Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Vancouver, Canada
Bikes: Rodriguez Shiftless street fixie with S&S couplers, Kuwahara tandem, Trek carbon, Dolan track
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The most reliable tires I've used are the Vredestein Tri-Comps. The least reliable, due to their questionable sidewalls, are Conti's. Just my 40 years of experience.
You have to ask yourself, "what causes blowouts?" Usually it's one of three things:
1. The sidewall rips open, exposing the tube, that blows thru the hole in the tire.
2. A hole wears thru the tread, the casing gets worn to where it separates, rips open, the tube comes thru and blows.
3. You run over something that rips the tire open.
Nos. 1 and 2 are caused by a worn tire. So I would be sure to use reasonably new tires. You can normally get 5-7,000 km off a front tire before it starts to deform, so you'd likely want to switch it before then. You also want to check the tire for any deformation, or signs of wearing thru the tread. If you ride in the rain, you want to check the sidewalls for rips starting to develop along the bead. Quite often, a worn tire will result in a slow (or VERY slow) leak, so on a descent, you'll notice strange steering happening on a tire that looks fully-inflated, but when you stop, you'll notice you can push it in with your thumb.
No. 3 is caused by something in the road, usually a jagged piece of glass or metal, or a rock.
So if you've taken care to address these items, most of the risk will be covered. But then, there's always the exception that gets you, and you're just plain screwed. Cycling's just not fair, deal with it!