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Avoiding punctures on road bike
#1
Enough is enough. Three punctures on my road bike's rear tire within two weeks, my patience just jumped out of the window! What can I do to avoid having flat tires? For starters, I've always checked the tire for potential puncture causation ... tiny rocks, glass pieces.

Thanks, H.
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#2
(07-21-2019, 06:48 PM)hviz Wrote:  Enough is enough. Three punctures on my road bike's rear tire within two weeks, my patience just jumped out of the window! What can I do to avoid having flat tires? For starters, I've always checked the tire for potential puncture causation ... tiny rocks, glass pieces.

Thanks, H.

Punctures is a pain so first bulletpoint on my list -> choose your tires wisely! What tires do you have currently?
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#3
(07-22-2019, 05:08 PM)JoJoJo Wrote:  
(07-21-2019, 06:48 PM)hviz Wrote:  Enough is enough. Three punctures on my road bike's rear tire within two weeks, my patience just jumped out of the window! What can I do to avoid having flat tires? For starters, I've always checked the tire for potential puncture causation ... tiny rocks, glass pieces.

Thanks, H.

Punctures is a pain so first bulletpoint on my list -> choose your tires wisely! What tires do you have currently?

Continental Ultra Sport II on both wheels
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#4
(07-22-2019, 05:44 PM)hviz Wrote:  Continental Ultra Sport II on both wheels

Yeah, I also have had these puncture-prone Ultra Sport, but I switched rear tire to Schwalbe Durano, which was the perfect upgrade at that point; no issues so far with 1000+ miles done. If you want something even more durable, take Schwalbe Durano DD. My issue was all the tiny rocks on the side of the road, and from my experience having a more advanced rear tire is a no brainer. I still have Ultra Sport on front wheel Smile
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#5
(07-23-2019, 08:58 AM)Zviedrs Wrote:  
(07-22-2019, 05:44 PM)hviz Wrote:  Continental Ultra Sport II on both wheels

Yeah, I also have had these puncture-prone Ultra Sport, but I switched rear tire to Schwalbe Durano, which was the perfect upgrade at that point; no issues so far with 1000+ miles done. If you want something even more durable, take Schwalbe Durano DD. My issue was all the tiny rocks on the side of the road, and from my experience having a more advanced rear tire is a no brainer. I still have Ultra Sport on front wheel Smile

Cheers, thanks for the tire tip!
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#6
Also you shouldn't forget about the tire pressure. I always make sure that both tires are pumped up to 10 BAR (145psi) or the rear one even at 11 BAR (160psi) That's something I learned from a former semi-pro cyclists who was my training buddy for some months. Since those days I (try to) pump my tires before each ride ... perhaps skipping only in cases when there are back-to-back rides. All in all, when your road bike tires get a bit softer, then they're more prone to punctures.
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#7
(07-27-2019, 07:55 PM)Zviedrs Wrote:  Also you shouldn't forget about the tire pressure. I always make sure that both tires are pumped up to 10 BAR (145psi) or the rear one even at 11 BAR (160psi) That's something I learned from a former semi-pro cyclists who was my training buddy for some months. Since those days I (try to) pump my tires before each ride ... perhaps skipping only in cases when there are back-to-back rides. All in all, when your road bike tires get a bit softer, then they're more prone to punctures.

Cheers, one I know for sure - I must find floor pump with gauge.
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#8
Having tires with at least decent protection, hitting the right tire pressure and pumping them up before each ride, and often checking for tiny rocks or glass pieces that might have stuck to the tire - all these methods are great. However next to it always remember to bike safely and "read the road". Gutters are hazard, small holes, glass ... lessen the pressure on handlebar if there's an obstacle or hole with impact. You can avoid them by staying focused and paying attention Wink
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#9
My only recommendation is to stay in the main travel lane as much as possible, in the USA, the far right is deadly to tires. I rode a tour of 1500 miles without a flat and not using "puncture resistant" tires either; lucky I'm sure!

HPL
Ride Fast, Be Safe!
Howard
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#10
(04-30-2020, 05:03 AM)Criminal Wrote:  I rode a tour of 1500 miles without a flat and not using "puncture resistant" tires either; lucky I'm sure!

How did you manage that? I once began a 400 mile tour with a flat, before I even got to sit on the bike. The inner tube simply blew up overnight and I had an early morning surprise.

What was your route?
Autobahn
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#11
(04-30-2020, 10:23 AM)G_M Wrote:  
(04-30-2020, 05:03 AM)Criminal Wrote:  I rode a tour of 1500 miles without a flat and not using "puncture resistant" tires either; lucky I'm sure!

How did you manage that? I once began a 400 mile tour with a flat, before I even got to sit on the bike. The inner tube simply blew up overnight and I had an early morning surprise.

What was your route?

Thanks for making me laugh at your expense! Sorry, but I did slightly one better: I had just been laid off from my job after 10 years, was going to do some long distance riding since I would have some time to do so, I left my friend's house and wiped out in the first 50 feet! Broken collar bone! 2 months recovery, so much for my touring! Caused by the brand new tires I just installed which were covered with a "preservative" of some sort; bike went out from under me like l was on ice.

My tour went from northern Massachusetts to Washington DC, down through Amish country in PA, and then out to Champagne/Urbana IL. I did it in February through March; twas a bit chilly! Roadside camping w/o tent or sleeping bag; don't ask! Rode the first bike I bought myself; decent Peugeot that gave me zero problems. After that ride I became a bike rebuilder, now 40 years later still doing it. Have rode in East, West, and Northern Hemispheres; but not the Southern. Maybe a South American tour is calling?
My nickname, from others, came from being arrested for armed robbery of a McDonald's while on a bike and running from the cops; true, except I didn't rob anything, I hate McDonald's, and I didn't know I was being chased. The cops thought that due to my speed I must be guilty, I could maintain near 30mph for 30 minutes w/o problem; oh yeah I was active military at that time to boot! Cops were somewhat embarrassed, but unlike those unarmed individuals being shot at nowadays, I didn't argue or make one freaking move or we'd not be having this conversation today. I don't argue with muzzle velocity!

Alright folks, now you know a very tiny bit about me.

Thus my mantra: RIDE FAST, BE SAFE!
   
Ride Fast, Be Safe!
Howard
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#12
I had a double flat front and rear while riding on a paved trail and couldn't figure out why. Rare to see anything like the roadside trash I am normally avoiding. Tires showed no signs of punctures outside or inside. Pressure was 140-150 psi. Tubes showed nothing until I pumped them up off the rim using my water to find the holes, which turned out to be on the spoke side. Multiple micro holes developed at the spoke holes due to the high pressure causing the tube to push into the hole because of the rim tape not being able to adequately support the tube under pressure. Tape was of the cloth type which was in good condition and on the rims when purchased. The tubes were not old, but I did have some mileage on them. High pressure tape solved the problem, even with the existing tubes (after patching, just wanted to test my theory). Never had that issue again. The rims were Campy Vento, not sure if the hole is slightly larger than other rims, but I now use high pressure tape on anything that normally has tires rated at 110 psi or more (nearly all except my touring/training tires) to avoid that issue again. My bike shop does not even stock it!

HPL
Ride Fast, Be Safe!
Howard
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#13
140-160 PSI? Good grief, why? What size tires are you using? A typical 700 X 25c tire/tube combo only needs 90-110 PSI. Tubeless runs even less. Think about it: at 160 PSI, your tire is like a rock. If you run over anything sharp on the road, the tire is not going to deform to ride over it. The object isn't going to push into the road surface, either. It's going straight through your tire.
Also, you'd better check your rim specs if you intend to run those extremely high pressures. Nothing like running 160 PSI, hitting a good sharp bump in the road, and watching your carbon fiber rim explode.
BTW, I'm using Continental GP 5000s with tubes on Boyd 28mm carbon wheels, inflated to 100 PSI. Zero punctures in 1500 miles.
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#14
(05-04-2020, 02:05 PM)Criminal Wrote:  Thanks for making me laugh at your expense! Sorry, but I did slightly one better: I had just been laid off from my job after 10 years, was going to do some long distance riding since I would have some time to do so, I left my friend's house and wiped out in the first 50 feet! Broken collar bone! 2 months recovery, so much for my touring! Caused by the brand new tires I just installed which were covered with a "preservative" of some sort; bike went out from under me like l was on ice.

oh my, you beat me there!
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#15
(05-05-2020, 11:25 AM)Paul L. Wrote:  140-160 PSI? Good grief, why? What size tires are you using? A typical 700 X 25c tire/tube combo only needs 90-110 PSI. Tubeless runs even less. Think about it: at 160 PSI, your tire is like a rock. If you run over anything sharp on the road, the tire is not going to deform to ride over it. The object isn't going to push into the road surface, either. It's going straight through your tire.
Also, you'd better check your rim specs if you intend to run those extremely high pressures. Nothing like running 160 PSI, hitting a good sharp bump in the road, and watching your carbon fiber rim explode.
BTW, I'm using Continental GP 5000s with tubes on Boyd 28mm carbon wheels, inflated to 100 PSI. Zero punctures in 1500 miles.

Hi Paul,
Welcome aboard!
You are correct about some tires being as hard as a rock at their specified pressures, but these are racing tires that I run and are designed to be at that pressure, reducing the tire surface contact area and thus the rolling resistance. The part of the tire tread that is contacting the road at it's specified pressure is also the area that is most reinforced and/or has the greatest depth. Running most tires (at least road types) below their recommended minimum pressure now exposes the thinner and less reinforced, or unreinforced part of the tire to contact the road which makes it more prone to punctures and accelerated wear, never mind the degraded/dangerous handling it will have at lower than specified minimum pressures. I generally run 19mm-25 mm tires for racing, none have minimum pressures below 120 psi. Yes, I do run lower pressure tires for training and general cycling in the 80-110 psi range (23- 28mm), but again I am maintaining the recommended minimum pressures to avoid the aforementioned problems. There are plenty of narrow mid pressure tires out there, but they are designed to run at lower pressures, and will provide contact with the road where the manufacturer designed it to be due to tread design, wider area of reinforcement, etc. The "hard as a rock" effect is offset by a rider's choice of other equipment; frame, rims, saddle, etc. Everything is made of a purpose and each has it specific limitations dependent on use, terrain, riding style, and or personal preferences. I have no problem riding tires with pressures in excess of 120 psi for mileage of 50 miles or more. I can take the same frame and rims and easily gain or lose 10-20% of efficiency depending on which tire I use. If racing that's a lot of difference! As always, regardless of road tire and rim, it is incumbent upon the rider to pay due diligence to road surface and potential hazards. I would rather take the chance of getting a flat than having a bumper up my butt. I do speak with decades of experience regarding this. Overall, the flats that I have gotten (relatively few considering my miles biked) have had nothing to due with running high or mid pressure tires. I have no significant experience in cyclocross or mtb; it may very well be that the above considerations do not apply to these disciplines regarding tire pressure regarding the frequency of flats.
Ride Fast, Be Safe!
Howard
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#16
(05-05-2020, 11:25 AM)Paul L. Wrote:  140-160 PSI? Good grief, why? What size tires are you using?

Welcome, @Paul L.!
I believe that this one is targeted towards me too Rolleyes I have to make a correction, it's actually 10 Bar instead of 11 Bar that I've mentioned before, my bad here. I tend to pump them all the way up to the manufacturer's max recommended pressure. One should not go over or under the recommended Bars/psi. My road bike runs on:

Front: Continental Ultra Sport 700x23 (max 8.5 Bar / 120 psi), entry level yet durable enough
Rear: Schwalbe Durano 700x23 Race Guard dual compound (6.00-10.00 Bar / 85-145 psi)

They are pumped up to 120 psi and 145 psi respectively. Ever since I switched my rear from UltraSport to Durano, it has felt great. GP 5000 are beasts as far as I know. I would not mind having them as my next tire upgrade.
Merida Scultura 5000 (2015)
Merida Big Nine 400 (2019)
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#17
I would have to agree with Criminal and Zviedrs; keep at specified pressure whether low or high by design. One note of caution if you tend to inflate to the max or a little over: I have heard tires blowing while sitting at a triathlon transition from heating up in the sun, also heard some cries of dismay from some surprised riders. If I inflate under cooler conditions, I will go 5 psi below spec knowing that expansion will result, mostly if bike will be sitting still in direct sunlight; they absorb heat quickly. Or cover your tires with a white/light colored material. Black tires are obviously more prone due higher absorbency of heat.
Take care,
Jesper

"I am become Death, the destroyer of bicycles." NJS
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#18
Try going tubeless perhaps, I know it pretty hard to switch from clincher to tubeless as a roadie but take my word for it, its game changing, definitely good for you if you ride almost everyday, if you do get a flat on it, you can always put an innertube anyway
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#19
I must be very lucky.

Over the last five years, my road bikes have worn Continental GP 4000/5000 (one bike - 25mm) and Mavic Yksion (t'other bike - 23mm). I had not one puncture until about 3 months ago, when I must have run across a piece of glass, which sliced through the sidewall of both the tyre and the tube, about 10mm long gash. Oddly, I didn't even notice it until I went to use the bike the next time and found the tire flat. Not sure how I got damage like that without the tube deflating so rapidly I would have noticed. Oh well. Poltergeists, perhaps.

The 37mm Continental Tourides on my hybrid absorb ridiculous punishment on and off the road around here, too.

Knock on wood, hopefully no more punctures here for a while.
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#20
Since we are talking about punctures, I will write about my weird experience. I bicycled/traveled through Colombia, and Ecuador for nine months on a fat bike (June'22 -Fen'23). I did a 30-miler up a mountain before disassembling and packing it the next day. The bike made it back safely but the tubes did not. Both tubes developed punctures in transit while inside the cardboard box..:-) I had deflated the tires fully before packing. I found both leaks and patched them. One of them was due to a thorn I had picked up some 8 months ago in Colombia (that's some 1000 miles ago). I had fixed that leak and thought had taken out the thorn but somehow a piece stayed stuck in the tire. I rode my bike some 1000 mountainous miles after that fix but thorn never acted up until this flight back. I cannot explain what or how but that's my weird story about puncture from the past..:-(
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