Punctures.

I know I’m tempting fate and it will probably annoy the Puncture Fairy, but I’m going to discuss…shhhh…Punctures. Do you think she heard?

As you all may (or may not) remember I’ve had my share. The worst occasion was a whole 7, yes seven punctures on one  MTB ride along the Clent Hills. But I’ve had them regularly on my MTB commuter along the roads and canal towpaths over time.

I can deal with punctures no problem, on a MTB ride or a road cycle on my Giant Defy 2 they are just part of cycling’s rich tapestry, something to become proficient at repairing, taking the time out to relax while you fix them and generally enjoy the ambience of being outside.

It’s on a commute that you can do without them. That’s when they become a pain and in my experience they happen in the dark, wind and rain. Add on the time factor for added pressure and well, you can just hear the PF laughing her little head off!

Obviously Sod’s Law go hand in hand with the Puncture Fairy. That is if you’re not prepped it will definately happen, or if you are prepped it will happen at the worst time.

I am always prepped. It’s my OCD I think! Or my military trained anal attention to detail. Whatever, I never go on a bike ride without the proper kit.

My Puncture Fairy repellant kit consists of:

2 inner tubes

Puncture repair kit

3 steel tyre levers

Good quality pump

The above kit is a cure rather prevention.

Now here is where I’m really pushing my luck with her. Read this bit quietly and don’t tell anyone.

I can only go on my experiences but since this blog entry here I have not had any punctures on my commuter MTB. If you read that blog you’ll see why.

Schwalbe Marathon Plus Tyres I did a bit research back when I was plauged with punctures on my commute and decided that I’d chance those tyres. I’d read about Slime, and other preventative products but finally on the advice of my LBS Red Kite Cycles who run both Road and MTB racing teams that Schwalbe was the way forward.

They certainly work as advertised as I have been MTB commuter puncture free since July 5th 2010. That is both off road, towpath and on the road.

Here’s the downer though. They come at a cost in ride quality. I wouldn’t fit them to my road bike or my full suspension MTB. They are very heavy and you do notice them, where other tyres are just fit and forget.

So, in conclusion, if you want puncture free commutes where repairing the tyre and tube is just too inconveniant, then they’re the way forward. But if ride quality and a svelte rolling feel is important to you then you’d better have a the right kit with you!

Thanks to Steve over at the There and back again Blog for the idea for this missive.

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4 responses to “Punctures.

  1. Tubeless.
    I finally had to fit a tube to one of my UST Rubber Queen’s when a small flint rock tore the sidewall. It’s repairable. But, until then, it has a tube.

    On prep’ing the tyre to take the tube (trailside) I pulled out a selection of nails and massive thorns – proving that tubeless works.

    Slime can be a little on the heavy side – it collects at the bottom of the tube when static, taking a while to distribute, and until then the wheel can be wobbly.
    I recommend Stan’s fluid – looks like milk. Very fluid. Sits well in the tyre. Plugs holes nicely/quickly.

    The only downsides with tubeless are:-
    1. Initial cost.
    2. Faff with initial setup.
    3. You still need to carry a tube.
    4. Best if you also carry a tubeless repair kit (mini-tool, and glued string).
    5. You need to regularly check pressures – as you’ll lose air each time you puncture & it re-seals.
    6. Works best if your rims are suitable for tubeless.

    The Pro’s are obvious!! But, not forgetting: you cannot get a pinch-puncture (more of a XC/DH thing, than a commuting thing!).

    nb: When I lived 12miles from work I dedicated a set of wheels/tyres/tubes to commuting, and just ran Slime inners along with Specialized Armadillo tyres. Not as good as UST. But, better than not.

  2. Sometimes your blog reads like you’re riding my bike in my neighborhood, and reached the same conclusion. I went with Schwalbe’s as well for commuting. Heavy, rugged, almost bomb-proof. I opted instead of two bikes for two sets of wheels. I also carry a pannier when commuting with a laptop computer an change of clothes. Quite a load.

    Come weekend I swap the wheels and take the panier rack off the bike. The other set has more conventional road tires. Feels light and airy when I make the switch. Almost like I’m dancing on the pedals. Then of course Monday comes along and it’s back to the Schwalbe tank tracks.

  3. And thank you, Clive, for pointing out that you actually live in Birmingham – not Manchester. It’s small details like that which could keep me from exacting my revenge upon you.

    I can think of few things more annoying than a puncture on your way to work, in the rain, late for a meeting. I definitely would go in your direction, after satisfying myself that I couldn’t purchase armor-plated tires, I would go with the next-best thing. Whatever it took to ensure I almost never got a flat!

  4. I have the Schwalbe’s on my MTB for the road miles, Manchester to Blackpool once a year 🙂 They do roll fast but yes they’re heavy, just keep them rolling! It’s worth about 2mph over trailcentre knobblies (I run Racing Ralphs the rest of the year), which is a lot less effort over 60 miles.

    And so far I’ve not had a *shhh* puncture….

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