only happened on wet roads. [And yes, I ALWAYS where a helmet.] But this is unlikely to be a problem for a mountain or hybrid bike.

Windmagic, you can skip the rest of what I have to say on this topic, since the rest is just general comments on tire pressure, flats, etc. I mention the following for anyone else struggling with flat tire problems.

As others have said, one of the most important things you can do to prevent flats is keep the tire pressure high. You can't guess at this by giving the tire a squeeze -- you need to use a pressure guage. Roadbike tires may feel firm to the squeeze at just 60-80 psi, but they often need to be in the 110-120 psi range.

If you haven't invested in a good pump, they are well worth the money. Little portable double action hand pumps aren't worth squat. You just can't get the kind of pressure you need out of them. Invest in a solid stand-up pump, with a built-in pressure guage, and secure/clamping head [I have this one which I can recommend highly: ]. Check the pressure and top the tires off before each ride. You can get a mini CO2 pump/patch kit for quick repairs enroute, the sort that you can fit in the palm of your hand and stow under your saddle.

All that said, if you are expereincing an inordinate number of flats, inspect your rim and tire very carefully to see if there might be a burr in there that is abrading or puncturing your tube. If not, consider investing in a more puncture resistant tire such as the Armadillos mentioned above or other brands of similar design.
12-17-2007 09:56 PM
Freesail99 Not to hijack this thread, but do all of you wear a helmet while riding your bike ?
12-17-2007 09:07 PM
ccriders There are very few bicycle tire products that can handle gravel roads. First look for phat tires that have significant tread wrap; i.e. the butyl rubber covers much of the side wall. Look also at the Armadillo from Specialized it has aramid fibers in the sidewall. Sealants only protect the tread area and won't fix sidewall slits. Same for tire liners. Lots of air pressure (maybe 10% more that rating) helps and riding on the crown of the raod where gravel is less deep also helps. As a last resort, there are solid tires, but if you buy them, also buy the tool to install them or you will kill your rims. Good luck.
12-12-2007 09:21 PM
Freesail99 The slime stuff will work. It seals puncture's as they happen. We lived on a farm and all the roads we're rocks & gravel. I even owned my own grader. $6.00 it's worth the try.
12-12-2007 09:13 PM
wind_magic 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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