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Tandem Cycling A bicycle built for two. Want to find out more about this wonderful world of tandems? Check out this forum to talk with other tandem enthusiasts. Captains and stokers welcome!

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Old 10-14-05, 04:30 PM   #1
JohnnyCool
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Flat prevention tire & tube recommendations

I currently have Conti 2000 ultras, 700x28. I have gotten 2 flats in the past 4 rides. This is really getting annoying. Should I switch to Gatorskins? Buy tubes prepped with the anti-flat goo? Both. How much do these options help?
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Old 10-14-05, 05:21 PM   #2
zonatandem
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Watch where you ride.
Have had many flats. Solution: carry spare tube (or two) and good pump; fix puncture when you get home.
Have tried Slime/goo; too messy when you do get a flat. Have even tested 'solid' tires for a company several years ago. Great on super smooth road, terrible on rougher roads and felt like an earthquake when crossing a cattle guard!
Here in the southwest, our main sources for punctures: thorns (goatheads, cactus, etc.), ripped off steel wire from steelbelted radial car tires, glass, miscellaneous (staples, nails, hitting a rock we did not see, etc.).
Even had a spike go through tire and come out the other side!
So, watch where you ride!
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Old 10-14-05, 06:01 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnnyCool
I currently have Conti 2000 ultras, 700x28. I have gotten 2 flats in the past 4 rides. This is really getting annoying.
That all depends on what caused the flats. Were they pinch flats, internal punctures, road debris punctures, perhaps repeat punctures (such as when what ever caused the first flat to also cause the next one, i.e., sharp pointy object still stuck in the tread, cut in tread causes tube ulcer, etc..)?

Flats are sometimes predictable and preventable and sometimes just unpredictable. We've had single rides where I've had to fix as many as 4 flats and years have gone by when we've had none and our tires are not what I'd call flat resistant by a wide margin so I'm not sure tire liners, goo, or any other add-on remedy would be worthwhile unless you're plagued by some of the regional hazards that Rudy described for Arizona.
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Old 10-15-05, 03:24 AM   #4
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One was a pinch flat and one was road debris. I do carry a spare tube and pump. I've had one flat on my hybrid and none on my road bike which I ride 80 mi a week on my commute. I keep my front tire pressure at the max and the rear at max +10 to prevent pinch flats. I was wondering if this tends to be more of a tandem specific issue due to the additional weight, and therefore, if some extra protection was warranted.
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Old 10-15-05, 06:45 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnnyCool
I was wondering if this tends to be more of a tandem specific issue due to the additional weight, and therefore, if some extra protection was warranted.
In general your thoughts are correct; the higher gross weight of a tandem does make it more likely to get a flat tire when it hits the same pothole or rolls over the same piece of debris as a solo bike. However, if you're not experiencing sidewall cuts -- which is what the Gatorskin is highly resistant to -- or having to deal with the kind of hazards that folks like Rudy who live in the Southwest encounter I wouldn't bother with slime or tire liners.

Your plus up on PSI is prudent and Gatorskins would still be a good tire choice when your Ultras wear out as I suspect the Gatorskin may have a little longer tread life and does have better sidewall protection. I'd also make sure you have a patch kit -- which I suspect you do if you were able to fix two flats -- and perhaps a second tube if there's room in your seat pack. Otherwise, just do your best to avoid debris by riding a little further from the edge of the road, try to avoid those little debris piles at intersections, and if you can't avoid a pinch flat hazard do your best to bring your speed way down before impact. You can usually pull-up on the front handlebars to unweight the front wheel and, with practice, you and your stoker may be able to unweight the rear wheel with a bunny-hop maneuver -- basically a psuedo jumping action where you both push down and then jerk your clipped-in feet up -- as the rear wheel passes over the obstacle.
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Old 10-15-05, 12:55 PM   #6
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Have never used slime thanks to an experience of a friend of mine. When he first started riding, He was was advised to put slime in the tubes. 2 days later the tyre went down and the slime had not sealed the tube, but made a right mess inside the tyre. It was so difficult to clean up the inside of the tyre, he bought a new tyre and a new tube. A week later the other tyre flatted, and it cost another tyre and tube.

What I have found though is that I use a heavy duty latex tube. Still get punctures, but the in and out thorns do give us a bit of time before the tube goes down fully. It still goes down but slower, and if the thorn stays in, Then we do not find out about it till we get back and find the tyre has gone down the next day.
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Old 10-16-05, 05:56 PM   #7
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Due to our 20mm thru-axle being a bolt-on, we swapped the front tube for a slime one after our first flat. It's been good for a year now. Of course, it's got some tall knobby tread on there, which probably helps.
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Old 10-17-05, 04:38 AM   #8
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Slime tube are great.... Messy? I don't know about that, they're not nearly as messy as trying to change a flat in freezing rain. ONce on there, they really work well. Also, the Bontrager Hard Case training tires are pretty good, but don't ride as well as the Gatorskins.
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Old 10-17-05, 07:54 AM   #9
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Just my opinion, but Conti tires are the worst tires around. I know people who swear by them, but I had nothing but problems with Conti. It seems they are either great for a particular rider, or terrible. There doesn't seem to be any gray area.
Consider buying tires from another manufacturer. You might fall into the category that just cannot ride Continental tires.
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Old 10-17-05, 08:05 AM   #10
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NJ homeboy... that's a broad statement. Maybe their $20 tires are junk, I don't know, but they have so many tires in their line that damning the entire lot seems extreme. What would you recomend to replace a 28mm Gatorskin? I'm always interested in learning. But, to share my own experieince, there's nothing that can replace a tubular COnti COmp GP. Nothing even close. Of course, at $120/each that better be true.
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Old 10-17-05, 08:33 AM   #11
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Re: flats -- my best was three in two weeks -- a screw, a nail, and a staple. Other times I'll go months and months with no flats. I think two flats isn't enough data for good statistics yet.

Re: Contis -- I don't have as much experience as other folks, but I didn't like how the sidewall threads wore out on gatorskins & top touring. Plenty of other brands and models for me to try, so I won't bother with $30+ Contis again.
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Old 10-17-05, 09:05 AM   #12
JohnnyCool
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Thanks for the responses. I'll just keep packing spare tubes for the time being. When my current tires wear out (I've got Conti Ultra 2000s) I'll switch to either gatorskins or something similar.

FYI - a good informational article on tandem tires --> http://www.precisiontandems.com/arttiresbymark.htm
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Old 10-17-05, 09:19 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NJWheelBuilder
Just my opinion, but Conti tires are the worst tires around.
Like a lot of products, I think Continental's tires earned their bad rap and are having a hard time shaking it, at least with respect to tandems. A few years back there were several different models of Continental tires being used by solo riders and tandem teams who began to experience an unusually high number of sidewall cuts and outright failures. As to why, one can only guess as I'm sure there were a multitude of factors. Regardless, the problem was recognized by Continental who responded by developing the Gatorskin sidewall, initially only offering it in a 23mm and 25mm width as those are the most popular sizes for solo recreational, fitness and touring riders... the target market for that particular grade and weight of tire. Santana -- who has always been searching for a "better" OEM tire for its tandems -- purportedly enticed Continental to produce the Gatorskin in a 28mm width by guaranteeing to purchase sufficient quantities to justify the production costs. They have been selling these for several years now and it has become a very popular tire, both in the 25mm and 28mm variety. We don't use them, but we know many folks who do.

Again, while I'm sure Continential still has certain tires that don't hold up well for all applications, the bad rap across their full line of products is probably not justified, any more than the black eye that SRAM received from a faulty run of SACHs/SRAM chains back in '98, Cannondale's "Crack-n'-fail" nickname, and several others.
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Old 10-17-05, 11:04 AM   #14
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I used to live in Nebraska (home of the goathead, AKA Puncture Vine, AKA, Texas Sandburr), a viney plant with little seeds that are rock hard and have thorns. An area infested with goatheads will coat your tire with them. For a while, I opted for an airless tube option, that was heavy and made my bike ride like a tank. I also tried Slime, which I found to be effective only at making a huge mess.

Now I live in New York City (home of the broken glass bottle). For years I have sworn by Mr. Tuffys. They really cut down on the number of flats I sustain.

Some bike shop employees discourage customers from buying tire liners like Mr. Tuffys, saying that they cause flats. This is mis-information. I have gotten flats caused by the end of the Mr. Tuffy rubbing a small hole in the tube, but that was after habitually riding on under-inflated tires. So the cause of the flats was under-inflation, not the tire liner. Once I started keeping my tires totally inflated, that problem went away. I still get the occasional flat caused by something super sharp or by running over some large, sharp chunk of metal. Mostly, these days, my flats are caused by valve stems wearing out, or by patches eventually failing--kind of a testimony to how effective these liners are. I've dug many chunks of glass out of my tires, and even rode tires long after they probably should have been discarded, while the tuffy kept the tube from squeezing out of some hole.

Tuffies have very little weight penalty, and they are about $15 a pair, less than the cost of having your shop fix 2 flats. My new tandem currently has them in both wheels, as do both my half bikes.

Rich
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Old 10-17-05, 01:29 PM   #15
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Specialized Armadillos are pretty bullet proof. Our team weight is 340lbs, and we have had no problems with 700x25c, including doing our usual ride over a short section of gravel.
(by the way, no anti conti bias, I ride Attack/Force on my single)
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Old 10-17-05, 01:36 PM   #16
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I'm surprise nobody mension (at least i think) the effects of the heat produce by the brakes that end up making the tubes explote in extreme cases(well if you live & ride on step hills can become really bottersome.)

I never have a road tandem with skinny tyres but i imagine the effect will be magnified with the much smaller tubes and higher pressures.

much of the blow ups and flats I have were do to this cause, specially when i use a tube already with a patch since the patch glue will melt away and flat the tube again..

Oh Slime is water soluble and actually disipates extremlly fast so "Mess" is not even a issue (at least for the tyre, the tube is ussually gone) at least not a permanent damage, personally i don't it works to well or at least not every time (work on shops for many years and replace and patch many many tubes) the main problem with Slime is that people come to belive they are "Bulletproof" so they don't carry any spares plus a tube with slime on it, is pretty much UN-Pachable since the green goo is kind of slippery and the glue does not stick to it.
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Old 10-17-05, 05:12 PM   #17
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We have done most of our tandeming this year (close to 3,000 miles) on Conti Gatorskin 28s and have had no flats or problems with them of any kind. We switched to Mich Pro Race 25s for a double century we did this weekend and, although the softer rubber gave them a much better feel, I'm sure they won't wear as long. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend the Gatorskins to anyone.
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