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Tire reviews: Propensity for flats

Old 12-11-09, 06:53 AM
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Tire reviews: Propensity for flats

When it comes to shopping for tires, either in the store or online, how many of you allow the mention of flats/lack of flats to influence your decision on a purchase? Seems to me that most tires these days are built with flat-resistance at the top or near the top of every manufacturer's features list. Would it not (obviously) depend more upon your riding environment? I can't tell you how many reviews involve at least one instance of "I got three flats in the first 100 miles" countered by "I've ridden 500 miles and no flats".

What do you all ride on your commute and why do you like it? Do you honestly think there are tires manufactured that are prone to flats?
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Old 12-11-09, 07:07 AM
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I agree with what you stated above. I like tires that will handle in the dry and wet great. I cant deal with a slippery tire. I also want longevity in my tires, as far as tread life. The last tire I bought and I am happy with them are the Serfas Seca road tires 700 x 28. I've had on flat in over 500 miles...after a rain ride.https://www.buzzillions.com/reviews/s...e-700c-reviews
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Old 12-11-09, 07:41 AM
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+1. I get a lot of flat tires, and my tires wear out fast, and I can't think of any reason why they should (like, I'm not overweight). And I read posts here, from people who go months or even years without a flat, thousands of miles, and... frankly, I can't believe it. I use Schwalbe tires with kevlar puncture barrier, and a slime liner, and keep my tires pumped up to full pressure... and I still get lots of flats. I just deal with it.
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Old 12-11-09, 07:56 AM
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On the road bike I like the Vredestein Tricomp tires. Good in all weather, and excellent flat protection (really almost never flat until it's worn to the threads). Reasonably light and fast too.

On the folder I've been rolling with Marathon Racers. They're tough but light. Also almost never flat. The feel pretty good in bad weather too.
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Old 12-11-09, 09:21 AM
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I use Schwalbe Marathon Plus. Since I use my bike the same way I use my car, I require the bike tires to be as flat-resistant as my car tires. I think I have succeeded, as the bike tires have given me no flats for over 20,000 miles, but I had a flat on my car last year. The annual mileage is the same on both vehicles, so it is a good comparison.

I honestly think that most bike tires are astoundingly flat-prone. One flat per 500 miles is about what car tires were getting back in the Model T era.

Paul
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Old 12-11-09, 09:24 AM
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I rode 700/25 Maxxis Re-Fuse tires, not a flat in nearly two years even when worn out and work well in wet conditions.

Adam
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Old 12-11-09, 01:26 PM
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Zero flats from Vittoria Randonneurs and Adventures,Schwalbe Marathon Supremes,or any of my Specialized with Flak Jacket. The Vittorias and Specs have all done well in the rain,the Supremes are exceptional. Only tires that ever gave me multiple flats were the Conti Town & Countries that came stock on my Safari.

I'm careful to avoid glass and debris,which I'm sure helps,but I picked a good half dozen foreign objects out of my Safari's old rear Supreme,and it had a good dozen scars from other debris. Something cut a 1/4" gash in it and nicked the tube,but I was ablt to ride it back and forth to work and never actually flatted. Pretty impressive.
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Old 12-11-09, 02:59 PM
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Michelin TWCs were brutally flat-prone for me, I blame the inverted tread and the amounts of debris on our roads that are there for the inverted treads to pick up.

Schwalbe Big Apples and Marathon Supremes have been exceptional at flat avoidance for me.
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Old 12-11-09, 03:25 PM
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Originally Posted by PaulH
I honestly think that most bike tires are astoundingly flat-prone. One flat per 500 miles is about what car tires were getting back in the Model T era.

Paul
Let's think about the differences between car tires and bicycle tire. A car tire's weight isn't anywhere near important as that of a bicycle. Car tire tread can be built much thicker with tougher materials and not have too detrimental of a performance effect as a bicycle tire. Build a bicycle tire like a car tire and its weight would make it too difficult to roll.

One flat per 500 miles is not bad at all.

With my Armadillos, I've had one flat in the past 1500 miles. Due to a tiny wire that had eventually worked its way through the tread. We get lots of those little tiny wires during the winter from car tires.
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Old 12-11-09, 03:31 PM
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Yes, I take mention of flat proneness into consideration. Like you said, it's not always easy to determine from the reviews what the real truth is. I do know from experience that some tires get more flats than others even if they claim a degree of flat protection. Some just cut easier and they get stuff embedded in them that will eventually cause a flat.
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Old 12-11-09, 03:35 PM
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Where I live dictates that flat protection be at the top of the features list. I've ridden a Marathon to destruction. 4 Pasela TGs looked like they lost a series of knife fights. Where I live, Kevlar belted tires are mandatory as are Mr Tuffy tire liners for me. The Pasela TGs had papery thin sidewalls that were eaisily sliced.

My current experiment is the WalMart Roadbike Tire. I had to buy one to find out the size, 700c x 35. It wasn't printed on the box, just a range from 32mm - 45mm.

I bought them knowing the info on the box was going to be somewhat optimistic. These are more like heavy industrial city tires. They have very thick tread and sidewalls. I can remove them and replace them on "my wheels" with my bare hands. This is exactly the kind of tire I am forced to use under my enviromental conditions. So far, very low mileage but, with 0 flats.

Yes, some tires are more prone to flatting. My Marathon was excellent so long as I pulled out the glass before it was eventually driven into the tube. The Paselas were great handling but fragile by comparison to the Marathon.

Last edited by TRUMPHENT; 12-11-09 at 03:37 PM. Reason: typo typo typo
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Old 12-11-09, 03:41 PM
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Originally Posted by tjspiel
Yes, I take mention of flat proneness into consideration. Like you said, it's not always easy to determine from the reviews what the real truth is. I do know from experience that some tires get more flats than others even if they claim a degree of flat protection. Some just cut easier and they get stuff embedded in them that will eventually cause a flat.
For me, most all my flats are pinch flats. Im not too brght, so every once and a while I try to put something smaller than 28's on and my big posterior flats em. I have had good luck with my 28 Gator skins, but my 25's I constantly flatted. For me, tire size is a better flat protector than the acual tire.
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Old 12-11-09, 03:46 PM
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Originally Posted by PaulH
I use Schwalbe Marathon Plus. Since I use my bike the same way I use my car, I require the bike tires to be as flat-resistant as my car tires. I think I have succeeded, as the bike tires have given me no flats for over 20,000 miles, but I had a flat on my car last year. The annual mileage is the same on both vehicles, so it is a good comparison.

I honestly think that most bike tires are astoundingly flat-prone. One flat per 500 miles is about what car tires were getting back in the Model T era.

Paul

You failed to mention the other products you use to assist you in your flat free riding. And a flat is nothing that a patch kit cant fix in less than 10 mins.
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Old 12-11-09, 05:03 PM
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Originally Posted by PaulH
I require the bike tires to be as flat-resistant as my car tires. I think I have succeeded, as the bike tires have given me no flats for over 20,000 miles, but I had a flat on my car last year. The annual mileage is the same on both vehicles, so it is a good comparison.
I can fix a LOT of flats on my bike with the time/money it takes to fix one flat on my car.
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Old 12-11-09, 05:43 PM
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Continental gatorskins for me. First 5 months and of the year and around 2500 miles 4 or 5 flats, since the switch, another 4,000 or so miles and not a single flat. Did wear one out though.
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Old 12-11-09, 06:15 PM
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On my LHT I have Panaracer RiBiMo's which repalaced the WTB Slickasaurus. Of the three or so months I've had them on, no flats. I replaced the Slickasaurus because I got tired of the amount of flats I would get and at some inconvenient times (aren't they always). On my Jamis exile I have Specialized Fatboy's which are probably over a year and a half old. When they were new I seemed to get a few flats but none that I can think of now.

I think I tend to get more flats around spring and into the summer. By fall and winter, not so much. Although I am thinking about replacing the tires on my exile only because of the snow.
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Old 12-11-09, 08:23 PM
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I read these forums and the experiences of others both good and bad feeds into my decisions. For me flat resistance is more important than longevity. I accept a flat every now and again, but once I get two in a week I start to think about buying new ones.

I've put lots of miles on my current set of Continental Gatorskins and can't remember the last flat I had.

Last edited by Lionheart; 12-11-09 at 08:34 PM.
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Old 12-11-09, 08:32 PM
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I loves me some Continentals! Always have been a solid tire....wet or dry, and fairly puncture resistant. I raced Continental sew-ups in the 80s and have stuck with 'em.
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Old 12-11-09, 09:45 PM
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I definitely think some tires are more flat prone than others. I also agree that how frequently you get flats is a function of environment. When I read someone saying they've gotten zero flats in X miles, I take it with a grain of salt. When I read someone saying that they got a lot of flats in a small number of miles, I take it with a grain of salt. But when I buy tires, I look at a lot of reviews to see what the prevailing opinion is and also consider the technology claims of the manufacturer.

Based on the above, I would expect Gatorskins to be fairly dependable but prone to sidewall damage. I would expect Re-Fuses to be very flat resistant, but prone to having the tread flake off. I would expect Marathon Pluses to be incredibly durable and flat resistant but very heavy and hard to mount. I would expect Marathon Supremes to be very flat resistant with no major weaknesses (unless you count size availability). I would expect RibMos to be somehwat unknown, but with high and growing expectations. I would expect Michelin County Rocks to be no more flat resistant than the average tire, but very good for MUP/dirt trail/gravel riding.

As it turns out, I've got a set of each of those in my garage, all on bikes except the Gatorskins (which are worn out but kept for emergency use), and among those with enough miles on them to reasonably evaluate, they've all been about what I expected. (If you're curious, I did have sidewall problems with the Gatorskins; the Re-Fuse haven't flaked or flatted yet but only ~500 miles; the Marathon Supreme and RibMo have both been excellent for 500 and 1500 miles respectively and counting; and the Marathon Plus and Country Rock are still nearly new on my wife's and daughter's bikes).
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Old 12-11-09, 09:55 PM
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I will, of course, piss off the flat tire gods, but 500 miles without a flat for me is not anything extraordinary. In fact, if I were getting a flat every 500 miles, I'd start looking for some sort of solution to cut down on such ridiculousness. I'd estimate, I get a flat maybe every 2000-3000 miles or so. That does not seem to depend much on the kind of tire I'm using. (If gods will be appeased by this, I'll add that I once had a fluke stretch: three flats in four days, and they were all independent too. And it was on a tour, so it's possible environment played a major factor here.)

It probably helps that I'm light (130 pounds), that there are no goatheads around here (and the roads are just generally more or less clean), and that I generally try to avoid curb-hugging.

Last edited by chephy; 12-11-09 at 09:58 PM.
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Old 12-11-09, 10:42 PM
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I find it much more rewarding to brag about how many flats I get, instead of how few. I still remember that epic ride with a group of friends, we had 8 flats in an hour an a half. Not only did we go through all the spare tubes, but also all the patches I had with me. We had to walk to a bike shop midway through to replenish supplies.

Another thing I find rewarding to brag about is flat replacement time. I can swap a flat tire in about 3 minutes, from hiss to riding again, with a frame pump. That's just with casual practise. I'm sure with some hard-core training I could get it better.
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Old 12-11-09, 11:04 PM
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In 25,000 iles of riding our tandem bike we averaged a flat every 675 miles.
We live in the desert southwest (Tucson area) so asides from the usual debris/glass/ripped up steel belted radials we have loads of cacti thorns + a few goatheads to contend with.
Used several brands, but our best tire is the Maxxis Re-Fuse. We run 700x25s front and rear and are very pleased with their flat resistant Aramid layer in the tires.
Just our experience . . .
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Old 12-11-09, 11:06 PM
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Depends on what I want to do the bike the tyre is on. My commuters: I want as few flats as possible, so I use Schwalbe Marathon Plus'. Faster bikes: a nice supple, grippy tyre and I'm not too concerned with flat resistance.
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Old 12-12-09, 02:50 AM
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I wanted something flat-resistant but more comfortable than Gatorskins, so I got a set of Conti GP 4-seasons - 2500km and two flats later I'm pretty happy with both criteria, considering the glass and crud I sometimes ride through and the fact the tires look like they've got more than just another 2500km left in tread life.
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Old 12-12-09, 06:21 AM
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Conti 4 seasons for me. 700X28, nice ride, cushy and fast, good wet grip, decent flat resistance - one flat in 500 mi, and I was not particularly avoiding glass and other k-rap. Not cheap, but I am not complaining. Wear - I still see the seam in the rear tire, front one looks brand new.

Ride safe and have fun

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