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  1. #1
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    Basic Road Bike Tire Question

    I need advice on my road bike tires. Background:

    I never rode consistently until this past summer, when I bought a cheap, used mountain bike to commute to work. Since July, I have never once got a flat tire on the MTB. (I average about 3 days a week by bike; it's 9.5 miles each way, relatively flat).

    In November, I bought a used road bike. Not fantastic, but so much lighter and faster. The problem is, I got two flats the first week of riding it.

    Since then, I have mostly ridden the mountain bike, because it has been a little icy and I feel more comfortable on it. I was also annoyed at the flats.

    Last week, I started riding the road bike again. Two more flats! It's a pain to change, because the tires are really tight, and I don't have much experience. Even the fourth time, it took me more than 15 minutes. And it was cold! It's now been four flats on seven round-trips. To me, that is just not worth it, even though the road bike saves time and energy vs. the MTB, and it's just more fun to ride. The current tires on the road bike look a little worn, but there's nothing obvious wrong with them. They look like most standard road bike tires. They just seem thin.

    So here is my question - should I get new tires? Any recommendations for road bike tires that are less likely to get flats? Or are there tubes that are less likely to get small holes in them? Or should I just learn to live with this, and get faster at fixing/changing the tubes for flats? I am planning to go to my local bike shop tomorrow, but I also wanted to get input from people on this forum.

    This is my first post, after spending a half hour looking for guidance in these threads, so apologies if this has been asked and answered many times before.

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    Galveston County Texas 10 Wheels's Avatar
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    Get new tires. That should help some.

    Air up your road bike tires everyday before you ride.
    This will keep you from getting pinched flats and will let you know if you have a slow leak.
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  3. #3
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    Are the holes in the tube on the outside or inside of the tube. If it is on the inside check the rim tape and make sure all the spoke holes are covered, if on the outside it is something you ran over and also make sure the air pressure is at max for the tire used. You can get tires that have a kevlar belt for added flat protection, like Bontrager hardcase of Specialized armadillo tires in both road and mountain and run about $40.00 ea. If your tires feel thinner in the center than the out side edges they are worn out and need replacing.

  4. #4
    Senior Member skilsaw's Avatar
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    After you have removed the tube to patch it (or put in a new tube), check the inside of the tire carefully for any bits of glass, staples, or thin little pieces of wire from a steel belted vehicle tire.

    Some people slide a cotton ball around the inside of the tire. The glass, staple or wire will catch on the cotton ball and hold a little cotton fluff when you move the cotton ball away.

    My son had a commute like yours and was getting a flat every second day. He went for belted tires and changed jobs. Now he gets just one or two a year. We think his flats came on a particularly dirty section of road shoulder.

    Good Luck
    The one who has the most bikes wins.

  5. #5
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    Thanks everyone. The holes have been on the outside rim, so I suspect it's similar to skilsaw's son, and I am getting flats from dirty parts of the road shoulder. I have been keeping the tires fully inflated (even though 120 psi seems crazy to me; that's what the outside of the tire says....)

    If they are around $80 for two and they'd reduce the number of flats, getting the Bontrager hardcase or Specialized armadillo tires would seem to make sense for me. If anyone has thoughts on what kind of tires with a kevlar belt are best, I'd appreciate the input.

  6. #6
    Senior Member
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    I have a little over 2000 miles with no flats on Panaracer RibMo tires.

  7. #7
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    When you are shopping, be aware that tires may have a kevlar belt and/or a kevlar bead. The belt of kevlar or some other puncture resistant material is what reduces flats. The kevlar bead allows the tire to be folded and is lighter. I like Continental Gatorskins. You can order them from Ribble in UK for about $30 each. Shipping was 12 days for my last order. Your tire pressure depends on your weight. Give us an idea of your weight and the size tire, 700X23 or 700X25 or whatever. Generally the widest tire you can fit in your frame will be best for commuting.

  8. #8
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    I like Panaracer Parcela TG folding tires. I have fewer flats. As far as inflation goes it is a matter of the weight of you and the bike and the width of the tire.
    https://www.adventurecycling.org/res...SIRX_Heine.pdf

  9. #9
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    You need to be sure you know exactly what is causing the flats before you start making changes.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Al1943 View Post
    You need to be sure you know exactly what is causing the flats before you start making changes.
    I agree. You should not be having that many flats unless there is a problem with the rims, tape, old tube, or tires. I had a rim that had a sharp rough place on the inside of the bead where it was welded. A file took care of that. As someone else stated, take the time to 100% check both wheels, & if that is fine, THEN, I would buy new rim tape, & good tires & tubes. Some people add a product called " Slime ," but I have no experience with it.

  11. #11
    Old Fogy
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    You won't be happy with Slime in road bike tires. A puncture will result in a big gooey mess, and the leak won't seal until the pressure is down to 50 or 60 psi.

  12. #12
    Bikaholic blamp28's Avatar
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    I have around 4500 miles on a set of Armadillos with zero flats. Oh shoot. There I go saying that. Now i'm doomed. But seriously, these have been solid tires.
    Trek Fuel XC MTB, Giant OCR Road Bike, Rans Screamer - Tandem

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