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  1. #1
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    Gator Skin vs. Ruffy Tuffy tires

    I am looking for the best solution for reducing flat tires. I've had other tamdem riders recommend both the Gator Skin and the Ruffy Tuffy tires. Has there been any puncture tests on these two tires [or anyother tire] that is the best against flats? Also, what about tubes, any recommendations on brand of tube?

    Tom

  2. #2
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    What brand, model, and size of tire have you been using that has been prone to flats?

    How much air pressure have you been using?

    What types of flats have you been having: punctures in the tread from road debris, cut sidewalls, pinch flats?

    How much does your tandem weigh fully loaded when you and your stoker are on board?

    What types of riding do you do, e.g., fitness/recreational, fast recreational, racing, touring?

  3. #3
    TWilkins
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    I tend to buy the Gatorskins, but the key is that almost any kevlar lined tire will provide the same performance in terms of flat prevention. At the risk of spoiling my streak, between my single and the tandem I've accumulated nearly 8,000 miles since my last flat, and that stretch has involved kevlar lined tires from Continental, Michelin, and Vittoria.

    One trend that I have noticed with the Continental tires, however, is that they start showing signs of stress in the side walls before the rubber gets thin enough to warrent replacing. I discarded the last one when the tube started bubbling out on the side wall just above the rim.

    It also helps to keep the tires properly inflated. If you don't, the extra weight of a tandem could make you more prone to pinch flats. I check my pressure and top off the tires before every ride.

    As far as tubes go, I just use what is available. You will find that some are more porous than others and will lose more air over time. When we wore out the back tire on our tandem earlier this year, I damaged the tube getting it out and had to put a new one in, and I can tell a big difference in the amount of pressure that leaks out of the front and back tires with the bike just sitting in the garage.

  4. #4
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    I usually buy tires that are on sale. The size is usually 700 X 28.
    The air prssure I use is what is recommended on the tire, usually 100#.
    The type of flats are thorns, glass or a bad tire [when I replace the tire the flats go away]. An occasional pinch, when I forget to check the tire before airing it up.
    Tandem weight, including the weight of the tandem, I'd say about 425#.
    Fitness and recreational; we average about 15 mph. We ride an average 13 to 40 miles per ride, about 1000+ miles per year.

    I have another question, when we had a flat this weekend; it was the front tire on our Burley that went. We were going around a corner and the tire rolled under the rim and we almost went down. This terrified my wife, we were in a bad biking accident a year ago when the front tire of a Bike E blew at 20 miles an hour and the same thing happened, the tire rolled under the rim and we weren't so lucky and my wife broke/dislocated her left foot. It's called a lisfranc fracture. She had emergency surgery and was in a wheel chair for two months. After yesterday's event, it ruined a great ride. My question is, would a thinner tire be better, not roll under the rim like a fatter tire. I ask this because on my single road bike I have a real thin tire [not at home, but I believe it's a 700x23]. I blew a tire on it and the tire rolled up into the rim, never lost control of the bike.

    I just want the most reliable tire and tube I can get. Safety is our main priority.

  5. #5
    pan y agua merlinextraligh's Avatar
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    Well if flat resistence is truly an overiding priority, then you could always go airless: http://www.airfreetires.com/

    Slightly less extreme, any Kevlar belted tire, ie Gatorskin, Specialized Armadillo, and a heavy duty butyl tube will be pretty unlikely to flat. If you want to really be extra cautious, put some tire sealent in the tube also.

    Any clincher tire will roll off the rim with enough speed and a sudden loss of air pressure. The chances of catastrophic failure is pretty low however, particularly cruising at 15mph.

    If you do flat the front tire, try to steer straight if possible, and coast to a stop, using the rear brake if necessary. No panic and no sudden moves, odds are the rubber side stays down.

    You know also, wrecking at 15-20 mph usually is a matter of a little skin loss. Your wife unfortunately had a rather unlucky outcome to break her foot in a 20mph fall.
    If you're so concerned bout the chance of a fall, that a flat ruins your ride, I think you have to lighten up a bit, or find another activity, because if your ride long enough you are going to fall.

  6. #6
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dtglenz
    I usually buy tires that are on sale.
    - The size is usually 700 X 28.
    - The air prssure I use is what is recommended on the tire, usually 100#.
    - Tandem weight, including the weight of the tandem, I'd say about 425#.
    - We were going around a corner and the tire rolled under the rim and we almost went down.
    - I just want the most reliable tire and tube I can get. Safety is our main priority.
    IMHO, you might want to consider running a larger diameter tire... something like 30mm Avocet model or a 32mm Panaracer Pasela. Although not necessarily essential, you might also consider using wire-beaded tires vs. foldable kevlar bead models if the tires you've rolled off the rims were kevlar beaded.

    PSI values on tire sidewalls are a general guideline and, instead, tire PSI should be adjusted to get the right tire shape (slight bulge when fully weighted). For tandems, this normally requires a bit more pressure than the sidewall number, e.g., if the tire says 90psi, expect 100-105psi, if it's 100psi, probably 110 - 115psi.

    Therefore, getting back to your question, of the two tires listed I'd recommend Conti Gatorskins in 700x28 since it's the only one of those two that use a wire bead. But, again, plan on running the tire pressure at or a bit over the sidewall rating as necessary to get a good tire shape: again, there should only be a slight bulge in the sidewall when you're both on the tandem and rolling along. If it looks flat, it needs more air. If it feels too harsh and there's no sidewall bulge, it's probably overinflated.

    Finally, there is no such thing as the perfect tire or a practical flat resistant tire. The best you can hope for is to go with a good tire that balances your expectations for durability, performance and cost, keep it properly inflated, and do your best to stay out of the gutter and away from the edge of roads where debris collects that can puncture your tires.

    Oh yeah, as for this weekend I suspect your front tire was under inflated... What kind of tire were you using, did it have a kevlar or wire bead, when did you last top it off with the pump and how much PSI were you using in that tire?

  7. #7
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    TandemGeek,

    Thanks for the reply, I am not at home right now, do not know the tire information, but yes it was under flated. I picked up a thorn, saw it on the tire while riding, but it did not go flat. Made it to a convienence store, pulled out the thorn. After resting for a while in the store, came out and the tire was flat. I changed the tube, I checked the tire again before putting in the new tube. I had just purchased a new tire pump that the bike shop recommended, but I could only get 80# in [I'm taking the pump back today]. About a mile after I changed the tube, is when it went flat again and we almost took the spill.

    Tom

  8. #8
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    TandemGeek,

    I'm at home now and the tires I have on the Burley right now are:

    National Tire Co.
    PanaRacer
    Pasela TourGuard Keylare
    Folding 700X28

    Tom

  9. #9
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    merlinextraligh,

    Thank you for your response and help on the tires.

    Our accident at 20 mph took off a little more than some skin, it went down to the bone on my wife. I don't know if you are familiar with a lisfranc fracture, but it is the worst break a foot can have. It has totally devistated our life style. Before the accident, my wife would run 4 miles three to four times a week. We also like to camp and hike alot. We would go on 8 - 9 mile hikes. She no longer can run and we are lucky to get in a 4 mile hike [which the doctors she is seeing are amazed she is able to do that]. And after the hike she is in a lot of pain and pays for it for the next couple of days.

    The only activity that the doctors told her she could do is bike and swim. My wife has always been afraid of the water, so that only leaves cycling. As you said if you bike long enough you are going to fall. This accident was not our first fall, we had gone down three times before. But when an accident is as damaging as this one was, it leaves an impression.

    Thanks again for responding,

    Tom

  10. #10
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    twilkins9076,

    Thank you for your response. I have also noticed the stress on the Continental tires that I have used in the past. It seems that the consensus is the kevlar. Thanks so much.

  11. #11
    Senior Member metal_cowboy's Avatar
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    I ride panaracer Pasela's on my tandem, but on my single bike I ride the Ruffy Tuffy's. The RT are a great tire. I have had no problems (no flats) in the last 3k miles.
    Rivendell Alantis, Rivendell Rambouillet, Klein Adroit, Co Motion Big AL

  12. #12
    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
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    dtglenz:
    Underinflation can cause tire roll-off.
    We use the Topeak Mountain Morph pump; it fits on the bike and 'morphs' into a real mini-floor pump! We get 100 pounds of air with 100 easy pump strokes. You can catch 'em on sale for under $30. A great improvement over all other pumps we've used in our 30+ years of tandeming TWOgether!
    Rudy and Kay/zonatandem

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