TIPS FOR AVOIDING PUNCTURES25 June, 2014 0 comments
TIPS FOR AVOIDING PUNCTURES
Punctures can be quite off putting for new and recreational cyclists, particularly if you’re not equipped with the knowledge or kit to get yourself back on the road.
Tejvan Pettinger from CyclingUphill.com discussing his top tips here for avoiding punctures: “It’s a shame many beginners get put off by punctures because with a bit of preparation, you can make punctures a very rare experience. I blame cycle manufacturers who sell cheap hybrid bikes and put on cheap, useless tyres which are more likely to puncture. I’m sure everybody who buys a bike would prefer to pay an extra £20 to get puncture resistance tyres, but in the pursuit of cheaper bikes, we end up buying cheap tyres – which puncture and then we get put off cycling.”
The quick checklist for avoiding punctures
- Buy the best, puncture resistant tyres
- When replacing an inner tube, be careful to put it on properly. Use fingers not tyre levers (avoid getting inner tube caught between rim and tyre)
- Replace worn tyres
- Keep tyres at recommended psi (if too low, they are more likely to get pinch flat)
- Avoid the grittiest part of the road, where punctures are more likely
1. Puncture resistant tyres
If you buy a road bike or hybrid bike, there are some excellent tyres, which have very strong puncture resistance. This is the best investment and upgrade you can make to any bike. Unless you are racing, don’t worry about the extra weight. You won’t really notice it for a commute into town, but you will appreciate the reduction in punctures.
On a commuting bike, I would suggest something like an Armadillo Specialized All Condition or Schwalbe Durano/Marathon. Both tyres are very puncture resistant.
Unfortunately, at the moment it is hard to get completely puncture resistant tyres for road bikes. For some bikes you can get solid tyres, which offer a puncture resistant ride, but I wouldn’t want to ride them. When racing I always choose a tyre with good layers of puncture resistance, at least 1 or 2 kevlar belts. For training and even racing, I would rather choose a slightly heavier tyre and have an improved chance of avoiding a puncture. Only on very short hill climbs, will I risk the lightest tubulars.
2. Avoid the grit at the side of the road
Often on busy roads grit and debris accumulates on the side of the road; riding amongst all this grit definitely increases the chance of getting a puncture. Don’t feel pushed into the edge, keep an eye on road surface and avoid potential problems. Also, it’s important to look out for potholes, if you ride over a pothole, you can puncture or even worse come off and break your wheel.
3. Put on the tyre properly – avoid pinch punctures
The biggest cause of ‘repeat punctures’ is putting on a tyre with tyre levers. This invariably causes a pinching of the inner tube between rim and tyre. To avoid this, it is important to always put a tyre back on with your hands.
4. Tubeless and self-fixing slime
Another option is to go tubeless. Tubeless avoids pinch punctures. Also, you can put self-healing slime into a tubeless, so if you do puncture, the slime should automatically seal the puncture, and avoid 99% of punctures.
5. Correct tyre pressure
At a low tyre pressure, you are more likely to get pinch punctures. This is why mountain bikers are much more likely to use tubeless. By running tubeless they can run low psi of 30ps – 40psi – without worrying about getting a pinch puncture (inner tube stuck between tyre and rim). If you run ordinary inner tubes and tyres and keep a low psi, you may end up with a pinch puncture.
6. Use new inner tubes
Rather than use a puncture repair kit, consider maybe just buying inner tubes in bulk. At least a failed puncture repair is one less thing to worry about.
8. Check tyres for wear/scratches and embedded grit
Frequently check tyres for wear. Another good thing to do is to check for pieces of glass that have got embedded in the tyre. I tend to use a sharp point (nail or safety pin) and flick the grit out. This prevents the grit getting pushed further into the tyre and causing a puncture at a later date.
9. Make Sure there is rim tape on the wheel
I have had two punctures because the rim tape slipped off the centre of the wheel; this meant the inner tube was in direct contact with metal rim, and this caused a puncture because the metal rim can have sharp edges.
10. Avoid riding in the rain
People often find that riding in the rain causes an increased chance of puncture. I think this may be due to the fact that the water reduces friction and makes it easier for grit to penetrate the tyre. I guess nobody would choose to ride in the rain unless they can avoid it, however you should be prepared for higher risk of puncture if it is wet.