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airless tires

Old 10-09-05, 02:56 PM
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Fatgirl2
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airless tires

Has anyone used the new airless tires....do they give good traction....what are their drawbacks?
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Old 10-09-05, 07:42 PM
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Don't do it. The air-filled tire is one of the great inventions of the modern age. It sees widespread usage for a good reason. Airless tires, which are usually just foam innertubes inside of tires, cannot be adjusted for different riding conditions. So, depending on the surface you are riding on, they may or may not give you good traction. With traditional tires, you can let some air out for softer ground, and pump them up for the streets. Foam tubes are also very heavy relative to normal tubes. They can add over a pound of weight to your wheels, which is the worst place to have excess weight, since it must be moed constantly.
If you want to reduce the amoun of flats you get, there are several superior options.
1) Super thick tubes: what they sound like. A little heavier, much stronger.
2) Slimed tubes: these are regular tubes with some goo on the inseid that seals punctures on the spot. They work pretty well.
2) Tubeless: go look at notubes.com, this is the ultimate.
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Old 10-09-05, 08:10 PM
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Ditto duckliondog.

I'll add:

You can get "liners" which go between tire and tube. I think Tufo makes some but I'm not sure.

Schwalbe makes tires with built in liners - their "Marathon Plus" being one. You can ride over a thumb tack and it won't puncture the tube. Schwalbe is also either working on or have available other types with the same built in liner.

Slightly higher rolling resistance than a non-lined tire but if you travel in areas where punctures are common, this type of tire is really a necessity. (i've heard of people getting two punctures *an hour* with regular tires in rough equatorial areas...I'd rather deal with higher rolling resistance than be flatting that often)
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Old 10-09-05, 08:52 PM
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The airless tire is an idea that comes around every few years and, so far, has always failed. They are heavy, have very high rolling resistance and give poor handling and traction.

I know a man who tried the most recent version made by, IIRC a company called Greentire. Now this guy is anything but a performance rider. He rides a low cost Trek hybrid, mostly on flat Rail-Trails and at very modest speeds and distances. Even he found these tires unacceptable.
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Old 10-11-05, 04:49 PM
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You also have to rent/buy a tool to mount the tire.

Hard corners can "walk" the tire off the rim.

Flats are easy to fix after you do a few.
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Old 10-11-05, 05:19 PM
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Originally Posted by duckliondog
If you want to reduce the amoun of flats you get, there are several superior options.
1) Super thick tubes: what they sound like. A little heavier, much stronger.
2) Slimed tubes: these are regular tubes with some goo on the inseid that seals punctures on the spot. They work pretty well.
2) Tubeless: go look at notubes.com, this is the ultimate.
Originally Posted by af895
You can get "liners" which go between tire and tube. I think Tufo makes some but I'm not sure.
In addition to these tricks, you want to try the following as well:

5. air-pressure - make sure the tyres are pumped up on the high side of the pressure range. Narrow 20-23mm tyres should be in the 100-120psi range. Wider tyres of 25-28mm can run 95-105psi range. Use more pressure if you're heavier than average. When I weighed 245lbs, I was using 120psi on 28mm tyres. Underinflation is the leading cause of pinch flats (snake-bites). Pump up the flat tube after you removed it. If you see two holes 3-5mm apart across the tube, it's a pinched flat caused by the rim-bottoming out and smashing through the tube. More pressure prevents such drastic deformations of the tyre.

6. kevlar touring tyres aren't as fast as thin race-rubber, but they last a lot longer and are more flat-resistant. Some have kevlar in the casing, others have a kevlar belt in the casing. I like the ones with a separate belt because that leaves the sidewalls flexible and supple for a faster ride and better handling. The belt works by making it harder for debris like glass and thorns to work their way through the casing. They're not bulletproof (I've tested this ) and they won't stop ALL flats, but they'll slow down the penetration and give you more time for the following techniques to work.

7. wipe your tyres with your hands after running over glass & debris. You can hear glass fragments and stuff that can puncture your tyre when you run them over. Good reason to wear gloves so you can immediately rub your tyre and not let the glass/thorns work themselves through after repeated revolutions. On the front, just reach down in front of the brakes and lightly lay the palm of your gloves on the tyre to scrape off any debris.

On the rear, also put your hands IN FRONTof the brakes, no BEHIND or else they'll get sucked into the brakes! Put it in front of the brake-caliper and seat-stay. Be careful because your hand can get caught between the tyre and back of the seat-tube. Hook your thumb around the back of the seat stay first, then slide your hand down the stay until your palm barely rubs the tyre to wipe off glass & debris. Your thumb hooked around the seat-stay lets you rub the tyre without looking and keeps your hand from getting dragged forward.

8. Tire savers are the most under-utilized anti-flat tool out there! Touring folks swear by them. These are little wire scrapers that you bolt to your brakes and they have a little half-circular hoop that rides just above your tyre. You push them down onto the tyre and mold it to fit the profile of your tyre closely. Adjust so it rides only 0.5-1.0mm above the tire surface. Any glass or thorns that you pick up is immediately scraped off. I just make my own from some wire coat-hangers.

9. Don't hit stuff like rocks and pot-holes which can cause pinched flats. Most people ride their bikes like their cars and keep their eyes on the horizon. You're not going to reach that spot for another 20-minutes, so look down in front of the bike more. I like to keep my eyes 50-75ft ahead and I can see the horizon through my peripheral vision. Look up and down often to scan the entire road ahead of you. When you see a rock or a pot-hole, look away at the path you want to take. If you look at that rock or pothole, you're GONNA hit it!

I had used some or all of these tricks on my ride across the US about 10-years ago after getting out of school. Got 2 flats on the entire 3200-mile trip. Although there were a couple others that beat me with just 1 flat or no flats at all!

Last edited by DannoXYZ; 11-05-05 at 01:32 PM.
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Old 10-11-05, 05:46 PM
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Originally Posted by DannoXYZ
8. Tire savers are the most under-utilized anti-flat tool out there! Touring folks swear by them. These are little wire scrapers that you bolt to your brakes and they have a little half-circular hoop that rides just above your tyre. You push them down onto the tyre and mold it to fit the profile of your tyre closely. Adjust so it rides only 0.5-1.0mm above the tire surface. Any glass or thorns that you pick up is immediately scraped off. I just make my own from some wire coat-hangers.
Care to post a couple of pics? Getting a new bike (bless my darling wife!) in a couple of weeks, and I'd like to add that to my "i-need-this-NOW" list...
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Old 10-12-05, 05:08 AM
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I put a set of these airless tires on a bike for a guy and found them to be extremely squirly going around any type of corner. They came with a tool to help install them which worked pretty well but requires you to put a lot of pressure on the axle and wheel itself. So much so that I check the axle for being bent and the wheel for trueness afterwards (luckily both were fine).

Also they added a ton of weight. Follow the above suggestions for proper tire/tube maintenance.........ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
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