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Flat tire prevention: What works best for you?

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Flat tire prevention: What works best for you?

Old 04-25-15, 04:26 PM
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Wolf Dust
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Flat tire prevention: What works best for you?

I'd like to hear what flat prevention products you've used/are using and with what results and what your opinions are of those products based on experience. If you have tried a different product than what you were using prior to it, it would be nice to hear your comparative view between products. For example: Tubes vs. tubeless/ Thorn resistant tubes vs. tire liners/ Slime vs. latex sealant, etc. Please mention any types of pointy, pokey road debri common to your area and what type and size tire you use also. Thanks!

These are the only requirements:

(EDIT): There are no requirements

Last edited by Wolf Dust; 04-27-15 at 10:02 PM. Reason: To make people stop whining about the stupid requirements.
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Old 04-25-15, 04:43 PM
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PaulH
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Marathon Plus with Mr. Tuffy.

1) Must have 3 or more years of regular commuting experience.
Eighteen years

2) Must commute a minimum of 20 miles per week.
One hundred miles

3) A minimum of 6 months use on specified product.
Thirteen years (since the Marathon Plus first came out)

During the last thirteen years, I have driven my bike and car equal distances (about 4,000 miles per year) and have gotten the same number of flats (2) on bike and car. It's worth mentioning that both bike flats were slow leaks and I was able to get to my destination. This was not true for the car.

I tried Slime. I made a huge mess but did not materially improve flat frequency. Only Marathon Plus with Mr. Tuffy did that, and it did quite well. In the winter, both Marathon Winter and Nokian W106 have been flat free.
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Old 04-25-15, 05:15 PM
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Mr Tuffy tire liners effectively put an end to flats for me.
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Old 04-25-15, 05:32 PM
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-screw your requirements

marathon supremes: 9000 miles across two bikes in the past 15 months, 2-4 flats. Most miles are tacking on miles or errands to the commute, very few 'just get out and ride' miles. Started at around ~300lbs, down to 190 now.
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Old 04-25-15, 05:43 PM
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Screw your requirements 2...

I just make sure there is some decent rubber left on the tire so that there is some distance between the glass going into the tire as I ride but doesn't go into the tube...
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Old 04-25-15, 06:38 PM
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I posted this thread, not because I'm afraid of getting flats, but because if there is a truly better way to prevent flats then I want to know about it, but I'm not going to waste a bunch of my time and money trying out things that may or may not work. Since I'm not a hardcore commuter myself, I didn't think it fair to exclude the less serious, but also don't want just any weekend cyclist chiming in either, that's why I set the requirements as such, so don't get your panties in a crease over it. Thanks to the first poster I've looked into the Schwalbe Marathon Plus Tour and the Mondial and think I'll be giving one of those a try, since I want a tire with good cross terrain abilities.
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Old 04-25-15, 06:42 PM
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Eric S. 
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I tried tire liners once and got one in OK, but just could not get the other to sit properly and have the tire run true.

I'm into tires with a "raised tread", if that is the correct term. I currently have Continental Tour Ride tires on a road bike I commute with quite a bit. My simplistic thinking believes that debris will only become lodged in a tread block rather than right into the casing of the tire.

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Old 04-25-15, 06:52 PM
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350htrr
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Originally Posted by Wolf Dust View Post
I posted this thread, not because I'm afraid of getting flats, but because if there is a truly better way to prevent flats then I want to know about it, but I'm not going to waste a bunch of my time and money trying out things that may or may not work. Since I'm not a hardcore commuter myself, I didn't think it fair to exclude the less serious, but also don't want just any weekend cyclist chiming in either, that's why I set the requirements as such, so don't get your panties in a crease over it. Thanks to the first poster I've looked into the Schwalbe Marathon Plus Tour and the Mondial and think I'll be giving one of those a try, since I want a tire with good cross terrain abilities.
Don't get your panties in a bunch... I'm just saying what works for me, having lots of rubber on my tiers does wonders to reduce flats... All these other methods are over the top in general... IMO
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Old 04-25-15, 07:04 PM
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Originally Posted by 350htrr View Post
Don't get your panties in a bunch... I'm just saying what works for me, having lots of rubber on my tiers does wonders to reduce flats... All these other methods are over the top in general... IMO
My panties are good...actually they're made of buckskin.
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Old 04-25-15, 07:09 PM
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In recent years, I've had shockingly good luck with Armadillo and Gatorskin tires.

20-30 years ago, I had great luck with Mr. Tuffy.
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Old 04-25-15, 07:09 PM
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350htrr
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Originally Posted by Wolf Dust View Post
My panties are good...actually they're made of buckskin.
Isn't spandex better?
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Old 04-25-15, 07:13 PM
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I use Marathon Supremes. I've had a couple of flat while touring but never while commuting, yet. Don't ride so close to the curb so that you're in the dirt. I don't like heavy tires with flat protection because if you do get a flat, they're a pain to get off and back on the rim. I prefer a more supple tire.
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Old 04-25-15, 07:34 PM
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The best way to eliminate flats is to stop riding your bike...Seriously, if you ride as much as I do then flats will sometimes happen, no matter what type of tires you have. The best preventative measure is to use good quality tires which have puncture protection. In my experience: road debris, glass, sticks, stones is not a problem with good tires, the worst thing is a sharp screw or a nail, no tire will survive that.
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Old 04-25-15, 07:40 PM
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been using tuffys (now the ultralite version) for about 20 years now. i get far fewer flats than i did, or would, otherwise, but they can eventually wear a small hole in the tube where the ends overlap. more so as the PSI is lowered. i use about 80PSI and don't dare go lower, although i think i could otherwise. overall they are a big help here in goathead territory. BTW, i use the lightest tires and tubes i can find, usually under 200gm tires and 80gm tubes. and run them until the casings show.
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Old 04-25-15, 08:22 PM
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Ever since flat resistant tires, I almost never gets flats. Panaracer tservs, or gp4000's have both been good for me.

The best improvement after that are actually my home pump. I got some grease at a bike shop that caused the pump to stop grabbing the valve so hard when trying to take it off, and that was actually the biggest improvement I've seen. I would have bought a new pump had I know that was the case...
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Old 04-25-15, 08:40 PM
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Originally Posted by wolfchild View Post
The best way to eliminate flats is to stop riding your bike...Seriously, if you ride as much as I do then flats will sometimes happen, no matter what type of tires you have. The best preventative measure is to use good quality tires which have puncture protection. In my experience: road debris, glass, sticks, stones is not a problem with good tires, the worst thing is a sharp screw or a nail, no tire will survive that.
Have you ever seen goat head thorns? They are all over the place around here.
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Old 04-25-15, 08:42 PM
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I've tried a few things over the years, but now don't really worry about getting a flat. It just happens once in a while and you deal with it. The only step I actually take is to use more durable, wider tires in the winter to reduce the chance of flats in the cold weather. Have had decent success with Marathon Supremes, and really like their grip and lower weight.
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Old 04-25-15, 08:47 PM
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I've been running on Gator Hardshell tires for a few years on 6 miles of pot-holed urban streets each way, with nary a flat.
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Old 04-25-15, 09:48 PM
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Lol. I don't meet your requirements, but.

My first day commuting, goatheads, so many that fix a flat couldn't keep up. Was broke, desperate don't kill me.

Then, luckily one day I found enough money to buy liners. That particular day, on one stretch of sidewalk, no kidding I got ten heads. In each tire. Since then, none. I also carry slime, patches, a extra tube, one wrench and a frame pump. Cause I ain't going through that walking crap again.
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Old 04-25-15, 11:42 PM
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I've had pretty good luck with Mr. Tuffy's over the last few years commuting year round. I've had them in various Nashbar or performance tires. I've had basically zero flats due to anything getting through to the tube.
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Old 04-26-15, 12:40 AM
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1. You asked about products, but I find a critical factor is making sure the tires have adequate pressure. The Schwalbe tires are supposed to lose air slower than others (I think true, but you still need to check your tires carefully).

2. I used Mr, Tuffy liners for quite a few years. My results were mixed. When they're new they help, and are good for debris near the tread, not very useful if large staptes or screws penetrates the sidewall. After too long (7-8 years?) I found they dried out and cracked, so they actually caused flats. It might be necessary to change tire/tire liners more often.

3. Marathon tires - I used regular Marathon, not Marathon plus. Work well, but only used for a bout 8-10 months, vs. 25 years commuting/riding 50-100 miles per week.
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Old 04-26-15, 08:19 AM
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For the last five years I've been riding on Armadillo Nimbus' and/or Schwalbe Marathon's. I do year round regular commuting to work thru urban areas. I average one flat a year. I attribute that to the better tire. i used to ride on cheap tires and get five or six flats a year. Since I switched I hardly get any. And I ride thru a lot of roadside debris.
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Old 04-26-15, 08:42 AM
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I don't commute but ride over 9000 km a year (almost 6000 miles) and have had 4 flats over 3 1/2 years. Out of those one was due to a 50 mm (2 inch) wood screw that no tire could have survived. Another was a case of maladjusted brake shoes that wore through the tire near the bead. That leaves about one puncture every other year that perhaps could have been avoided.

I run Primo Comets on my 20" Bike Friday. I have always been amazed how many flats my friends on group rides have on their narrow 700-23C tires. My Comets are over 30 mm wide and I run them at no more than 60-65 PSI which I think helps. The higher the pressure the harder the rubber of the contact patch will push against any piece of glass or rock it comes across, making cuts more likely.
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Old 04-26-15, 12:53 PM
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I usually commute on a mountain bike. I run tubeless with Stan's latex which works best at low pressure and does require keeping the latex fresh. Genuine Innovations tire plugs are the best thing to happen to mountain bikes since tubeless.

On the mountain bike, it's sidewall slashes that get a tube or occasionally glass/nails/flint that penetrates the tire and require a plug. Goathead punctures just seal up with the latex and most debris is deflected or absorbed without puncturing.

When I do ride a road bike (tandem), I use Bontrager Hardcase tires and have WAY more problems with flats. It's most often flint that causes these punctures.
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Old 04-26-15, 01:54 PM
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Best flat prevention for me?
Don't ride in the gutter or to the extreme right of the road where debris accummulates.
Watch where your wheels go. Have good lighting for rides after dark.
Don't ride over puddles, fallen leaves, or anything hiding the road surface from view. Sand collects tire-flattening debris.
Walk over unpaved areas either carrying your bike or rolling it riderless, inspect for goatheads before getting back on the bike.
Check tire inflation before your first ride of the day.
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