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evidence for wider tires = fewer flats

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evidence for wider tires = fewer flats

Old 06-15-06, 06:21 AM
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evidence for wider tires = fewer flats

Folks: cross-thread here with one to the commuting and fixed forums.

I'm considering switching to 25 or 28 wide tires for my fixie commuter/training bike because I hear wider tires give better flat protection, all else equal (important qualification there).

Before I do anything radical, like use my thumbsies to get peel on a new tire, is there any compelling evidence that wider tires mean fewer flats, all else equal?

ffff
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Old 06-15-06, 06:40 AM
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In all my cycling time I have never flatted with my MTB which was my commuter and off road rider for more than 18 years. It has 26 x 2.0 tires

This year I have flatted 2 times on a road bike already.
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Old 06-15-06, 06:50 AM
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fat tires

Originally Posted by ViperZ
In all my cycling time I have never flatted with my MTB which was my commuter and off road rider for more than 18 years. It has 26 x 2.0 tires

This year I have flatted 2 times on a road bike already.
2.0 seems too wide to me for my 13 mile one-way commute. Wonder how wide I'd have to go to notice a difference in flat protection.
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Old 06-15-06, 06:51 AM
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I'm sure it has more to do with the thickness of the rubber not the width of the tire. And I don't know if 28s are thicker than 25s. But like Viper I've never flattened a MTB tire and have flattened a few 23s. over the years.
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Old 06-15-06, 06:53 AM
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Originally Posted by feefifofum
2.0 seems too wide to me for my 13 mile one-way commute. Wonder how wide I'd have to go to notice a difference in flat protection.
OK, My GT commuter has 1.25, no flats yet

I know you are asking more in the range of a road bike tire like 28.
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Old 06-15-06, 07:23 AM
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I ride my cyclo-cross on the road quite a bit and have never had a flat on my 30s.
The way I see it(and I'm a newbie) the tire-pressure plays a part in flats; higher pressure = more likely to flat. If you have tires at 70psi they are far less likely to flat than a really skinny tire under 125psi.
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Old 06-15-06, 08:06 AM
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I don't know that there's really any evidence in this, but the collective experience of the posts so far seems to suggest that you're at the least less likely to get a flat with a wider tire. That said, just remember that there's a trade off. You may be decreasing the risk of getting a flat on any given ride, but you're in effect increasing the amount of effort it takes to ride. I guess it's a cost/benefit thing, if you want to look at it like that. I'm sure there's a point where you increase the width of the tire to such a point that you're almost guaranteed not to flat... but of course riding would become painful at that point.

FWIW, from the few threads I've read in the commuting forum, the tire size I see suggested the most would be 30c.
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Old 06-15-06, 09:12 AM
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You don't have to go wider for flat protection although based on what other people are saying, there is a distinct possibility that wider may mean less punctures. But you also have the option of picking up some Conti Gatorskins, or Specialized Armadillo tires. I never have had a puncture with either of these, and have actually found small sharp pebbles embedded in the tire after my rides. They save me loads on tubes every year. I'd at least throw those into the mix for puncture prevention... perhaps as a 700x25 or 28 for potentially greater protection...
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Old 06-15-06, 01:46 PM
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The logic is that you can run a lower tire pressure in a wider tire without risking pinch flats. Lower pressures give you less puncture flats.

However, if puncture resistance is your only goal, then I think the Gatorskins are a better idea.
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Old 06-15-06, 01:50 PM
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Originally Posted by feefifofum
-snip- is there any compelling evidence that wider tires mean fewer flats, all else equal?ffff
Evidence, no.
But for anecdotal conjecture you found the right place.
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Old 06-16-06, 01:39 AM
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I've been happier with less flats with wider tires. I am heavy. I weigh 265 and was getting pinch flats with the narrower tires. I've also learned what the nemesis of Armadillo tires is. Watch out for blown tires from semi rigs. The steel from the steel belts will go right through them. I was on a 60 mile ride and part of it is on I-10 and I finally had to get a ride as I had ruined two tubes and had small steel threads in the tires I could not get out without a pair of needle-nosed pliers. A most miserable day....
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Old 06-16-06, 01:47 AM
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It's not really the width, the height of the tyre that matters. Wider tyres tend to be taller as well. So they can compress more before the rim pinches the tube and snakebites it. Also due to the larger internal volume, the same load & impact forces would tend to compress a big tyre less as well. Again, more resistance to pinch flats. Thus you can run lower pressures before pinch-flats become comparable to a smaller tyre.

The other benefit of running lower pressures is you don't focus all the sharp points of objects like glass and nails on a single point of a tyre. With high-pressure, when you run over a piece of glass, the tyre doesn't deform and compress, so you actually will lift up the entire tyre onto the piece of glass and ALL of your weight is pushing down on that single point of glass. With lower pressure tyre, the contact area with the ground is larger and when you run over glass, the tyre will deform and wrap around the glass, resulting in less pressure on the point of glass, thus the glass pushes back on the tyre less and you've got better puncture resistance.
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Old 06-16-06, 06:31 AM
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I am more likely to wear the tread off of a tire before I get a flat.
It's not what you ride but where you ride.
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Old 06-16-06, 10:42 AM
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If two tires are identical in design and construction, a size 28mm is going to get about the same number of flats as a size 23mm. The contact patch on the size 28mm is a little larger, so there is a bit less weight on any given "nail" size section of the contact patch. Maybe that "less weight per square centimeter" could reduce flats by a tiny percentage.

The real reason folks tend to get fewer flats in a size 28mm than a size 23mm is that the owners have selected a different design of tires. Most cyclists who buy a size 23mm buy the lightest tire they can find. Not a lot of rubber on the contact patch, and not much underneath the rubber. And, a 28mm tire using that exact same design will also have "thin" rubber on the contact patch, and not much underneath.

In contrast, many 28mm tires are available that are designed for light touring and commuting. A lot more rubber on the contact patch. Anti-flat belts underneath the rubber. A very different design of tire, more likely to weigh 450 grams or 500 grams, compared with the 200 grams of a 23mm racing tire.

I ran across an old article where bike tires were tested for rolling resistance and flat resistance. It turned out that the weight of the tire was a very reliable clue in both areas of performance. A 200 gram tire usuallly had very low rolling resistance, and very low protection against flats. A 500 gram tire had higher rolling resistance and tending to be very good at resisting flats.

So, if someone's tire buying goal is to have fewer flats, look at the weight of the tire. If a 28mm tire is a good fit for your rim, look for the heaviest one you can find. The Panaracer Pasela is heavy, but has a good reputation for performance and flat resistance.
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Old 06-16-06, 12:40 PM
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Check your pressures before EVERY ride, and watch the number of flats go down.
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Old 06-16-06, 06:17 PM
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Yeah, I suspect that pinch-flats significantly outnumber punctures from debris... as is watching out for potholes...
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Old 06-21-06, 09:12 AM
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Originally Posted by alanbikehouston
If two tires are identical in design and construction, a size 28mm is going to get about the same number of flats as a size 23mm. The contact patch on the size 28mm is a little larger, so there is a bit less weight on any given "nail" size section of the contact patch. Maybe that "less weight per square centimeter" could reduce flats by a tiny percentage.

The real reason folks tend to get fewer flats in a size 28mm than a size 23mm is that the owners have selected a different design of tires. Most cyclists who buy a size 23mm buy the lightest tire they can find. Not a lot of rubber on the contact patch, and not much underneath the rubber. And, a 28mm tire using that exact same design will also have "thin" rubber on the contact patch, and not much underneath.

In contrast, many 28mm tires are available that are designed for light touring and commuting. A lot more rubber on the contact patch. Anti-flat belts underneath the rubber. A very different design of tire, more likely to weigh 450 grams or 500 grams, compared with the 200 grams of a 23mm racing tire.

I ran across an old article where bike tires were tested for rolling resistance and flat resistance. It turned out that the weight of the tire was a very reliable clue in both areas of performance. A 200 gram tire usuallly had very low rolling resistance, and very low protection against flats. A 500 gram tire had higher rolling resistance and tending to be very good at resisting flats.

So, if someone's tire buying goal is to have fewer flats, look at the weight of the tire. If a 28mm tire is a good fit for your rim, look for the heaviest one you can find. The Panaracer Pasela is heavy, but has a good reputation for performance and flat resistance.
very useful - thanks! ffff
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Old 06-21-06, 09:34 AM
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Yep, low weight and daily riders don't always work well together.

Tires are IMO one of the things where weight should be ignored, and instead tread thickness, rubber durometer, and the material of the anti-flat, as well as the design of it, should be factored in.

That said, I love Serfas for daily use 23c tires. Their Seca wire bead, and their Combi folding bead are both great tires for daily riding. They are not bulletproof by any means, but my Seca only had a single flat in an entire year, and that involved wet glass, which is pretty much like a silver bullet is to a werewolf....aside from that, I never really worried about flatting.

The Combi is a tire I have started using, but so far have been impressed. It's a lighter weight tire similar to the Seca, but seems to be designed with an "all conditions" tread compound. It also sports the exact same anti-flat protection. My suspicion is that the weight savings is from the kevlar bead used and the thinner sidewalls when compared to the Seca. I did notice it gripped a bit better in the wet, but until I can ride it until the rubber is so thin it's cracking I won't have a final verdict on it's overall durability.
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Old 06-22-06, 04:58 PM
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alanbikehouston wrote:
Originally Posted by alanbikehouston
So, if someone's tire buying goal is to have fewer flats, look at the weight of the tire. If a 28mm tire is a good fit for your rim, look for the heaviest one you can find. The Panaracer Pasela is heavy, but has a good reputation for performance and flat resistance.
He's mostly right, but actually, I wouldn't look for the heaviest. There are lot's of tires out there that weigh 400-500 grams but don't offer protection that is at the top level. I've tried a few cheapies over the years. I'd just go with the Pasela TG, which are still not that costly. The size 28 with TG kevlar belt weighs in at 280 grams and the size 25 (smallest) weigh in at 260 grams. They aren't at the heavy end of the spectrum, but rather in the middle with heavyweight protection. I've heard similar about Specialized Armadillo and Conti Gatorskins: excellent protection without extreme weight, and those two are available all the way down to size 23 if you like the skinny ones. None of these tires will be the very lightest and fastest, but all have gotten raves from folks I know & trust and random, seemingly well-informed posters here at the forums.
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Old 06-22-06, 05:01 PM
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I would have to agree, the reason I have not flatted on a MTB or my OCmmuter is more due to the tires, thickness than it's width.

Fatties Rule!
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