What’s the number one reason people hang their bikes in the garage and never take them down again? Flat tires. The biggest ride-to-ride bummer we all face as self-respecting mountain bikers? The possibility of a flat tire. What happens immediately after you say out loud that you haven’t had a flat tire in months? You get a flat tire.
Okay, so we all agree that flat tires stink. The good news is that while flat tires will always be part of the mountain biking experience, by understanding why a tire flats, you can reduce the number of flats you need to repair.
So you spent big bucks on an ultra-lightweight set of race tires and you
are getting flats every other ride. What did you expect? Those tires
are so thin it is like riding on tubes. That may be fine for a two-hour
race on a course that was checked by the race promoter, but it ain’t
gonna cut it in the real world. If you trail ride, you need a slightly
heavier tire that has good tread and a firm sidewall.
Thin skin: Using cross-country race tires won’t afford you the puncture protection of a trailbike tire. Looking closely at the sidewall of this cross-country tire reveals the threads of the casing. That’s thin.
SPIKE AND KNIFE TERRAIN
There are regions that are just tough on tires and tubes. In these areas, even if you run more air pressure in the tubes and pick your lines carefully and run thicker tires, you are still going to get flats. Tire liners from companies like Slime and Mr. Tuffy are a smart addition to your tires. They offer one more layer of protection against punctures. Sure they add weight, but a little more weight for a lot fewer flats is a fair trade-off.
STAN THE MAN
We have touted Stan’s NoTubes for years for their performance-enhancing
qualities, but the stuff has an even better reputation for its flat
prevention properties. Stan’s favorite trick at any presentation is to
drive nails into a tire, remove the nails, and watch as his secret sauce
seals the holes. It is amazing stuff that has often been imitated but
never equaled. It is a bit of a hassle to convert your wheels and, yes,
it can be a messy task, but who cares, if it cuts the number of rides
ruined by a flat tire to almost zero? Check out our "Mountain Bike Action How To: Installing a Stan's NoTubes Tubeless Conversion Kit"
Sharp edge: Ever take a close look at the holes drilled in your rim? They
have sharp edges that may be the cause to your constant flatting. Be sure your rim tape is in good condition and totally covers the edges of the rim's holes.
Tape it shut: Electrical tape will work in a pinch, but it probably will add a little extra weight to your wheels when compared to a good-quality rim strip.