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RonH 05-28-01 06:51 PM

tire question
I need your help with a tire problem. But first let me provide some facts.
Much of my usual ride of about 25 miles is through what I consider less than desirable areas. Part is on roads and part is on a "bike path". Unfortunately most of the bike path goes through these areas. For some reason the people who live near or drive on the road that runs beside the bike path find it necessary to break their beer, wine, and coke bottles on the bike path. Some parts of it look like a war zone there is so much glass. :irritated
Now the tire question with a little background. My old bike has Continental Ultra 2000 tires. Last year I had a total of 4 flats with these tires along the bike path. My new bike (I've had it less than 2 months) has Michelin Axial Pros. I don't race - they came on the bike. I've had 2 flats in less than a week. :cry:
Is this just a run of bad luck or are Michelin tires designed for roads without the usual glass, metal fragments, and potholes? Their website didn't give much info.
Can you offer any suggestions or another brand that you have found to be more resistant to flats?
Thanks for your help.


orguasch 05-28-01 07:21 PM

Trying using Vitorria twin techno keblar, I have been using these tire, and I have been flat free for about 4 years now, that is I have to "Knock on wood" I might have a flat the next time I ride my bike

Joe Pozer 05-28-01 09:31 PM

Oh oh Orguasch. Now you've done it. You know this means you'll be getting a flat the next time you ride...

LightBoy 05-28-01 11:21 PM

From what I hear, the durability of the Axial Pros leaves quite a bit to be deisred. They will typically last about a thousand miles, give or take, and in that thousand miles, I am told that they are "glass magnets." On the happy side of things, they are reasonably grippy for a racing slick, they corner quite well, and they look darn cool (the black ones anyway. The green are kinda goofy, IMHO).

The Axial Pros (and their slimmed down cousins, the Axial Pro Lights) are generally regarded as a racing only tire. My new bike came with the Lights, and I immediately took them off in favor of a pair of Michelin Axial Selects that I got from for $12. They're a little beefier than the Pros, but I've got 500 miles in them so far with no problems. They seem pretty bombproof when it comes to punctures, and best of all, they were cheap.

Of course, all this talk has probably angered the cycling gods. I must go sacrifice a spare tube so I may be spared from their wrath and hopefully will not f*** tomorrow. (it rhymes with cat, for those of you with your minds in the gutter)

roadbuzz 05-29-01 06:05 AM

I assume you've determined your flats aren't pinch flats. Has any of the debris that caused the flat remained lodged in the tire, that could be used for a post-mortem?

I've got about 1800 miles on my first pair of Axial Pros. No problems, but the main rolling surface is a pretty soft compound, so I could see how they could be a glass magnet.

IMHO, Kevlar belted tires have a poor ride quality, but last forever and are semi-indestructable. I use them on my commuter, but not for recreational riding.

I like the ride quality of Contis, but they have a problem with sidewall failure. The outer rubber of the sidewalls split, and the threads are exposed. From that point on, they are non-repairable blow-outs waiting to happen.

For recommendations, you might want to check out:

mike 05-29-01 06:18 AM

The best thing to do is to get rid of the problem.

Find out which part of city or county government is responsible for the maintanance of the bike path and advise them of the problem. Ask them to clean up the path.

Also, contact the aldermen who are responsible for the district(s) that the trail goes through.

You will find that with good diplomacy, you can get local government to actually do things. Here are some suggestions:

1) When you find out which department is in charge of the path maintanance, get a name of exacty WHO is in charge of that department. Get his/her title.

2) Write a letter and address it to the WHO in item 1 (above). Express you concern for safety, the troubles you have had with flats, and your compliments for the lovely and useful bicycle path that you and your family want to use even more frequently.

3) Send a letter to the aldermen responsible for the trouble area. Don't know who they are? Call information at City Hall. Have the street intersections of the trouble spots and you will have the information you need in about ten minutes or less.

4) Follow-up with a phone call. If they are not there, leave a message.

5) BE NICE: When you write and speak, imagine that the person you are writing or speaking to will help you and will take care of the problem immediately. People respond positively to positive people. If you are hostile, they will respond accordingly - rarely to your benefit.

Good luck. Let us know how it works.

AlphaGeek 05-29-01 07:00 AM


Originally posted by mike
People respond positively to positive people. If you are hostile, they will respond accordingly - rarely to your benefit.

Good luck. Let us know how it works.

Absolutely. Yes, I know it sometimes takes awhile, but this is good advice.

LittleBigMan 05-29-01 10:12 AM


Originally posted by rhorne
Much of my usual ride of about 25 miles is through what I consider less than desirable areas. Part is on roads and part is on a "bike path". Unfortunately most of the bike path goes through these areas. For some reason the people who live near or drive on the road that runs beside the bike path find it necessary to break their beer, wine, and coke bottles on the bike path. Some parts of it look like a war zone there is so much glass.
Firstly, I found I reduced my "flattage" a great deal by avoiding all debris, when possible. Secondly, bike paths and bike lanes are notorious for debris because they don't have cars constantly "sweeping" them clear. Finally, any motorist who's street was as unridable as the bike path you mentioned would be up in arms.

If we didn't have to ride in debris, we'd have fewer flats.

"Separate but equal" usually means that someone is getting the short end of the stick. Urban bike paths are a cyclist's welfare program:
an attempt to remove cyclists from the road by giving them separate facilities, which are inferior, as you've noted.

Steele-Bike 05-29-01 10:26 AM

Half of my commute to work is on the shoulder of a highway, so you can imagine the debris I come across. I have had Michelin 1.5" slicks for about 4 months and have not had any flats. The other day when I was pulling my bike out of the rack at work, I notice a thumb tack sticking in the tire. I must have ran over it as I neared the rack, but some how it did not cause a flat. So personally, I cannot say any thing bad about Michelin tires.

RonH 05-29-01 03:54 PM

Thanks to all of you for your opinions and suggestions.

In response to roadbuzz, the first flat was glass in the sidewall. I had to trash the tire and buy a new one. The second flat occured on the second ride on the new tire. The glass that my tires pick up is too small to see when going 15+ mph. The large pieces I do see I try to avoid. If I don't see it in time to go around it, those pieces are usually large and don't cause problems.

In response to mike and AlphaGeek, the bike path is supported by corporate and private foundation funds. The county only cuts the grass, trims bushes, removes tree limbs, etc. All other efforts to maintain the path are by volunteers. Unfortunately I am not able to maintain the entire length. In fact the area with all the glass begins about 4 or 5 miles from my neighborhood. I have written to the path foundation director and he is sympathetic but could offer no help.

I have not found a way to avoid the glass and debris other than stay off the path or ride in another part of town.

Thanks for your input. I'll look closely at the Continental and Vittoria lines and read the reviews at


mike 05-29-01 09:16 PM

The only other suggestion I could give you is to add tire liners. These seem to work quite well. Tire liners would be effective against glass for sure.

You could try using slime which is a liquid that goes inside your inner-tubes and is supposed to fix small leaks. Some people claim good success with Slime, but it has never worked well for me except that it makes finding the hole easier because the bright green liquid coughs out of the hole in the tube.

If you do want to use Slime, try the Victor brand tire fix stuff sold at Walmart. It is less than $5.00 for 18 fluid ounces which is less than 1/3 the price of Slime brand. Plus, the Victor stuff has actually worked for me.

roadbuzz 05-30-01 03:59 AM


Yeah, if you're riding through little pieces of glass and stuff, the Axial Pros would pick that stuff up like crazy.

For what it's worth, the kevlar belted tires I have experience with are Specialized Armadillos. Another good thing about them is they have tough sidewalls. Since I got them a few years ago (like I said... they last forever), they've come out with an Armadillo Turbo Sport, which is supposed to ride better. Definitely a tire worth considering.

But, unless you can get the path cleaned up, you may not have very good luck with any tire!

Let us know what you chose, and how it worked out. There's a bunch of commuters in this's useful info.


RainmanP 05-30-01 08:19 AM

Funny you should mention the Specialized Armadillos. I put a pair of 700x28s on my bike about 6-8 weeks ago, which means they have about 700-800 miles on them. Since I was at the shop having something done, they went ahead and put the tires on form me, without Tuffy liners (which I believe in). I got a flat on the rear within a matter of days. I was only a couple of blocks from home so I walked the bike home to change it at which time I put the Tuffy liner in the rear but decided to leave the front one out as an experiment. I subsequently had 4 or 5 flats (my city streets are pretty cruddy, also) on the front and last week noticed about a 5mm cut at the junction of the rolling surface and sidewall through which the tube was visible! I replaced the tire with a fairly new 700x28 Continental Sport, which the Armadillos had replaced, installing the Tuffy liner. We will see how it goes.
I like the shape of the Continentals MUCH better than the Armadillos. The Armadillos have a very wide flat rolling surface that looks 18-20 mm wide. The Continentals have a much rounder cross section, resulting in a contact area that appears to be half as wide or less. The resulting difference in tire height is enough that my computer registers about 0.12 mile more for my morning commute than it did with the Armadillo. I haven't replaced the rear, but I probably will this weekend when I have it up on the workstand for biweekly cleaning and maintenance.
I was wondering about those Continental sidewall. I noticed that they are actually translucent! But then I have heard nothing but good things about Continentals. In a very recent comparison/review of three racing tires, some Continentals (something 3000) were considered a best buy. I think they were the least expensive with a good balance of durability, road holding, and weight. Probably in either the current Bicycling or the one before.

roadbuzz 05-30-01 10:52 AM

Hey Rainman!

To muddy the waters a little more, probably 80% of my flats are on the front. Which is not what I would expect, since probably 60-70% of my weight is on the rear. So it'll be interesting to see how things go on the front tire with the Tuffy. I don't have any experience with Tuffy liners, but have heard lots of good things about them. What kind of tires were you running before the Armadillos? Were they a similar size? Were you getting flats as often?

I've ridden many a 700x23 Conti SuperSport, Grand Prix, and Supersonic down to the threads. I also have a pair of 700x32 Conti Top Touring that serve alternate duty with the Armadillos on my commuter, when there is lots of loose gravel on the unpaved parts of my commute. My TTs are about 5 years old and have no sidewall damage. Which leads me to believe the wider tires are less susceptable to sidewall damage. Maybe the wider rolling surface is a better shield from road debris. The TTs are also lower pressure, which may be a factor (I run about 70psi in them).

I like the ride of the Grand Prixs and Supersonics better than the SuperSports, but the cheaper SuperSports seem to hold up better. My only gripe with Contis are the sidewalls. The failure mode is a 1/2 to 3/4" diagonal tear in the sidewall right along one of the threads that you see through the translucent rubber. If you get a tear, you can keep riding them.... just keep an eye on it.

That's my $0.02,

Cambronne 05-30-01 06:45 PM

I'm an unashamed Slime user. It is great stuff, with a few caveats:

Yes, it will prevent sudden loss of pressure, but if your tire is pierced by a large sliver of glass, a staple, or a nail, there will be significant air loss and an eventual flat... But by then, you'll have made your destination. (Think of it, though.... NO more SSSSSSssssss........s..s... thupa thupa thupa....)

Small punctures will self seal... most of the time. You'll eventually get a puncture that requires a patch, and when you remove the tube for repair, you'll see half a dozen green scabs from previous unknown punctures.

If the tube is damaged beyond repair, you can reuse the Slime... just cut the tube in half, and roll it up while holding one end over a large paper cup. Pour the stuff back into a Slime container, and it is ready to use again. In fact, it will be more viscous after spending time in the tire tibe, and will work better next application.

BTW, Slime is non toxic, and after you get it on your hands, your face, your hair, in your pants... you'll find that it does not taste too terribly badly, either.

DO NOT even think about running Slime in Presta tubes. If you can get it in at all (Conti tubes have presta valves that unscrew) you will NEVER be able to get air into the tube once you use it for a while. The Slime will seal that valve but good.

Slime will also gook up Schrader valves, so expect to attach/pump/remove your floor pump half a dozen times when topping off the tubes a few months later... This to break the seal that Slime has made on the inside of the valve.

I also run Kevlar-belted (not bead, belt) tires. I found okay ones for both bikes at Performance Bike... their GT-K for my rainbike, and their ST-K for my roadbike. The roadbike does not run Slime, as I have not wanted to drill out those nice Mavic rims to fit Schrader valves... errrr, as I did on my rainbike.

Overall, the benefits outweigh the difficulties, at least for me. Swapping a tube by the roadside in the dead of night is not any fun. Shhhhh... was that a wolf howling?

trycycle 07-01-01 10:14 PM

Regarding the Slime. I've had great results with the Slime Lite Tubes. Comes pre-slimed and ready to go. Actually pulled a piece of metal out of the rear tire, saw a little bit of green goo and it sealed right up. That was 200 miles ago and it's still on the bike :thumbup:

JonR 07-01-01 10:42 PM


Originally posted by trycycle
I've had great results with the Slime Lite Tubes. :thumbup:
Do you find more rolling resistance with them, and a less lively feel riding? That's what I experienced with tubes I had treated at the shop with some similar stuff they inject into them. I quit using them after a few miles because performance felt so sluggish compared to what I was used to--and I'm not a powerful cyclist, so I don't need any added hindrance! :)

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