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tire size = flats?

Old 11-30-07, 07:52 AM
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alentric
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tire size = flats?

I am new to biking-I have been riding a mountain bike for 2 years and I am looking at flat-bar road bikes or hybrids or fitness bikes,,they seem to be called all three ..I like the trek Fx7.2 or 7.3 ..My question is do thinner tires get more flats? Casual cyclists have told me that, but bike shop owners have not. I want the opinion of more experienced riders.
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Old 11-30-07, 08:00 AM
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I think it really depends more on the type of tire than the size. I ride on 700x23 Bontrager Lite hardcase tires
and rode over 2000 mile on them this summer with no flats.
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Old 11-30-07, 08:03 AM
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I commute on a bike, and especially at this time of year when it is dark during the commute, it is hard to avoid road debris. On the commute bike I use Schwalbe Marathon Plus - which I think are 28s, and I have gone over 4000 miles this year flat free.
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Old 11-30-07, 08:24 AM
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Thin/thick should not matter for flats as long as the tire is matched to the intended use. For example you probably can't expect 23mm road tires to survive gravel roads as well as larger sections. This may have as much to do with the rim section width as much as the tire width. And it may also be a function of the higher pressures usually assosciated with the thinner tires.

You will generally find that the tire sizes that come on the bikes as original equipment will point toward what works best with that bike. Tread designs can vary though. For road use a tire with a more smooth tread may be appropriate.
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Old 11-30-07, 08:32 AM
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Thanks so far--crazb the tires that comes with the trek fx 7.3 are Bontrager Race lite hardcase 700x32 sound similar to yours..the fx 7.2 comes with Bontrager Invert, puncture resistant 700x35..as far my intended use it would be almost exclusively pavement..as I have a mountain bike for trails.
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Old 11-30-07, 08:50 AM
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Generally, narrower tires will require higher air pressure for a given rider weight to avoid snakebite flats. For lighter riders, this may not really come into play. But say a 200 lb. rider on 700cX20 tires will need to keep a close watch on air pressure to avoid pinching the tube between the rim and the tire casing when crossing railroad tracks. Wider tires can run lower pressure with less problems.
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Old 11-30-07, 09:42 AM
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When riding onroad, I get flats more frequently with my mountain bike than with any of my road bikes. I have had extremely good luck with Specialized Turbo or Armadillo 700Cx28 tires, but Continental Ultra 2000 700Cx28s (which actually measure about 25mm) have also served me well. The big enemies seem to be goathead thorns and metal shrapnel.

I recently changed the UO-8 to 27x1-1/4" Vittoria touring tires, but do not yet have enough experience with them to comment on reliability, although I do like their ride quality and road adhesion at 80 PSI, my self-imposed maximum for flat-walled rims.
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Old 11-30-07, 09:46 AM
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I do not think that tire size matters as much as rider weight, road conditions and tire composition. Heavy riders get more flats than lighter riders and you get more flats in wet weather. Generally, you flat at some time after your tire picks up glass, for example. Heavier riders drive the glass or thorn into the tire as they ride. You pick up more debris on the tires when they are wet.

My wife has no flats since June of 2006 and I have four. We ride the same tires on the same routes at the same time. She rides over the glass and I flat. Invariably, we will ride through glass. If we do, we stop and wipe the tires off.
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Old 11-30-07, 10:54 AM
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Puncture flats and pinch flats are different things and have different causes. I don't think punctures would have much correlation to tire size, but pinch flats are definitely related to tire size/rider weight/air pressure/impacts.
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Old 11-30-07, 01:02 PM
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Mountain bike offroad and I found a puncture on most rides. Never wore tyres out but ripped them up badly on rocks and flints. Even on the road- the knobblies did not fare well with punctures so as far as I am concerned- Skinny road tyres have been better. Only 2 punctures in about 4,000 miles
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Old 11-30-07, 04:30 PM
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I know of no evidence that skinny tires are more prone to flats than wider ones. However, I can understand how people might come to this conclusion:

1) Most skinny tires are intended for use by sport and recreational cyclists, who care more for light weight and low rolling resistance than reliability.

2) Skinny tires have to be pumped up more often due to their higher surface area to volume ratio. If not pumped up often enough, there may be pinch flats.

Skinny tires need not be fragile, lightweight things. For example, the Schwalbe Marathon Plus is available in a 25-622 size and, like all of that model, is about as flat resistant as a car tire.


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Old 11-30-07, 04:34 PM
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I get far more flats on my road bike than my mountain bike - on the road.
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Old 11-30-07, 05:11 PM
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I would think skinny road tires would have the advantage. Higher pressure, less chance of pinch flat. Less contact with the ground means less likely to hit debris.
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Old 11-30-07, 06:07 PM
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Originally Posted by alentric View Post
Thanks so far--crazb the tires that comes with the trek fx 7.3 are Bontrager Race lite hardcase 700x32 sound similar to yours.
2,500 kms on those tyres with only two flats - a shard of glass and a long piece of wire. You've got nothing to worry about.

Choose your tyre size and wheel size for the purpose. Whoever was telling you that size affects punctures (in this useage) doesn't know what they're talking about and is doing you no favours.

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Old 12-01-07, 04:00 PM
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I have noticed that my tires tend to get flats when they get pretty worn. It does not take much to poke a hole through them. I would think that a larger tire would wear a bit longer and give fewer flats. Of course, no matter what tire you have, it will still wear out eventually.

I have heard from people who ride mountain bikes with slicks on paved roads that they get as many flats as when they rode road bikes with narrow tires. That might be because there are certain things that will give you a flat no matter what you are riding and a bigger tire is more likely to hit it offsetting any wear advantage.

I guess the only way to know would be to put on a bunch of miles, keep careful track of your flats and mileage and alternate tire size. I have never ever heard of anyone doing this.

The thing is that on most things like this, people are going with their impressions and do not have any supporting data.
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Old 12-01-07, 06:08 PM
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On my aussie forum, we have a Black Cat competition running - basically you get a point for every flat. The only common thing is the randomness of the flats. Mileage doesn't seem to matter. Tyres don't seem to matter. Rough roads don't seem to matter. Broken glass doesn't seem to matter. It's random. Sure, you can increase your chances by fitting really tough tyres and leaving the bike at home ... but even that doesn't work. I recently put a new tube in a tyre after pulling the valve off the old tube when pumping it up. The new tube blew out with less than 40lb on the guage, leaving a hole I could poke my little finger through. Two flats, no riding ... and that was on my track bike (with 5 laps of the velodrome under its wheels - I'd stripped the rear hub on its first outing).

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Old 12-02-07, 08:57 AM
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I like the notion of a black cat competition. It is whimsical.
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Old 12-02-07, 09:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Hermes View Post
...you get more flats in wet weather. You pick up more debris on the tires when they are wet.
That's certainly been my experience - flats in the rain. For example, in very mixed weather on a Denmark tour this summer - no flats at all for the whole group on dry days, one or two flats each on wet days, irrespective of tyre width, pressure or make.

As well as the adhesion point expressed above, an experienced bike mechanic gave me the theory that in the wet, sharp flints float like icebergs, massy side down and sharp point up.
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Old 12-02-07, 10:36 AM
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I think you get more flats in the wet because the moisture lubricates the glass shards. Often you'll find a piece of glass in your tire that hasn't worked its way through, but if it got wet it would have an easier time. Certainly if you've ever cut old car tires to make a bumper on a dock you know they are easier to cut if you wet the knife.
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Old 12-02-07, 10:38 AM
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Originally Posted by ad6mj View Post
I would think skinny road tires would have the advantage. Higher pressure, less chance of pinch flat. Less contact with the ground means less likely to hit debris.
But if you do hit sharp debris, the small contact patch means there is more force to drive the point into the tire.
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Old 12-04-07, 06:47 PM
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I'll jump in here with a tangent. I rode 70 miles yesterday with no problem. When I went to clean my bike this afternoon, I had a flat tire. This has happened to me a number of times -- I go out in the morning and my tire is flat. Now, I either a) got a flat as I entered my drive way, b) a slow leak started sometime during yesterday's ride, or c) someone is sneaking into my garage and letting air out of my tires. Any thoughts?
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Old 12-04-07, 08:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Mojo Slim View Post
or c) someone is sneaking into my garage and letting air out of my tires. Any thoughts?
Has there been a guy on a white bike lurking in your neighborhood?
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Old 12-04-07, 08:15 PM
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Old 12-05-07, 04:04 AM
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I've had this experience and put it down to worn tires with small cuts. My theory is that the tube is forced a little into the cut as it flexes and gets pinched enough to leave tiny, hard-to-find hole. It goes down slowly overnight. Or immediately -- recently I repaired a tube 3 times in a row and it went flat as soon as it got up to pressure with another tiny hole.

Until recently I was riding on 700x40 tyres and was plagued by flats on the rear tire (which was the one that was worn with small cuts). I've now changed to 700x35 Marathon Plus and don't expect to have a flat again
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Old 12-05-07, 09:34 AM
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Originally Posted by bmorey View Post
I've now changed to 700x35 Marathon Plus and don't expect to have a flat again
Oh no! You've tempted the God of Flats!
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