The Chainlink

4 Flats in 4 Months. Facebook group advice is useless. I want your advice.

My daily work commute takes me on both Halsted and Clyborn.  I've have 4 flats in 4 months.  2 front and 2 back.  I'm looking for something economical to help me.  I'm getting kinda tired of changing flats.  Tougher tubes? What brand? Mr. Tuffy tire liner was suggested.  I have a friend that is pushing me to go tubeless but he's a mountain bike guy and I'm an asphalt guy so I'm concerned about the ride quality and $$$.  I had someone on Facebook suggest that I split an inner tube open and wrap the new tube in that.  I've heard to use Duct tape inside the tire.  I was looking at the Schwalbe Marathon GreenGuard City Tire, but the reviews said it had problems with punctures.  What do you folk's do?   Help me Chicago Bicycle Community!

This wasn't even my most recent flat.

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They're not "mushy" but they do transmit more road vibration than other tires I've used. When leaning in corners, they don't have the smooth feel of racing-oriented tires, but for a commuter bike, I don't find that to be much of an issue. 

as others below have said you will feel just about every bump, crack and imperfection in the road, plus increased road vibration (buzz) getting transmitted to the saddle and handlebars.

if you want to see for yourself i live in albany park. you are welcome to test ride my beater to see if you like how the tires feel.

if you want a high psi tire then you will like the Marathons. i like them on my beater bike simply because i want that bike to be as low maintenance as possible, but cannot tolerate riding that bike more than 10 miles at any one time because of how harsh the tires ride.

also, as others have said, periodic checking of your tires for embedded debris might slow down your frequency of flats, regardless of tires you are using.

I hate tires that ride like concrete, and I use large-volume low-pressure tires and I don't get an excessive number of flats. one a month sounds reasonable to me :) I've gotten two just on a single ride home! A tank of a tire like whatever the most-armored Marathon is will probably make you happiest. Also check your tires periodically for little bits sticking in them.

I hate a "mushy" ride.  Would that be the opposite of the concrete ride you're talking about?   

I guess "supple" is the word I'd use. "mushy" is what I would use for any tire that is being used at a pressure lower than appropriate for that tire. I'd probably ride, say, 700x45 Marathons at a significantly higher pressure than I'd run a 650x45 Compass tire, but neither would be "mushy" and they would ride very differently.

Just asking -- were all the flats on the same wheel?

Like I mention in the post. 2 front and 2 back.

I use Mr. Tuffy tire liners with cheap, non-fancy tires on all my street riding bikes.  Some people say Mr. Tuffys create more problems than they solve.  I don't buy that but will concede that I occasionally get micro holes (the kind where you ride home fine but then the next morning the tire is flat) that appear to be where the edges of the tire liners were.  Best to cut the liner to size and feather the cut edge with sandpaper, a dremel, or bench grinder.  I still believe that I get fewer flats overall because of them.

I have also been curious to try putting sealant directly in tubes for tire/rim combos that are not tubeless compatible.  There seems to be sufficient evidence (on YouTube at least) that it works very well, and would be far less expensive than buying Schwalbe marathons, just some new tubes (if your existing tubes don't have removable cores) and some sealant.

I've also used Mr. Tuffys and found them to be effective IF properly installed.

My luck with flats seems to come and go. What seems to work best for me is to check for glass stuck in tires as much as I can. I park my bike here in my office most days and after eating lunch, I'll flip it over and inspect the tires for glass working through the tread. I'll carefully use a thumbtack to work anything that's stuck in the tread out before it has a chance to make it all the way to the tube. I've found some pretty gnarly pieces of glass underneath some fairly minor looking cuts in the tread of the tire. I don't find anything most days, but probably once a week there'll be some piece of glass stuck in the tire trying to ruin a nice commute home. And if the glass punctures the tube while I'm trying to get it out (only happened once so far) at least I'm in my toasty office for the repair.

That's really interesting. Never occurred to me to do this. Thanks.

When you go on repeatedly about a firm, high psi ride, I thought you were riding a road bike! Ride quality is a relative and personal thing. For example, I would imagine that I would find your rig rather "relaxed" for my tastes, but it may fit you like an old shoe.

Schwalbe Marathons are a definite gold standard, but flats (like death and taxes) are inevitable with cycling. Furthermore, trade-offs are a given. Ride qualities may be affected/compromised in adopting solutions to chronic punctures.


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