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What is the most common cause of FLATS? And how frequent are they?

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What is the most common cause of FLATS? And how frequent are they?

Old 07-25-08, 09:35 PM
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What is the most common cause of FLATS? And how frequent are they?

After riding my Trek 7100 for a little over a year, I never had a flat. Obviously it's because the tire is a half-knobby sort of deal (hybrid that is half mountain bike half road bike).

Well, I sold it to a nice guy in Cobb County, GA, and then went to the LBS to day and purchased a new Trek Soho 1.0. It's such a nice bike, built for commuting in places where you might occasionally have a scrape or two.

But it's far more street than the Trek 7100. The tires are slick and are set at 90 psi, which isn't high, but isn't low either.

And, remember, I'll be riding on paved bike paths that are used primarily by golf carts and bikes, are about five feet wide, and rarely have glass or metal debris. Lot's of occasional sand, gravel, dirt, twigs, etc., but not much of anything else.


I guess I'm trying to guess at how often I can expect a flat riding four miles each way in those conditions.

Arriving late to work is a huge problem. I won't get in trouble, really, but it is very awkward to call the office and ask them to cover for me. I'm a teacher, and I have to arrive before the students or they are lined up outside the classroom.


Are flats common on street tires?


Sorry for such a newbie question. Just trying to learn.
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Old 07-25-08, 09:39 PM
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I think it totally depends on the tire/road conditions. I commute to an industrial park and as such deal with a fair amount of debris. On my cheap tires i was changing flats almost weekly (continental ultra sports). I changed 2 flats in one day and said enough is enough. I went out and got the continental gatorskins. I have yet to change a flat since installing them (see below).
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Old 07-25-08, 09:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Fairmont View Post
After riding my Trek 7100 for a little over a year, I never had a flat. Obviously it's because the tire is a half-knobby sort of deal (hybrid that is half mountain bike half road bike).

Well, I sold it to a nice guy in Cobb County, GA, and then went to the LBS to day and purchased a new Trek Soho 1.0. It's such a nice bike, built for commuting in places where you might occasionally have a scrape or two.

But it's far more street than the Trek 7100. The tires are slick and are set at 90 psi, which isn't high, but isn't low either.

And, remember, I'll be riding on paved bike paths that are used primarily by golf carts and bikes, are about five feet wide, and rarely have glass or metal debris. Lot's of occasional sand, gravel, dirt, twigs, etc., but not much of anything else.


I guess I'm trying to guess at how often I can expect a flat riding four miles each way in those conditions.

Arriving late to work is a huge problem. I won't get in trouble, really, but it is very awkward to call the office and ask them to cover for me. I'm a teacher, and I have to arrive before the students or they are lined up outside the classroom.


Are flats common on street tires?


Sorry for such a newbie question. Just trying to learn.
I am really angry becasue I seen this thread and thought of the F*** word. I go hundreds of miles and all the sudden have 3-5 flats in a week, then I go hundreds of more miles with no flats. seem to be truly random and in clusters. I am superstious about them too. I can change on in about 10 min, ususally it takes longer than that to wash my hands, if it is a back. Get rubber gloves. Practice and if it is really a big problem leave 10-15 min early and get some class prep done. might make you teacher of the year.
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Old 07-25-08, 09:47 PM
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Flats

[quote=Fairmont;7137232]






I guess I'm trying to guess at how often I can expect a flat riding four miles each way in those conditions.

3200 miles before I had one. It was a link from a chain bracelet. Hooked into rear tire.

Arriving late to work is a huge problem. I won't get in trouble, really, but it is very awkward to call the office and ask them to cover for me. I'm a teacher, and I have to arrive before the students or they are lined up outside the classroom.

Carry a spare tube, pump, levers. Takes about 5 to 10 minutes to change a tube.





Are flats common on street tires? Yes
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Old 07-25-08, 09:48 PM
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I've had 2 flats in the last year. One I ran over a rock, and got a snakebite flat.
The other was a small piece of metal.
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Old 07-25-08, 09:56 PM
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Thick tires with special layers and inserts will have fewer flats and take more energy to move. Some of my inner tubes have 10 to 20 patches on them. I once got more then 15 punctures between my two tubes when I rolled through a tiny patch of "Goat Head" thorns. Could not patch them all and ended up ttaaking a bus to a bike shop for new tubes. I have tried solid "Flat proof" tires, broke many spokes, and had to get new wheels.
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Old 07-25-08, 10:32 PM
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I ride on Hutchinson Globetrotters and I just got my first puncture after 3 years of city commuting. A little piece of wire was the culprit... And of course, it would be the rear tire on a wheel with a Nexus7 roller brake hub!

You could say I'm happy with the tires overall.
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Old 07-26-08, 12:10 AM
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Thumbtack...
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Old 07-26-08, 12:21 AM
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my front tire blew up today. No good reason. It was so loud my ears were ringing. I bought the bike today, my first ride included my first flat and crash.
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Old 07-26-08, 12:33 AM
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Those Trek hybrids are real hockey pucks. So far on mine I've run over: a piece of scrap-metal that looked like a crusty, rusty inverted ash tray; and, on a different occasion, a fork in the road.

I'm not talking about a fork in the road, I'm saying there was a FORK in the road.

The only flat I've had in the past several years was on a bike by a different maker, and it was a snakebite flat caused by hitting a small pothole at a high downhill speed.

Maybe you can keep everything else about your new bike, and just get the same type of tires from the old bike put on it. Bontrager is one of the best brands for flat-resistance.
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Old 07-26-08, 12:42 AM
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I have the bontrager hardcase race lites in 28c on my bike now, so far they have been good to me.(the 32c bontrager i rode for a few months also treated me well) Tonite i had my first flat via tear near the valve stem. Nothing to do with the quality of the tire. Long story why it probably tore.

i think bontrager are great tires so far, not sure why i see alot of people rag on them.

except you sportsman
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Old 07-26-08, 01:00 AM
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I was on a charity ride the other day, and I think I saw a dozen or more riders with flats in the first mile. I don't know what was on the road, but it was something.
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Old 07-26-08, 01:10 AM
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Originally Posted by nick95673 View Post
my front tire blew up today. No good reason. It was so loud my ears were ringing. I bought the bike today, my first ride included my first flat and crash.
do yourself a HUGE favor and replace your rim strip with some Velox rimtape. Machine built wheels have alot of shavings it seems and the stock strip just plain SUCKS! Do both wheels. You will be very happy. "Normal" flats from here on out...
Hope you feel okay after your probable endo from the front going...
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Old 07-26-08, 01:25 AM
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Air in the tires causes flats
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Old 07-26-08, 01:33 AM
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Unbelievable amount of broken glass on my commute, I used Dutch Perfect No-Flat tires. They are generally cut to ribbons before the tread actually wears out, and have to replace both so can't do the "swap front to back and new one on the front" thing. They last me about 5,000 - 10,000 km depending on how bad it's been.
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Old 07-26-08, 02:10 AM
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Originally Posted by huhenio View Post
Air in the tires causes flats
I thought it was lack of air in tires.

In all honesty, over the years I've only had 3 or 4 flats while riding. Oone was when I taco'd the wheel - ended up carrying the bike for almost a half mile 'til my brain housing group started functioning again and rolled it on the rear wheel while holding the front straight up. In three years they never did fix that pot hole.

I have had slow leaks - and it seems that presta valves always leak. Of course that could be related to the much higher pressure for the skinny tires too.
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Old 07-26-08, 02:24 AM
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Whenever I get a new bike, I have the shop do the whole "tire job" on it. This includes getting the best tubes they have, applying the recommeded sealant inside the tubes, and having liners placed inside the tires. Since I started doing that (around 10 years ago), I've had no flats. I've occasionally found thumb-tacks in my tires (no nails, though) and just pulled them out with no problems.

I also keep my bicycle inside when not in use. It seems that there is something about the sun and rain that just creates more wear and tear on the tires and tubes.

Last edited by recumelectric; 07-26-08 at 02:32 AM.
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Old 07-26-08, 05:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Fairmont View Post
After riding my Trek 7100 for a little over a year, I never had a flat. Obviously it's because the tire is a half-knobby sort of deal (hybrid that is half mountain bike half road bike)....
Flats depends on [1] the tire, [2] on road conditions, and also (I suspect) [3] partly on how one rides.

[1] Some tires are made thin for low rolling resistance. I have a city/commuting bike that came with Primo Comets on it, and they were light and rolled very well but I had about four flats in the first four weeks I had the thing. I had planned to change the tires anyway but the frequency of flats surprised me. The Comets tread area (basically a slick with a fine "fabric"-type tread) is just a bit thicker than the sidewalls.

[2] Some places just have a lot of junk on the road. Not much you can do about this except change your route, if there's an alternate.

[3] Also I think it can depend on how one rides. Road debris tends to collect on the shoulder of roads (where car tires don't roll) and I have seen that a lot of people who don't bike a lot tend to try to ride as far to the edge of the road as possible to try to put the most distance between them and passing cars--but this means that they are constantly rolling their bicycle tires through all the glass, screws & nails in the gutter. This tendency is compounded by the observation that these are the same people who usually don't have a "good" tire setup, don't know how to fix a flat tire, and don't carry the tools and supplies to even attempt it.

...Arriving late to work is a huge problem. I won't get in trouble, really, but it is very awkward to call the office and ask them to cover for me. I'm a teacher, and I have to arrive before the students or they are lined up outside the classroom.
I put extra-thick tubes and Schwalbe Marathon Plus tires on my city/commuting bike, as I heard that these were the thickest "normal" tires available. These are rather heavy and the rolling resistance feels rather high to me (despite what Schwalbe claims) and for those reasons I wouldn't likely put them on my long-distance bike, but they are very flat-resistant. As far as commuting/around town use, the time I lose riding heavy tires is still much less than the time I'd lose if I had to stop and fix a flat tire. When it comes to commuting, I feel that "slow & reliable" is preferable to "fast & unreliable" because you can plan on being slow. Much of the time I don't even carry a pump or patch kit.

There are other methods to flat-resistance--rim strips and tube sealants, but each of these has disadvantages too. Rim strips can shift inside the tire allowing punctures and the ends can rub into the tube, causing flats themselves. Slime works great when it works, but is a colossal mess to deal with when it doesn't. If I ever get a flat with the Marathon Plus tires and normal tubes, it's no messier to deal with than a regular tire change.

----

There are those who claim that it is possible to have a very thin lightweight tire that still has good flat resistance, and I don't believe that, other than to admit that "good" is a relative term in this instance. If you want to avoid fixing flats, you're going to end up rolling on a set of thick heavy tires. Either the tire will be thick, or thicker tubes, or the rim strips, or the slime in the tube. Choose yer poison.

----

As to "how often"...
....my long-distance bike has gone through several tire changes in the last couple years, but I don't recall any flats. I attribute that mostly to the fact that I ride that bike on rural roads, generally riding in the traffic lane where there's no debris.
....my city bike has had the Marathon Plus tires for about a year and a half now, and no flats so far. I ride that through all kinds of junk, usually night riding, only bothering to avoid the largest chunks I see.
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Old 07-26-08, 05:26 AM
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When I commuted in Philadelphia in the 70's I could expect at least one flat a week using cheap Pep Boy Brand Tires. Rain was even worse since wet tires acted like magnets for the ever present brokwen glass particles in the street. Cycling in Oregon was almost impossible due to constant flats caused bygoat head thorns until I started using puncture proof tubes there.

I haven't had to fix a flat alongside the road for the last 11 years commuting (5,000 miles/yr) in Germany and Iowa on good tires, Schwalbe Marathons (Not the Plus model) 622 x 47mm. Get about one or two slow leaks a year that could be repaired at work or home.
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Old 07-26-08, 09:04 AM
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I'm running a Specialized Flack Jacket Crossroad in the rear and a Hemisphere in the front on my Mountain Commuter. Its a "Mullet" set up with a more smooth looking and lighter conservative tire on the front and a semi Aggressive party in the dirt tire on the back. The locked center tread give it good street manners and pretty low rolling resistance when aired up to 80psi. It was recommended combo by the owner of epicbicycles.com in Mcdonough after I explained my want for a decent commuter set up but still some mild single track use.

I run over plenty of road debris like glass and bits of metal plastic and other assorted auto crash fodder. 400 miles and no flats yet (and I will probably be walking my bike to work Monday by jinxing myself here ). I have not yet found a single penetration into the tread.

They are wearing like iron. Still have nipples and flash on the wear parts of the tires. That though is a two edge sword. These are not supper grippy and I have slid the rear out unexpectedly when at full pressure.

I would say I am over all happy with the Flack Jacket series of tires.
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Old 07-26-08, 09:45 AM
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If the main use of the bike is for commuting and you're not all about maximum speed, then I would definitely support the recommendations of the other posters and get yourself some thick, puncture resistant tires. Even if the tires are pretty heavy, you'll still be going faster than on your previous bike.

Another way to avoid puncture flats is to clean up the route you ride (not joking about this)...on the weekends, I often see one of the more hardcore commuters biking along his route with a broom, dustpan, and a bucket on his rack. He sweeps up any broken glass, metal, etc. that may cause him problems. (I see him mostly on the more rural roads outside of the city, where the street sweepers don't roam).

And practice definitely helps in changing tubes...I went over 2 years without a flat, and when I finally got one, it took me like 20 minutes to change the tube since I had kind of forgotten my technique for getting the tire back on. Now it's only like 5 minutes at most. On a related note, I wouldn't bother patching your tube if you need to get to work fast, just throw a new one on there. You can always patch the tube on your lunch break and use is as your spare for the ride home.
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Old 07-26-08, 10:36 AM
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What is the most common cause of FLATS?


The short, simple answer: cheapo tires and no inserts.

Either use Tuffy tire liners, or buy Kevlar type tires-Schwalbe Marathons, Gatorskins, Armadillos etc. Flats will be rare.
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Old 07-26-08, 11:24 AM
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My wife and I are riding on 32Cs. We have been averaging about 1 flat per 250 miles each since we got these bikes a year ago. That seems a little high to me. All the flats have been the same -- slow leaks from single punctures about the size a tack would make. I inspected carefully but have never found anything that caused the flats. If they were snakebites I would figure I was putting the tires/tubes on wrong but these are single punctures in the center (road side) of the tubes. Go figure.
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Old 07-26-08, 05:19 PM
  #24  
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I think improper tire inflation can be blamed for almost all flats that don't involve running over sharp objects.
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Old 07-26-08, 06:03 PM
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You get flats by bragging about how long it's been since you had a flat.
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