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slime vs. airless vs. armadillos: my story!

Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

slime vs. airless vs. armadillos: my story!

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Old 06-03-04, 02:44 PM
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markjay
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slime vs. airless vs. armadillos: my story!

I've been riding a long time, but I never got very good at changing flats, and I hate them. I started getting a lot more flats when I shifted from a mountain to road bike a couple of years back (perhaps in part because I'm 200 pounds). Anyway, I've been experimenting with different ways to reduce or eliminate flats. I know these issues have been discussed a lot, but I thought I'd share my personal experiences.

First I tried slime. Contrary to some opinions expressed here, slime did help reduce flats on my road bike, but it also regularly clogged the stem, making it difficult or even impossible to fill the tires. Yuck.

I then tried airless. Yes, I know that people on this forum have all warned against it, but it seemed that many of the people doing the warning had not actually tried them. I went into it very hopeful, but I just didn't like them. The ride was quite slow and sluggish, and worse, very rough. It just took the joy out of cycling. I would only recommend them for somebody who absolutely cannot get a flat under any circumstances (e.g., due to commuting).

Finally, I junked the airless and got Armadillo tires (23s). Perhaps because I'm comparing them to my most recent airless tires, the Armadillos feel great! I did get a flat on my first ride, but it was due to a faulty tube. The next ride went great. I hope that I've got the problem solved!

My advice, if you want to reduce flats--go with Armadillos.

Of course I haven't tried other flat-resistant tires that people here have recommended, so I can't comment on them.

Mark
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Old 06-03-04, 03:19 PM
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darling tire of the nyc messenger community. if that don't say it all... i don't know what does.
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Old 06-03-04, 03:22 PM
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I've heard of the valve clogging with slime. It seems to occur more when the valve is used upside down or right after it has been stored upsidedown. The best angle seems to be between 3:30 and 5:00 or 7:00 and 8:30, I would avoid 6:00 if there is a lot of slime pooled up down there in a skinny tire. I've never had a clogged valve with slime on my mtb or a flat (I don't stop for thorns or anything else and always[every ride] get flats with plain tires/tubes) but I use half the recomended amount of slime (2oz rather than 4oz) and squish it around the tube by hand to throughly coat the inside. With a light weight[mtb] tube it works out to the same weight as a standard weight [mtb]tube and there isn't extra slop adding to any clogging problems in the valve.
When I finaly put it in my new(to me) road bike I will reduce the rate to 1OZ for the 1" tires (half the surface area = half the slime, why not)

The other option that never let me down was tough skins. They're a solid(extruded plastic not woven) nylon strip that goes between the tube and tire. They can be a mild pain to get into place at least untill they break in and take shape in your tire, which is why I switched to slime. I've worn tire to the threads and had holes in the tires so big that I could see the toughskin from 5 feet away, and found nails jammed in and bent over in the tire during post ride maintanence but never had a flat.

I know somone who uses both and big knobby tires but he bikes for exersize and beleives more resistance = more excersize per mile, which is true but for me I'd rather ride a few more miles.
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Old 06-03-04, 05:11 PM
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The new nodel of Armadillos are GREAT. Much less road resistance, almost comparable to my Conti Ultra 2000's.

A real big improvement over the eariler models, which were quite slow.

I have mounted 700x25's, and keep them at 125 lbs (their upper rating). I really like them.
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Old 06-03-04, 10:28 PM
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Slime never worked for me or anyone else I've known; once you go abover 65psi it jsut blows the slime out of the hole and your flat again. But I also agree with the Armadillos, they are the best for flat protection.
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Old 06-04-04, 04:38 AM
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Armadillos simply rock.
After my 4th flat in one week, two of which happened on one 50 mile ride, I made the switch.
No flats so far after about 600 miles, and the tire has awesome grip.
04 All seasons, 25s
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Old 06-04-04, 02:32 PM
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Originally Posted by froze
Slime never worked for me or anyone else I've known; once you go abover 65psi it jsut blows the slime out of the hole and your flat again. But I also agree with the Armadillos, they are the best for flat protection.
hmmm I haden't tried slime at the high pressure but it seems the pressure that it blows through would vary with the size of the hole. I know it will blow through at 30psi if you drill a 1/4" hole in the tire. The tough skins never let me down though, I guess they would be like a 'make your own' armadillo only tougher and more of a pain to install.
I might try the slime anyway because its easy and I don't want to spend the cash to switch from my 27" to 700 wheels, and the tires I have are only 80psi.
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Old 06-04-04, 10:19 PM
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Originally Posted by capsicum
hmmm I haden't tried slime at the high pressure but it seems the pressure that it blows through would vary with the size of the hole. I might try the slime anyway because its easy and I don't want to spend the cash to switch from my 27" to 700 wheels, and the tires I have are only 80psi.
Sorry, the holes I was referring to were pinprick holes due to Goatheads and thistles. If you only pumped the tires to about 60psi you could ride home on it, but my tires run 110 and as soon as I would try to air up past 65 the little pinprick would leak again. I even tried to ride it for a ways at 60psi hoping that the stuff would solidify then air up to 110 but that didn't work either. So what I ended up with is a a tube that would not seal a small leak, green slime mess inside the tire, on the tube and on the inside of the rim. This was frustrating to me so I chucked the tube. Oh one more thing, the presta valve was very poorly made.

There is a self sealing tube made by Specialize called the Airlock tube that supposely works far better than the Slime and works at high pressure...BUT I have not used this tube so I cannot say from actual experience if it works. But if your dead set on a self sealing tube I would try the Airlock first.
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Old 06-04-04, 11:30 PM
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Slime is just plain evil I absolutely despise the stuff
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Old 06-05-04, 07:27 AM
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I got my Zurich with 700x25 Bontrager Hard Cases. I had three flats in the first 200 miles and not one in the next 800. The first two flats were unavoidable, construction debris dropping off a truck in front of me and forced by traffic to either veer into 50mpy traffic, crash or ride through broken glass for the second. The third was because the patch for the second one didn't hold.

I am now pretty happy with the Hard Cases and we will see how they hold up.
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Old 06-06-04, 01:46 AM
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Originally Posted by froze
Sorry, the holes I was referring to were pinprick holes due to Goatheads and thistles. If you only pumped the tires to about 60psi you could ride home on it, but my tires run 110 and as soon as I would try to air up past 65 the little pinprick would leak again. I even tried to ride it for a ways at 60psi hoping that the stuff would solidify then air up to 110 but that didn't work either.
hmm I run my mtb tires at 65-70(semi slicks) and holes I knew were there before the slime have never blown through in fact the tires didn't loose even 5 pounds over the winter.
I have not tried it but slime makes a version for tubless tires that will plug a 1/4 inch hole instead of 1/8 it looks like it just has a bunch of ground up rubber added to it, it may have some pressure advantage in a tube tire I don't know.
Or this stuff puncture test (windows media its a .wmv)
What the heck is a goathead, what I'm thinking of would make quite a bit more than a pinprick, more like a bent rim?
Its usualy big old black berries canes or their left over thorns around here, big enough to get mtb tires easily but still pinpricks.

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Old 06-06-04, 05:52 AM
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Originally Posted by capsicum
What the heck is a goathead, what I'm thinking of would make quite a bit more than a pinprick, more like a bent rim?
It makes a pin prick.

http://www.naturesongs.com/vvplants/puncturevine.html
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Old 06-06-04, 07:09 AM
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Has anyone compared the armadillos to Conti Gaterskins? A recent cycling mag had a very short reveiw of both but I wanted to see what people have to say that have actually put a number of miles on one or both.

Thanks
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Old 06-06-04, 08:54 AM
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Originally Posted by capsicum
What the heck is a goathead, what I'm thinking of would make quite a bit more than a pinprick, more like a bent rim?
Its usualy big old black berries canes or their left over thorns around here, big enough to get mtb tires easily but still pinpricks.
Lol it's not literally a goathead...
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Old 06-06-04, 09:17 AM
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Originally Posted by slvoid
Lol it's not literally a goathead...
Yeah but it did make for a great visual

I use to puncture every 3rd or 4th ride and was sick of it. I tried slime tubes which worked ok but switched to armadillo's about 3 years ago and have never punctured since. I've never tried Conti Gaterskins though!
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Old 06-06-04, 10:29 AM
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I have Armadillos (Nimbus) on my mountain bike and had a flat once, in the rain, riding over broken car winshield glass in the dark. Unavoidable. Never got a flat again ever since that time.

I'm going to put Armadillos on my Langster after a couple of more months, I've gone 500 miles on the stock Mondo tires that came on my Langster and have not had a flat yet even at my weight (+-220lbs.), and I ride on Queens Blvd. from Corona to Manhattan 5 days a week. I keep the tire pressure very high though, about the 125psi max. It's rough, but keeps my wheels from falling apart I guess.
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Old 06-06-04, 11:07 AM
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Originally Posted by TrekRider
I got my Zurich with 700x25 Bontrager Hard Cases. I had three flats in the first 200 miles and not one in the next 800. The first two flats were unavoidable, construction debris dropping off a truck in front of me and forced by traffic to either veer into 50mpy traffic, crash or ride through broken glass for the second. The third was because the patch for the second one didn't hold.

I am now pretty happy with the Hard Cases and we will see how they hold up.
I have them I got 1500 miles before a flat. the flat was on the inside of the tube. at the tiem I weighed about 250 pounds. the back tire was getting a bit thin. it had glass and metal and rucks stuck in it. I jsut cleaned the stuff out and rotated the tires. they are still going. I bought another pair on clearence for 30.00
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Old 06-06-04, 11:57 AM
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Originally Posted by ultra-g
I have Armadillos (Nimbus) on my mountain bike and had a flat once, in the rain, riding over broken car winshield glass in the dark. Unavoidable. Never got a flat again ever since that time.

I'm going to put Armadillos on my Langster after a couple of more months, I've gone 500 miles on the stock Mondo tires that came on my Langster and have not had a flat yet even at my weight (+-220lbs.), and I ride on Queens Blvd. from Corona to Manhattan 5 days a week. I keep the tire pressure very high though, about the 125psi max. It's rough, but keeps my wheels from falling apart I guess.
How are your wheels holding up at those pressures going through potholes and broken asphalt?
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Old 06-06-04, 12:13 PM
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Is the weight of the Bontrager Hard Cases and Armadillos much more than Conti SG or Michelin Pro's? If the weight is not that much more it seems that a puncture resistant tire would be the way to go for those of us who ride on rough roads and tip the scale at 200+.
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Old 06-06-04, 12:21 PM
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Originally Posted by slvoid
How are your wheels holding up at those pressures going through potholes and broken asphalt?
My wheels seem to be holding up pretty well, they're the Alex D16 or whichever stock wheels that came with the bike. I check the wheels and pump the tires before each ride and have had no problems except that it's really rough going over the cracks in the roads (some mean ones too).

I haven't gone over any potholes, hope I never will either, my main worry is the fork breaking on me one day (hope that won't happen).
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Old 06-06-04, 01:23 PM
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Originally Posted by capsicum
....a version for tubless tires that will plug a 1/4 inch hole instead of 1/8 it looks like it just has a bunch of ground up rubber added to it, it may have some pressure advantage in a tube tire I don't know.
Or this stuff puncture test (windows media its a .wmv)....
What no one watched the video? and yea I just replied with quote to my own post.
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Old 06-07-04, 05:48 AM
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I am seriously in love with my Armadillo tires.
I got the 04 all seasons 700 miles ago, and no flats. And the roads here are simply littered with sharp rocks and other nasty objects.
Surprisingly enough, I have even better grip on corners than the previous performance tires.
Coudn't be happier with them.
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Old 06-26-04, 10:49 AM
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How are the Armadillos for long distances?

I am in Mass and the roads are littered with crap too. Have a set of Vittoria Open Corsas that I have had for about a month and they are all cut up. I need something more durable that the Vittorias but I don't want to feel like I an adding a boat anchor, especially for the 75 - 100 mile rides.
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Old 06-26-04, 10:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Kid-Cycle
Is the weight of the Bontrager Hard Cases and Armadillos much more than Conti SG or Michelin Pro's? If the weight is not that much more it seems that a puncture resistant tire would be the way to go for those of us who ride on rough roads and tip the scale at 200+.

Looks like about 80 grams diff per tire.
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Old 06-26-04, 11:09 AM
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I have the 04 armadillos on my road bike and love them. I haven't had a flat yet in about 700 miles.
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