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  1. #1
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    frame mounted tire brush/prevent flats

    Started riding again after 25 years. Back then someone marketed a device called a 'nail catcher.' It was simply two small wires; the first fastened to the frame at the brake bolt. The second was shaped like the tire, riding on it or a hair above it, held to the mounting wire by narrow gauge surgical tubing.

    Ought to be fairly easy to make one, but I wondered if anyone else has used these or knows if they are still made. With the 'nail catcher' mounted over the rear tire only, I rode daily in L.A. for 3 years without a flat. Without it, I got a flat in a week.

  2. #2
    Life is good RonH's Avatar
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    I see them only on older bikes that come in the shop for repair.
    I don't think anyone makes them these days. They really aren't needed with the tires on today.

    Here's info from Sheldon Brown's website.
    http://www.sheldonbrown.com/brandt/wiping.html
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  3. #3
    AEO
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    wear a glove, run your gloved hand over the tyres when you go through a patch of glass or something.
    Food for thought: if you aren't dead by 2050, you and your entire family will be within a few years from starvation. Now that is a cruel gift to leave for your offspring. ;)
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    Quote Originally Posted by RonH View Post
    I see them only on older bikes that come in the shop for repair.
    I don't think anyone makes them these days. They really aren't needed with the tires on today.

    Here's info from Sheldon Brown's website.
    http://www.sheldonbrown.com/brandt/wiping.html
    Thanks.

    The Sheldon Brown discussion raises good points. My take is that tire wiping with the gloved hand may be effective, IF done immediately, but who wants to do that constantly? Hence, the value of a device that's always over the wheel. I only used one on the rear tire since, as SB points out, that is the tire most likely to get the puncture; also the front tire is more easily and safely brushed with the hand.

    I live in sagebrush country. Our tack weeds were designed to puncture tires and their configuration makes them, IMNSHO, perfect candidates to hitch a harmless ride on the rubber Ferris Wheel if knocked off by a nail catcher on the first rotation.

  5. #5
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    On all my road bikes I use vintage nail catchers that we called Sticker Flickers back in the day. In goat head areas they work great and prevent many a flat. Not being made in 20 years of so they shouldn't be hard to make. Use a piece of spoke for the metal parts and model airplane fuel tubing for the springy parts.
    In the picture the tubing is close to but not touching the tire.


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    Thanks Charles. That's exactly what mine looked like. Like you say, I tried to keep mine just barely above the tire. Looks like I'll be making my own. I'm puzzled they went out of fashion.

  7. #7
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    What's the theory? A bit of glass or something gets stuck to the tyre, goes round and round and round, then later causes a puncture when you hit something hard? I always assumed it was the first time you hit the sharp thing, it goes straight through.

    Steve

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    Quote Originally Posted by stevage View Post
    What's the theory? A bit of glass or something gets stuck to the tyre, goes round and round and round, then later causes a puncture when you hit something hard? I always assumed it was the first time you hit the sharp thing, it goes straight through.

    Steve
    Usually flats are caused by the sharp object being pushed into the tire by succeding revolutions, or so I've been told.

  9. #9
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    Not all punctures are immediate. The theory is that in many cases the sharp object lies flat in a tiny low spot in road surface. The front tire kicks it up on edge making it more likely for the rear to pick it up (allegedly why more rear tire punctures).

    Sometimes the object may immediately pierce the tire and tube, but frequently it just sticks into the rubber a bit, and maybe slightly off center. Subsequent revolutions, turns and braking results in it being driven in further, causing the puncture.

  10. #10
    Loco Motive Member Steve Hamlin's Avatar
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    I was seeking these, too. Did find one source for some new-old-stock that had a few left, but that was a year ago. . .

    My thinking is that with goatheads, they might -- might -- work, because they don't penetrate immediately but as said before, take a few revolutions.

    I used to do the gloved hand routine for glass, but goathead stickers have points on multiple sides -- sweeping your tires 'round these parts is asking for a painful encounter.

    ". . .model airplane fuel tubing . . ."

    Thanks -- that was the part I couldn't quite figure out what it was (not aquarium. . .but close. . .)!
    Roll away the dew!

  11. #11
    Bike ≠ Car ≠ Ped. BarracksSi's Avatar
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    Shoot...

    This site -- http://www.loosescrews.com/index.cgi -- had them for sale not too long ago (maybe just last week, in fact), but a search doesn't show them anymore.

    I've wanted to get a pair, but I may be stuck with making my own.

  12. #12
    Recreation Ecologist
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    Just dinking around, I made a pair of these with old spokes, and rubberbanded them on with bits of innertube onto my fenders. Fun and simple project. How photo-stable is innertube rubber? assuming no rubbing wear and tear, will innertube lashings wear slowly or quickly?

  13. #13
    Senior Member Rober's Avatar
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    My Univega has these. I went all over the place looking for them when I got the LeMond, but no luck. I didn't realize they weren't even made anymore. This is such a good invention. I never got a flat on the Univega from glass, burrs, or nails/screws in all my years of riding it - my only flat was from the edge of a metal bridge. I have had two flats on the LeMond in the past year...

  14. #14
    Senior Member John Wilke's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AEO View Post
    wear a glove, run your gloved hand over the tyres when you go through a patch of glass or something.
    YOu don't even need gloves ... just a light wipe with your fingers will tell 'ya if there's something stuck in the tire. If you feel something ... then stop and take a look at it.

    Fingers heal ... tires don't.

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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Hamlin View Post
    ". . .model airplane fuel tubing . . ."

    Thanks -- that was the part I couldn't quite figure out what it was (not aquarium. . .but close. . .)!
    For those who *don't* fly, most fuel tubing is 1/8" surgical neoprene. If you only want a short length, most hobby shops that handle flyable models should have it at an obscene markup. Medical supply houses sell it by the reel but that's mass overkill unless you're a hobby shop.

    Surgical grade tubing is reasonably photo stable, and on a model will fail due to nicks and cuts long before light degrades it. I have no idea about inner tube material. If you're seriously concerned by light stability, I'd just bend the whole thing out of a decent size length of music wire.

  16. #16
    J E R S E Y S B E S T Jerseysbest's Avatar
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    Not totally unrelated, but I've gotten a sheet metal screw stuck in the tread of my car tire once and heard it immediately, "dink, dink, dink..." as I drove looking for a place to pull over on a busy road with no shoulder. Eventually after about 3/4 of a mile, I finally heard the "sssssss...". Actually, I think that was the 2nd time it happened, first time I heard it, stopped, found the screw but didn't have anything to remove it so I drove on only to get a flat a few miles later. God, I'm glad I don't drive anymore.
    Quote Originally Posted by SingingSabre View Post
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  17. #17
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CharlesC View Post
    Usually flats are caused by the sharp object being pushed into the tire by succeding revolutions, or so I've been told.
    Check your tyres after a ride and see what you have picked up.

    I have got into the habit of wiping a damp cloth round the tyre to highlight the bits of Flint and thorns that are in the rubber. Using a small screwdriver I can pull them out. If I don't- they will gradually get pushed into the rubber- through the casing and into the tube.

    And if I pull a thorn out and the tyre goes down- at least I can repair it at home with the floor pump to hand- and be ready for the next ride.
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  18. #18
    Loco Motive Member Steve Hamlin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Wilke View Post
    YOu don't even need gloves ... just a light wipe with your fingers will tell 'ya if there's something stuck in the tire. If you feel something ... then stop and take a look at it.

    Fingers heal ... tires don't.
    I wouldn't. . .

    Goatheads, the thorn of choice in these parts, tend to have points on four sides -- and they hurt!

    Then there's the LBS mechanic who said he always skims the inside of tires he patches with anything but a finger because he found a rattlesnake fang in a tire!

    But hey, your appendages, your business. . .
    Roll away the dew!

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