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Lots of flats?(19 posts)

Lots of flats?ditchbanger
Mar 27, 2003 12:33 PM
I just bought a Trek 2300 and am very green to road riding. I was talking to a fellow customer at the LBS and he was telling me I better plan on taking along extra tubes and a pump when I hit the road. Glass, pinch flats, rocks cutting the sidewalls etc etc. will be common he said?

I know flats will happen and I don't want to be stranded 30+ miles from home. But I really was hoping to keep weight to a minimum.

Take it easy on me I really don't have a clue. Thanks
Not too many flats myself...Lowend
Mar 27, 2003 12:39 PM
I carry one extra tube, patch kit and a pump. Keep the air pressure up around 100lbs and you should not get pinch flats.
Not too many flats myself...Rich_Racer
Mar 27, 2003 12:55 PM
On average I think I get one flat per 1000 miles so it's really not a big deal - but I take a puncture repair kit, a mini-pump, and some plastic tyre levers with me on every ride. They really don't weigh a lot at all - just a few grams! If you put them in a jersey pocket then you just forget about them.

Keep your tyres between 100 and 120 psi and you won't get pinch flats. Just look out for hedge trimmers and the tyre destroying bits of hedge they leave behind!

Ride for months with no flats, then ...teamsloppy
Mar 27, 2003 1:03 PM
you can get multiple flats the same day. They seem to come in batches.

A CO2 cartridges and inflator ( I use the tiny Zefal inflator) are another option instead of pump. They fit discretely in a saddle bag or pocket. 2 or 3 cartridges are sufficient.

I agree on the extra tube and patch kit.

I think some tires are more flat resistant than others (Vredestien Fortezza). Some people use tire liners to reduce flats.

As an indication of the frequency of flats, here is summary from a quick look at my Journal for flats (I commute daily to work 16 miles oneway in California on pretty clean roads):
I rode every month between 480 and 1046 miles.
re: Lots of flats?No_sprint
Mar 27, 2003 1:04 PM
Don't worry about it unless you're using something like a Conti Supersonic. No need to bother with a pump either, unless your preference is using a mini pump to get all the way up to 100 plus. After doing that I need a cell phone to call for a ride home. :) Two cartridges and a tiny inflator, tube and levers is all you need. I carry a tiny patch kit and tiny shrader/presta adaptor as well. Weight? Insignificant.
re: Lots of flats?UncleMoe
Mar 27, 2003 1:08 PM
You definitley want a small under saddle pack to fit a patch kit in, a spare tube, tire irons, and a mini-tool kit for roadside stuff. I also have a mini-pump strapped to the frame. All of this is pretty common, adds minimal weight, and the first time you need something and don't have it, you'll understand why bringing this stuff along is important.

With that said, a few things you can do to minimize flats area:

- Watch for road debris. If you run thru a glassy area (sometime unavoidable if it is a busy road and you are going fast), stop and check for glass that has stuck to the tire. Rub it out gently. Sometime the glass won't penetrate until further along on the ride.

- Learn how to remove the tire and replace the tube. Do it at home on both wheels for practice. Easy to spend 30 minutes in a controlled environment so the roadside repair is quicker and you have the confidence to do it.

- Consider the tires being used as many road bikes come with tires not condusive to endurance and recreational riding. I've had a lot of luck with Continental Ultra Gatorskin tires. They are a little heavier, but the endurance is worth it in my opinion. I've also used the specialized armidillo's with zero flats in 5000 miles, but they are heavy and offer a harsh ride. Thats why I went to gatorskins with just as much luck.
re: Lots of flats?ditchbanger
Mar 27, 2003 1:17 PM
I have checked pressure every time out and keep at 120psi, stock bontrager tires. I will pick up the items listed I don't already have. Spring is kinda here in MN and I am really excited to put some miles on. Thanks for the help!!!
re: Lots of flats?emptyhanded
Mar 27, 2003 1:27 PM
with the psi at 120 in a decent set of tires, you should be able to roll over just about anything. we all have the unlucky days though, so definitely pick up the co2, patch kit and tube.

if flatting out becomes a serious problem where you ride, then get something like kevlar spin skins. they stick to the inside of your tire, between the tire and the tube. they do add a little bit of weight (rolling weight at that, the worst kind) but they'll stop a bullet.
re: Lots of flats?ditchbanger
Mar 27, 2003 5:36 PM
I use them for MTB riding this time of year at the nearby state park. Lots of thorns and lightweight tubes/semislicks are no match.
Spring in MNPMC
Mar 27, 2003 5:51 PM
"Spring is kinda here in MN..."

Now I get why the guys at the LBS told you to carry lots of spares. The roads in the Twin Cities are covered with tons of crap this time of year. If you've crossed the 494 Minnesota river crossing in Bloomington, you've seen the massive amounts of glass and other debris.

The only tires I run in the spring with all the glass and other junk in the road are Conti Ultra Gatorskins in a 700x25 size. 500+ miles so far this spring at 110 psi with no flats.

Good Luck
My these tiresTower
Mar 27, 2003 1:18 PM
Turbo Armadillo by Specialized. I just put them on my new Zurich this weekend. (700 x 23) I was also worried about flats because we saw folks with road bikes fixing flats on the side of the road all the time.

My experience with Specialized Armadillo's is with the Nimbus, which is their ATB version of the Turbo. I put over 2,000 miles on one set on my mountain bike, with zero flats. I expect these to peroform the same. Practically bulletproof.

Some folks here might gripe that these tires are too heavy. But I'm not the type to worry about how much my tires weigh! :-) I'm not about to set any land speed records.

They are a pain to get on the wheel though, because of their stiff sidewall and wire bead. But you won't be taking them off to replace a tube any time soon.
Gatorskins just as good...UncleMoe
Mar 27, 2003 2:50 PM
I'm a big Armidillo fan too, not a speed demon, but did want an alternative. I tried the Gatorskins and have just as much luck with zero flats (knock on wood).

I wanted an alternative because the Armidillo's are such a beast to get off and on that I knew once I did get a flat on the road I would be cursing them.

The Gatorskins are my new tire of choice if you want an alternative, with an added benefit of a better ride too. By all means, Armidillo's are good too.
Depends on where you ride, and the local "flat sources"terry b
Mar 27, 2003 2:03 PM
I got interested in this and started keeping data because I was seeing many more flats that others were reporting here in internet land.

Result - in the 16000 miles I've logged since I started tracking, I've had 1 flat due to a construction staple, 1 flat due to a drywall screw, 1 due to a bottle bottom and one due to some unknown piece of metal. No super tire would have prevented those.

However, I've had literally 100s of flats due to Goathead thorns. When I ride, I use self-sealing (Specialized) tubes at all times because if I didn't I'd have a flat on every trip out. If you don't live in a place with some sort of natural, prolific hazard (like Goatheads) you'll be fine with one tube and a way to fill it.
AAAARRRRGH!!!... goatheadslonefrontranger
Mar 27, 2003 2:14 PM
damn it you just had to go and ruin my day by mentioning these little buggers.

Now I am doomed on my homeward commute. thanks man.
lo sientoterry b
Mar 27, 2003 2:41 PM
I know the mere mention can jinx a generation but I felt compelled to share. Hopefully you'll get my flats and I can ride free for 10 or 20 miles.
re: Lots of flats? Nah..Fredrico
Mar 27, 2003 2:43 PM
I carry a spare tube, frame fit pump and plastic levers. Only once in 18 years of riding have I gotten two flats on the same ride, the second fortunately only a mile from home. Other cyclists will gladly stop and give you a hand and a spare tube if they see you're in trouble.

Stay off the gravel and dust on the side of the road, ride in the tire tracks of cars, and check your tires for cuts and imbedded glass when you get home.
while we're on the topic of karmashawndoggy
Mar 27, 2003 3:31 PM
i "Other cyclists will gladly stop and give you a hand and a spare tube if they see you're in trouble."

If for no other reason, this is why you should carry a spare tube, patch kit and inflator (I'm personal to the pump because it keeps on working if you have to re-patch):


Who doesn't need to make a deposit in the good karma account now and then. Lord knows I make enough withdrawals.
Geez where do you guys live?ditchbanger
Mar 27, 2003 5:44 PM
The only help I'd get around here if fixing a flat on the side of the road would be heckling by motorists. Lots of rednecks in central MN. Very few people are serious around here, and if they are they seem to be loners.
The key pointKerry
Mar 27, 2003 5:03 PM
Whether you get a lot of flats or just a few, you will get a flat now and then and you really do need to carry a spare tube and a pump or CO2 system. I carry a tube plus some Park instant patches, just in case I have two flats in a ride. It's not happened to me in the last 40K+ miles, but it has happened to my riding companions. I give them an instant patch for their 2nd flat (I DON'T give them my tube!)