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If you head to Walmart and see the slime bike liners for in the tire to stop goatheads and small nailes from actually running the tire. Is there anything around the house or shed that can be used also? Also the slime ones only seem to not cover the side of the tire wall. I do rock and outdoor bike riding and once hit a soft dirt patch that sunk my tire and a small nail got in from the side.

Any suggestions?

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5  
If you don't want punctures, you have to fork over the money for puncture-resistant tires. This is how the universe works. –  hillsons Dec 26 '12 at 23:32
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Yep, puncture-resistant tires are the way to go. Generally about 50% more than regular tires, but well worth it. –  Daniel R Hicks Dec 27 '12 at 2:10
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Can we assume this is about 26" tires/ standard mountain bike tires? –  Neil Fein Dec 27 '12 at 9:02
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Also once they're on, keep them inflated to the right pressure. Then cross your fingers. –  PeteH Dec 27 '12 at 9:23
    
The best advice is to keep the tyres properly inflated (pressure repels sharps really well) but, off-road, you may have good reason to explicitly run them soft, so that's not going to work so well for you in those times. –  Unsliced Dec 27 '12 at 15:39

4 Answers 4

Puncture resistant tires and liners are hard to DIY since they are made from kevlar and other specialty materials which are not easy to come by on the consumer market.

Flat protection opions:

  • Puncture resistant tires $35 to $80 a tire - most expensive, best protection, only good for the life of the tire. My favorite lightweight ones are panaracer t-serve, most protection panaracer ribmo.
  • Tire Liners - $15-$25 a set- cheaper, reusable when you get new tires, adds a bit to rotating weight. Mr Tuffy and Slime brands are available. I haven't used these personally.
  • Tubes with sealant - $10-$15 per tire - will seal small punctures with a liquid sealant. This is pretty much the same liquid in tubeless tire setups. This can have mixed results. Slime can get messy and clog valves. I don't think these are worth it.

    Really, none of these will prevent pinch flats either. Your best bet is to use one of the first two options and keep tires inflated to the proper PSI regularly. Always carry a patch kit and tools to fix a flat and a spare tube is nice to have as well, it pays to be prepared.

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    This is kind of along the same lines as what @Benzo said.

    1. Get a good track pump. It doesn't have to be expensive, but $25-$50 can get you a pretty good pump, that will last you a life time. Before I got a track pump, I got quite a few flats, now I get almost none. This may matter more with high pressure road tires. The better quality the pump, the more you will use it, and the smaller chance that you will get a pinch flat from low pressure.

    2. I've used Mr. Tuffy Tire liners on my road bike and swear by them. Rode over a broken beer bottle with these in and didn't get a flat. Personally, I think they are well worth the $15-$20 that they cost, and are probably the cheapest way to prevent punctures. At least on my experience with road bikes. But then again, they won't do anything against pinch flats, so I restate, get a good pump (or suffer with a bad pump) and make sure you tires are properly inflated.

    3. Us an old dead tube to line the tire. Cut it so that it can be wrapped around the other tire. This is basically the same idea as Tuffy tape, but less resistant to punctures. This can be done so that it does protect from the sides. The extra layer is similar to using extra thick tubes, without paying for extra thick tubes every time you need to replace your tubes.

    If you look at it from a cost perpective, even buying good tires can and often will cost less in the long run. Spending $100 on tires means you don't spend so much on other ways of preventing flats. You don't have to spend $15-$20 on Tuffy tape. You don't have to spend $10 on a new set of tubes a couple times a year, or spend a bunch of your time fixing punctures.

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    My I recommend you look at purchasing tubeless tyres, they can be expensive but no more so than ones purchased and they are pretty smart , if you look about online you will find them to the dedicated sizes.

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    Are tubeless tires actually better for this? –  zigdon Dec 27 '12 at 19:44

    Besides the expensive tire liners like Mr Tuffy or SpinSkins, as an "eco friendly", re-cyclable alternative, you may want to try using a discarded tire in reasonable condition, the same size as your bike's tires, as a "liner". You'd want a smooth tread, no mountain bike tire treads. Then you CAREFULLY cut the bead off of the tire using whatever sharp tool works best for you. Some type of shears or scissors should work well. Then you can insert the trimmed tire carcass between the tube and tire and put the tire back on your wheel with the extra protection inside. Of course this "tire liner" will give some extra protection from the ordinary punctures you may get, and even protects the sidewall better, but it's no Mr Tuffy. It is usually free though, and that is a plus when you're "experimenting!" Most bike shops will gladly give you the old worn out tires in your size. Just be sure to ask for them.

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