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Old 08-15-10, 09:36 PM   #1
rebelbuc
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Most challenging problem lately has been tires and tubes

I bought a Specialized Sequoia road bike about a year ago, as I mentioned in the introductions forum. the Sequoia has been a great bike, but I started having flats and tire problems lately. I went a while before having flat problems, but when they came they came in droves. Recently an original tire on my Sequoia became warped and I changed it before a long ride with a standard Bontrager that was available at a nearby shop. This week I go to ride my bike and I get it out of the very hot garage. The remaining original tire is actually ripped open (blowout style - in the middle of the tread) for an inch or 2 - looks like it exploded or Jack the Ripper got to it. I had pumped it up to 120 lbs (700 X 25) for last week's ride. The garage is well over 100 degrees with daytime temps over 95 here in SE Louisiana. Have you ever seen similar problems with the original tires on a Specialized bike?

I also had two thorn-proof tubes leak and become useless due to rips where the valve stem joins the tube. One of those problems left me stranded walking home 8 miles in 95 degree heat.

I have some questions and would appreciate any advice on the following points:
- I am wondering if it is wise (or even possible) to move up from my 700x25 to the next size (700x28) and would that allow a tougher tire (my wife's 700x32 hybrid tires never get flats)?
- I am considering either Armadillo or Gator Skin tires to reduce flats.
- Any other advice about durable tires, tubes, etc.

I like going fast just like anyone, but I used to enjoy never getting flats on my mountain bike. All that has changed lately.

Thanks for any help that is provided.

Last edited by rebelbuc; 08-15-10 at 09:39 PM. Reason: grammar
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Old 08-15-10, 09:50 PM   #2
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Get these: on sale: measure out to 700 x 26's
Great tire. I just bought 8 of them.


http://www.jensonusa.com/store/produ...Road+Tire.aspx
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Old 08-15-10, 09:59 PM   #3
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I ride on Michelin Pro Race 3 23 mm with high performance tubes with very few flat problems. Also, I have had good luck with Conti GP 4000s 23 mm.
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Old 08-15-10, 10:05 PM   #4
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I have found Gatorskins roll better than Armadillos. Have used both and both work pretty well, considering their intended use. When I store a bike in a hot shed I let some air out of the tire. Heat will add pressure and a lot of heat will add a lot of pressure. what I am doing now is using a kevlar liner between my tube and tire. So far so good and the liner can be moved to any new tire I might get. And the liner is pretty light.
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Old 08-16-10, 03:02 AM   #5
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I have GP 4000 in 25mm on one bike and, Vittoria EVO CX in 25 on the other. I pump both up to 80 lbs which is plenty, and the ride is very nice. I am getting ready to change the rear tire on the GP 4000 equipped bike as its worn past the wear indicators - and never flatted on these tires. I've had one flat on the EVO CX equipped bike, and it was the front. It appeared to be the valve-innertube junction. My advice, dust the inner tubes with baby powder, message the tire once the tire is mounted to be sure everything is seated properly, then pump no more than 85 lbs. On 25s, you don't want any more. If you pump a 25 up to the pressure that you typically pump a 23 up to then its going to ride virtually like a 23.

I ran Specialized All-Condition 28 tires during one winter a couple years ago and had no flats on these tires either. I liked these too.
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Old 08-16-10, 07:06 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NealH View Post
I have GP 4000 in 25mm on one bike and, Vittoria EVO CX in 25 on the other. I pump both up to 80 lbs which is plenty, and the ride is very nice. I am getting ready to change the rear tire on the GP 4000 equipped bike as its worn past the wear indicators - and never flatted on these tires. I've had one flat on the EVO CX equipped bike, and it was the front. It appeared to be the valve-innertube junction. My advice, dust the inner tubes with baby powder, message the tire once the tire is mounted to be sure everything is seated properly, then pump no more than 85 lbs. On 25s, you don't want any more. If you pump a 25 up to the pressure that you typically pump a 23 up to then its going to ride virtually like a 23.

I ran Specialized All-Condition 28 tires during one winter a couple years ago and had no flats on these tires either. I liked these too.
I have 23mm tires: Continental GP4000 - a very smooth ride due to the flexible casing, and grippy in the corners. They have a densely woven belt under the tread that's supposed to help avoid flats. I've picked out tiny slivers of glass embedded in the rubber that didn't get through. These are very expensive locally, so I got some from probikekit.com on sale-- about $33-$35 each. This is sortof the opposite of what you requested, they are more high performance/low rolling resistant tires instead of an armored tire.

I weigh 170 lbs, and I put 95 psi in my front tire, and 105 in the back. It's just as fast as the 110/110 I was using, and way more comfortable on rough roads. 25mm tires would take even less pressure.

I use either Michelin or Continental tubes, since both have smooth valves (no threaded nut). It's a lot easier to pull off the pump head without stressing the tube near the valve.

Do you have goathead or other thorns on the road there? If not, the thornproof tubes are really stiff and heavy, and probably don't help too much if punctures are typically caused by glass slivers. I rarely get flats. The main reason is I avoid riding on shoulders, and try to stay in the tire track area of the road, where debris is knocked away by the car tires.

Last edited by rm -rf; 08-16-10 at 07:21 AM.
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Old 08-16-10, 08:01 AM   #7
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This is an incredible response for an overnight post. Thanks, everyone.

Let me explain how I got to this point. In the past I either rode mountain bikes or nothing thinner than a 35c tire. I am about 6'1", 230, I have the 58c 2010 Sequoia Elite frame and I felt that I wanted a bike with at least a 25c tire (also was careful to go with 28/32 spoke count. I rode for several months with no flats - all of a sudden I got 2 or 3 flats. The bike shop owner said that I probably let the air get too low and that it would promote more flats. I probably was letting it get down to 70 psi, but no lower. The Specialized All Condition Pro tires that came on my bike were rated for 125 psi as I recall. Putting 2 and 2 together, I made a point of never letting them get below 90 for a ride and usually pumped them up to 115 to 120. I thought I was doing the right thing to AVOID flats! I probably rode them near 120 lbs that morning before they exploded in the garage (perhaps during one of our 95+ degree days). The funny thing about it is that I was having to put air in my tires almost every time I rode since my rides were usually days apart.

So, do most of you agree that lowered air pressure is good for my tires (I know it makes the ride better), perhaps running them 90 to 110 psi?

If I find myself willing to go with a beefier tire to more easily run a lower pressure, can I put a 28c tire on my Mavic CXP22 rims? (remember, I enjoy a speedy ride but it's not that important)

Thanks for all the help.
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Old 08-16-10, 08:57 AM   #8
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While waiting for my GP4000S to arrive from Ribble, I took one of the 28mm Continental Gatorskins off my older steel bike and put it on a Mavic CXP22 rim. It fit the rim just fine, but the clearance to the Tektro brake calipers was a matter of millimeters - you'll need at least 5mm of clearance in addition to what your 23mm tires take. On the old bike with Diacompe centre-pull brakes, there's so much clearance I could probably go up to 35mm cross/touring tires.

FWIW, I never flatted on the 28mm Ultra Gatorskin wire-bead clinchers; the tread just wore off after ~5000km (3000 miles) of use. I did flat a folding Gatorskin several years ago on a tack. I keep them at 100PSI, both front and back although I do weigh about 90lbs less than you. If I were over 200lbs, I don't think I'd risk running them below 90PSI for fear of pinch-flatting on a bump.
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Old 08-16-10, 08:58 AM   #9
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Learn more about tire pressure here: http://www.adventurecycling.org/reso...SIRX_Heine.pdf

I've come to really like Continental tires. I use 25mm Ultra Gatorskins on one commuting bike and have 5,000 miles on the set with only one flat.

Based on that experience, I switched all my other bikes over to Continental Grand Prix 4-Season tires, one in 28mm, the others in 25mm. This seem to ride a smidge (and only a smidge) better than the Gatorskins, seem to do well enough so far in the flat department, and are incredibly grippy in the wet. The tradeoff for the extra grippiness seems to be increased wear.

I've used several varieties of Armadillos in the past and would recommend them only in dry weather in goathead country. They ride like cast iron, heavy like it too, and get all slippery even if the word "damp" is uttered in their presence.

Tire fit is less a matter of rims than it is of brake, fork and frame clearance.
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Old 08-16-10, 10:45 AM   #10
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The Specialized Nimbus Armadillo 700x28 with the Specialized Airlock Road tube is about as puncture resistant as it gets and has very good wet traction.
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Old 08-16-10, 11:14 AM   #11
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I have had experience similar to tsl's--good luck with Gatorskins, and Armadillo's. The Armadillo's are harsher riding, but if you want no flats, you have to decide if ride quality is as important as not flatting. I do use the Gatorskins more though.
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Old 08-16-10, 06:20 PM   #12
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My 2 cents, I have used Continental Gran Prix 4000 S and the Continental Gator Skins. The GP4000s are prone to cuts, so much so I had to replace them for fear of blow out, the Gator Skins don't seem to cut at all. I haven't gotten flats since changing to Continental Tires and tubes. In fact the Conti tubes really hold air well. I am 240 LBS and ride a Bianchi Vigorelli. I just did the Marin Century on Gator Skins at 100 PSI and they were a very smooth ride. I also commute to work and haven't had any problems with flats since switching. Oh previous tires Specialized Armadillos.
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Old 08-16-10, 07:26 PM   #13
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Warning (The Flat God is reading/listening to all this), you have been warned!
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Old 08-16-10, 09:51 PM   #14
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Warning: These are opinions only, but based on 40+ years of experience. Everybody do what works for you, but don't bother arguing with me about this because I'm not changing my mind:
--flats are a part of cycling. I've had nine on a century and six on my 25-mile round trip commute.
--You'll have more with road tires, all other things being equal, because they're way thinner than MB tires.
--I hate Armadillos. I rode mine for two days and gave them away.
--There's hardly any reason for anybody, certainly not anybody who weighs more than about 140, to use 23mm tires. I'm a clyde, about 230, so my experience doesn't transfer to everybody, but I don't even think about anything smaller than 32s, and mostly I use 35s. Grant Petersen at Rivendell explains this better than I can, and he's already done the typing. www.rivbike.com.
--I very much doubt that 95 degrees is a factor, even with your tires overinflated. It's 100+ here half the summer, and my bikes often spend the day in my car where it's probably 150. No problems. There's a formula for figuring how much pressure rises with temp, but I can't remember it.
--120psi is a LOT of pressure. Even at my weight back when I used skinny tires, I didn't go that high. I never had a pinch flat.
--Rips at the stem are almost certainly your fault. Be careful mounting the tire, so the valve comes straight up through the hole, and hold the chuck (the thing that clamps onto the valve) STILL when you inflate with a frame-fit pump.
--I hate thorn-proof tubes more than Armadillos. The ride's too harsh for me. I'd rather patch flats.
--carry a spare tube, or you may someday have to walk 8 miles home in 95-degree heat.
--Your wife may have fewer flats because she weighs less and uses bigger, thicker tires, so they're carrying less weight per square inch, and because she's running lower pressures, so the tire might deform and pass over a moderately sharp object rather than pounding it through the casing.
--I really hated the Armadillos. If they still make Mr. Tuffys, that might be worth a try. At least they're lighter and not as clunky as Armadillos with thornproof tubes.

Last edited by Velo Dog; 08-16-10 at 10:05 PM.
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Old 08-18-10, 10:06 PM   #15
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My thanks to Velo Dog, TSL, and others for offering good advice. I took some of their advice today and just finished my test ride earlier this evening. I replaced my original Specialized 700x25 All Condition Pros with 700x32 Vittoria Randonneurs. I added Stop Flats 2 tire liners as a finishing touch. While the Randonneurs boast double shielding, they are not known especially for flat prevention. They were available in town, reviews were good, and perhaps between lower pressure and tire liners I can reduce flats. Every time I hit a crack or bump in the street this evening I wondered why I waited so long to make the change to a wider tire. For anyone else riding a Specialized Sequoia, it was a no brainer that 32mm tires would fit with the frame and brakes. I very likely could fit 35mm tires and possibly larger, but I might be limited by the Mavic CXP22 rims. I was very pleased to find out that the Sequoia can be outfitted as a reasonable touring bike, if desired. I'm running 75 psi (max recommended for these tires) in the back tire and 65 psi in the front. Compared to the ride that I experienced with 100 to 120 psi in 25mm tires, I felt like I was riding in a luxury car. Those little tar bumps in the road no longer feel like they are jarring the rims. The control of the bike when I occasionally had to cross dirt or gravel was outstanding. I did not perceive a significant change in road resistance with these tires. Now if I can go a while without a flat I'll be a true believer in this rig.
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Old 08-19-10, 06:34 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rm -rf View Post
I have 23mm tires: Continental GP4000 -...

I weigh 170 lbs, and I put 95 psi in my front tire, and 105 in the back. It's just as fast as the 110/110 I was using, and way more comfortable on rough roads. 25mm tires would take even less pressure.

I use either Michelin or Continental tubes, since both have smooth valves (no threaded nut). It's a lot easier to pull off the pump head without stressing the tube near the valve.

Do you have goathead or other thorns on the road there? If not, the thornproof tubes are really stiff and heavy, and probably don't help too much if punctures are typically caused by glass slivers. I rarely get flats. The main reason is I avoid riding on shoulders, and try to stay in the tire track area of the road, where debris is knocked away by the car tires.
I concur on tire pressure. I, too, have had good luck with Continentals, as well as Vittorias.

After going many months without a puncture, I picked up three goatheads on the Peugeot, then a glass cut on the mountain bike the next day. We are having a bumper crop of goatheads this year, and although numerous dog walkers and bicyclists have offered to remove the source weed, the railroad is demanding $800/day for a permit to do so, admittedly in their right-of-way, but mostly at a very safe distance from the tracks. The issue is scheduled to go before the transit board and the city council and was important enough to generate news headlines and an interview with Fred Breidenthal and his son, Will, my favorite bike shop proprietors.
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Old 08-21-10, 10:05 AM   #17
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I went through a spell of exactly the type of problems that you describe. It was scary to get too far from home because I felt that there was a good chance that I'd be walking back. After reading and lurking on various forums I decided to try the Gatorskins. While shopping for them I saw that there was now a new Gatorskin Hardshell being offered. I popped for them and am very glad that I did. They roll fast and smooth, not at all harsh like I expected as a trade-off for durability. AND NOT A SINGLE FLAT IN 3 MONTHS! Yes, I said it. Do you hear that, Gods of the flat? No joke, I was getting 2 flats a week with other tires. I'm a convert. They were hard to mount because of their stiffness and again I had misgivings thinking they would rattle my teeth out. After being so frustrated I feel like singing when I ride now. I don't, but I could.
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Old 08-21-10, 11:34 AM   #18
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I've had good luck with the Vittoria's with relatively few flats. I'm curious as to how many miles you had on your old tires and if the flats started to become more frequent as the tires worn on.
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Old 08-21-10, 12:45 PM   #19
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The Flat Fairy can be put off a bit if you check your tyres for imbedded flint's- Glass - thorns etc before a ride. If they are stuck in the tread- with use they will be pushed further into the tyre and eventually through. Before each ride take a damp rag and wipe the tyres clean. Then you can see the Imbedded bits and prise them out. And if a flat does occur while doing it- it is easier to repair or replace a tube at home with an extra coffeee than on the road.

And ever wondered why more flats occur in the Rain? The wet acts as a lubricant to push the Miscreant into the tyre easier and quicker.
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Old 08-23-10, 07:21 PM   #20
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My initial flat problems occurred right after I got the bike 1 year ago, probably due to pinch flats. I sometimes let the 700x25s get down close to 70 psi not realizing the problem I was causing. Keep in mind that before purchasing this bike I never had a tire much smaller than a 38mm. I ran thick bottomed, thorn proof tubes for about 6 months without a flat. I probably was only averaging 15 to 30 miles a week as I only did rides as substitutes for gym aerobics workouts. I doubt that these tires had 1000 miles on them - now they are in the garbage can!
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