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Old 11-22-07, 10:14 AM   #1
Bruce Burbank
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at my wits end with flat tires

Road biker (and new to the forum. Hi.)

I've been to every reputable bike store in LA and I always ask for te 'meatiest, beefiest' road tire/innertube combo they've got. I've tried Continentals, Armadillos, standard tubes and the ones with the gel in them and everything in between, and the roads have cut them all to shreads. One flat per week (really about every 10 hours ride time) is not uncommon.

Anything I can do about this outside of not riding?
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Old 11-22-07, 10:18 AM   #2
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have you checked your rims for any burs and made sure your rim strips are fully covering any bumps around the spoke ends? theres no way you should be getting flats that often. something is wrong.
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Old 11-22-07, 10:31 AM   #3
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What is geting cut to shreds? The tires or the tubes? That sounds strange. Like the Lung says, check the rim strips yourself. Some shop mechanics will take a look then say,"yeah there is a rim strip in there", turn you around, kick you in the *** then push you out the door!

If even so much as ahint of the spokehole is showing, it will cut the tube! Make sure the tube is not pinched between the tire bead and teh rim. Make sure the trie bead is seated properly or the tube will make it's way out and pop.

I have tried Gatorskins on our tandem and IMO, they suck bigtime. First ride a flat from teh smallest grainof glass. SO I took them off and used them as trainign tires on my single. STill sucked! I put Armadillos on the tandem and have had much beter results but doesn't mean it puncture proof.

A friend uses 'Tuffy Strips' between the tires and tubes. He swears by them. I use my hand to wipe the tire after riding thru a pile of glass or debris. Need good gloves for this!

I've had better results on my roadbike while using Continental 2000's. Now I believe is renamed Race. Priced about $30 for the wire bead. I found a folding version on sale at Performance for $24. I like the inexpensive tires. I seem to have more trouble with the hig end stuff even if it claims to be puncture resistant.
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Old 11-22-07, 10:49 AM   #4
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Thanks for the hints. Nothing to do with the spokes or rims- always glass or screws or nails or metal shrapnel from car accidents or any variety of other metal debris.

"cut to shreads"- sometimes (as yesterday) something will slash a gash in the tire so big that it won't hold an inflated innertube anymore.
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Old 11-22-07, 10:55 AM   #5
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airfree tires
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Old 11-22-07, 10:59 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruce Burbank View Post
Road biker (and new to the forum. Hi.)
...and the roads have cut them all to shreads. One flat per week (really about every 10 hours ride time) is not uncommon.

Anything I can do about this outside of not riding?
A few comments: where on the road are you riding--at the edge where debris cumulates or in the lane where it is cleaned by car tires? What about tire inflation--are you pumping it up to the recommended psi?

I have had good service from Specialized Infinites (at least 4000 miles of urban commuting). I am trying a Continental Contact Security
for the first time--they aren't fast but do seem strong.
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Old 11-22-07, 11:10 AM   #7
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Sounds like the street sweepers in your part of town are slipping up. Barring getting them to do their job you might want to ride in clean areas. Like Orange County or west LA, Redondo Beach, etc. Car-free? See which buses take bikes. Flat-wise I have success with big, heavy tires. If you have the cash look at some of Schwalbe's offerings.
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Old 11-22-07, 11:31 AM   #8
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Stelvio Plus, by Schwalbe, the company that brought you Marathon Pluses, the unflatable tire.

Maximum puncture protection for race bikes! The Stelvio Plus is effectively protected from penetration punctures by its SmartGuard belt. The strong layer made from highly elastic special rubber is not as thick as the Marathon Plus, nevertheless the protection level is unique in racing tires.

http://schwalbe.de/gbl/en/bicycle/ra...ubPoint=Racing
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Old 11-22-07, 12:41 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruce Burbank View Post
Road biker (and new to the forum. Hi.)

I've been to every reputable bike store in LA and I always ask for te 'meatiest, beefiest' road tire/innertube combo they've got. I've tried Continentals, Armadillos, standard tubes and the ones with the gel in them and everything in between, and the roads have cut them all to shreads. One flat per week (really about every 10 hours ride time) is not uncommon.

Anything I can do about this outside of not riding?
Make a right turn at the next intersection and ride down different roads.

Seriously, if you can't avoid the debris, you need to find someplace else to ride.
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Old 11-22-07, 01:57 PM   #10
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Try this: Mount the tires with the label aligned with the valve, so you can keep track of where the punctures are occurring. When you have a flat, disassemble things carefully and note where the hole is: Tread side or rim side of the tire, and its location relative to the valve. If it's on the tread side, check that spot on the tire to be sure you don't have some leftover sharp thing stuck in the rubber (happens all the time; I once had six flats from the same miniscule piece of metal). Patch and ride on; if you have another flat, look to see if it's in the same spot, then check again, because you missed something.
If it's on the rim side, toss the rim strips and buy good ones, like Velox. OEM strips are often crappy, and good ones only cost three or four dollars. It's not worth trying to align the cheapies to cover all the holes.
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Old 11-22-07, 05:48 PM   #11
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What type of tire pump are you using and do you know if the gauge is accurate? You should probably use a gauge to test for proper pressure.

Tough skin tire liners are supposed to help. Only other thing that I can think of other than following Velo Dog's instructions to the letter.

How old is your bike? What kind of riding? How experienced are you? Do you know to dodge road debris and potholes? You cannot apply the same decision-making criteria riding a bicycle as you would driving a car regarding debris and potholes. I have only had 1 flat all summer riding 3,000+ miles this summer. But I am careful about avoiding rocks and potholes as much as is possible. The only flat that I had I did not see what caused it. But it went completely flat within seconds.
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Old 11-22-07, 05:53 PM   #12
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Make a right turn at the next intersection and ride down different roads.

Seriously, if you can't avoid the debris, you need to find someplace else to ride.
+1

You can't ride over debris with bicycle tires ... none are tough enough to handle it. Sure, they may be all right going over something a time or two ... I have accidentally ridden over debris and have fortunately been OK ... but I try not to avoid debris as much as I possibly can because sooner or later it will get you.

Oh yes, I also ride with mine at about 100 psi ... hard enough so I don't pinch flat, soft enough so I can handle accidentally riding over a rock or two.
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Old 11-23-07, 12:02 PM   #13
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The most puncture proof tyres in general use are Schwalbe Marathon Plus. The new Continentals seem to be catching up, using similar types of systems plus a tough mesh to protect the sidwall. Check out the Conti Travel Contact
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Old 11-23-07, 12:14 PM   #14
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Schwalbe Marathon Plus. Six years, over 10,000 miles, no punctures.

Paul
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Old 11-23-07, 12:41 PM   #15
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Here in Florida clipped landscaping debris sometimes winds up on the curb and gets blown onto the street before pickup. A lot of this stuff has some tough thorns growing on it. Even though you are on a quiet paved street/road, all you have to do is run over a piece of this stuff the wrong way and psssst!, you've had it.
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Old 11-26-07, 11:42 AM   #16
Bruce Burbank
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Thanks for all the advice. I'll try to track down some Schwalbes. Although I need a 700x20 for my rear wheel, and their website doesn't list that size.
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Old 11-26-07, 12:50 PM   #17
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Thanks for all the advice. I'll try to track down some Schwalbes. Although I need a 700x20 for my rear wheel, and their website doesn't list that size.

This isn't a popular option, but I can assure you if you take the risk w/airless tires you'll be a lifetime convert. Go to http://www.airfreetires.com. Order a pair of Daytona HP 700x20mm rated @ 105 psi. Get the mounting tool w/them. It'll take about 3 weeks to get them. They're well worth it. If you go to http://www.felixwong.com you'll find the most fair and balanced review of airless tires anywhere on the 'net. I've got a set on my #1 commuter and have ridden them about 1000 miles in all conditions, under load w/no probs whatsoever. Even downhill in a downpour and there was none of the reputed 'slickness' in wet conditions. One my other rb commuter I've got 700x35mm hybrids rated at 110 psi w/over 4000 miles on them. They're in semi-retirement at the moment as I am going to use them for a single-speed I'm in the process of building.

I'm not sure I'd use them on my mtb commuter as I've got Tuffy liners w/street tires and the airless ARE somewhat slower. 1-3 mph. You'll work harder, that's for sure. Anyway, it took me a couple of years to finally take the plunge as they are expensive upfront, but I'm really glad I did now.

Last edited by nashcommguy; 11-26-07 at 08:38 PM.
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Old 11-26-07, 01:37 PM   #18
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What part of L.A. do you ride in that the streets are paved with broken bottles?

Seriously, I ride all over town here and ironically, the only puncture I've ever gotten was on the bike path! Ignore nasty drivers and try to ride in a lane more. We are allowed to wherever there's no bike path.
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Old 11-26-07, 03:00 PM   #19
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I use Gatorskins on my road bike and love them. Generally the tread wears out before I get a flat (of course now I have jinxed myself). If you are getting that many flats than something is wrong. Before each ride do you make sure your tires are pproperly inflated? If only alittle flat you are subject to pitch flats. That doesn't mean the tire should be overly inflated but at least at the minimum for your tire. For instance I ride on 700 X 25 and usually inflate the tire to 100 psi. I ride all sorts of places, the street, trails, even alittle off road and I don't get flats. And it's not like I'm a light weight person.

If your tires are getting slahes, then you need to watch debris. No tire, not even tubeless are imune to glass, nails etc. But I am assuming you know that already so what's happening to you is a mystery to me!
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Old 11-27-07, 11:57 AM   #20
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I use Schwalbe Marathon Plus 700x28 at 100 PSI...
Used to use Gatorskins...never had a puncture thru the bottom, but lost several to industrial staples, sticking in but not penetrating thru the bottom....other end of staple tore sidewalls out.
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Old 11-27-07, 05:20 PM   #21
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I've been running a touring tire from cyclepro it with Kevlar. I have done three tours down the coast the last being from Canada to Mexico right thru LA. Bike was fully loaded and I had one flat in 45 days and 1600 mile. And it was before LA. Every other year I just go to the bike shop and tell them to put the same tire on it.
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Old 11-28-07, 03:11 PM   #22
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Doubled Armadillos, with tire liners between and inside, extra-thick tubes, plus slime.

Last edited by Niles H.; 11-28-07 at 03:19 PM.
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Old 11-28-07, 03:19 PM   #23
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Continental used to make an unusual tire. It was heavy but optimized for bombproofness. These tires might still be made, or they might still be available somewhere.
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Old 11-28-07, 03:31 PM   #24
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Maybe Stelvios in 700C are a different animal, but I wouldn't recommend Stelvios a friend. I went through six of them in the 26" and 20" sizes without wearing one out - they all had various structural failures before the rubber got thin.
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Old 11-29-07, 08:16 AM   #25
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Thanks for all the advice. I'll try to track down some Schwalbes. Although I need a 700x20 for my rear wheel, and their website doesn't list that size.
There's your problem. 20mm tires need to be inflated to very high pressure resulting in a small contact patch with more weight per square inch against the ground. Get wider tires and lower your air pressure. Not only will you reduce flats, but you'll have a much more comfortable ride.

If your bike can't take a wider tire, then you're stuck.
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