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Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

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Old 03-01-09, 07:33 PM   #1
Mike B.
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Encouragement and tips needed.

I've now owned my bike for about a year and mostly commute in warmer weather. (I'm a self proclaimed wimp, I can't handle the cold) I ride to work, 10 miles r/t. I hate flats so I found this product, http://nu-teck.com/product.html

Changing or repairing a flat in the dark is not my idea of fun. So I bought a pair of these. I know from experience that these tires just don't feel and handle like inflatable tires, they feel somewhat unresponsive and kinda like they're dead. One time my front tire got caught in that gap (about an inch wide and an inch deep) between the concrete curb and the asphalt road, I turned to get out of the groove and the tire came right off the wheel. (bummer) With out the right tools I locked up my bike in front of a resturant and walked 2 miles home to get my Jeep and hauled my bike back home.

Now I'm thinking of giving these "flat proof tires" the 'ol "save 'em on a shelf" treatment. Hopefully the weather will warm-up abit and I can put my old tubes and tires back on.

Maybe you can relate to this story, hopefully not, but if you do, can you give me some helpful tire tips that will ease my fear of getting flats. Thanks!
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Old 03-01-09, 07:36 PM   #2
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Just practice fixing flats.
It is part of riding.
13 flats last year.
5 flats this year in 3142 miles.
Practice.....
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Old 03-01-09, 07:39 PM   #3
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Yeah, Sheldon Brown discusses why these will never work. The air pressure and volume in a normal tire acts as an air suspension. From http://www.sheldonbrown.com/gloss_aa-l.html

"Airless Tires
Of all the inventions that came out of the bicycle industry, probably none is as important and useful as Dr. Dunlop's pneumatic tire.
Airless tires have been obsolete for over a century, but crackpot "inventors" keep trying to bring them back. They are heavy and slow. They give a harsh ride and poor high-speed cornering on rough surfaces. They are also likely to cause wheel damage, due to their poor cushioning ability. A pneumatic tire uses all of the air in the whole tube as a shock absorber, while foam-type "airless" tires/tubes only use the air in the immediate area of impact.

Airless tires are either made of elastomers (rubbery materials) or closed cell foams, which are rubbery materials with lots of tiny air bubbles. The better ones are foam type, becausle solid elastomers have hardly any shockabsorbency.

This sort of material has a non-linear response to compression loads: as apply a compressive load, the stiffness of the material increases as it gets squashed thinner and thinner. The beauty of pneumatic tires is that the compression is nearly linear.

A basic fact of physics is that pressure is inversely proportional to volume.

Imagine a pneumatic tire that is divided into lots of little segments so that each inch or so of tire is effectively a separate "balloon." Let's say it's 1 inch thick, and when a rider sits on the bike, the tire compresses 1/4 inch. That means the volume of the localized "baloon" is now 75% of what it was before the rider got on, so the pressure in the bubble is going to become 133% of what it was.

If the rider hits a bump that compresses the tire another 1/4 inch, the volume will be half the static value, so the pressure will be double the starting pressure.

If the rider hits a bump that compresses the tire 1/2 inch (plus the static 1/4 inch) the volume will have been reduced to 25% of the base volume, and the pressure will now be 4 times the base pressure!

"Airless" tires that use foam derive their resiliency from the bubbles in the foam, so this describes their general functioning. The bubbles are only part of the mix, though, so a 1 inch thick tire doesn't actually have an inch of air to play with before the bubbles are all compressed as far as they can go. You can only compress the bubbles so much, and the more you compress them, the harder they press back, in geometric progression.

Contrast this with a pneumatic tire, where the whole volume of air in the tire is being compressed as a unit. When you sit on the bike, the bottom part of the tire flattens out, say 1/4 inch, but this only reduces the total air volume by a fraction of a percent. Thus the pressure is nearly constant under all conditions, and the tire can be equally shock-absorbent for the full "travel" of its thickness.

It is this property of providing nearly linear response to external pressure that is the unique feature of pneumatic tires, and it is not possible for any system that doesn't have this feature to give as good ride as pneumatics do. This is why every vehicle designed for road use in the last hundred years has used pneumatic tires.

The near-linear response of pneumatic tires is not just a matter of comfort. It also improves traction at higher speeds, because they don't tend to bounce as much as harder tires do. Bouncing can cause loss of traction in high speed corners, because when the tire is airborne, it can't have any traction.

Airless tires do have their applications. They can work well either where speeds are very slow, or where surfaces are very smooth. Thus, they're pretty satisfactory for wheelchairs, especially those mainly used indoors, and also for railroad trains, roller skates, furniture casters, children's riding toys and wagons".




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Old 03-01-09, 07:44 PM   #4
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Since I put IRC Urbanmaster streets 700x35's on my CC I haven't had a flat. I commute everyday and grocery get and everything else except going to church.
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Old 03-01-09, 08:34 PM   #5
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I have had great luck once I changed to 700/28 gator skins. No flats with them. I was getting both punctures and pinch flats before, even with max pressure or more on inflation.

I agree, flats just suck, expecially in the dark. Hang in there, I think a good sized rugged tire will really help.
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Old 03-01-09, 09:20 PM   #6
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I have had great luck once I changed to 700/28 gator skins. No flats with them. I was getting both punctures and pinch flats before, even with max pressure or more on inflation.

I agree, flats just suck, expecially in the dark. Hang in there, I think a good sized rugged tire will really help.
Thanks. I also have 700/28 tires. I've heard good reviews about those gator skins. Maybe they'll be the next tires I buy when mine wear out. The ones I now have came on the bike. http://www.performancebike.com/shop/...estore_ID=1366

There is nothing outstanding about what I ride...Plain and simple...I just enjoy it.
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Old 03-01-09, 09:33 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 10 Wheels View Post
Just practice fixing flats.
It is part of riding.
13 flats last year.
5 flats this year in 3142 miles.
Practice.....
I rode all of last year what you've ridden so far this year (or just about). 3142 miles in 2 months is incredible!

Even if I was physically able to (which I'm not), I wouldn't have the time in my life to do that. Does sound like fun though
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Old 03-01-09, 09:39 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by apricissimus View Post
I rode all of last year what you've ridden so far this year (or just about). 3142 miles in 2 months is incredible!

Even if I was physically able to (which I'm not), I wouldn't have the time in my life to do that. Does sound like fun though
67 years old, retired. 11,200 miles last year, my first year riding a road bike.
It is fun.
I ride with a group of retired bikers.
We are not fast, average 12.5 mph, all thought I hit 31.8 mph two weeks ago on a flat road.
Lost 33 lbs in 14 months.

Ride Safe is my first goal.
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Old 03-01-09, 09:41 PM   #9
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Specialized Armadillos are the way to go, I live in the flat capital of the world with all the goat heads around and since switching to Armadillos I have not gotten a single flat.... (I just put them on my new commuter this weekend, but have had them on my Mountain Bike and Fixed Gear for a while with zero issues). I have heard the gatorskins are comparable but I can't verify that, I bought the armadillos, haven't had a flat and didn't bother looking at other tires..
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Old 03-01-09, 09:54 PM   #10
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Schwalba Marathon Plus with Mr.Tuffy liners. No flats in over 15,000 miles, and all the good characteristics one expects of a pneumatic. Air, it turns out, is a very good thing to have in one's tires.

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Old 03-01-09, 11:03 PM   #11
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I went from a flat about every other day to one about every month when I stuck Mr. Tuffy liners between the tires and tubes.
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Old 03-02-09, 12:13 AM   #12
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Would tubless work/help?
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Old 03-02-09, 06:09 AM   #13
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+1 on Armadillos.. the ride quality isnt great.. but no flats.
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Old 03-02-09, 06:49 AM   #14
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Another vote for the Schwalbe Marathon Plus. There are lighter versions in the Marathon product line that also provide a nicer ride. But if avoiding flats is priority, the Pluses really excel.

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Old 03-02-09, 07:30 AM   #15
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Just get practiced at patching your tubes and don't worry so much about them.
Consider each patch you applied yourself like a badge of honor.

I like to see how many patches on my tubes are possible before buying a new one. Last one had 5 before a bad flat incident ripped the valve stem off and had to be abandoned. One before that was probably 8 or so.



P.S. Regarding your experience with airless tires falling off. Always wondered, if there's no air in them what mechanism is used to hold them to your rim...?
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Old 03-02-09, 01:47 PM   #16
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Tips to avoid flats - good quality tires, some people like tire liners, keep tires inflated well, stay AWAY from the curb!!!! (not only does it help not getting your tire caught as before, but avoiding glass/debris that can give you flats that will collect there)

Tips to fix flats - practice at home removing tube so that you can do it quickly, get a helmet mounted light - good to see what you are doing in the dark, also good to "point" your head towards side street traffic that may not notice you; have a cell phone so you can call someone and then fix it later if you prefer, I rarely flat but if I do I'm often quite close to home at the time so I'll walk it the rest of the way and fix it there. Carry a spare tube so you don't have to wait for the glue to dry, and patch the old tube at home. Try to find an indoor or better lit place to fix the flat (inside of a shopping mall lobby?) if you happen to be passing some place appropriate. If its a slow leak sometimes you can pump and then have enough air to get you home and fix it there.
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Old 03-02-09, 02:14 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by breakaway9 View Post
Specialized Armadillos are the way to go, I live in the flat capital of the world with all the goat heads around and since switching to Armadillos I have not gotten a single flat.... (I just put them on my new commuter this weekend, but have had them on my Mountain Bike and Fixed Gear for a while with zero issues). I have heard the gatorskins are comparable but I can't verify that, I bought the armadillos, haven't had a flat and didn't bother looking at other tires..
I have both 700X28 Gatorskins and 700X32 Specialized Armadillos.

The Specialized Armadillos are tougher, zero flats including hitting a steel flang that distroyed the rim, but the tire was not effected!

I had one flat with the Gatorbacks. These are lighter and ride better with better wet traction, however.

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Old 03-02-09, 02:23 PM   #18
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When I flat out in the dark:

1) remove levers and spare tube from seat bag
2) remove PBSF blinkie from clip on seat bag
3) walk 20 paces up the shoulder and place blinkie like a road flare
4) turn helmet mounted lamp to highest setting
5) fix flat/replace wheel
6) gather up gear (don't forget that "road flare" blinkie)

I've found the helmet light to be the most important thing for midnight flat repairs. There's a lot of areas I ride with no street lights, and I use a generator headlight on the bike. No go = no light.
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Old 03-02-09, 02:23 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 10 Wheels View Post
67 years old, retired. 11,200 miles last year, my first year riding a road bike.
It is fun.
I ride with a group of retired bikers.
We are not fast, average 12.5 mph, all thought I hit 31.8 mph two weeks ago on a flat road.
Lost 33 lbs in 14 months.
Wow! That's amazing. I tip my hat to you!
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Old 03-03-09, 02:13 AM   #20
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So no one runs tubless on road bikes? I know the advantage of using tubless on mtn bikes, you can run lower pressure with less chance of pinch flats.
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Old 03-03-09, 02:52 AM   #21
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I once went on a road ride with a group and a buddy and I broke off the front for a bit and I ended up getting a flat. I fixed the flat in 4 minutes and the tailing group didn't even know I had a blow out. They thought we were just waiting for them. Practice changing flats and you'll wonder why you ever paid to have them done. With Co2, tire levers, and a spare tube it'll take you 10 minutes MAX to change a flat.
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Old 06-12-09, 10:14 AM   #22
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Don't fear the flat, just be prepared. In addition to the correct tools, I carry a tube, patch kit, some "scabs", and a mini pump. I alot bought Specialized Armadillos, which are supposed to be resistant to punctures, We'll see about that ...

Be careful where your wheels roll, keep them inflated properly, check them occasionally for things that are stuck in them. You'll be fine, and if you get a flat - come back here for a pat on the back and gold star!

When you buy your new tires - you should mount them yourself with your new tire tools so that you will be confident out on the road. Also when you buy the tites buy 2 extra tubes in case you damage one mounting them.
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Old 06-12-09, 11:55 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike B. View Post
Changing or repairing a flat in the dark is not my idea of fun.
I'm going to take a wild guess that changing a flat under any circumstances is not your idea of fun; in fact, I'd go so far as to bet that the idea of changing a flat strikes fear and loathing into your heart. Amirite?

Personally, I think that using tubeless "tires" because you're afraid of the possibility of a flat is a bit like driving a jacked-up monster truck because you're afraid of the possibility of a flash flood: sure, it could happen, but most flats are preventable, and dealing with the situation if it does happen isn't the end of the world. Become proficient at changing a tire and tube -- it's not that hard. When you're home in the evening, take a wheel off, remove the tire and tube, inspect the rim, inspect the tire and tube, and re-install. Do this every evening for a few weeks -- problem solved.
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