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Constistent flats on commute road. Help with fitting tires/tubes on Trek 1220 ZX.

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Constistent flats on commute road. Help with fitting tires/tubes on Trek 1220 ZX.

Old 10-24-16, 11:56 PM
  #1  
eBombzor
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Constistent flats on commute road. Help with fitting tires/tubes on Trek 1220 ZX.

Background: I live in a slightly rural/suburban setting with cracked, ugly, bumpy bike roads. Everyday, I commute on this crap road and have gotten 6 flats since I've started using this trail 6 months ago when I moved. I have no other means of transportation and often have little time between classes, which scale large distances. Today I got my 6th flat so I thought it was time to do something about it, especially because I finally ran out of extra inner tubes.

Question(s):
  • Will the Schwalbe Marathon Plus 28c fit my wheel that currently has 23c on it?
  • Should I look for another tire? I just want something that'll last me forever. Don't care about speed.
  • I heard that all inner tubes are pretty much the same. Should I just a cheap one from the LBS or buy a brand name online?
  • How do I know the tire width limit of my bike/wheel?
  • Is it possible, with these modifications, to not get a flat for years? Even under bad weather conditions (heavy rain, really really bad roads, somewhat dangerous objects on the ground?
  • Could the wheel themselves cause a flat? I haven't replaced my wheel in years because it's so expensive. How should one know when to replace a wheel?
Thanks in advance.

Last edited by eBombzor; 10-25-16 at 11:39 PM.
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Old 10-25-16, 04:46 AM
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Originally Posted by eBombzor View Post
.... I finally ran out of extra inner tubes.

Patching tubes isn't hard. And usually doable, even if the size/location/type of damage means that some tubes are eventually lost. Bring the flatted back with you, fix it when you get home. It becomes the "new" spare tube for the next ride.


Originally Posted by eBombzor View Post

Question(s):
  • Will the Schwalbe Marathon Plus 28c fit my wheel that currently has 23c on it?
  • Quite probably. It's nominally only 5 mm higher and 2.5 mm wider. Although real ife measurements may differ. The "shoulders" of the rear tire will likely be your limiting dimension - Imgur: The most awesome images on the Internet
  • Should I look for another tire? I just want something that'll last me forever. Don't care about speed.
  • This is why you should do a bit of bicycle CSI before discarding a punctured tube. WHAT kind of flat was it? If you're only/mainly getting pinch flats, maybe your first priority would be to get a pump with a pressure gauge and check inflation pressure more often. If you're only/mainly getting penetration flats, then investing in a puncture protected tire is pretty much unavoidable. Regardless, 23C is quite narrow, particularly for everyday use. It'd make sense to go for a wider tire on general purposes. If you truly "want something that'll last me forever. Don't care about speed", you might be a candidate for solid AKA airfree AKA airless tires. They do have some drawbacks, but they don't get flats and they last a long, long time.
  • I heard that all inner tubes are pretty much the same. Should I just a cheap one from the LBS or buy a brand name online?
  • I've had a bad batch from Geax once, that's all. Can probably happen from any brand. Buy where it's simplest/cheapest.
  • How do I know the tire width limit of my bike/wheel?
  • the bike, the traditional method is by eyeballing or measuring the amount of clearance between tire and frame/fork, then making a guesstimate based on the size of the smallest gap and the size of the current tire.
  • For rim width vs tire width, you might as well check out the Schwalbe chart, if you're considering that brand of tire:https://www.schwalbetires.com/tech_info/tire_dimensions
  • Is it possible, with these modifications, to not get a flat for years? Even under bad weather conditions (heavy rain, really really bad roads, somewhat dangerous objects on the ground?
  • Only thing that would guaranteed protect you from flats is to go to solid AKA airfree AKA airless tires. Anything else is "only" tweaking the odds. Some puncture -protected tires do have good reputations though.
  • Could the wheel themselves cause a flat? I haven't replaced my wheel in years because it's so expensive. How should one know when to replace a wheel?
  • Bicycle CSI time again. Wheel-induced flats can be with some reliability be identified by location and appearence. They'll happen on the side of the tube facing the rim for one thing. And they'll usually keep appearing at the same spot(s). Pull the tube out. Remember the orientation. Locate flat. If it isn't a pinch flat, take a close look at rim and inside of tire at the area of the puncture. Rim strips can go bad, valve and nipple holes can leave burrs. Unless you get the upgrade bug, wheels are usually replaced when worn out beyond sensible repair. Brake track worn too thin, irrepairable bearing damage. Spokes lifed out on a rim/hub combo not worth salvaging. etc etc. Regular wear will usually need years and thousands of miles to kill off a wheel.
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Old 10-25-16, 05:26 AM
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I agree that the most important thing to do is to determine the cause by inspecting the tube, and then if appropriate the tire and rim coinciding to the location of the puncture. Those are the pics we need to see.
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Old 10-25-16, 07:05 AM
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Originally Posted by cny-bikeman View Post
I agree that the most important thing to do is to determine the cause by inspecting the tube, and then if appropriate the tire and rim coinciding to the location of the puncture. Those are the pics we need to see.
Absolutely!

It's semi-common for whatever caused your first puncture to stick in your tire and re-puncture your replacement inner tube. A lot of bicycle tire punctures are caused by tiny little radial tire wires that are hard to find as they hide in your tire. If you are getting frequent punctures, this is very likely to be the cause.

The way to stop that is to always install your bike tire so that it's label lines up with your valve stem. That way, if that little wire is stuck in there and punctures your next inner tube, you'll notice that it's in the same place relative to the valve stem and know where to look for it in your tire.

Incidentally, I've recently added a small needle nose pliers to my on-the-road flat tire kit. I did that because those tiny wires are hard to dig out.

Bicycle tire makers produce tires with varying levels of puncture resistance. Some are definitely more puncture resistant than others. NOBODY makes a bicycle tire that is puncture proof.
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Old 10-25-16, 08:21 AM
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It may be helpful in finding small embedded items to turn the tire inside out. This will put the inner surface under tension and tend to open up small holes where things can hide. Running a cotton ball or microfiber cloth around the inside of the tire may also help to find small sharp items.
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Old 10-25-16, 09:02 AM
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I agree with those who say you need to carefully investigate the cause of the flats. Make sure you have good rim strips. Spend a little extra for high quality tubes--they're worth it.

For a really tough and puncture resistant tire, the Continental GatorSkin is hard to beat. They're available in 23 and 25c, I think. A 28c might even fit your bike.

Last edited by Broctoon; 10-25-16 at 09:06 AM.
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Old 10-25-16, 09:39 AM
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I tried multiple tires then the Bontrager race Lite hardcase. No flats and at least 3000 miles of wear per tire.
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Old 10-25-16, 11:47 PM
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Thanks for the responses guys. I found out that it was a puncture flat, caused by some unknown sharp object. It's gone now but it did leave a small cut (~1mm) so I am in definite need to get some better tires.

I also made sure that the object was gone and did a thorough inspection during the tube replacement.

28c won't fit, unfortunately, I am now in need of assistance to buy either:
M+
Gatorskins
4 Seasons
mainly for commuting. The Gatorskins are the cheapest but they don't seem like they'll last as long and I've heard that they are slippery in wet conditions. I'm leaning towards the M+ b/c they seem like the most resistant and grippy across all three. Again, speed is not an issue and I would like to hear your thoughts on this.

Last edited by eBombzor; 10-26-16 at 10:59 PM.
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Old 10-26-16, 01:56 AM
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Originally Posted by eBombzor View Post
Thanks for the responses guys.

You're welcome!




Originally Posted by eBombzor View Post
I found out that it was a puncture flat, caused by some unknown sharp object. It's gone now but it did leave a small cut (~1mm) so I am in definite need to get some better tires.

Small hole like that, in the tread surface shouldn't be a problem. A bit bigger, I'd suggest trying to seal it to prevent grit from working its way through and eventually start chafing on the tube. That small, I'd probably ignore it.


Originally Posted by eBombzor View Post
28c won't fit, unfortunately...

You sure about that? From your pics, I wouldn't hesitate at all to try.




Originally Posted by eBombzor View Post
Again, speed is not an issue and I would like to hear your thoughts on this.

If speed really isn't an issue, airless tires will bring the highest degree of flat protection and longevity.


I've used tires from this company Bicycle tyres cycle tyres bike tyres custom built wheels tyres for several thousands of miles.


They do ride differently, but they certainly are rideable.


Here's another Tannus Tires - Solid Bicycle Tires . They have a different mounting strategy, can't really comment beyond that.
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Old 10-26-16, 12:25 PM
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If you are able to wait a week or 10 days, I'd suggest shopping some of the UK sites. With the current exchange rates, you can get some pretty good deals on tires. Look at Ribble, Wiggle, PBK, etc. I just bought some 4 Seasons for around $34 each delivered.
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Old 10-26-16, 11:14 PM
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I'm not completely sold on airless tires (yet). I do care somewhat about ride quality and my old wheels might get damaged from the impact of using a solid tire. They are also quite pricey from what those websites. I do like the idea of not having to pump your tires and never getting a flat. I need to do more research.

Never realized Ribble has such cheap prices on those tires. I found a M+ for $20. Thanks for the heads up.

Thanks for the responses guys. I really appreciate you guys helping a newbie like me.
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Old 10-27-16, 05:35 AM
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I have problems around here with " Sand Spurs." Some areas call these " Goat Heads." They get hard & dry after falling off the weed & are a problem for many bikers , since they are blown all over the roads. Once, I had 3 flats in one day due to these.
Most have suggested better tires & heavy-duty tubes, & I agree.
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Old 10-27-16, 05:08 PM
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Consider a different bike. "Speed isn't an issue" so go with a mtb style bike with urban tires. I have an old Stumpjumper that makes a great commuter on the lousy streets here in the great corn desert. Keep the Trek nice for the weekend rides.
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Old 10-27-16, 07:02 PM
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I commuted year round for years on a mtn bike. After I put in tire liners like Mr. Tuffy's I never got a flat. I wouldn't bother with special tubes.

https://www.amazon.com/Mr-Tuffy-Ultr...ner&th=1&psc=1
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