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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 12-23-10, 10:43 AM   #1
tabriz
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flat tires!!!

Hi, Noobie commuter here after 20 years off. Here in New Mexico we have goatheads, little sticker thingies that puncture a tire in no time. I have the green slime and gatorskin tires on my bike, and I'm still getting flats!

Any ideas on how to not get flats so often?

Thanks
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Old 12-23-10, 10:50 AM   #2
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http://www.bikeforums.net/archive/in.../t-602188.html
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Old 12-23-10, 12:59 PM   #3
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Schwalbe Marathon plus .. tires.

Thorn resistant inner tubes, way thicker, yes they're heavier too.
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Old 12-23-10, 05:12 PM   #4
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I'm just curious if this has anything to do with Presta valves. I don't know why but when I had a bike with Presta valves, I'd end up having pinched tubes. I wasn't sure where to put the nut or whatever you call it.
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Old 12-23-10, 10:28 PM   #5
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Ditto on the Schwalbe Marathon plus tires. I added liners as an additional measure. Have worn out my first set of tires and only had one flat and it was around the valve stem, not a puncture. I never carry tools or a pump anymore. Feel 100% confident with these tires.
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Old 12-24-10, 05:00 AM   #6
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I never carry tools or a pump anymore. Feel 100% confident with these tires.
I have Schwalbe Marathon plus tires too, but that's just over-confidence...
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Old 12-24-10, 08:55 AM   #7
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I never carry tools or a pump anymore. Feel 100% confident with these tires.
You're really poking the fate bear with that one.

I haven't had a flat in over 30000km (18000 miles), but I still feel vulnerable when I go out without tools and a pump.
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Old 12-24-10, 09:03 AM   #8
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I use home-made liners with my bikes. Essentially it's black duct-tape folded over, and another layer folder over in the other direction. So one is folded with the sticky sides out to stick to the inside of the tire, the other one is folded sticky side in to go between the sticky duct tape and the inner tube. On my road bikes I only use one layer however. The "grain" of the tape goes in opposite directions when I'm done to help with resistance. I never use slime because I just find that to be more of a pain than it helps.

I haven't done this method to my new mountain bike yet, but I got flats on the first tires it came with within a week, both front and back. My previous mountain bike didn't have a flat this whole year, and my road bike, once again, had a flat right after I got it but after applying my method above, I have avoided flats to date.

I commute on the same areas each day and whenever I get a flat, it's because I took a different route or travelled in a field or something like that. There are three areas in my city where you are guaranteed a flat if you ride near them. I just use common sense and avoid those areas at all costs.
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Old 12-24-10, 09:23 AM   #9
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Mr. Tuffy tire liners to go with a heavy duty tire.
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Old 12-24-10, 10:37 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by jeffpoulin View Post
You're really poking the fate bear with that one.

I haven't had a flat in over 30000km (18000 miles), but I still feel vulnerable when I go out without tools and a pump.
+1 I wont go to the end of my diveway w/o a pump, patch-kit and a chain tool as well. Being 50 miles out on a century and snapping a chain while climbing a 24% grade will cure one of not carrying a complete set of toolage.

Recommending the Schwalbe Marathon Plus as well. I've got over 15,000 combined commuting, utilitarian, recreational mileage w/one flat and one slow leak. Wouldn't use liners for road tires as they cut into the tubes. They're great for lower psi mtb tires, though.
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Old 12-25-10, 10:21 AM   #11
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I should add that I use my bike for commuting in town and could catch a bus or stop for a beer and call my wife if I need a rescue. That has only happened once so I couldn't see carrying the tools, tube and pump everyday. I haven't had any issues with the liners cutting into the tubes. The one issue I did have was at the base of the valve stem and was not even a puncture.
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Old 12-25-10, 03:29 PM   #12
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Yup, I have all sorts of flat resistant tires on my various bikes (Gatorskins, Panaracer Urban Max, Hutchinson Urban Tours, and Marathon Pluses). By far the most bomb-proof tire is the Shwalbe Marathon Plus. They are heavy and expensive. But would be your best defense for the goat head.
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Old 12-25-10, 04:03 PM   #13
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Mr. Tuffy tire liners to go with a heavy duty tire.
Except I have had Mr Tuffys cause, abrasion induced, flats at the their ends.

Schwalbe Marathon Plus include a layer with a Mr Tuffy like effect
but its part of the tire casing so won't induce a flat themselves.

Last edited by fietsbob; 12-25-10 at 04:06 PM.
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Old 12-25-10, 05:04 PM   #14
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Except I have had Mr Tuffys cause, abrasion induced, flats at the their ends.
At some point Mr. Tuffys started coming with a non-tapered end, and had this problem. Older ones, and newer ones as well, are tapered at the ends and don't cause abrasion.

I use Gatorskins, Mr. Tuffys, and Stan's sealant in the tubes. I've also had excellent luck with True Goo in my tubes. I've had terrible luck with the Slime brand sealant in my road bike tubes, and mediocre results with it in my mountain bike (65 psi for commuting) tubes. Also, FWIW, I had a set of Slime tire liners that I got several goathead punctures through - I've had less trouble with Mr. Tuffy liners.
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Old 12-25-10, 08:32 PM   #15
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Schwalbe Marathons and Specialized Armadillo All Condition tires are the two best on the market. I use to live in the desert areas of California and I can tell you that goatheads can and do penetrate a Mr Tuffy. Also with a Mr Tuffy your not saving any weight; first off the average training tire weighs 230 grms, a Mr Tuffy weighs 110 gms, and a thick thorn proof tube about 120 grms (you'll need the thicker tube because Mr tuffy can rub a hole into thinner tubes after awhile causing a flat), thus the combine weight is about 460 grms. Thus a Armadillo All Condition weighs 405 grms and a ultralight tube about 65 grms for a total of 470 grms...the 10 grms your never going to notice. Then add into the mix with the lighter training route you still get no protection in the sidewalls whereas with the Armadillo you get sidewall protection.
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Old 12-25-10, 10:19 PM   #16
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My experience, in comparing Gatorskins and Armadillos back-to-back, was that the Gatorskins felt faster, and this impression was borne out by my computer. Not a controlled experiment, to be sure, but an impression that's been borne out by lots of others here. Factor in that the Gatorskin weighs 250g and offers nearly as much flat protection as the Armadillo (and more once you add in the Mr. Tuffy), and the fact that I've yet to flat due to abrasion due to a Mr. Tuffy (knock on wood - just because it hasn't happened in the 15k or so since I started using Mr. Tuffys doesn't mean that it can't), and I end up with a combination that's significantly lighter than an Armadillo, more flat resistant, and rolls faster to boot. YMMV, of course - what works for me might not work for others, as it's going to depend on everything from rider weight to inflation pressure to specifics of the route - but I like the combo I run.

I actually frequently run without Mr. Tuffys - I put sealant in my tubes (I do this with any tire/tube combination, so the weight difference is a wash for me), and run lightweight tubes (Conti Race with 2-piece Prestas so I can get the sealant in), so there's a bit more weight savings, and again, it seems (very subjectively) to roll a bit faster.

Honestly, any high-quality, thorn-resistant tire, and a tube with good-quality sealant, is probably pretty good - the differences come down to individual preference. When I wear out my current set of Gatorskins, I'm thinking I'll spoon on a set of Schwalbe Marathon Plus tires, just to see why so many people here seem to love them so much.
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Old 12-26-10, 05:52 AM   #17
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tire savers

This is what I used in the 70's, and still use today. They help! I just posted a thread on these. Handy little Gizmos. I'm making these now. Anyone interested, please shoot me a PM. They are cheap. Thanks

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Old 12-26-10, 02:33 PM   #18
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My experience, in comparing Gatorskins and Armadillos back-to-back, was that the Gatorskins felt faster, and this impression was borne out by my computer. Not a controlled experiment, to be sure, but an impression that's been borne out by lots of others here. Factor in that the Gatorskin weighs 250g and offers nearly as much flat protection as the Armadillo (and more once you add in the Mr. Tuffy), and the fact that I've yet to flat due to abrasion due to a Mr. Tuffy (knock on wood - just because it hasn't happened in the 15k or so since I started using Mr. Tuffys doesn't mean that it can't), and I end up with a combination that's significantly lighter than an Armadillo, more flat resistant, and rolls faster to boot. YMMV, of course - what works for me might not work for others, as it's going to depend on everything from rider weight to inflation pressure to specifics of the route - but I like the combo I run.

I actually frequently run without Mr. Tuffys - I put sealant in my tubes (I do this with any tire/tube combination, so the weight difference is a wash for me), and run lightweight tubes (Conti Race with 2-piece Prestas so I can get the sealant in), so there's a bit more weight savings, and again, it seems (very subjectively) to roll a bit faster.

Honestly, any high-quality, thorn-resistant tire, and a tube with good-quality sealant, is probably pretty good - the differences come down to individual preference. When I wear out my current set of Gatorskins, I'm thinking I'll spoon on a set of Schwalbe Marathon Plus tires, just to see why so many people here seem to love them so much.
Why would you try the Schwalbes if your like the Conti faster tire offering with the Gatorback but don't like the Armadillos? The Schwalbes are about 100 grms heavier then the Armadillos! Talk about a sluggish feel. The Schwalbes may be better in flat protection then the Armadillos but I've never tried them to compare since I no need with the Armadillos having no flats.

Armadillos must not be too bad because the 4 person team that won the 01 RAAM race ran on Armadillos and did so without one flat. All other riders got flats including those on Gatorskins.

By the time you use a 250 grm Gatorskin, 110 grm Mr Tuffy, 90 grm tube, and 50 or so grms of sealant, your up to 500grms...THATS MORE THEN THE ARMADILLO! Your rotating mass is greater thus your rolling resistance is higher, I don't care what kind of fancy equippiment your using, weigh is weight and rotating weight will slow you down. And in fact liquid sealant actually slows a tire down as the rim spins up with most of the sealant pooling to one end of the tire just a water stays in a bucket when you swing it around and around over your head; it harmonically throws the tire balance off and creating a more sluggish tire. And on top of that Sealants in road tires have had poor reviews with Slime the worst.
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