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Flat-Prevention Alternatives

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Flat-Prevention Alternatives

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Old 06-11-02, 06:08 PM
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FrugalBiker
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Flat-Prevention Alternatives

Hello -- I'm a new cyclist who is hoping to use a bicycle for commuting, errands, and transportation whenever possible. I've never had a flat tire before (even as a kid), but after reading lots of horror stories about flats on the internet, it's something that I've become concerned about! I finally made up my mind to get Specialized Airlock "self-healing" tubes, when suddenly I saw some information about a product called NO-MOR FLATS (www.nomorflats.com) - a puncture-proof, air-free inner tube - and the concept seemed fascinating. I know these tubes are probably despised by many riders, especially "purists" and those worried about performance, but I care mostly about comfort, reliability, and safety, so I'm wondering: does anyone here have ANY experience, good or bad, with this product (or similar ones) or know where I could get more information? I know they will add weight and be tough to install, but I wonder how badly they affect the ride. Perhaps they're a rip-off. I've read two reviews from users who love them and swear by them, but I'm sure there are other people who swear AT them.

As for more standard flat-prevention methods, no one seems to agree on what is best, so I'm not sure what to do: tire liners, Slime-type tubes, thicker tires, or some combination of these. It seems that the "Speed Lever" tire remover is well-loved by most users. Anyway, I know this topic has been discussed to death, but I'll be thankful for any input.

Jeff
(Who dreads the thought of changing a flat in the cold rain.)
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Old 06-12-02, 02:43 AM
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I use Vredestein puncture resistant tyres with slime tubes. They do weigh more (only really noticeable when accelerating) but I'm yet to have a puncture. To be honest I think the Slime tubes are overkill with the tyres, when I've changed tyres I've checked the tubes and haven't seen any evidence that they've sealed a puncture.

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Old 06-12-02, 03:07 AM
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as far as the tubless style, I have ridden a few bikes of my friends that have them, and i really dont care for them, they add a ton of rotating weight, are not really balanced, transmits more road vibration, more weight to stop, and generally should be left for kids bikes. Slime tires, seems like I have replaced a lot of those, as the slime gets in the tire valve, and leaks air out. The tube that I have the best luck with is made by huffy(no laughter please). They(My local Tru-Value) sell a thorn resistant thick tube that I have nothing but praises for. They only cost about 5 bucks a tube. I live in rural kansas where sandburrs are everywhere, and have not had a flat in two years, but have replaced tires twice, due to normal wear. I have not had the opportunity or the need to use skin strips or tuffy tape, or anything like that, so cannot give a good/bad rating on it. But this is only my opinion, and should be counted as much.
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Old 06-12-02, 03:07 AM
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Punctures are really no big deal. With good quality modern tyres you may get one or 2 a year. All you need to do is practice changing the tube for a new one, in a nice warm dry environment.
Specialized Armadillo are rated as the most puncture resistant conventional tyres.
Solid tyres are heavy and sluggish by comparison. You dont need to race to appreciate the advantages of air-filled tyres. They are better in every way but one.
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Old 06-12-02, 03:09 AM
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And by the way, wal mart carries the nomorflats tube, you can feel the tubew in the package, and make your own decision.
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Old 06-12-02, 06:29 AM
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I use puncture resistant tyres but to my my mind they only resist until you are in the middle of a rainstorm and miles from cover. But I'm not bitter!!
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Old 06-12-02, 07:29 AM
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I use Vredestein Triggers with Tuffies. I ride about 2,500 commuting miles a year with lots of broken glass on the road. Since I switched, I have gone four months without a flat. I used to get them every month with my old setup, which was Specialized Nimbus, Tuffies, and Slime.

Different things cause different flats. Broken glass goes through the tread (best stopped by Tuffy), while thorns penetrate the sidewalls (best stopped by thick sidewalls).

There are several "airless" tire schemes that I have been looking into. Airfree Tires seems to be the best of these, reportadly providing low rolling resistance but a very rough ride. If I go "flat free" for another few months, I will stop thinking about these drastic measures, although I would like to try a heavier innertube.

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Old 06-12-02, 08:47 AM
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I agree with PaulH.
If you are not too worried about performance, a good puncture resistant tire and a Tuffy will work perfectly. For those that are more concerned about performance, use the new SpinSkins DuraLiner!
SB
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Old 06-13-02, 11:21 AM
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Keep in mind also that riding through road debris or sand can be like walking through a minefield. Learn how to ride far out enough to avoid such areas (and drains) without swerving--travel a straight line.
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Old 06-13-02, 11:52 AM
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I live in Northern Colorado = goatheads, goatheads, goatheads (or burrs, thorns, etc. depending on dialect)

On my commuter I have thorn tubes and goo. I almost never have flats on this bike. I haven't replaced a tube in something like three years. My MTB, on the other hand, has regular tubes on it. It seems like I get a flat every other @#%# day. As a test I put goo in the front tube and no goo in the rear. I haven't had any problems as of yet with the front tire. Perhaps I'll put a thick tube in the back next time it goes flat to see which lasts longer.

No way, on any bike of mine, will I ever use one of those airless tubes. Those are just screwy. I agree that those are mostly the domain of kids' bikes.
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Old 06-13-02, 12:44 PM
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I took some good advice here on how to prevent flats. Tire pressure virtually eliminated my flat problem. Thanks to everyone here1!!
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Old 06-13-02, 06:48 PM
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Thanks for the replies and advice, guys - I really appreciate it. I wish I could try some of these products and see how they affect the ride, whether they're airfree, liners, thick tires, or slime, but there just doesn't seem to be much of a cycling presence here in suburban Maryland (not many bike supplies in the stores, either), so I've had to rely on the opinions and reviews of people on the internet for my few bike purchases.

I was having visions of cruising worry-free on "airless" tires and not having to carry a spare tube, pump, patch kit, etc. anymore, but I guess I'll forget about that unless I can ever test-drive those things somehow. But no matter how puncture-resistant the other solutions are, I assume that flats are still inevitable, especially since I've started riding at night (which I love) and I can't see every nail or piece of glass that might be lying in the road. So what happens when you get a flat? Does the tire just blow out suddenly and make you lose control? Or maybe each one is different, with some being slow leaks? Does the wheel ever get damaged?
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Old 06-13-02, 11:29 PM
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Here's another alternative:

http://greentyre.com/

They make "solid" bike tires that are of course totally flat-proof. I haven't personally used any of their products, but I've checked them out online because I like the idea of never having another flat. (Don't they always happen when you go for a "quick ride" and bring no tools?)

In reality, I rarely have flats and am usually prepared for them, but something keeps making me wonder about these tires. I wish I knew someone with a set that I could try out.
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Old 06-14-02, 01:55 AM
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I use ordinary tubes and tyres with slime in them and I use an old tube to line the tyre with.

I haven't had a flat in several months.

I don't think this would work against drawing pins though.
If you get a sidewall puncture - I have found this unrepairable. Slime doesn't work and patches won't hold.

Generally a flat is no major drama. I have had tubes explode when the brake arm rubbed through the sidewall, which made me jump a little.
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Old 06-14-02, 10:49 AM
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Originally posted by FrugalBiker
there just doesn't seem to be much of a cycling presence here in suburban Maryland (not many bike supplies in the stores, either), so I've had to rely on the opinions and reviews of people on the internet for my few bike purchases.
??? Where in suburban MD are you? there's quite a bit of cycling presence here, you just may not be familiar w/ it.

As far as getting flats goes, usually the tire slowly loses air, there is rarely some big explosion. I ride through all sorts of stuff on the roads and trails and hardly ever get flats and I don't take any special precautions. If you are worried though, just get a pair of the tire liners. Carry a small seat bag w/ a patch kit, spare tube and tire levers. Strap a pump on the frame. Small, light weight investments that will give you piece of mind. I also would recommend carrying a small set of allen wrenches and a chainbreaker(or a multi-tool). With these few things, you will be prepared for almost any problem that will arise. It will keep you pedaling the bike instead of walking.
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Old 06-14-02, 11:10 AM
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Originally posted by FrugalBiker
So what happens when you get a flat? Does the tire just blow out suddenly and make you lose control? Or maybe each one is different, with some being slow leaks? Does the wheel ever get damaged?
The most usual situation for me has been jumping on the bike after work and heading up the street, only to notice that harsh, slippery feeling that means a flat tire. In other words, a slow leak.

There was one time that I hit some sharp piece of metal, leading to the classic "pow!" "psst!" sequence from the front tire. No control problems or rim problems, but the tube and tire were in bad shape when I stopped. That was my only fast flat in something approaching 10,000 miles

If you have low pressure tires and thick inner tubes, a can of "Fix a Flat" in the bottle cage works well, especially as the small hole/slow leak is the most frequent type.

Flats are not a big deal, as long as you don't get them too often. All you need is either cab fare to a bike shop or a pump and patch kit.

Paul
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Old 06-19-02, 10:37 AM
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My take: don't bother with patches. I just use a spare tube I always carry. (Yes, I carry a patch kit in case I get another flat.)

I think tubes have a useful life of maybe a couple hundred miles at best. Don't know why exactly, but I've noticed this over the years.

Use a spare, ditch the tube, and move on. Much faster than patching, too. You can get a flat and be booking down the road again within a few minutes when you don't hassle with a patch.
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Old 06-19-02, 10:52 AM
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When you change the tube dont forget to find what made the flat. It's often a minute piece of wire you cant see. Wipe a tissue around the inside of the tire and it will catch on the offending object. You dont want to patch a second flat a few miles down the road.
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Old 06-19-02, 10:58 AM
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Originally posted by Andy Dreisch
My take: don't bother with patches. I just use a spare tube I always carry. (Yes, I carry a patch kit in case I get another flat.)

Use a spare, ditch the tube, and move on. Much faster than patching, too. You can get a flat and be booking down the road again within a few minutes when you don't hassle with a patch.
Sometimes, yes, it can be faster. But I had a flat last saturday from what looked like a staple, only thinner, which had worked it's way into my tire.

Since it was sticking out, I knew the exact location of the hole. I took only as much tire off the rim as needed to get to the hole, patch it, stuff it back in, pump it and go. Much faster than removing the whole tube and replacing it. But obviously this is not always possible.
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Old 06-19-02, 06:28 PM
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Originally posted by Andy Dreisch
I think tubes have a useful life of maybe a couple hundred miles at best. Don't know why exactly, but I've noticed this over the years.
Should all tubes be replaced after a certain number of miles, regardless of whether they've been flat-free, as routine maintenance? And is there a certain time recommendation, too, like "replace tubes after x miles or x years"? (This includes spare tubes that have been carried around but never used.)

Originally posted by riderx
Where in suburban MD are you? there's quite a bit of cycling presence here, you just may not be familiar w/ it.
You are probably right -- I'm in NW Baltimore County, near the Reisterstown/Glyndon area. I know there are recreational cyclists in the area, including racers, but I rarely see someone commuting by bicycle... though I'm not the most observant person around.
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Old 06-19-02, 07:09 PM
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Originally posted by FrugalBiker

Should all tubes be replaced after a certain number of miles, regardless of whether they've been flat-free, as routine maintenance? And is there a certain time recommendation, too, like "replace tubes after x miles or x years"? (This includes spare tubes that have been carried around but never used.)

I replace a tube whenever I get a flat, no matter how long it's been -- time or distance. For me, this average out to about every 200-300 miles, maybe less. I get a lot of flats. In the rainy season, it's probably about every 100-200 miles. My buddies believe I have the world's highest FPM ratio (Flats per Mile).

And I always use Tuffies.

In my experience it's simply not worth the time or bother patching a tube. Standing in the rain, listening intently for an air leak while trucks and buses roar on by is not worth it in my view. Pop the new tube in (of course, after checking for the source as an earlier poster noted) and you're off.

Granted, this is not the most cost-efficient way to cycle, but tubes are cheap -- why risk another flat on a patch that goes bad or a tube that's just plain worn out?
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Old 06-19-02, 07:35 PM
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Ahhhhh, good old Maryland. I have cousins there. Some of them live by Silversprings, others by Columbia and some by Ellicott City.

BTW, maybe I wasn't looking out for cyclists, but I hardly see any around when I use to visit.
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Old 06-20-02, 08:09 AM
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Originally posted by Andy Dreisch
In my experience it's simply not worth the time or bother patching a tube.
A patch costs < $.25 vs. a new tube at $5. Plus, it's just wasteful not to patch your tubes - landfill filler and all that.

I carry a spare tube, use that to fix my flat, patch the tube when I get home and then carry that as my spare. When I get to 8 or 10 patches on a tube, I'll ditch it.
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Old 06-20-02, 09:04 AM
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I am using tubes with a handfull of patches on, and they are perfectly reliable for me. I use traditional patch kits for doing repairs at home, but carry a spare tube and some self-adhesive patches.
I usually ditch tubes when the valves start to bend, or the holes are unrepairable.
One one bad ride I ran out of tubes and patches, but as I was wheeling my bike home, a guy gave me the inner from an old bike in his garage. The tube was a high quality one about 10 or 15 years old, and worked perfectly.

One point to remember for urban cyclists. The usual method of detecting sharp objects embeded in the tyre is to run your finger or a rag around till it catches that thorn. Discarded hyperdermic needles can cause flats, and you dont want to search for them in this manner.
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Old 06-20-02, 10:35 AM
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Another newbie question for you guys. How do I patch up a tube? This is what I think, let me know if itís correct:

-get the wheels off the bike

-use your irons to remove the tire from the rim (I havenít done that yet..i used screwdrivers as a kid, but just brought plastic irons and have no idea how to use them)

-see if any sharp objects are stuck on/in the tire

-you remove the tube

-find the puncture(s) and sand it down with the sand paper provided in patch kit.

-get the glue put it on (light or heavy?) making sure itís bigger than the area of the patch

-let it dry first (this is what I did as a kid, but not sure if itís the correct way of doing it)

-put the patch on, and apply pressure on it from the middle to the outer corners

-pump up the tube to give it shape

-put one side of the tire back on rim (now that itís free from any foreign objects) by hand (or do I use the levers?)

-put the tube back in

-carefully use your hands (????) to get the other side of the tire in the rim

-use the pump and youíre ready to go.

Is this correct?
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