Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Commuting
Reload this Page >

Do you ever get flats?

Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.
View Poll Results: How often do you get flats?
more than 1 flat per year
about one flat per year
one flat every 2 years
one flat every 3 years
4 or more years between flats
Can't remember the last time I had a flat.
I don't get many flats, but just don't want to take the risk and deal with changing a tire.
Voters: 140. You may not vote on this poll

Do you ever get flats?

Old 10-17-17, 02:06 PM
Senior Member
Thread Starter
chas58's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Michigan
Posts: 4,273

Bikes: too many of all kinds

Mentioned: 35 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 954 Post(s)
Liked 200 Times in 161 Posts
Do you ever get flats?

Do you ever get flats?

If so, do you know why?

Some people seem to be very concerned about flats. I’ve ridden in goathead country, and understand that. But for the rest of us is seems that it should be a minor concern.

I’ll actually get something that goes through the tread maybe once in every 5 years. Its pretty rare.

How many flats do you get per year (or how many years between flats)?

Last edited by chas58; 10-25-17 at 03:05 PM.
chas58 is offline  
Old 10-17-17, 02:14 PM
Senior Member
wphamilton's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Alpharetta, GA
Posts: 15,007

Bikes: Nashbar Road

Mentioned: 70 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2795 Post(s)
Liked 175 Times in 123 Posts
It's bad form to taunt the flat fairies ...
wphamilton is offline  
Likes For wphamilton:
Old 10-17-17, 02:20 PM
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: England / CPH
Posts: 8,543

Bikes: 2010 Cube Acid / 2013 Mango FGSS

Mentioned: 42 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1053 Post(s)
Liked 32 Times in 27 Posts
In Germany, Denmark and Sweden, not once.

In Northeast England, I went through a tyre every 1000 miles and split a Schwalbe Lugano after about 150 miles. About 8 flats over 3500km due to the bad road surface.

In Southeast England, not a single flat.

Me and Northeast England don't get on.
acidfast7 is offline  
Old 10-17-17, 02:33 PM
Senior Member
suncruiser's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Posts: 351

Bikes: 2015 Trek District 8, 2017 Salsa Vaya Claris

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 89 Post(s)
Liked 13 Times in 10 Posts
Relatively frequently here in Phoenix if I'm in a rural area... goats heads suck major
suncruiser is offline  
Old 10-17-17, 02:40 PM
1nterceptor's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: NEW YORK, NY - USA
Posts: 4,773

Bikes: 2014 BMC Gran Fondo, 2013 Brompton S6L-X

Mentioned: 18 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 304 Post(s)
Liked 36 Times in 26 Posts
Have ridden in other countries(Japan, Aruba, Holland, China,etc.) and states(Cali, Maryland, Hawaii, Virginia, etc.); no flats(yet).
Home base here in New York City; every few months.
1nterceptor is offline  
Old 10-17-17, 02:45 PM
7-speed cultist
ThermionicScott's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: CID
Posts: 20,010

Bikes: 1991 Bianchi Eros, 1964 Armstrong, 1988 Diamondback Ascent, 1988 Bianchi Premio, 1987 Bianchi Sport SX, 1980s Raleigh mixte (hers)

Mentioned: 87 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2769 Post(s)
Liked 681 Times in 475 Posts
I haven't kept detailed notes, but I think an average of one flat a year sounds about right. I've only gotten one pinch flat ever. That was in 2009 after buying my first road bike and not knowing that it was a good idea to pump up the tires every day.
Originally Posted by chandltp View Post
There's no such thing as too far.. just lack of time
Originally Posted by noglider
People in this forum are not typical.
RUSA #7498
ThermionicScott is offline  
Old 10-17-17, 02:55 PM
Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Posts: 884

Bikes: 88 Bianchi Strada (currently Sturmey'd), 90's Giant Innova (now with drop bars), FMF Race BMX

Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 218 Post(s)
Liked 33 Times in 25 Posts
I've had 2 this year, both pictures of something metal penetrating the tire. If you have had pinch flat issues to that extent, you may need more air pressure.

I actually am not completely satisfied with the puncture resistance of the Clement LGG. Nice riding tire, but I found the vittoria Rubino to be both faster and more durable.
Viich is offline  
Old 10-17-17, 03:05 PM
alan s 
Senior Member
alan s's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 6,916
Mentioned: 16 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1464 Post(s)
Liked 149 Times in 105 Posts
I had four flats in four days in the Florida Keys a couple years ago. Wire from truck tire treads each time. Easy to find and patch. Other flats from sidewall cuts, glass, rock shards, staples and valve stem wear. Couple blowouts even. You name it, I’ve done it. Probably average 2 or more per year.
alan s is offline  
Old 10-17-17, 03:17 PM
Senior Member
ridelikeaturtle's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: Dublin, Ireland
Posts: 941

Bikes: Bianchi Ti Megatube, M Alloy Pro, Sprint 76; Amp Research B4; Colnago Crystal; Klein Pulse; Litespeed Catalyst, Fondriest Squadra Corse

Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 447 Post(s)
Liked 209 Times in 123 Posts
This depends a *lot* on so many factors: where you ride, the road, how many miles, and so on.

A mate got two flats within 100m - because 1) you could literally see through his rear tyre it was so worn, and 2) he under-inflated the spare tube (after the first flat) and immediately target-fixated on a rock in the road and pinch-flatted again.

Proper maintenance and preparation mean a lot: don't let your tyres get threadbare before replacing, and maintain proper air pressures.

But still you're gonna get the occasional flat tyre. Be ready (with a spare tube and patch kit) and practicing changing a flat at home is priceless when you're on the side of the road in the rain
ridelikeaturtle is offline  
Old 10-17-17, 03:47 PM
Senior Member
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: northern Deep South
Posts: 5,971

Bikes: Fuji Touring, Novara Randonee

Mentioned: 29 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1223 Post(s)
Liked 300 Times in 210 Posts
I usually wear two or three tires out every year, so of course I'm going to get some flats.

If I get to make the choice between riding less and having fewer flats, or riding more and having more flats, I'll take the rides!
pdlamb is offline  
Old 10-17-17, 04:05 PM
Senior Member
bobwysiwyg's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2016
Location: 961' 42.28° N, 83.78° W (A2)
Posts: 2,319

Bikes: Mongoose Selous, Trek DS

Mentioned: 8 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 929 Post(s)
Liked 299 Times in 177 Posts
I have things with me to try and detect those annoying "wire" flats, but mine are usually more profound and easy to find, such as a nail suitable for a nail gun going diagonally through a tire, or a decent sized pop rivet. I guess a flat is a flat, easier to find the cause helps.. a bit.
bobwysiwyg is offline  
Old 10-17-17, 04:18 PM
Senior Member
CliffordK's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: Eugene, Oregon, USA
Posts: 24,611
Mentioned: 195 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 11544 Post(s)
Liked 947 Times in 736 Posts
A lot will depend on mileage and just bad luck. And, of course tires.

I'm now up to 5000 to 6000 miles a year. Hard to say, maybe a flat every 1000 miles. It isn't that common, but frequent enough that I like to be prepared 100% of the time.

Originally Posted by wphamilton View Post
It's bad form to taunt the flat fairies ...
My Tannus tires that I've been riding in the winter will taunt the flat fairies, and dance around and make fun of them. And still keep rolling Stats not included in the above estimates
CliffordK is online now  
Old 10-17-17, 04:37 PM
Senior Member
furiousferret's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Redlands, CA
Posts: 6,072
Mentioned: 31 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 726 Post(s)
Liked 229 Times in 128 Posts
When I started commuting on my road bike, I had my race tires (GP2k) and got 4 flats in a week. The goatheads out here are unrelenting, especially in the fall.

I've since swapped to using my training wheels with Gatorskins, and rarely get a flat; maybe once a season.
furiousferret is offline  
Old 10-17-17, 04:40 PM
Senior Member
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: New Rochelle, NY
Posts: 35,964

Bikes: too many bikes from 1967 10s (5x2)Frejus to a Sumitomo Ti/Chorus aluminum 10s (10x2), plus one non-susp mtn bike I use as my commuter

Mentioned: 124 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4361 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 15 Times in 15 Posts
My lifetime average is roughly one flat evert 2,000 miles or so. Since I ride much more than that, I get more flats. But I don't consider it a problem in any way, just part of the game.

FWIW historically just about all my fears were from cuts, usually glass. However there was a stretch where there were more failures where the tube met the valve. Thankfully that's behind me now.
Chain-L site

An ounce of diagnosis is worth a pound of cure.

“Never argue with an idiot. He will only bring you down to his level and beat you with experience.”, George Carlin

“One accurate measurement is worth a thousand expert opinions” - Adm Grace Murray Hopper - USN

WARNING, I'm from New York. Thin skinned people should maintain safe distance.
FBinNY is offline  
Old 10-17-17, 05:09 PM
Senior Member
caloso's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Sacramento, California, USA
Posts: 39,059

Bikes: Ridley Excalibur, Gazelle Champion Mondial, On-One Pompino, Specialized Rock Hopper

Mentioned: 62 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2253 Post(s)
Liked 964 Times in 507 Posts
More than 1 flat a year? I had more than 1 flat in the last 24 hours.

Came out to the garage this morning to find a flat rear tire. Since time was tight, I grabbed the rear from my race wheels and stuck it on, pumped it up, and went. 20 minutes later that tire goes flat (goat head). Hoping I won't find a 3d flat when I go get my bike at the end of the day.
caloso is offline  
Likes For caloso:
Old 10-17-17, 06:08 PM
Colnago Mixte
Senior Member
Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: Center of Central CA
Posts: 1,670
Mentioned: 16 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 897 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 3 Times in 3 Posts
I have 5 bikes, and for a 2-3 week period, at least one had a flat at any given time. And when you have this many flats, it snowballs, and you get flat after flat after flat. Having flats begets more flats. And having no flats begets having no flats. Once you start messing with a tire and tube, flats will always follow, no matter how careful you are. Such is life during autumn in goat head country.

When I lived away from goat heads in Oregon, I'd get maybe one flat every 1000 miles or so, sometimes more, sometimes less. I tell ya, those goat heads are definitely a game-changer, and OP has no idea how lucky he is to get one every 5 years or whatever.

Maybe I'll make a survey about something that never happens to me, like "How Often Does Your Front Wheel Fly Off and Burst into Flames, Just Before Exploding? Once a year, twice a year . . ."
Colnago Mixte is offline  
Old 10-17-17, 08:16 PM
Hub Spanner
Senior Member
Hub Spanner's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2013
Location: California, USA
Posts: 113

Bikes: 2011 Raleigh Grand Prix, 2014 Raleigh Sojourn, et al

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 13 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Originally Posted by wphamilton View Post
It's bad form to taunt the flat fairies ...

Exactly my reaction.
Hub Spanner is offline  
Old 10-17-17, 08:46 PM
Senior Member
downtube42's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 2,241

Bikes: Soma Fog Cutter, Volae Team, '74ish Windsor Carrera Sport, Priority Eight, Nimbus MUni, Trek Roscoe 6

Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 209 Post(s)
Liked 305 Times in 164 Posts
I'd guess one per thousand miles or so, but they do seem to come in clusters.

I've flatted in Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Texas, Washington, and Michigan. Flat free in twenty or so other states, Canada, France, South Africa, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, New Zealand, and India. Admittedly, by far the most miles have been in the US.

The most flats per mile ridden has almost certainly been in Texas. Very very course aggregate, lots of loose sharp gravel.

About a third of my flats were found in my garage the day after a ride.

Four times on one ride is my record. That was a bad day.
downtube42 is offline  
Old 10-17-17, 10:50 PM
Senior Member
a1penguin's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Silicon Valley, CA
Posts: 3,179
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 130 Post(s)
Liked 9 Times in 7 Posts
What matters is number of miles, not time. I've ridden 4k miles this year and seems like I was flat-free for the first 2k miles. Since then, I think it's three flats: one by a small metal turning in the rear tire, one small cotter pin in the rear tire and a small piece of glass in the rear tire.

A flat about every 1300 miles.
a1penguin is offline  
Old 10-18-17, 12:47 AM
Senior Member
catgita's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: Long Beach
Posts: 765

Bikes: Fitz randonneuse, Trek Superfly/AL, Tsunami SS, Bacchetta, HPV Speed Machine, Rans Screamer

Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 100 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 3 Times in 3 Posts
I have not had a flat on a commute since switching to Compass 650b x 42mm extralight tires about 3 years ago. Before that, goatsheads, at least 3 a month, and glass. Surprising, those things are aggressive.

I don’t get pinch flats, though I weigh 220 pounds. Even in the days I rode 23mm tires. People I rode with did.
catgita is offline  
Old 10-18-17, 01:31 AM
Senior Member
CliffordK's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: Eugene, Oregon, USA
Posts: 24,611
Mentioned: 195 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 11544 Post(s)
Liked 947 Times in 736 Posts
Does it count if my left trailer tire currently has a slow leak? I suppose it is time to tear it apart, but it seems to hold for a couple of days before going too flat.
CliffordK is online now  
Old 10-18-17, 08:03 AM
Steely Dan
born again cyclist
Steely Dan's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Chicago
Posts: 2,398

Bikes: I have five of brikes

Mentioned: 8 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 200 Post(s)
Liked 60 Times in 25 Posts
i don't keep records of flats, but i probably average ~2 flats per year.

they're always from shards of broken glass.

that's life in the big city.
Steely Dan is offline  
Old 10-18-17, 08:31 AM
Senior Member
55murray's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2017
Location: Lafayette, Indiana
Posts: 387

Bikes: 1955 20" Murray modified cruiser, 2007 Trek 7.3 FX, 1980 Miyata 610, several other vintage coaster brake machines

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 177 Post(s)
Liked 40 Times in 28 Posts
I get them much more when I have run my tires down to nothing, just prior to replacing them. Almost always nails and staples. Overall I average about once a year. My current main commuter is running new 2.0 inch Maxis hookworms that weight 1.45 lbs a piece. In retrospect, a bit overkill, but they probably won't flat me for years.
55murray is offline  
Old 10-18-17, 08:43 AM
Mad bike riding scientist
cyccommute's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Denver, CO
Posts: 22,731

Bikes: Some silver ones, a red one, an orange one and a few titanium ones

Mentioned: 112 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3363 Post(s)
Liked 817 Times in 515 Posts
Originally Posted by chas58 View Post
90% of my flats were pinch flats. I’ve gone tubeless so that isn’t a problem (even though I still cringe when the wheel bottoms out, it hasn’t affected anything yet). I’ll actually get something that goes through the tread maybe once in every 3 years. Its pretty rare. A cut in the sidewall worries me more, but realistically
How many flats do you get per year (or how many years between flats)?
Gotta say that if you have that many pinch flats, you are doing something wrong. It sounds like you are still doing something wrong since your wheel "bottoms out" on impacts. While the air in the tire has some connection to comfort, it is also there to protect the wheel. Bottoming out enough times to count your pinch flats as 90% of your flats says to me that you are asking too much of your tires and not enough of the rider.

Pump your tires up! Use your legs and arms to suspend the load on the bike, especially during impacts. Quit riding like a sack of potatoes in the saddle! Your wheels will thank you for it.
Stuart Black
Gold Fever Three days of dirt in Colorado
Pokin' around the Poconos A cold ride around Lake Erie
Dinosaurs in Colorado A mountain bike guide to the Purgatory Canyon dinosaur trackway
Solo Without Pie. The search for pie in the Midwest.
Picking the Scablands. Washington and Oregon, 2005. Pie and spiders on the Columbia River!
Days of Wineless Roads. Bed and Breakfasting along the KATY
Twisting Down the Alley. Misadventures in tornado alley.
cyccommute is offline  
Old 10-18-17, 10:07 AM
multimodal commuter
rhm's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: NJ, NYC, LI
Posts: 19,383

Bikes: 1940s Fothergill, 1959 Allegro Special, 1963? Claud Butler Olympic Sprint, Lambert 'Clubman', 1974 Fuji "the Ace", 1976 Holdsworth 650b conversion rando bike, 1983 Trek 720 tourer, 1984 Counterpoint Opus II, 1993 Basso Gap, 2010 Downtube 8h, and...

Mentioned: 483 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1692 Post(s)
Liked 155 Times in 115 Posts
A few years ago someone started a thread in the Classic and Vintage forum called "I hate flat tires..." Like, who doesn't, right? It has become an ongoing flat tire log / blog for several of the posters there. I now keep pretty good track of my punctures. So... here's my stats:

2017: 4 flats so far
2016: 12 flats
2015: 25 flats
2014: dunno, but I'm pretty sure it was more than 25.
I put new leather on ruined saddles like Brooks, etc. You can reach me by private message.
rhm is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright © 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.