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Clydesdales/Athenas (200+ lb / 91+ kg) Looking to lose that spare tire? Ideal weight 200+? Frustrated being a large cyclist in a sport geared for the ultra-light? Learn about the bikes and parts that can take the abuse of a heavier cyclist, how to keep your body going while losing the weight, and get support from others who've been successful.

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Old 10-01-06, 05:06 PM   #1
Dewey Oxberger
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How do you prevent flats on a road bike?

Okay - 225 lbs, 6'4" (plus) and 32K miles of commuting on Hybrids and MTBs.

I just got a road bike (poor thing, doesn't know what's in store for it - I kinda feel sorry for it's nice shiny paint and drivetrain - we'll see if it's so happy after it becomes another Oxberger commuter special ).

Ten miles into my first ride and I get a flat. The tinyest thorn I ever saw let all of my 120lbs of air out in about 2 minutes.

Now on my hybrid and MTB I had great luck with Slime and other such products keeping the air in until I was in the comfort of my work or home (where I could use my nice floor pump). With the MTB I've had great luck with tire liners - they've kept many a thorn or bit if metal tire cord from working a hole in the tube (and let me use the cheapo $2 tubes from performance).

What options for flat-proofing a road bike do I have on a tiny 23 mm tire?

What do you all do to keep the flats to a minimum?
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Old 10-01-06, 05:21 PM   #2
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Keeping the tires inflated will prevent pinch flats. Try using a tire with a Kevlar liner like Specialized Armadillo and Continental Gatorskins.
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Old 10-01-06, 05:22 PM   #3
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I would say you just had bad luck, I'm 20 lbs lighter on the same tire size and have 1500 miles on the same tubes so far this year. I only run at 90 to 95 psi since reading this article http://www.roadbikerider.com/UArant....ire%20Pressure
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Old 10-01-06, 05:50 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by DieselDan
Try using a tire with a Kevlar liner like Specialized Armadillo and Continental Gatorskins.
Yep. Bontrager Hard Case is another good set for this.
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Old 10-01-06, 06:01 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by wneumann
Yep. Bontrager Hard Case is another good set for this.
+1 on the Hard Case tires. I use those, keep the tires well-inflated, and have been pretty successful avoiding flats.
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Old 10-01-06, 09:13 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wneumann
Yep. Bontrager Hard Case is another good set for this.
As are the original tire liners, Mr. Tuffys. Stay away from the Slime ones, however. Those cut through my tube in a single ride to work (20 miles) due to a sharp edge on the liner.
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Old 10-01-06, 11:27 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by DieselDan
...Specialized Armadillo...
EVERY time
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Old 10-01-06, 11:27 PM   #8
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For one thing, usually stock tires suck. You mentioned your first ride so I'm thinking new stock tires.
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Old 10-02-06, 03:59 AM   #9
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Can you fit tyres larger than 23mm? Say 28's?
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Old 10-02-06, 07:31 AM   #10
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I'm fairly sure I could go 25's or 28's but not any larger. I was thinking I'd try the 23's and if they suck I'd move on to 25 and so on.

Thanks for the recommendations - the stock tires are fairly thin/light so I'll be ordering new ones in a few months.
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Old 10-02-06, 11:08 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by damian_
Can you fit tyres larger than 23mm? Say 28's?
Depands on the bike. There is a thread in the Road Cycling forum about a 25mm wide tire not fitting a Scott frame, it rubs the brake bridge. I can't go wider then 23mm on my 2.8 Cannondale, as it rubbed my old RSX front derailluer, but I haven't tried with my new 105 front derailluer.
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Old 10-02-06, 03:19 PM   #12
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flats and such

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dewey Oxberger
Okay - 225 lbs, 6'4" (plus) and 32K miles of commuting on Hybrids and MTBs.

I just got a road bike (poor thing, doesn't know what's in store for it - I kinda feel sorry for it's nice shiny paint and drivetrain - we'll see if it's so happy after it becomes another Oxberger commuter special ).

Ten miles into my first ride and I get a flat. The tinyest thorn I ever saw let all of my 120lbs of air out in about 2 minutes.

Now on my hybrid and MTB I had great luck with Slime and other such products keeping the air in until I was in the comfort of my work or home (where I could use my nice floor pump). With the MTB I've had great luck with tire liners - they've kept many a thorn or bit if metal tire cord from working a hole in the tube (and let me use the cheapo $2 tubes from performance).

What options for flat-proofing a road bike do I have on a tiny 23 mm tire?

What do you all do to keep the flats to a minimum?
Ride a wider tire with larger air volume!!! I had a flat the first week of riding 23mm tires and the same while riding 1.25" tires on my recumbent. For a upright bike, at your weight, you need wider tires if for nothing than to protect your new rims. You might try using those expensive hard skinnies but IMHO you are wasting good money and missing out on a more comfortable ride. And don't let me hear anyone say that a 28mm will slow you down. Big trucks carrying heavy loads have big tires and big cyclers need bigger tires and won't even notice a speed drop, in fact you may ride faster on rougher pavement due to less intense road vibes. Just my opinion after fixing flats on hard skinnies, in the rain, with cold fingers wondering why am I trying to ride these whimpy tires.
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Old 10-02-06, 03:33 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by charles vail
Ride a wider tire with larger air volume!!!
I agree! Even back in my tri-racing days I ran 25's or 28's depending on how bad the course pavement was.
I'm cruising on 26 x 1.5 semi-slicks right now, and I still out pace some of the 700 x 23 daily riders I see on my commute. Save the high-pressure low-profiles for the lightweight sports car types. A Peterbilt needs big tires.
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Old 10-02-06, 08:26 PM   #14
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My plan was to ride the 23mm tires - they won't last long anyway. If I have trouble with too many flats or bad handling I'll move to 25mm tires. More trouble? Move to 28mm. No way could I go higher than 28mm (not even sure I can do 28's).

The link to "lower air pressure" provided by cminter has me thinking I'll drop 5 psi on my front and rear tires each week and see if a problem pops up. Maybe head toward 100 psi and see what happens.

At 120 it's a bone jarring ride for sure.
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Old 10-02-06, 09:24 PM   #15
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Really you can't prevent flats. Accept it.
You can reduce them:
Bigger tires.
Industrial heavy duty tires like these jobs.
Run tires at max PSI rated on the sidewall.
Inspect/inflate them frequently.
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Old 10-03-06, 12:09 PM   #16
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why?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dewey Oxberger
My plan was to ride the 23mm tires - they won't last long anyway. If I have trouble with too many flats or bad handling I'll move to 25mm tires. More trouble? Move to 28mm. No way could I go higher than 28mm (not even sure I can do 28's).

The link to "lower air pressure" provided by cminter has me thinking I'll drop 5 psi on my front and rear tires each week and see if a problem pops up. Maybe head toward 100 psi and see what happens.

At 120 it's a bone jarring ride for sure.
Do not drop the air pressure, that is the only thing that protects your rims! Get a larger volume tire or stay on smooth roads and avoid sharp objects.

The fact that you experience a "bone jarring ride" is proof that those hard skinnies aren't our cup of tea for serious riding on multi surface roads that exist in the real world.
Racers have team cars with extra wheels following them and they are racing after all and need every tiny advantage possible, plus they often weigh under 160 pounds, so for them, 23 mm or narrower tires are fine. If they had to ride like they did when racers had to maintain their own bikes with no outside help you'd see wider tires again. Look at some of the older photos with riders carrying two spares wrapped around their shoulders and see how wide and puffy the tires were. The roads of course back then were much rougher but the point is, we "civilian riders" are exposed to different conditions than racers of today and should not be riding narrow high pressure tires, if we want to avoid flatting so often, especially if we are big and heavy.
I suspect that your fork hasn't the clearance for a wider tire and that fact is what led me to buying an older steel 27" and converting it to 700c,touring frame off E-bay because I couldn't afford a Rivendell. Now, I notice you can buy a decent, reasonably priced,steel bike (Fuji, Surley, Trek 520, Bianchi etc.) that can take wider tires including fenders and so it makes riding in all weather and all road surfaces a much more practical endeavor for normal people of average or even above average weight and size.
Sorry if I am ranting its just a frustraiting subject for me since I wasted alot of money trying to make myself fit the common "road bike" that seems to be sold in every store across the country until I got re-educated and revisited what I instinctively knew based on my experiences of twenty years ago. The fact is,the bike makers are starting to wise up and offer more sensible practical bikes and thats a good thing.
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Old 10-04-06, 03:18 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dewey Oxberger
Ten miles into my first ride and I get a flat. The tinyest thorn I ever saw let all of my 120lbs of air out in about 2 minutes.
I used to have "tyre scrapers", loops of wire attached to the front and rear forks that skimmed the tyre. The idea was that they'd knock off any slivers of glass or thorns you picked up before they got driven into the tube. Of course, it wouldn't help if you ran over a tack or the like, but it would if it's something that gets caught in the tread and doesn't actually penetrate till you've done a few revolutions.
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Old 10-04-06, 07:10 AM   #18
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Am 6' 1" 223lbs commuting on a Jamis Aurora......running Schwalbe Marathons 700x28's...I keep the rear at 95 psi and the front at 90 psi......no flats in the last 1300 miles......before that I got about 600 miles on Gatorskins before industrial staples dropping from construction trucks got my sidewalls on both front and back...(within 3 days of each other) staples did not penetrate the Kevlar, but ripped the sidewall open.......ran a stock tire while waiting for the Schwalbe's to arrive.....have never gotten more than 100 miles without a flat on a stock tire...I live in the land of construction heaven......
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Old 10-04-06, 09:55 PM   #19
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I used those tire scrapers on my old road bike (about 20 years ago) - hard to say if they worked or not but I didn't have any flats while I had them on (they rusted out and broke).
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Old 10-07-06, 09:28 AM   #20
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personally I had alot of prob with flats and 23's, I got a rear 25 Gator Skins and havn't had a flat since. I still have a 23 up front though.
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Old 10-07-06, 10:14 AM   #21
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Check your tire pressure every single time before you go out.
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Old 10-07-06, 09:22 PM   #22
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I agree with the other posters about using wider tires. I had a lot of flats on my 23s, too. I got sick of fixing tires alongside the road and put on some 35mm Panaracer Paselas. I have a Lemond Poprad cyclocross bike which gives me lots of clearance. These bikes actually make a pretty good road bike. That was the end of the flat trouble for me. Now I've got Avocet Cross K 35mms on and expect good performance from them, too. Incidentally, the new Bicycle Quarterly has several articles on rolling resistance of tires. They found that a wider tire can sometimes actually roll easier. My Cross Ks scored pretty well in spite of being a wide heavy tire. It's a really interesting article if you get BQ (great magazine if a little expensive).
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Old 10-07-06, 11:39 PM   #23
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I'm a big dude. I ride on average 300 miles a week. The streets of Philadelphia are pretty unforgiving.

Flat are unpreventable... but, I have found certain things that really cut down on how often you get them.

a) TUFFY LINERS. Get them. They're worth the $15 or so that they cost.
b) Thick specialized inner tubes. About $7 a pop, but well worth it.
c) Decent tires. I am particularly partial to Conti Gatorskins. I have to change them about every 3-4 months because they end up looking like they did a tour in 'Nam. But, they are well worth the money, IMO.
d) While riding, if you notice you ran through some sparkley glass. Reach down and hold your hand on your wheel to remove excess glass before it becomes lodged in there. Also, reach around with your foot and do the same to the rear. If you're not comfortable enough to do that... get off and do it. It'll save you more time than it will take to have to change a tube.

Between kevlar tires, thick tubes, tuffy liners, and keeping an eye on what you run through... your wheel should be pretty bombproof. You can pretty much set that all up for under $90.


PS: Nice to meet yous all. My first post here. First time I've ever had a stable internet connection.
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Old 08-19-08, 09:44 PM   #24
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sorry to revive this old thread, but I am having a problem with flats. I am 6'5" and 245lbs and am getting about 1 flat a week. I am riding a cheapo schwinn road bike ($200). How can I tell what are the biggest tires the bike can use?

What are the best puncture resistant tires?
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Old 08-19-08, 10:58 PM   #25
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Best puncture resistant tires: Continental Ultra Gatorskin, Specialized Armadillo, Bontrager Hardcase. I prefer the Conti's, personally, but they're all good.
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