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thorns....(6 posts)

Jun 15, 2003 5:59 PM
So those of you who have to live with these things - what do you do to prevent flats? I am currently running michelin axial carbon tires w/tuffy tire liners and slime lite tubes, and haven't had a flat in quite some time, but the bike feels dead with this setup... (it was an incremental thing - first tires and heavy tubes, then added tire liners, then the slime lite tubes - kept adding things until the flats stopped) - I suppose this is a temporary thing (it being the windy season in NM), but I typically pull 1 to 3 thorns out of each tire after every ride. the current setup may seem extreme, but compared to changing a flat on the way into work at 4:30am it's not too bad (it's all relative)... are there any decent tires which are more puncture resistant? anything else I can do?
Pretty much what you're doing...torquecal
Jun 15, 2003 6:34 PM
I live in Alamogordo and deal with the little buggers pretty much the same way. Last year I used Conti GP tires, Mr Tuffy Liners and Specialized Airlock tubes. This year I took the liners out, pretty much been flat free even without the liners. I also pay a lot of attention to where I am on the road, I try to stay as far out from the gutters as I can. As far as the season thing goes, seems to me the fall is worse for these things. To tell the truth I hadn't really had them on mind much yet... until now :-)
more or less the same for me.terry b
Jun 16, 2003 6:12 AM
Like the previous poster, I too live in Goathead Universe, central New Mexico.

I don't use Michelin tires any more - they were the worst for thorn flats in my experience. A also don't like Slime tubes, so I use Specialized Airloks. Don't use liners either. Flat-wise, I'm down to one in about 500 miles due to thorns. I scrub my tires a lot while riding and generally pick the buggers out after a ride. I do find that when the tube finally goes flat it has 5-10 additional sealed holes in it, so clearly the Airloks are working as well as they can.

There is a mythical solution for all this, known to many New Mexico riders called "the System." Basically you take an old tire, cut off the sidewalls and insert the tread portion into your tire. Sort of a super Mr. Tuffy. I've never bothered, and if your bike feels sluggish now, I imagine this would really bog it down.

Simply put, thorns are hard to effectively combat and I'd be interested to know if anyone really has a means to defeat them.
more or less the same for me.DrD
Jun 16, 2003 6:46 PM
I had thought that the tire liners would do the trick - they certainly had prevented flats for quite a while, then it got windy and the trail I use (the multi-use trail which goes west from Tramway starting at the bridge just after Candelaria when heading south) seems to be infested with thorns - funny thing is, until I started commuting on the trail, I hadn't even seen a thorn! In any event - back to the tire liners - they worked wonders until the thorn concentration got high enough that I started picking the rotten things up in the sidewalls! Got a front flat at 4:30 in the morning on the ride in, which drove me to pick up a set of the slime tubes at REI - they are pretty amazing - the slime lite ones feel just like a regular tube (weigh something like 120g) - so it looks like armored and full of goo is the way to go, I guess...

For tires, I am pretty happy with the Michelin axial carbons - I really like the axial pro's, but haven't used them for a while (since being in Austin) - since they pretty much cut if you even look at them funny...

So another question - what do you run for tire pressures - I have been going with 130psi front and rear, thinking that a firmer tire would be less likely to grab a thorn and puncture...
more or less the same for me.torquecal
Jun 16, 2003 7:12 PM
I run 120 psi front and back. I kinda think like you do - if nothing else high pressure would put less of the sidewall close to the goatheads.

Gotta second say the airlocks though. IMHO they are much better than the slime tubes.
more or less the same for me.terry b
Jun 16, 2003 7:39 PM
100-110 front and 110-120 rear. haven't yet seen an causal relationship between pressure and Goathead magnetism though.

Forget Pro Race or Axial Pros - ABQ paths eat them for snacks - at least in my experience.

The city did get their act together this spring though - sprayed the sides of all the MUTs with pre-emergent herbicide. Have not seen any Goathead plants growing so far. Not even along Paseo del Norte, which is truly saying something since there they grow in the cracks of the path.

Corrales (where I live) is another story. There are some nice 5' diameter Goathead mats reaching out for me as I ride in the north end of town. The fall will be brutal.