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Tires/Tubes to Avoid Flats on Road Bike

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Tires/Tubes to Avoid Flats on Road Bike

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Old 08-12-18, 06:51 PM
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Idak
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Tires/Tubes to Avoid Flats on Road Bike

I'm a definite Clyde (280lbs) who's getting back into cycling after a 20 year hiatus. I have a 105 equipped Felt with a triple that is great for riding in my area. Only problem is the country road shoulders have lots of junk, mainly glass and rocks. I've flatted 3 times in 2 weeks, despite trying to avoid obvious hazards. I'm a long way from caring about shaving weight off the bike and rolling resistance is nice to get down. But I'd prefer to be a half mph slower and not have to fix flats several times a week.

What's a good combinations of tubes and tires to keep peddling instead of pumping.

A recommendation on a good frame pump would be nice too. I don't like the one I bought years ago.
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Old 08-12-18, 09:44 PM
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IME tubes don't really matter. Thick ones flat about the same as thin ones. Quality in a tube for me means the valve stem stays attached for the life of the tube and the seams don't split. Cost isn't necessarily a determinant.

The most popular low-flat tire I see around are the Continental Gator Hardshell. Next probably the Continental 4-Seasons. Rolling resistance is higher. You'd have to try a pair and see if you minded it.

Best pump IMO is the Road Morph G. I don't believe it comes with my favorite bracket for it, a side mount bracket for under a water bottle cage. I know they make one, but you'll have to call and ask which bracket you need. A bother, but worth it.
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Old 08-12-18, 10:07 PM
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+1 on Continental 4 Seasons, if you require extra flat protection.
Great tire!
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Old 08-12-18, 10:28 PM
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I've had good luck with latex tubes for preventing flats. On the other hand, they also can creep out of cuts and holes. Conclusion if you care about right and riding quality just go with a training tire with puncture protection and reasonably high tpi. If you don't care about weight and ride quality then there are commuter/touring tires with even more puncture protection.
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Old 08-13-18, 05:33 AM
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With the OP's weight, first ensure that the flats you're getting aren't from pinching the tubes. What width tire are you using? Ideally you should be on 32mm+, and even at that width, inflated to about 90+ psi
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Old 08-13-18, 07:52 AM
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I'm 225 and run my 25mm continental gatorskins at 110 psi, I have had zero problems with flats other than when I tried to get around some idiots and hit a curb. I agree with the above post, you could be getting pinch flats. I check tire pressure before every ride, make sure valves are closed all the way and so on.
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Old 08-13-18, 07:57 AM
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1. Tubeless road tire (need compatible rims)
https://www.amazon.com/Schwalbe-11600809-Pro-One-Tire/dp/B015NXGP52/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1534168495&sr=8-1&keywords=tubeless+road+tire&dpID=41AhbpfFmrL&preST=_SY300_QL70_&dpSrc=srch

or
2. Gatorskin + tubes with removable Presta core + sealant
https://www.amazon.com/Continental-B...70_&dpSrc=srch
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Old 08-13-18, 08:59 AM
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Gatorskins. The last thing I want to do on a ride is change a flat. Since I switched to Gatorskins years ago I've not had a flat. I'm not racing anybody so I don't care about increased rolling resistance.
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Old 08-13-18, 09:39 AM
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I wouldn't ride gatorskins, but if I was forced to ride in gutters or shoulders as an only option, and they had piles of visible debris/glass, etc, I'd reconsider. I'd say a half mph penalty is pretty realistic for them (compared to a high quality go-fast type tire), and I'm pretty sure they do come in 32mm size. So they would be the obvious choice.

However, what tires do you currently have? If you currently have thin, super cheap tires with zero puncture protection, you might go faster AND have way better puncture protection by going to very nice allround tire such as the GP4000 Everything is relative. The 28mm size really is like 31mm. They're quite big, and should be fine for 280 lbs as long as you put enough pressure in them.
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Old 08-13-18, 09:45 AM
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Originally Posted by Idak View Post
I'm a definite Clyde (280lbs) who's getting back into cycling after a 20 year hiatus. I have a 105 equipped Felt with a triple that is great for riding in my area. Only problem is the country road shoulders have lots of junk, mainly glass and rocks. I've flatted 3 times in 2 weeks, despite trying to avoid obvious hazards. I'm a long way from caring about shaving weight off the bike and rolling resistance is nice to get down. But I'd prefer to be a half mph slower and not have to fix flats several times a week.

What's a good combinations of tubes and tires to keep peddling instead of pumping.

A recommendation on a good frame pump would be nice too. I don't like the one I bought years ago.
Getting that many flats, I strongly suspect there's something else going wrong. A lot of reasons why people get flats:
- Their tires are worn out and need to be replaced. Replacing with the exact same model of tire would get them a lot less flats.
- They're not keeping their tires inflated at the right psi so they're getting pinch flats. You need to add air to the tire to the right psi once a week at least.
- There is something stuck in the tire itself that is causing them to flat over and over again.
- There is something on the inside of the tire that's causing the flat, often replacing the rim tape in the tire fixes it.
- At 280lbs it's possible your tires are to skinny for your weight and you're flatting out because of that. You don't need a huge tire but 23c is going to be way to small.

They do make worse rolling but almost flat proof tires - specialized armadillo tires, schwable marathon plus.

But there's also a good chance that simply replacing the tire will fix your flat problem as well.
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Old 08-13-18, 10:15 AM
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See my thread on the topic:

Best Anti-Goat Head Tire I Have Found
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Old 08-13-18, 11:45 AM
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One might have been a pinch flat. The other 2 were probably punctures. I was running 25mm tires at the side wall indicated 100 psi. In one case, I had checked pressure before the ride.

Tires had less than 100 miles on them but were 6 years old.

I'd put 28's on the bike if they could get past the brake. I've lost about 50 lbs and I am continuing to head down so I'm not going to put new brakes on it just for pinch flats.

I've ordered some Gatorskins.

Thanks all.
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Old 08-13-18, 03:45 PM
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^this

I’d be willing to put money on the fact that most - if not all - of the flats are pinch flats at that rider weight. Back in my clyde days, that’s what drove my flats. When I switched to tubeless tires (tubulars though but same effect), flats dropped from 6-8 per year to 0-1 per year.

And just recently, I rode Schwalbe G-1 speeds through an essentially 30 mile long rock garden and no flats. Those tires were set up tubeless as well. My wife rode the same wheel configuration and didn’t have a flat either.

If you’re riding through sharp junk, you’re going to have flats. You have the best chance of getting through that also with tubeless and letting the sealant deal with most of it. If you get a slice, then that’s the end of the tire anyhow. So paying attention to what you’re riding over is a big help.

Finally, if you carry one of the tubeless repair plug kits, you can often stop flat before it needs to be changed out. I like Dynaplug (google it). You don’t have the option of a flat repair like this with a tubed tire.

J.
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Old 08-13-18, 04:17 PM
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Hey OP, I did much the same several years ago. Keep in mind that you can cheaply swap in used last-gen Ultegra and 105 calipers that will clear a 28mm. There are lots of them on Ebay, etc.

Good luck!
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Old 08-13-18, 04:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Idak View Post
One might have been a pinch flat. The other 2 were probably punctures. I was running 25mm tires at the side wall indicated 100 psi. In one case, I had checked pressure before the ride.

Tires had less than 100 miles on them but were 6 years old.

I'd put 28's on the bike if they could get past the brake. I've lost about 50 lbs and I am continuing to head down so I'm not going to put new brakes on it just for pinch flats.

I've ordered some Gatorskins.

Thanks all.
[EDIT] Sidewall ratings are for what the tire supposedly can handle, not what's possible with using another tire brand. Other brands may be able to be inflated more (then again there may be concern with how much pressure the rim can handle.

Try out an inflation calculator like linked below.. For a 25mm rear, and a 300mm rider+bike weight, you end up with 166psi result for the rear. 100psi IMO doesn't come nearly close enough. ymmv. Gatorskins might help if it's just sharper pebbles/rocks causing the flats, but realize you're also depressing the tire to such a degree that it's also slowing you down. The calculator below is supposed to result in optimal max 15% drop of the tire.
Bicycle tire pressure calculator
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Old 08-13-18, 04:30 PM
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Also.. does your frame/fork allow larger tires and it's just the calipers that are the issue? If so, of course a deflated tire (inflate after mounting wheel) but in a larger size could be an option for you (although of course with the drawback you're aware of).
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Old 08-14-18, 05:24 AM
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I weigh 225 and have greatly reduced my number of flats by doing three things, and choice of tire/tube doesn't seem to matter much:

1. I ride 32mm on my road bike and inflate to 80 psi. Lots of science says thinner/higher pressure gives little or no efficiency advantage on real roads at non-racer speeds.
2. After every ride I check both tires to see if I picked up any slivers. I think that many flats came well after first picking something up. I pull them out early now.
3. Once a tire starts showing casing or any wear through the tread, I put on a new tire.

(3) is where tire choice comes in - I have found Schwalbe Marathon's last the longest but are kind of overkill tread-wise. I'm now using a set of Bontrager AW3s that are lasting well and have enough "tread" to do well on wet roads.
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Old 08-14-18, 08:30 AM
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Yea your pressure is wayyyyy too low. I'm 190 and run 25mm tires at around 100psi. You can safely put another 20psi in there. Run them at 120 to start with...might help out with the flats some. But really you need some bigger tires.
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Old 08-14-18, 08:39 AM
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I see many people here saying to run lower tire pressures for comfort. Sure, it's all fun and games, for a while anyway. Until you need to make a really fast turn and your tire rolls off the rim, or you bottom out on something and get a pinch flat.
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Old 08-14-18, 08:49 AM
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Originally Posted by jpescatore View Post
I weigh 225 and have greatly reduced my number of flats by doing three things, and choice of tire/tube doesn't seem to matter much:

1. I ride 32mm on my road bike and inflate to 80 psi. Lots of science says thinner/higher pressure gives little or no efficiency advantage on real roads at non-racer speeds.
2. After every ride I check both tires to see if I picked up any slivers. I think that many flats came well after first picking something up. I pull them out early now.
3. Once a tire starts showing casing or any wear through the tread, I put on a new tire.

(3) is where tire choice comes in - I have found Schwalbe Marathon's last the longest but are kind of overkill tread-wise. I'm now using a set of Bontrager AW3s that are lasting well and have enough "tread" to do well on wet roads.
Another vote for the Bontrager!

I ride Bontrager AW3 Hard Cases, great tires. Only one flat, it was a small nail so... not much one could do about that . Mine are 25s
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Old 08-14-18, 08:55 AM
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Originally Posted by jpescatore View Post
I weigh 225 and have greatly reduced my number of flats by doing three things, and choice of tire/tube doesn't seem to matter much:

1. I ride 32mm on my road bike and inflate to 80 psi. Lots of science says thinner/higher pressure gives little or no efficiency advantage on real roads at non-racer speeds.
2. After every ride I check both tires to see if I picked up any slivers. I think that many flats came well after first picking something up. I pull them out early now.
3. Once a tire starts showing casing or any wear through the tread, I put on a new tire.

(3) is where tire choice comes in - I have found Schwalbe Marathon's last the longest but are kind of overkill tread-wise. I'm now using a set of Bontrager AW3s that are lasting well and have enough "tread" to do well on wet roads.
This is so true. I'd say at least 80% of my flats over the years have been from very small metal/glass splinters that most likely took a couple of rides to work their way through the thick part of the tread before reaching/cutting the tube. If you see anything that looks suspicious while inspecting the tire, don't be afraid to pull the tire off the wheel at home and fold it at the spot where you suspect you might have a piece of debris, you'll see a little bit of shiny stuff sticking out that you can pull with tweezers. Yea, it's tedious, but it beats having to change a tube on the side of the road and then patching a tube at home.
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Old 08-14-18, 09:20 AM
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Over 1000 miles on my Schwalbe Durano Plus without a single flat. I ride on some nasty shoulders too. They're heavier than a fat kid but it's nice not getting flats all the time.

Always keep my pressure above 100psi (700x23)
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Old 08-14-18, 12:19 PM
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When I ran 28mm tires at 90 PSI I got way more flats than I get on 32mm tires at 80 PSI. Never once had a clincher tire "roll off the rim" - and don't see snake bite punctures at 80 PSI either.

The science is pretty clear - narrow tires at high PSI definitely win on dynamometers with a flawless surface, or at racer speeds on smooth roads. They don't win on real roads at lower than racer speeds - it isn't just comfort, it is watts wasted in moving the bike and rider up and down vs. just deforming the tire.

Originally Posted by Abe_Froman View Post
Yea your pressure is wayyyyy too low. I'm 190 and run 25mm tires at around 100psi. You can safely put another 20psi in there. Run them at 120 to start with...might help out with the flats some. But really you need some bigger tires.
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Old 08-14-18, 03:02 PM
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Originally Posted by jpescatore View Post
When I ran 28mm tires at 90 PSI I got way more flats than I get on 32mm tires at 80 PSI. Never once had a clincher tire "roll off the rim" - and don't see snake bite punctures at 80 PSI either.

The science is pretty clear - narrow tires at high PSI definitely win on dynamometers with a flawless surface, or at racer speeds on smooth roads. They don't win on real roads at lower than racer speeds - it isn't just comfort, it is watts wasted in moving the bike and rider up and down vs. just deforming the tire.
I can't tell if you're agreeing with Abe or not, or just adding some further background to the conversation. But his 25mm run at 100psi, would be equivalent to a 28mm run at 85psi, and a 32mm tire inflated to 66psi.
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Old 08-14-18, 07:35 PM
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I was having much the same problem as the O P earlier this year. About every third ride I was having a flat from picking up junk on the road. I added a set of Mr. Tuffy Lites several months ago and haven't had a flat since.
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