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Old 04-19-08, 07:34 AM   #1
colo. 3spd man
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Got Goatheads ?

I am plagued by Goathead thorns if you don't have them in your area consider yourself lucky, I was wondering what other parts of the world have these insidious little flat makers? or other type of thorns, I work in an LBS and can defend my tires better than some, but I still have to fix other peoples flats So I guess my question is how do you prevent flats?
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Old 04-19-08, 08:51 AM   #2
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From previous posts about goat's heads it appears they are found in many parts of the United States and in several other countries across the world. I had never encountered them until moving to Idaho.

I tried tire liners, like Mr. Tuffy, but found they caused me more flats and damaged tires than they saved me by warding off attacks from thorns. I discontinued using them.

I have Specialized Armadillo tires on my bike and I have Slime in the tubes. The goat's heads can still puncture to the side of the tire's protective band, or even a tire liner. But, the Slime stops leaks caused by the thorns. I know bike shop people do not like Slime, but so far it is my best defense against goat's heads.
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Old 04-19-08, 10:45 AM   #3
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I am plagued by Goathead thorns if you don't have them in your area consider yourself lucky, I was wondering what other parts of the world have these insidious little flat makers? or other type of thorns, I work in an LBS and can defend my tires better than some, but I still have to fix other peoples flats So I guess my question is how do you prevent flats?
Unfortunately I am a bit of an expert on this, having ridden all my life on the Colorado Front Range. Or as I call it Colorado Front Goathead Preserve.

The best strategy for preventing goathead flats, in my opinion, is to ride where other bikes, cars or pedestrians consistently travel. Chances are that any thorns that make it out into these areas will be picked up quickly by the poor *******s who have gone before you. Also, puncture vine (tribulus terrestris) tends to grow on the edges of roads, paths and sidewalks, so if you just stay away from the edges it will greatly improve your outlook. And you definitely don't want to go bombing across any vacant lots or other forgotten surfaces. I will actually get off my bike and carry it if I come to something like that where I can basically smell the goatheads and hear them laughing and bickering as they do. Goathead minefield. It is also true that some areas of town seem to be absolutely swimming with thorns while others are not. 8th and Santa Fe area has been really bad, for instance. The paths around Chatfield Reservoir, etc.

Using these strategies I have kept my goathead flats to a nice manageable level without the use of tire liners, ooze, or any of those other things. I ride on fast tires. My last several flats have actually been glass-related. Historically I have had about one glass puncture for every 3 - 5 goathead punctures, quite a different pattern than that seen in much of the country.

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Old 04-19-08, 03:13 PM   #4
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You know, I never understood what the complaint was about thorns and tires being punctured. Ever since I came across a reference to that here on BF, I've paid close attention to every thorned plant I've seen and just didn't get it.

Now that someone's mentioned it by name I could look it up - now I understand what the fuss is all about. That plant looks hazardous to pedestrians too!
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Old 04-19-08, 04:01 PM   #5
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That plant IS hazardous to pedestrians. They make it so my dog is afraid to jump off the pathway, and even so he still gets 'em in his paws.

I've taken an opposite approach to RobertHurst in my time, going full fledged with 'dillos, Mr. Tuffy's and Slime. That worked fine, but was heavy.

I got some free tires with a new-used bike I bought, Panaracer Urban Max, and I didn't do anything to them...no liners, no slime, and I've done extraordinarily well against them since. Couldn't tell you what it is, maybe the season, but my fear was that when I endeavoured on the all out campaign it was the bad season (September) and my tires were almost through anyways.

I think a good set of tires, like Schwalbe Marathon Plus or Supreme can pretty much take care of you.
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Old 04-19-08, 05:30 PM   #6
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Novakane,

The goat's heads stick to the bottom of your shoes without you being aware of them. Then they come off in the carpet. Wait until you step on one in stocking feet!

It sounds easy to tell someone to ride away from the side of a road or a path, but the wind can easily carry them into the part of the road you would think is free of thorns. Once a whole branch from the plant was in my path just as I was meeting an oncoming car. I had about a dozen Slime bleeds on each tire. I spent a couple of minutes picking goat's heads from my tires before I could go on. But, the Slime got me home without pressure loss.
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Old 04-19-08, 05:47 PM   #7
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The goat's heads stick to the bottom of your shoes without you being aware of them. Then they come off in the carpet. Wait until you step on one in stocking feet!
OUCH. I hate it when that happens.

Another Coloradan and accidental goat head collector here. Kevlar tires help.
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Old 04-19-08, 05:55 PM   #8
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Have some in southern Arizona, but mostly off-road.
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Old 04-19-08, 05:56 PM   #9
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We have them in Kansas. I switched to Bontrager Hard-Case tires on my road bike and haven't flatted even once ever since.
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Old 04-19-08, 07:04 PM   #10
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We have them in Kansas. I switched to Bontrager Hard-Case tires on my road bike and haven't flatted even once ever since.
Oh yes we Do!! I use Crossroads Armadillos/Thick Tubes...So Far so good
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Old 04-19-08, 07:48 PM   #11
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Oh yes we Do!! I use Crossroads Armadillos/Thick Tubes...So Far so good
It's been so long since I've changed a flat that I forgot to mention... I used tubes designed for 28mm in my 25mm tires, too. They actually still fill out (not warped or wrinkled) inside the tire, but they don't balloon out, stretch, and get thin.

Thanks for reminding me
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Old 04-19-08, 08:35 PM   #12
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I get them on the north platte trail quite a bit. Unfortunately, the alternative is riding through commercial streets in commerce city and flatting when I hit a pothole or pick up a piece of glass since the streets are cleaned once a millennium in that particular part of town. I took to running a normal armadillo on my last commuter bike and it never flatted. However, that was in winter. I have yet to test it in fall.
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Old 04-19-08, 08:44 PM   #13
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Oh yes we Do!! I use Specialized Crossroads Armadillos on my hard rock..4 years no flat .So Far so good

On the road bike I been good all but one day I got 2 flats, it has Armadildos but not near as thick as the Crossroads,,boo hoo
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Old 04-19-08, 08:57 PM   #14
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I am in colorado

used armadillo's for several years, no flats but terrible handling and really dangerous in wet road conditions

switched to Marathon Plus's on all my bikes and will never look back

good handling, no flats, great wet condition handling..heavy but I would rather have heaviness than flats

Marathon's are great!!
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Old 04-19-08, 09:07 PM   #15
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....ooooOoOo! and reflective sidewalls!
I need different tires for when I restart commuting since it will be on my MTB. I think I may give those a try.
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Old 04-20-08, 04:44 PM   #16
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we have a ton of them here in Phoenix. although they seem to be doing a better job of eradicating them along my route, anyway.
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Old 04-20-08, 10:09 PM   #17
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It seems so ironic the thorn part of the plant actually has quite the innocuous name......the "fruit".
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Old 04-21-08, 10:24 AM   #18
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I fear goatheads more than cars. I find just staying in the main travel areas I am good to go. A little Slime doesnt hurt though. http://bikenazi.blogspot.com/2007/03/mans-ruin.html
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Old 04-21-08, 12:04 PM   #19
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Armadillo or Ultra Gatorskin tires help a lot, and so does slime/goop, but there is no way to prevent flats. Mine tend to come in batches near the end of a tire's life. When the bead that hits the road has a flat profile, the tires are easier to puncture. Every 4000 miles or so for me on the back tire, and every 6000 miles or more on the front. I've actually been riding a standard and cheap Bontrager with a kevlar center bead on the front for about 7000 miles so far, with no issues.

Like I said, there are no guarantees though. You'll stop having flats along the front range over the next couple of weeks. They get swept off the road by other riders, cars, rain, etc. From August until first frost, goatheads come out in BIG batches/crops depending on the local weather. I always get flats then, no matter what I have in and on my back tire/rim. Especially in suburb and rural areas after they cut back the grass and weeds along the side of the road.

I've gotten pretty fast at changing out a back tire, and keep 2 fully tested tubes with me while I ride, 5-6 tested tubes at the house (keep repairing them until they ride lumpy - buy 2-3 new ones every year), and make sure that you have a good frame pump that can easily pump your tires above 110 psi. I like the topeak roadmorph, but there are a couple of other decent frame pumps out there. Just make sure that it has a built-in pressure gage, a flexible hose connector (keeps you from damaging the valve stem while pumping the tire up), and a fold-out foot lever so that you can put one end on the ground and put your back into pumping.
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Old 04-21-08, 04:28 PM   #20
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If you tried to design tire spikes you could not be more efficient than natures own natural design in the goathead. They are evil, and yes, I have seen them in Phoenix in certain seasons.
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Old 04-21-08, 11:57 PM   #21
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If you tried to design tire spikes you could not be more efficient than natures own natural design in the goathead. They are evil, and yes, I have seen them in Phoenix in certain seasons.
It's quite possible the first caltrops fabricated for military use were inspired by goathead thorns. The shape is effective. What really gets me is the material though. The spikes (sometimes) break off but the core of the thing is rock-hard, as tough as the toughest hardwoods found in nature. If you put it in your mouth and bit down it would feel just like biting a pebble. They last a very long time buried in the dirt without breaking down. After many years they turn black, shrivel a bit but remain hard as concrete and sharp as needles.

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Old 04-22-08, 12:05 AM   #22
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Never seen those, but crossing the border of NSW and Victoria (Australia) we were suddenly hit by an attack of Bindi thorns. Within minutes, we had two flats, including one through the centre of a Marathon Plus. I ended up pulling 30-50 of them out of my (non-kevlar) front tyre, of which at least 3 had punctured the tube. The LBS there had a big display of Tioga 'thorn-resistant' tubes

PS to Pinyon: How do you "fully test" a tube? I can never find out whether a patch has been successful until I ride on it?

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Old 04-22-08, 01:04 AM   #23
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Ran over a bunch of them in North Tejas. I use Slime tire liners, and no punctures. Did have to stop and remove them though, just because I'm OCD.
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