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  1. #1
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    Flat tires

    Well I was out on a fire trail today and encountered my first flat. I've never had to do a flat repair before, but today I had to figure it out. Wasn't so bad except for trying to get the dang tire on and off the rim. I had two holes, each on the opposite side of the tube so I had to put on two patches, one each each side.

    So I'm wondering now that I've patched it, should I replace the tube or should this be okay to ride on with the patches? I've got a spare tube if I need to put it in, but it was a pain getting that tire off the first time lol and I'd hate to do it again. Actually, it wouldn't have been so bad if it weren't for all the mosquitos and gnats.

    I even have a couple tubes in my old walmart mongoose still. Can probably use those. Think I outta swap the tube?

  2. #2
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    I always ride on patched tubes but have a new one as a spare.

    Getting a tire on and off is fairly easy. Google you tube for a video. There are a couple of things you can to do to make it easier.
    Duct tape iz like teh Force. It has a Lite side and a Dark side and it holdz the Universe together.

  3. #3
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    I had watched a video about it probably 4 months ago but I must have forgotten the proper technique. Trying to use my tire tool and kept banging my knuckles on the spokes. then trying to figure out how to work the pump was somewhat of a challenge as well. But eventually got the job done.

    I'm sure it won't be the last time I'll have to patch a tube.

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    I also had my first flat the other day.... I carry a patch kit and spare tube but I did not attempt to repair the tube trail side. Puncture was caused by a thorn which I removed then I just swapped out the tubes and repaired the 'old' one when I got back home. No mosquitoes or things that bite

    Also learned another lesson: Take some of these 'wet wipes' with you in your pack - great for wiping off chain lube after you remove/replace the rear wheel! I forgot...and ended up with dirty hands for the rest of my ride.

    Another note... I was amazed at how flimsy the tyres seemed to be! I read about these 'folding' type tyres and thought yeah right..... but now I understand what the hell they are talking about. When I think back to how difficult tyres were to change when I was a lad....we had it tough in the old days

  5. #5
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    Were the holes in the tube together about an inch apart? If so, it was probably what's referred to as a "snake bite" or pinch flat and it's from running too low pressure and the tube gets pinched between the rim and the object you hit, likely a rock or log.

    Changing the tube gets easier with time. You just have to be careful not to pinch the tube with your tire lever. Do you have two tire levers or just one. Two makes things much easier if you have a tire that is tough to get off.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alen View Post
    I also had my first flat the other day.... I carry a patch kit and spare tube but I did not attempt to repair the tube trail side. Puncture was caused by a thorn which I removed then I just swapped out the tubes and repaired the 'old' one when I got back home. No mosquitoes or things that bite

    Also learned another lesson: Take some of these 'wet wipes' with you in your pack - great for wiping off chain lube after you remove/replace the rear wheel! I forgot...and ended up with dirty hands for the rest of my ride.

    Another note... I was amazed at how flimsy the tyres seemed to be! I read about these 'folding' type tyres and thought yeah right..... but now I understand what the hell they are talking about. When I think back to how difficult tyres were to change when I was a lad....we had it tough in the old days
    Amazing ain't it? Until 2 years ago I hadn't changed a bicycle tire in probably 15 years. Back then I did plenty of BMX tires and also old 27" road tires and man were they a pain in the a%$. It was best to lay them in the hot sun for hours first and it still took serious tire irons (or screwdrivers) to get them on and off. First time I saw one of these tires folded up in a box I freaked out. And the plastic tire "irons" made me laugh. I have changed several MTB and BMX tires over the last few years and seldom used any tools at all, bare hands do the job just fine.
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  7. #7
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    Yeah, the holes were about an inch apart or so. The punctures were really tiny. Almost like I ran over a nail or something. I've heard the term "pinch flat" but never really understood how it can happen. Did kinda resemble a snakebite. Teeny punctures, one toward the top of the tube and the other near the bottom. I have semi slick tires, kenda k885s I think, so I try to run with low pressure so I can try to get the knobs on the side to contact the trail.

    As for the levers, I've got two of them and had to use both to get the tire off. Lucky me, the flat was on the front. I don't think I would have been comfortable taking off the rear. With all those cogs and the derailleur and the chain, it's a bit intimidating. I'd do it if I have to, but Looks like it would be allot harder.

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    "bare hands do the job just fine."

    Exactly! I only used the lever for first/last bit just at the valve stem...taking care to push the valve in slightly to make a bit of space for the lever.

    I remember my mother getting mad at me because I used her 'best' spoons to get the job done back in the days when tyre levers were a luxury.
    aaaaaah ....the good ol days.... and they say elephants never forget

  9. #9
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    Crash, I see in your sig that you have a cliff 4900. How do you like that bike? That's the same one I'm running on.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gemini9 View Post
    Yeah, the holes were about an inch apart or so. The punctures were really tiny. Almost like I ran over a nail or something. I've heard the term "pinch flat" but never really understood how it can happen. Did kinda resemble a snakebite. Teeny punctures, one toward the top of the tube and the other near the bottom. I have semi slick tires, kenda k885s I think, so I try to run with low pressure so I can try to get the knobs on the side to contact the trail.

    As for the levers, I've got two of them and had to use both to get the tire off. Lucky me, the flat was on the front. I don't think I would have been comfortable taking off the rear. With all those cogs and the derailleur and the chain, it's a bit intimidating. I'd do it if I have to, but Looks like it would be allot harder.

    I'm sure someone with more experience than me will also comment...but I would guess that the reason you got the puncture was because the pressures were too low. Maybe not the right tyres for the job?

  11. #11
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    That's my sons bike, just got it Tuesday so its a little early to say too much yet. Its actually a 2010 model that I got off Ebay and its quite a bit better equipped than the 2011 model. Every other Bikesdirect bike I looked at improved in 2011 over 2010 specs. The 2010 has Deore LX rear derailleur and Deore shifters for 27 speeds and a Dart2 fork (non lockout though). The drive train is actually all one or two steps up the line from 2011 spec. Needless to say I am thrilled with Deore/XT level components for $380! But the graphics drive me crazy, it looks like it sais cli6f instead of Cliff.

    Edit: also has WTB Velociraptor tires, though I have no idea how those compare to your Kendas.
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  12. #12
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    Guess I should have said slightly better speced than the 2011 model. I thought the 2011 had a Dart1 but it actually has Dart2 plus lockout. And this years SLX derailleur might be just as good as last years XT due to trickle down technology. And I have no idea wether a Truvativ Isoflow crank is better or a Truvativ 5D.
    Quote Originally Posted by STT GUY View Post
    Screw the search function... you're new, ask the question(s). If anyone gets thier undies in a bunch it's thier problem.

  13. #13
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    Have you thought about using tubeless tyres? If you fill them with Stan's sealant you may probably never get a puncture again!

  14. #14
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    Well, the kenda k885s I'm running are semi-slicks. I'm not sure the velociraptors would work for me because I do ride on the side of the road quite frequently. But these kendas are really crap when I'm on some rougher terrain with allot of rocks and loose gravel. The fire roads I ride on have lots of gravel. I've don't really know much about tubeless. What are the advantages? Disadvantages?

  15. #15
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    Yep pinch flat, I've been getting them lately as I've been running lower pressure. Advantage to tubeless is no pinch flat and if you use sealant it can seal holes for you. Disadvantage it could be kind of messy.

    The alternative is to run a higher PSI but it's not a good option since you want to take full advantage of your tires.

    I've only gotten pinch flats on my 2.0 rear tire. The front is a 2.2 and I'm wondering if the wider tire makes it less likely to get a pinch flat?

    BTW taking the rear tire off is extremely easy.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by dundundata View Post
    Yep pinch flat, I've been getting them lately as I've been running lower pressure. Advantage to tubeless is no pinch flat and if you use sealant it can seal holes for you. Disadvantage it could be kind of messy.

    The alternative is to run a higher PSI but it's not a good option since you want to take full advantage of your tires.

    I've only gotten pinch flats on my 2.0 rear tire. The front is a 2.2 and I'm wondering if the wider tire makes it less likely to get a pinch flat?

    BTW taking the rear tire off is extremely easy.
    Tire size does make a difference, but typically, pinch flats usually happen in the rear. They happen in the front, but not as often.

  17. #17
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    Pinch flats suck. I guess I should put more air in my tires so I won't have to worry about the flats.

  18. #18
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    that's really all you can do with tubes. I need to start measuring the exact psi and see how low I can go without pinching.

  19. #19
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    Get some nice big 2.4 nobby nic tires they will be softer with great traction and they last long on the road. You just need to make sure you get the light ones I got some and love them they are light and sticky and they have big nobs so they last on the road. I think the snakeskin model plus the 2.4 tires for the ht makes it more comfortable over bumps. You will lose some speed with the wider tires but they will have more grip in the corners and they will be more puncture resistant and a softer ride.

  20. #20
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    Or you can just run what you got it does not matter just a suggestion if you want a upgrade. I think no matter what tire you run you will get flats it just happens. And you can run a tube with patches I run tubes with patches I have spare tubes with patches.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by gemini9 View Post
    Lucky me, the flat was on the front. I don't think I would have been comfortable taking off the rear. With all those cogs and the derailleur and the chain, it's a bit intimidating. I'd do it if I have to, but Looks like it would be allot harder.
    As a kid I too had trouble removing a rear wheel but over the years have learned a few things that make it tons easier:

    1. switch gears so that the chain is on the smallest gear.
    2. turn the bike upside down, on the handlebars and seat (tires up), then loosen the quick release
    3. grab the derailleur and rotate it up and backward, toward the rear of the bike. That lifts the chain out of your way.
    3. lift the wheel out.

    It is good to practice it a few times before hitting the trail.

  22. #22
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    Yep, sounds like you got a pinch flat. Run higher pressure. If I get a pinch flat, I will increase pressure by 5psi.

    You can still get 'pinch flats' on tubeless systems, it just cuts the sidewall of the tire instead of the tube. It usually takes a harder hit to do that, but it can happen.

    coopdad's tips are what I do to make it easier to R&R the wheel.

    To get the tire off easier, push the bead (on the side you are trying to remove) into the center channel so it has more room to be lifted over the side of the rim. Start about six inches over from the valve stem and work away from it. Insert the tire lever in line with a spoke that is from that side of the hub. As you lift the bead up over the side of the rim wall, there is usually a slot on the tire lever that you can hook to the spoke to keep that tire lever in place while you use the second lever. Insert the second lever at the next spot there is a spoke that is also on the same side and once you get that part of the bead, you might be able to push the lever around while unseating the bead. Sometimes you may need to hook that lever onto a spoke and use a third lever. I don't think I have ever had to hook more than two levers before the third would unseat the bead. That's why the plastic levers usually come in a pack of three, but most of the time I don't need more than two.

    Leave the other bead (and tire) on the rim. Remove the old tube.

    Run your finger tips GENTLY on the inside of the tire all the way around to make sure there are no thorns or other things still embedded into the tire or you risk it going flat again. If you fel a thorn, but can't grip it from the outside, you might be able to push it out from the inside. I sometimes carry a pair of tweezers for this reason. Even those flimsy ones found on some swiss army knives can be useful for this.

    Inflate the new tube just enough that it takes a round shape. This will help the tube to resist twisting when it gets pushed into place. Pull the bead back just over the valve hole and insert the valve stem through the valve hole.

    From there, if the valve is at 12 o'clock, grab the tube the tube at 6 o'clock and push it into the tire and work upwards on both sides until you get it all the way into the tire. Now push the bead up over the rim will at the valve and work away in both directions for about ten inches and then turn the wheel so the valve is at 6 o'clock and work the bead all the way over the rim wall. Make sure the tube stays in so it doesn't get pinched. If it's a tight fit, you can let some air out of the tube (though it should not have very much pressure in it, it can make it hard to keep the bead over the center of the rim's spoke bead), make sure the bead of that side of the tire is over the center of the rim so it gives the most slack to the bead. Sometimes that also means quarter-turning the wheel so the valve is at either 3 o'clock or 9 o'clock to get the last part of the bead over the rim wall. Most of the time, I can get the tire bead back on using only my fingers. Once ia while, I will have to use a lever to get the last part of the bead over, but rarely, and make sure you don't pinch the tube if you do.

    Once you have the tire all the way on, grab the valve stem and push it up into the tire a little bit while pushing the bead down, and then pull down on the stem. While holding the stem down, push down on the tire tread from above the stem to keep the bead into place. If you are using presta tubes, put the nut on so it holds the bead into place. Now attach the pump fill head and begin to air up the tire. Once you have enough air pressure to keep the bead in place at the valve, you can let go of that.

    As you air up the tire, the bead should pop into place. there is usually a 'line' around the circumference of the tire that you can use as a reference to make sure the bead is seated all the way around on both sides of the tire. You may have to put more pressure than you ride with to seat the bead, and then release some pressure to suit.

    Sounds a little complicated, but it all goes fast and will make sure you don't have further problems when you need them the least (out on the trail).

  23. #23
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    Hmm. You know, I never checked the inside of my tire for thorns. Duh me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jpeters View Post
    Or you can just run what you got it does not matter just a suggestion if you want a upgrade. I think no matter what tire you run you will get flats it just happens. And you can run a tube with patches I run tubes with patches I have spare tubes with patches.
    I'll probably just run what I have for now until I wear them out bald. Will save me some money and I won't be wasting anything. At least they are nice on the road and hard packed trails and tow paths. They're okay and I don't really feel a need to upgrade them just yet. Even when these wear out, I might just grab the tires off my old walgoose and use those.

  25. #25
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    When you finally get good-quality knobbies, you'll kick yourself in the ass for waiting so long.

    I hold onto tubes I puncture. When I have six, or however many patches are in a patch kit, I patch all of them all at once, at home, where it's clean and easy to do a good job. I figure with the time I spend on the task and the expense of new tubes, I pay myself about $70/hour in trade to do that instead of always buying new ones.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alen View Post
    ended up with dirty hands for the rest of my ride.
    Not exactly the end of the world

    I'll just wipe off the worst, on grass, pine needles, sand, or other handy material.

    ..............
    Some tires are easier to take off and put on than others. I believe there are differences in rims too. So far, I havn't needed levers on folding tires but some wire bead tires have been more stubborn.

    "it IS possible that you are faster or slower than anybody else who is having at least as much if not more or less fun"

  27. #27
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    I always carry a papertowel or two with me or one of those wipey things you get from KFC.

  28. #28
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    1) I carry 2 latex gloves in my saddle bag for chain repair but they would work for tires too.
    2) I carry 2 spare tubes and a patch kit. 3 flats on one ride and a long walk back to the truck taught me to add the patch kit to the two spares.
    3) At $6 each I replace flats with new tubes. But thats just me.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by gemini9 View Post
    I always carry a papertowel or two with me or one of those wipey things you get from KFC.
    Chik-fil-a wipey things FTW!!

    I keep a few in my truck too..
    Bark less, wag more

  30. #30
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    Speaking of chik fil a, if you dress up like a cow tomorrow, they will give you free food.

    http://www.cowappreciationday.com

  31. #31
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    I average about 10 patches per tube for me. I always carry a good tube or 3 for the ride and a patch kit but rarely patch on the trail. I save that for TV time at home.

  32. #32
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    Of tire irons and latex gloves....

    You really don't need tire irons to get your tire off the rim. If you break the seal between the tire and the rim on both sides of the wheel and move the both beads to the middle of the rim you'll be able to roll the tire off the rim fairly easily. Repeat the process to put the tire back on.

    Latex gloves and wet wipes? Really? I wear my mountain biking gloves to work on the bike on the trail. When I'm done, I wipe my hands on whatever is available. I'd prefer not to pack out additional garbage.
    JPark - 3.5- don't listen to dremer

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by gemini9 View Post
    Yeah, the holes were about an inch apart or so. The punctures were really tiny. Almost like I ran over a nail or something. I've heard the term "pinch flat" but never really understood how it can happen. Did kinda resemble a snakebite. Teeny punctures, one toward the top of the tube and the other near the bottom. I have semi slick tires, kenda k885s I think, so I try to run with low pressure so I can try to get the knobs on the side to contact the trail.

    As for the levers, I've got two of them and had to use both to get the tire off. Lucky me, the flat was on the front. I don't think I would have been comfortable taking off the rear. With all those cogs and the derailleur and the chain, it's a bit intimidating. I'd do it if I have to, but Looks like it would be allot harder.
    That's not how those tires are meant to be run. Side knobbies are meant to contact the trail when you're leaning the bike over to corner and give you better traction while cornering (therefore the tire is supposed to be somewhat round, so you can have low rolling resistance while pedaling, but lean the bike over easily and have knobbies in contact when it is leaned over). If you don't have enough tread when you're riding in a straight line, and are having to deflate the tires until they are flat enough for the side knobs to hit the ground, you need to get tires that aren't semi-slicks.

    And I'd recommend practicing it at home if you aren't confident with removing your rear wheel (i.e. in the garage or somewhere where you're not covered in sweat and mosquitoes while figuring it out). Not that you can't figure it out on the trail, but why not get the figuring out done in a better environment so you can do it quickly on the trail?

  34. #34
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    Thanks Connie. You really helped me out allot in explaining about the semislick tires and how the side knobs were for cornering (yeah I'm still pretty new). I probably have been running them with the pressure too low all this time, because my rear tire tends to slip allot when going up a grassy or gravel hill. It's difficult to choose a tire because I do ride on the side of the road frequently. I'll just run these until the tread is worn out and my next set of tires will be a little more rugged. The semis were stock on the bike.

  35. #35
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    Racing tread patterns can be pretty good on the road, although fancier tread compounds often have poor wear life.

    So, something like the Maxxis Crossmark in a firmer compound could be just the ticket.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  36. #36
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    I ride my trail tires on the road as well I just put more air in them if it's more of a road ride. I'd rather ride a trail tire on the road than a road tire on the trail.

  37. #37
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    Pump up your pressures more, you got a pinch flat/snake bite puncture (figure of speech)

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by gemini9 View Post
    Thanks Connie. You really helped me out allot in explaining about the semislick tires and how the side knobs were for cornering (yeah I'm still pretty new). I probably have been running them with the pressure too low all this time, because my rear tire tends to slip allot when going up a grassy or gravel hill. It's difficult to choose a tire because I do ride on the side of the road frequently. I'll just run these until the tread is worn out and my next set of tires will be a little more rugged. The semis were stock on the bike.
    Look on the sidewall of the tire for min & max pressure.

    Do not run much under the suggested min pressure. Typically, a 2.0 X 26 semi-slick is spe\c'ed for 45 psi min & 65 psi max. In that case I wouldn't go under 40 psi.

    I sometimes take my Specialized Crosstrail sport off road. The 700X45C semi-slick tires are spec'ed @ 50 psi (min) to 85 psi (max). The only time I have found that reduced psi was needed was in deep, loose gravel or sand. I drop the front to 45 psi & the rear to 60 psi. that helps keep the tires from sliding out when I get into deep $hit.

    It's more of a "floatation" issue than traction.

    BTW: From your post, it looks like you keep your "spare" tube @ home.

    If that's the case, it won't do you any good there. Take your spare tube W/you on the trail.

    Like someone posted, you can swap tubes on the trail & save the patch job for home. You should still carry your patch kit though. You never know when you might get 2 or even 3 flats on a trail ride.
    Those that say "hardtails rule" never rode the miles I ride on the trails I ride.

  39. #39
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    Just for the sake of having a more normative perspective on tire pressures...

    I keep my 26x2.1" tires inflated to 25 psi, front and back. I weigh around 153 lb lately.
    The 700x37 Redline 'cross tires on my 'cross bike are at 32 front and 40 rear. The 34mm tires that will go on it closer to racing season get a bit more pressure - 37 and 45. 40 gave me pinch flat problems with those tires. More serious 'cross racers running tubulars use lower pressures for the same or smaller tires.

    Acceptable tire pressures printed on the sidewall are to give what the manufacturer's engineers and lawyers see as acceptable performance and wear life for someone of some arbitrary weight they think is representative, plus a safety margin. A mountain biker is well served by experimentation.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrwSwitch View Post
    Just for the sake of having a more normative perspective on tire pressures...

    I keep my 26x2.1" tires inflated to 25 psi, front and back. I weigh around 153 lb lately.
    The 700x37 Redline 'cross tires on my 'cross bike are at 32 front and 40 rear. The 34mm tires that will go on it closer to racing season get a bit more pressure - 37 and 45. 40 gave me pinch flat problems with those tires. More serious 'cross racers running tubulars use lower pressures for the same or smaller tires.

    Acceptable tire pressures printed on the sidewall are to give what the manufacturer's engineers and lawyers see as acceptable performance and wear life for someone of some arbitrary weight they think is representative, plus a safety margin. A mountain biker is well served by experimentation.
    At 153# you are far below the average weight of an "adult" male. I weigh nearly 100# more than you and most will outweigh you by 30-40# or more.

    There is no point in running LESS pressure than necessary for traction. It only makes climbing harder & does not offer any benefit for MOST riders.

    An overinflated tire (within specs) will have predictable loss of traction.

    An underinflated tire fails W/O warning.
    Those that say "hardtails rule" never rode the miles I ride on the trails I ride.

  41. #41
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    And I'm still above my best racing weight.

    I'm not saying that your tire pressure choice is wrong for you, or for other riders who have 100 lb on me.

    What I am saying is that it has a lot to do with rider weight, and the range of pressures printed on the sidewall of a tire is pretty conservative and many of us find our favorite pressures to lie outside of that range.

    I wouldn't say I'm running less pressure than necessary for traction. I don't find my traction becomes compromised until my tires start to wallow. If my tires wallow or I pinch flat, I add 5 psi.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  42. #42
    Cantankerous Old Fart
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrwSwitch View Post
    And I'm still above my best racing weight.

    I'm not saying that your tire pressure choice is wrong for you, or for other riders who have 100 lb on me.

    What I am saying is that it has a lot to do with rider weight, and the range of pressures printed on the sidewall of a tire is pretty conservative and many of us find our favorite pressures to lie outside of that range.

    I wouldn't say I'm running less pressure than necessary for traction. I don't find my traction becomes compromised until my tires start to wallow. If my tires wallow or I pinch flat, I add 5 psi.
    Agree 100%. It's just that when low tire pressure is quoted in XX psi, some novices might misinterpret that W/O the caution to consider rider weight.

    For a novice, I feel it's better to ere a bit on the high side of tire pressure. It results in fewer surprises.
    Those that say "hardtails rule" never rode the miles I ride on the trails I ride.

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