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(Warning - Road related) - Road tyres, punctures and pumps.

By Matt - Posted on 19 March 2008

NB: Originally posted elsewhere on the Global Riders Network and appears via syndication.

OK, apologies for the non-MTB post but here goes...

Being spoiled by a toobless MTB setup I feel like I'm getting far too many punctures on my fixie/roadie commute, probably about 2 a week at this stage.

I'm running 700*23 mid priced Conti tyres, with average quality toobs, inflated to the pressure specified on the sidewall, 120 PSI.

When I don't have punctures they're magic, roll like a very rolly thingo and more than grippy enough, but I can't help feeling I'm getting too many flats.

So do any of our experienced roadies have any tips on the subject? (Not including the rather obvious tip of not riding road in the first place ;-}).

I'm thinking maybe a lower pressure or just trying a lot harder to avoid potential puncture causing pot-holes and grates?

And finally, does anyone know of a backpack sized pump that would actually have more than Buckley's of reaching 120PSI?



Get some touring tires. Ok, they are fatter and heavier but common sense says they should therefore be harder wearing.

FWIW, I was commuting (have stopped for a while - need to get that going again!) with these on the crosser, size 32c:

Cheap as chips ($22 from Jenson) and handled the glass strewn cycle path along Epping road just fine.

Ok, so now I'm doomed to a puncture next time out. Thanks! Eye-wink

how much do you weigh? You already have got the tyres inflated up to the max recommended pressure so you can't go any higher. The heavier you are, the more pressure you should put into your tyres. A lower pressure will result in more flats.

As for backpack pumps, Toppeak makes a model that folds out into a mini track pump. Roadies seem to like their Zefal pumps that attach to the frame which can definitely go up to 100+ Psi.

Look up the archived threads of aus.bicycle or via Google Groups for more info.

FWIW, I use Continental GP 3000s, 700*23, on my roadie at 100 - 120 Psi. And the sidewalls have the nice "magenta" colour of Team Telekom. Though I'll be moving to Michelin Pro Races when it is time for a new pair.

12 stone, in the old empire speak, so not too heavy ;-}

Drop the pressure a little (unless you are really heavy and getting pinch flats), it may not help with the punctures but you'll have a more comfortable ride.

Are the punctures in the same place - you may have glass or fine wire (from retread tyres) stuck in the tyre. Feel around the inside of the casing and also look closely at the outside for a cuts and nicks which may still have bits in them.

If you're not too worried about weight; slimed tubes, tyre liners or belted tyres (eg conti gatorskins, Specialized armadillos) may help. For a pump go for a good frame pump or CO2 canisters, other small mini pumps will work but can be frustrating.

Or of course go tubeless Eye-wink

Try some continental gatorskins, I have been using them for about four years now & wont use anything else. They seem to hold up much better than any other tyres, the only punctures I have had are caused by wire & even that's pretty rare. They are a little heavier than most road tyres but the puncture resistance makes them a clear winner.

Most of the mini pumps I have used will only go to 80-90psi, for higher pressure go the co2.

get high pressure, claimed upto 120psi

I have a giant pump similar to those on the page, it has a gauge which I think goes that high but I have never tried, always have it so your welcome to try it next time we ride. Just throw one of your wheels in the car.

As for minimising punctures well as the Alchemist says, tyre liners.

Now I'm a little heavier than you and even when I was regularly riding my road bike, almost 20years ago, I would still have had a good few stone on your svelt 12stone frame. I used "Tuffy Tape" and punctured very rarely averaging 250 to 300k a week.
I think it helps more with genuine punctures than with pinch flats which it sounds like is the cause of most of your problems. Don't know if it is still available but "slime" do make a similar product.

Hope this helps

Are you getting the punctures in the same place on the road?

As well as the helpful suggestions above I think it also depends on the section of road that you ride in.
- When I'm riding fast enough i take a whole lane in a multilaned road
- If not i do my best to avoid anything that looks like glass
- I also avoid the edges of the road where possible
- Taking a well travelled road (by the cars) also helps to clear away the glass and debris that could cause a puncture.
- If the road is wet then the glass etc will become more sticky and you have a greater chance of a puncture.

However I have also had a flat or two on the Stumpjumper as well hmmm


"- When I'm riding fast enough i take a whole lane in a multilaned road" is that cause you go so quick the wind resistance squashes your body flat, making you wider? You know like a "sharpe" (sic) dog with its head out a moving car

"However I have also had a flat or two on the Stumpjumper as well hmmm" thats not all you've done to your stumpy is it mate?

sorry all, back to a serious thread now

Your speed is such that time becomes moot and you exist at all points along the length of the lane at once? Now that's ridin'.

The puctures are typically small, on the outside of the toob only, on the outer circumference of the tyre, and typically coincide with having hit a grate or pot-hole unseen but still IMHO not hard enough that things should puncture...

Thanks heaps to all for the tips, I'll try some different tyres as I'm happy to sacrifice a bit of weight for a hassle-free commute, and the CO2's we're something I'd consigned to the "silly if only MTB'ing" bin but for commuting I might review my opinion.

Ta muchly,
Grumpy Matt.

I've just realised I'm already using Gatorskins! Doh, I must be a clumsy b@st@rd then...

Ah the dreaded pot hole, nothing but good vision & avoiding them is gonna help!

I am surprised Liam with all his road experience hasn't jumped in with some helpful tips Eye-wink

12 stone is not a problem on a road bike with skinny tyres (and that's only 2 stone more than moi).

I think the other NobMobbers have pitched in with some good ideas on puncture prevention.

I got nine months riding 5 out of 7 days 40 - 50km each day on a set of gator skins with not one flat (honest) so I decided to replace them with another set and then got 6 flats in two weeks (front & Back).

I replaced them with some maxxis refuse and havent had a flat in the last 6 weeks I dont think the quality is always the same and maybe a bit of luck has something to do with it.

"Maxxis Refuse"?? Rubbish by name... thankfully a rose by any other name it would seem...

Better than the Maxxis Detonator, the early versions of which had a reputation for doing such.

may be helping to force the sharp objects though your tyre by not having any give, I inflate to 100psi for the comfort and possibly more grip on slightly rough roads.

As a courier, have pretty much narrowed it down to 2 preferred types of tyres. The serfas Seca with FPS (flat protection system) which are good for a while, but once they start to get old punctures start coming back. The there are the Schwalbe blizzards which people seem to swear by, will be my next tyre definitely. Very puncture resistant, not the lightest, but the time you save fixing punctures will more than make up for the 1/10th of a second you lose having heavier tyres.

As for pumps, I can get 100 PSI in with my topeak mini morph, so I guess getting a full blown morph you'd be just fine to get 120. Pretty compact, but also have a hose and stand upright so you don't have to worry about snapping the valve giving the pump so real beans...

Also give your rim tape a really close check, at roadie pressures even the tiniest gap at edge of tape can cause a flat.

To all for the great input, I never knew road riding could be so interesting... ;-}

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