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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 09-05-09, 12:51 PM   #1
Meseria
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Flat after flat. Please help!

Hey,

I commute to school and the roads in some places arent in the best shape but its nothing really i can do about it. I try to avoid bad spots but some places there is nowhere to go. Also, I have a back rack with the milk crate and so i have extra weight on the back end all the time. I also grocery shop with my bike.

I have a Giant Defy and it has some Kenda low rolling resistant tires, stock tires. I have popped 3 tubes in 2 weeks so something is going on. I bought the bike last october and have put definitely over 1000 miles on the tires. Maybe the tires are worn out?

I think yes. Which leads me my question. If i bought some touring tires which are supposed to have some type of puncture or flat resistant technology would i see less flats? I cannot keep buying new tubes or patching them because 1. its unfeasible and 2. its expensive.

My tires now state that they measure 700-18-23c. Any recommendations for new tires that will give me fewer flats?

Thanks so much,
Jason
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Old 09-05-09, 12:54 PM   #2
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Seriously weird, I have similar tires and have 0 problems, I have gone off curbs/embedded train tracks etc. I have a rear rack with two panniers, fenders etc, I have put quite a bit of weight back there without an issue either. I wish I had an answer for you.
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Old 09-05-09, 12:58 PM   #3
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The problems for me just started in the past two weeks. Before that i got 1 flat in the total time i had owned it.

Could it be the tubes that i am using?
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Old 09-05-09, 01:04 PM   #4
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Are you getting punctures in the same place on the tube? Maybe there's something like a piece of glass embedded in there.
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Old 09-05-09, 01:57 PM   #5
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Are you getting punctures in the same place on the tube? Maybe there's something like a piece of glass embedded in there.
+1

Make absolutely sure that there isn't something sharp stuck in the tire; run a rag around the inside of the tire to make sure. Also, make sure that a spoke isn't sticking through the rim and puncturing the tire.
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Old 09-05-09, 02:01 PM   #6
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Exactly where are the holes in the tube? you could have a bad rim strip.
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Old 09-05-09, 02:26 PM   #7
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+1

Make absolutely sure that there isn't something sharp stuck in the tire; run a rag around the inside of the tire to make sure. Also, make sure that a spoke isn't sticking through the rim and puncturing the tire.


Also make sure your tires are properly inflated. If you are buying the same brand intertube there may have been a problem with that batch.
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Old 09-05-09, 02:28 PM   #8
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How much psi of air are you pumping into the tires.
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Old 09-05-09, 03:38 PM   #9
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And take the lane rather than riding in debris filled gutters.
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Old 09-05-09, 05:12 PM   #10
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I had a similar problem with mine. I went through 4 tubes in two weeks after about a year of riding. It took some effort, but I was able to take the tire/tube out without changing the respective alignment, then overinflated my now flat tire. I found the puncture and checked the tire, seeing nothing. I ran my finger over the spot, inside and out, still nothing. Then I tried stretching the tire over my leg, inside out, and found a sliver of glass in a pinprick sized hole. After digging it out, no problems.

Good luck.
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Old 09-05-09, 05:39 PM   #11
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I had the same problem with a set of stock Kenda tires. After much trial and tribulation, I turned the tire inside out and found a small gash with a sliver of glass embedded inside it. I fixed the problem but ended up with more flats within a month. I had about 1000 miles on the tires and decided to switch.

I haven't had a single flat since switching to Schwalbe Marathon XR's around 1000 miles ago. THey are a little bit slower than the Kenda tires but I don't have to walk the bike home anymore.

I highly recommend switching to some sort of puncture proof tire.
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Old 09-05-09, 05:53 PM   #12
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Get kevlar-belted tires.

The ones most often used by folks here are
  • Bontrager Hardcase
  • Continental Ultra Gatorskin
  • Schwalbe Marathon
  • Specialized Armadillo

Each has its own fans and detractors, and its own pricing and availability.

I've used all of the above except the Schwalbe. I've found them equally puncture-resistant, although there are other differences between them. None are puncture-proof, but they're all worlds better than plain old stock tires.

Kenda tires came stock on my Giant too. They were flat city. I was never so happy as the day they both developed eggs (bulges) and my LBS told me to pick out any tire in the store to replace them. They had less than 1,000 miles.

Last edited by tsl; 09-05-09 at 05:58 PM.
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Old 09-05-09, 07:03 PM   #13
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I recently got the Vredestein SE's simply as a backup until my stock tires go down. Just wondering if anybody has any experience with them and what they think.
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Old 09-05-09, 07:47 PM   #14
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If your tires are under inflated, you could be getting pinch flats. My suggestion would be a wider tire like a 28c or 32c, those should handle potholes and other unavoidable bumps a little better then a 23c racing tire. Also, air those babies up to the maximum rated pressure stated on the tire.
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Old 09-05-09, 10:15 PM   #15
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3 sets of Schwalbe Marathon Plus w/over 12,000 combined mileage in about 1.5 years. One flat, one slow leak on the 700x28mm set. They're the only tires I'll ever purchase again as my commute is 40+ miles daily. Have 2 sets of 25mm, too and am completely confident. One's on a singlespeed and one's on a 1x8 roadbike. Haven't tried, Gatorskins, Amadillos, etc., but can't imagine they're any better in terms of flat resistance. Light, faster maybe, but getting to work w/minimum stress is MY goal, so I chose the SMPs. One of the best cycling decisions I've made, thus far.
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Old 09-06-09, 12:48 AM   #16
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I've ridden Gatorskins a bunch. I think I like the feel of Panaracer Paselas with Tourguard a bit better though. I have 1000's of flat-free miles on both. In fact, I don't remember having any flats at all since I started using puncture resistant tires.
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Old 09-06-09, 01:00 AM   #17
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Next time you get a flat do this.

Take a sharpie and mark the tire and the rim so you can put it back in the same place for comparison.

Remove the tire and NOT the tube or mark the tube to ensure you put it on the same direction.

Inflate the tube and stick it in a bucket of water or the tub to find the leak. Once you find the leak put the tube back on and inspect the rim in that area. If you don't find anything then look at the tire.

It's marked so you'll have an approximate location of where to look to inspect.

Sometimes the problem becomes apparent when you know exactly where to look.

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Old 09-06-09, 06:17 AM   #18
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Apart from better tires, the thing that's worked for me the best are tire liners. Inevitably, there will be that hidden embedded glass, but if there's a protective layer between that and your tire, it will have to get past that.

I had tires that I was stretching past their useful life, but wanted a few weeks to shop for some good replacement ones. I was getting a lot of flats until I put in the liners.
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Old 09-06-09, 06:30 AM   #19
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Give Blood!

After doing all the other things, positioning the tire lable opposit the valve every time, laying out the tube on the tire to get an aprox. position of the leak try this.

Run your fingers along the inside of the tire, usually you will find the shard of whatever real fast. you will know when you say "ouch". I always carry a pair of tweezers with my patch kit on all my bikes just for these tiny pieces.
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Old 09-06-09, 02:52 PM   #20
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When I first started commuting 32 miles a day four years ago, I had eight flats in 3 months, and was ready to go to solid tires till I found about Schwalbe's Marathon+. Bought one, and didn't have another flat in a year.
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Old 09-06-09, 03:28 PM   #21
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Kevlar belted tires (mentioned above) + thorn-proof tubes (much thicker than "normal") = no new flats in several hundred miles.
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Old 09-06-09, 05:04 PM   #22
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I had one episode of repeated flats until the guy at the bike store found a small tear in the sidewall of the time. You could try a very minute inspection of the tire. If it's always the front or always the back tire that goes flat, you could switch them around and if the same tire keeps getting flat regardless of its position, that would confirm a problem with the tire and justify a replacement.
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Old 09-06-09, 05:14 PM   #23
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Armadillos, 700x23. I replaced my rear wheel first because for some reason it seemed to be the one more prone to flats. Then it never got flats for the next 4-5 months, while the front one went flat again and again. Changed that one, and I haven't had a flat in closing in on two years. Yeah, they're more expensive than regular tires, but SO worth it for me.
Wife got Gatorskins after a patch of glass on a bike path that I didn't even sweat. She's happy with them, too.
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Old 09-07-09, 09:59 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tsl View Post
Get kevlar-belted tires.

The ones most often used by folks here are
  • Bontrager Hardcase
  • Continental Ultra Gatorskin
  • Schwalbe Marathon
  • Specialized Armadillo

Each has its own fans and detractors, and its own pricing and availability.

I've used all of the above except the Schwalbe. I've found them equally puncture-resistant, although there are other differences between them. None are puncture-proof, but they're all worlds better than plain old stock tires.

Kenda tires came stock on my Giant too. They were flat city. I was never so happy as the day they both developed eggs (bulges) and my LBS told me to pick out any tire in the store to replace them. They had less than 1,000 miles.

Question, what makes Conti Ultra with kevlar any better than Nashbar Prima 2 Plus Road Tire
I caught a flat in my Conti from glass and was upset cause these tires are highly rated only have like 587 on them.
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Old 09-08-09, 05:28 PM   #25
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Thanks to all who have expressed their support for the Schwalbe Marathon Plus (aka +).

We just received this e-mail over the weekend. If flats are your nemesis, read this:

"I just completed a long tour across North America from St John’s Newfoundland to Vancouver British Columbia. The total Distance was almost 9000 Kilometers (5600 miles)and I completed the trip on one set of Marathon Plus 700X28 tires. I had no flats the entire trip and there is still life in the tires, I did rotate them once after about 6000 kilometers because the back tire was wearing quicker than the front but that is expected. I am total sold on these tires and I would recommend them to anyone going on a long tour. You can check out our tour at www.bikingforthecure.com

Thank You for making a great tire Paul Morisset"
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