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  1. #1
    ballbuster
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    Frickin flats!

    I've been riding my CX bike to work, rolling on Panaracer TVal Messenger tires, 25c with kevlar belts (so they claim) and slime tubes.

    I really seems that every other day of commuting, I get a flat. Yeah, I hit some occasional glass in the road when I can't avoid it, and there are some trees on my commute that drop these acorn-like seeds. The shells break apart and leave sharp shards that seem to poke holes in my tires.

    Now, it seems to be any of these hazards should be no problem with the slime, even if they do get past the tire carcass.... but no. The worst part about Slime is if you do get a flat, you can't really patch it. At least, I have never successfully patched a Slimed tube.

    I bought a set of Panaraer UrbanMax 32c tires. They look pretty much like bigger messenger tires, but with a steel bead and thicker carcass. With Slimed tubes hopefully, they'll do the trick. Weight is like 350g, but that isn't totally horrible for a tough comfort bike city tire. The Gotham tire they sell is like 700g.

    If not, I'm getting ready to start trying stupid stuff, like those plastic tire liners, or 'the system' I have read about on Drunk Cyclist.

    'The System' is you take a road tire and innertube, and stuff it into a fatter comfort bike tire. So basically, you run a tube, an thin tire, and a thick ass tire over all of that. Must weigh a ton, but that is a lot of tire carcass to poke through.

    So, short of getting non-pneumatic tires, what are folks having good luck with?

  2. #2
    ol'guy who says hi &waves
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    I don't have any answers for a CX. I can't imagine a slime tube working at 40+psi. I picture it blowing its own snot rocket at the puncture site.

    I'd use the liners and keep looking for tougher tires.

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  3. #3
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    If you can fit them on the rims/frame, the Schwalbe Big Apples are supposedly pretty tough (although the narrowest is 2.0", they do come in a 29x2.0). I have a pair arriving tomorrow, so I'll know for sure then. However, they are heavy.

  4. #4
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    Are you sure you are running the pressure high enough. If you are having lots of issues that is usually the case. With a decent tire and the right pressure it will lessen the odds of a flat. Having the softer tire allows the tire to conform around an object instead of rolling over it or kicking it out and when it conforms there is a better chance of flat. I run most tires (road and commute) at the max psi.
    Some times its just bad luck though. Went all of last season with over 4000km and not one mechanical or flat and already 2 flats this year.

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  5. #5
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    I ride in Arizona and after the rain we get a ton of goat heads and cactus thorns on the streets. The best bet at that time I find is in fact the Panaracer urban max tire. Cheap and heavy but it took the better part of about a week for a piece of glass to work its way through the tire and no small piece at that. It also survived numerous rocks, glass fields and goat head fields.

    Worked like a charm. I finally discarded slime tubes all together.

    Specialized armadillo tires seem to work well. Continental all seasons with gatorskin are a good choice but less than the Specialized tires which are less than the Panaracers.

    Finally liners are a good last choice but are finicky and add even more weight to the extreme edge of the rotating mass.
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  6. #6

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    I've never really heard of those tires(panaracer messengers) being used with commuters on my other larger forum. Schwalbe Marathon Plus is what people swear by there. They are heavy and expensive but many users there report very good experiences with them. If I had a huge problem with flats I would not hesitate to switch to this tire.

    I've been on Specialized Armadillos for a few hundred miles and they seem good so far. These are also very popular on the other forum. I don't have a huge problem with flats so I took the Armadillos over the Marathon Pluses for less weight. Not that weight matters much on a commuter.

  7. #7
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    I've been using Panaracer 737's on the rear of my fixed gear. I skid on it a lot and it's lasted a year and still going strong. I've only gotten one flat and that was from a very sharp piece of glass that got rammed almost all the way through the tire. The glass actually plugged the hole it made it in the tube slightly.

  8. #8
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    I've run armadillos and flack jackets. Sliming the tubes made a much bigger difference, even in my 700C tires. You can do a google search to find out how to slime a presta tube.
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  9. #9
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    I used to use slime tubes...Too many flats. Switched to Mr Tuffys (liners) with standard tubes on my 26 x 2.0 tires. No flats in 2000 miles. KOW. Recently put 700c rims on with Continental Contact 28s...no liners. Continental guarantees no flats for 1 year. i'll keep everyone posted, but so far 200 miles and still perfect. I've run over glass, metal, and Colorado's famous Goathead thorns.

  10. #10
    Viva Las Peli Taco
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    I converted my tires to Stans No-Tubes three years ago... NO FLATS Sure I have punctured the tire but it sealed up un about 10 seconds each time with minimal loss of pressure.

  11. #11
    ballbuster
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    Yeah, but....

    Quote Originally Posted by Rockfish Dave
    I converted my tires to Stans No-Tubes three years ago... NO FLATS Sure I have punctured the tire but it sealed up un about 10 seconds each time with minimal loss of pressure.
    ... it probably doesn't work too well on cyclocross/road wheels.

    For flat prevention, is it really different than Slime tubes? I understand the benefits for mountain bikes, but has that translated to road bikes yet? I know hutchinson and shimano have a road tubeless system going. Is anybody actually using it?

  12. #12
    ballbuster
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    I tried the....

    Quote Originally Posted by wheelbender6
    I've run armadillos and flack jackets. Sliming the tubes made a much bigger difference, even in my 700C tires. You can do a google search to find out how to slime a presta tube.
    ... cut a tiny hole, squirt Slime in there, and patch method. Sometimes it works. I still have had close to no luck with Slime for patching punctures.

  13. #13
    Viva Las Peli Taco
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    Sorry wasn't paying attention, did not realize you were talking about 700cc wheels.

    It is different than slime tubes both in weight and effectiveness, speaking from expirience.

    I think the 'Gheto Tubeless' method would be worth a try.
    Last edited by Rockfish Dave; 05-02-2008 at 01:00 AM.

  14. #14
    Viva Las Peli Taco
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    Found this

    Found this else where:

    Another 26" tube fan here, for 700cc wheels. Buy a pint of sealant, two tubes, and run with it.


    1. Inflate tubes a bit- get 'em stretched enough that the fit over the rim.
    2. Put tube over rim.
    3. Slit tube down the middle
    4. Fold back flaps.
    5. Seat tire.
    6. Inflate. Make sure the tire will fill before you try putting goo in. You'll probably need an air compressor.
    7. Deflate, add Stan's, reinflate.
    8. Slosh the goo around in the tire. Check out the directions on Stan's website.
    9. Trim extra tube with a razor blade.
    10. Ride.

    Here is another how too:

    Inexpensive Tubeless Mountain Bike Tire Conversion

    You can convert virtually any mountain bike tire to tubeless using this system regardless of the tire being new or used. The lighter the tire casing, the easier it will be to mount, but the more it will leak initially and the more frequently you will need to top up the air pressure. Tires with large holes or cuts in the casing should be repaired first or not used.

    1. First, assemble all of the supplies you will need including:
    - Liquid latex (mold builder)
    - PVC (electricians) tape
    - 20 inch Schrader bicycle tube (26" in your case)
    - Scissors
    - Tire levers
    - Screwdriver
    - Spray bottle with soap/water mixture
    - Tire
    - Air compressor
    - Small squeeze bottle with narrow spout
    - Valve-stem core remover tool

    2. Ensure that the inner rim surface is clean (remove any old rim strips or tape). Apply PVC tape to cover and seal spoke holes.

    3. Poke a hole in the PVC tape over the valve hole with a screwdriver to allow access for the valve stem.

    4. Stretch a 20 inch (26") tube over the rim (this is a very tight fit so don't be afraid to use a little muscle).

    5. Inflate the tube and centre it over the rim.

    6. Puncture the tube over the center line and cut completely around. "Flap" the loose ends open until they lay over the rim edges.

    7. Spray this exposed edge liberally with the soapy water mix - this will really help get the tire onto the rim.

    8. Spray the tire liberally with the soapy water, again to lubricate it.

    9. Mount the tire using care not to damage the tube's rim-strip.

    10. Once the tire is mounted, remove the valve-stem core.

    11. Mix your liquid latex (most Mold Builder will be far too thick…..dilute it with warm water so that the end product looks like Creamo, Half-and-Half or Light Cream.

    12. Place the diluted mixture in the squeeze bottle and squeeze this directly into the valve-stem…..for 2.5 or larger tires, you will probably want to use about 120ml initially as you will probably lose some during the inflation process. You will likely only need about 60-80ml to keep the tire nicely sealed and flat-proof. Smaller volume tires can use about 50% this initial amount.

    13. Replace the valve-stem core.

    14. Visually inspect the tire bead. Ensure that it is in contact with the tube's rim-strip all the way around on both sides. You can manipulate the tire to make this happen.

    For brand new wire-beaded tires (or any brand new tire) you can improve this initial contact by first mounting the tire with a regular tube, pumping up the pressure to about 60 psi and letting it sit this way for a couple of days - when you remove the tire from this conventional mount, the bead will no longer be deformed in any way and will usually mount up on the tubeless tire much easier.

    15. Completely soak the side wall of the tire on both sides just prior to inflation.

    16. Hang the tire from a hook during inflation (do not put it on the floor as pressure and the weight of the tire/rim will deform the part of the tire that is in contact with floor and make it difficult to seat).

    17. Inflate with an air compressor.

    18. Once inflated, you will see lots of soapy bubbles near the bead. These are from small air leaks. Tip the wheel on edge such that the latex inside will come into contact with the area where the air leak is located. By rocking the wheel back and forth and then flipping it and repeating on the other side, you will ensure a good coating of latex and thus a good seal of these leaks.

    19. Cut the excess rubber from the tube rimstrip (about 1/8 inch will likely remain visible)

    20. **IMPORTANT STEP** - Mount up the tire right away and go ride around your neighbourhood for 20-30 minutes…..this ensures a good seating in of the tire and good distribution of latex to all areas where its needed.
    Congratulate yourself….you're done with the conversion and with flat tires. You will need to check your air pressure and add air over the next few days until all the pores in the tire sidewalls seal. Check air pressure weekly and add more latex about every 6-8 weeks as needed.
    Last edited by Rockfish Dave; 05-02-2008 at 12:36 AM.

  15. #15
    ballbuster
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    Seen that...

    Quote Originally Posted by Rockfish Dave
    Found this else where:

    Another 26" tube fan here, for 700cc wheels. Buy a pint of sealant, two tubes, and run with it.


    1. Inflate tubes a bit- get 'em stretched enough that the fit over the rim.
    2. Put tube over rim.
    3. Slit tube down the middle
    4. Fold back flaps.
    5. Seat tire.
    6. Inflate. Make sure the tire will fill before you try putting goo in. You'll probably need an air compressor.
    7. Deflate, add Stan's, reinflate.
    8. Slosh the goo around in the tire. Check out the directions on Stan's website.
    9. Trim extra tube with a razor blade.
    10. Ride.

    Here is another how too:

    Inexpensive Tubeless Mountain Bike Tire Conversion

    You can convert virtually any mountain bike tire to tubeless using this system regardless of the tire being new or used. The lighter the tire casing, the easier it will be to mount, but the more it will leak initially and the more frequently you will need to top up the air pressure. Tires with large holes or cuts in the casing should be repaired first or not used.

    1. First, assemble all of the supplies you will need including:
    - Liquid latex (mold builder)
    - PVC (electricians) tape
    - 20 inch Schrader bicycle tube (26" in your case)
    - Scissors
    - Tire levers
    - Screwdriver
    - Spray bottle with soap/water mixture
    - Tire
    - Air compressor
    - Small squeeze bottle with narrow spout
    - Valve-stem core remover tool

    2. Ensure that the inner rim surface is clean (remove any old rim strips or tape). Apply PVC tape to cover and seal spoke holes.

    3. Poke a hole in the PVC tape over the valve hole with a screwdriver to allow access for the valve stem.

    4. Stretch a 20 inch (26") tube over the rim (this is a very tight fit so don't be afraid to use a little muscle).

    5. Inflate the tube and centre it over the rim.

    6. Puncture the tube over the center line and cut completely around. "Flap" the loose ends open until they lay over the rim edges.

    7. Spray this exposed edge liberally with the soapy water mix - this will really help get the tire onto the rim.

    8. Spray the tire liberally with the soapy water, again to lubricate it.

    9. Mount the tire using care not to damage the tube's rim-strip.

    10. Once the tire is mounted, remove the valve-stem core.

    11. Mix your liquid latex (most Mold Builder will be far too thick…..dilute it with warm water so that the end product looks like Creamo, Half-and-Half or Light Cream.

    12. Place the diluted mixture in the squeeze bottle and squeeze this directly into the valve-stem…..for 2.5 or larger tires, you will probably want to use about 120ml initially as you will probably lose some during the inflation process. You will likely only need about 60-80ml to keep the tire nicely sealed and flat-proof. Smaller volume tires can use about 50% this initial amount.

    13. Replace the valve-stem core.

    14. Visually inspect the tire bead. Ensure that it is in contact with the tube's rim-strip all the way around on both sides. You can manipulate the tire to make this happen.

    For brand new wire-beaded tires (or any brand new tire) you can improve this initial contact by first mounting the tire with a regular tube, pumping up the pressure to about 60 psi and letting it sit this way for a couple of days - when you remove the tire from this conventional mount, the bead will no longer be deformed in any way and will usually mount up on the tubeless tire much easier.

    15. Completely soak the side wall of the tire on both sides just prior to inflation.

    16. Hang the tire from a hook during inflation (do not put it on the floor as pressure and the weight of the tire/rim will deform the part of the tire that is in contact with floor and make it difficult to seat).

    17. Inflate with an air compressor.

    18. Once inflated, you will see lots of soapy bubbles near the bead. These are from small air leaks. Tip the wheel on edge such that the latex inside will come into contact with the area where the air leak is located. By rocking the wheel back and forth and then flipping it and repeating on the other side, you will ensure a good coating of latex and thus a good seal of these leaks.

    19. Cut the excess rubber from the tube rimstrip (about 1/8 inch will likely remain visible)

    20. **IMPORTANT STEP** - Mount up the tire right away and go ride around your neighbourhood for 20-30 minutes…..this ensures a good seating in of the tire and good distribution of latex to all areas where its needed.
    Congratulate yourself….you're done with the conversion and with flat tires. You will need to check your air pressure and add air over the next few days until all the pores in the tire sidewalls seal. Check air pressure weekly and add more latex about every 6-8 weeks as needed.
    ... and was thinking about trying it on my mountain bike.

    But I don't think I could trust that on a tiny tire pumped to 100 psi, and then try to rail it around a pothole lined turn. I would be worried it would blow off the rim. Suddenly losing a tire in traffic at speed is reeaaaally not fun. I know because it happened to me once and almost pitched me into the line of cars.

    I 'pershiate the input, tho. It sounds more like I need tires with better armor.

  16. #16
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    I feel your pain....I've got an old Raleigh converted to a SS I use to commute. About a week ago, I managed 2 flats on one ride (of course, I was in a hurry at the time too). The old 27x1.25" can be a bugger to change (only tires I've found are Chin Sheng nylon jobs).

    I can feel your pain about loosing a wheel at a good clip too...had a pannier jump and, of course, it ended up wedging between the wheel and frame....instantly stopped rear wheel while doing 33-34 km/h. Drifting may be fun, but not on a bike....wore through the tire so much you can see light through it.
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  17. #17
    Viva Las Peli Taco
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    My commuter is 26" running 85-90lbs pressure with no problems... for the past two years. Not saying that it could not happen but in my expirience I have had no issues at all. I cannot say the same for running tubes.

  18. #18
    Epic Photographer
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    Schwalbe Marathon Plus. I run them 4 seasons on my single speed CX commuter. I have yet to have a puncture. They weigh 2 1/2 tonnes each.

  19. #19
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    700c slime tubes

    You can buy Slime brand 700c presta tubes in std & light weight versions. Also Schwalbe, and Continental tubes have removeable/replaceable Presta valves. You can spot them by the wrench flats in the threaded area where the cap screws on. Just remove the valve and slime them like a schrader valve tube.

  20. #20
    ballbuster
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    Did that...

    Quote Originally Posted by William P
    You can buy Slime brand 700c presta tubes in std & light weight versions. Also Schwalbe, and Continental tubes have removeable/replaceable Presta valves. You can spot them by the wrench flats in the threaded area where the cap screws on. Just remove the valve and slime them like a schrader valve tube.
    Quote Originally Posted by pimpbot
    I've been riding my CX bike to work, rolling on Panaracer TServ Messenger tires, 25c with kevlar belts (so they claim) and Slime tubes.
    I'm finding that Slime is pretty dang close to useless at road bike tire pressures. I do mountain rides in the land of many goat heads, and Slime seems to work fine for that. Heh, one ride without a Slime tube, I counted 15 holes in one tube. I'm guessing that a piece of glass is poking a hole big enough for the Slime to just be squirted through at the higher tire pressure. Also, the volume is so low that any air loss means a huge loss in pressure.

    Also, Bontrager tubes have removable cores. I used those for a ghetto tubeless conversion once. My Ghetto tubeless lasted about two rides, and then it wouldn't seal itself, and left me with a big mess.

    I got the Panaracer UrbanMax 32c tires mounted up on there now with (probably in vain) Slime tubes pumped to 95 psi. I'll see how that goes. Next step is some Mr Tuffy tire liners.

    Dang, I thought my CX bike was heavy before. Now I went and added another pound of rotating weight. I think my CX bike I think is now up to 23-24 pounds. My racerboy hardtail is 23 pounds with a suspension fork!

    *edit*

    I found the original info on the Panaracer TServ tire here:

    http://www.panaracer.com/urban.php
    Last edited by pimpbot; 05-03-2008 at 12:09 PM.

  21. #21
    ballbuster
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    After messing with...

    ... trying to add Slime to a CX tube (and it leaked! GRRRR!), I stopped by Tip Top Bikes in Oakland, and they had Specialized Airlock tubes in stock in 28-38c*700 in stock. Perfect if it works. I could only find Slime road size tubes (19-23c). My theory is also that the stretched out tube doesn't want to seal.

    Hope this works.

    Kind of expensive at $10, but cheaper than adding Slime to tubes, having them last one ride and throwing the mess out.

  22. #22
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    Sealant is the answer.

    I use to get flat once or twice a week. It was so fustrating but had to find some way of prevnting it. Finally found a solution after trying Slime tube, slime liner, and Mr. Tuffy (works the best out of the three). I use a light weight bontrager tube that has removeable presta core. Since I use Stan selant for my mtn bike, I injected the sealant in the bontrager tube. Took a thorn and glass out the other day and the selant did the job. You can buy 2 ounces of sealant at LBS. This was also suggested at notubes.com for roadies.

  23. #23
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    I'm a belt and suspenders kinda guy. So, I used to run the Specialized Airlocks inside the Armadillo tires on my roadie. Never had much luck with the Airlocks; as others have said, those triple digit pressures, it don't seal well. Plus, the damn snot tends to get into the Presta valves even when you position the wheel correctly, and royally muck it up. So, with my roadie, straight tubes and Armadillos. I might get a flat every 2,000 miles or so. Last time, it was a construction staple that just got thru the tire in the right way, because that Armadillo was wearing thin.
    Not too shabby. For my mountain bike, riding in goat head and chollo cactus land, I combine both Armadillos and slimes with great success. The ONLY time I've ever flatted on the mountain bike was before I added the Armadillos. Expensive, but worth it. Now, I just ride over goat heads, and glass, and chuckle...

  24. #24
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    They're typically not cheap, but I've been using the Conti Ultra Gatorskin tires on my CX bike, which is used for commuting, road training, etc. I've put in almost 2 years and a lot of miles on these tires, riding on every type of road surface. There's often plenty of broken glass and other nasty debris in the bike lanes here in Toronto, but no flats so far.... (knocks wood, crosses fingers...). They go to 700x28, but I've been running the 700x25, since I use them for 50-100km road rides as well as commuting.

    Just my 2 cents.

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