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I am a mountain biker now living in Minneapolis and so I bought a road bike, but I can't keep tires on it to save my life. I 'upgraded' to Continental Attack/Force tires, got a glass shard in the rear, and now just went over a pothole that popped both the front Continental and rear stock tires.

I haven't even been able to even ride a mile on it. At this point, I'll take heavier wheels with more rolling resistance just to be actually able to ride. Does anyone make solid rubber or non-pneumatic tires for 700c wheels?

These look neat, but they aren't being produced yet:

Side note: I like to drop and hop curbs (though I haven't even been able to attempt it on the road bike), there are frequently metal shavings or other sharp objects on my garage floor, and I live in a neighborhood with lots of cracks and potholes. Should I just give up on road bikes and stick with my mountain bike?

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Or could I just fill the innertube with something, like the Fix-a-Flat stuff? –  Ehryk Jul 2 '13 at 7:12
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Could you keep the garage floor clean, even just the part where the bike goes? Maybe put a dust-sheet down or something. I'd have thought metal shavings would kill the best tires. –  James Bradbury Jul 2 '13 at 8:29
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Solid tyres are a no-go for a number of reasons - bicycles.stackexchange.com/questions/3890/… - and road bikes aren't really designed for hopping kerbs, maybe you'd be better with a cross, or just a MTB with slicks? –  Unsliced Jul 2 '13 at 8:40
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I suspect, if you're an off-roader, you're running the tires at way too low of a pressure -- if these are 22/24mm you should probably be running 90-120 psi. Additionally, it appears that the Attack/Force is often supplied as a "folding" tire with Kevlar beads, and such tires are much harder to mount reliably (possibly leading to the tire sliding off the rim). For puncture resistance you do want a Kevlar belt, however -- it's not clear whether the Conti's belt is as good as your standard Kevlar. (How wide are your rims?) –  Daniel R Hicks Jul 2 '13 at 11:31
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If your rims are really 28mm then the tires are way too narrow. Generally the rim (measured from inside lip to inside lip) should be about 30% narrower than the tire. –  Daniel R Hicks Jul 2 '13 at 18:21

7 Answers 7

up vote 6 down vote accepted

At risk of being downvoted, you don't want want solid tires. There's a reason that all performance tires for all vehicles are pneumatic. The decrease in compliance of a solid foam or rubber tire just doesn't compare to a pneumatic tire.

Look into a tire with kevlar reinforcement- most brands have them- or aftermarket anti-puncture tire liners that sit between the tire casing and your tube. You may even want to try a tire sealant like the one made by Stan's NoTubes, though if you're running tubes you'll need the kind with removable valve cores.

One last thing to note is that the number of flats you're getting may depend on what part of the road you're riding on. If you're riding to the right of the white line (assuming you're in the US), ie on the shoulder then you're going to get a lot more flats. The shoulder is where all the debris accumulates even if the road looks clean. For many road riders, especially those who are just starting and don't feel comfortable riding on the road, simply switching from riding on the shoulder to riding to the outside of the actual lane alleviates a substantial portion of flat issues.

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No downvote here, thanks for the information. @plh summed it up well enough why I don't want solid tires. –  Ehryk Jul 8 '13 at 18:50

Use the widest tire that will fit on your bike and inflate it to the max recommended. I used Bontrager Hard Case for some time for commuting. They suffered fewer flats than most. A added a liner & slime tube both of which helped. I ride by an auto body shop that uses the street as a work area so you can just imagine. I tried a solid rubber tire from http://www.airfreetires.com/default.asp but I will tell you I was not happy at all. The not only was the ride godawful but the road resistance was very high. I wasn't expecting the latter but it was unmistakable. What killed it totally was that they cracked in the cold weather. IMHO they are a complete waste of money.
Bontrager + liner + slime tube was reasonable but I still got more flats especially in the rear than I wanted as a commuter. I ride every day rain or shine. Flats make you late. The widest tire that would fit on the rear of the road bike was a 24C IIRC. I recently purchased a Specialized Sirrus Elite hybrid which I adore so much I also use it for long rides. I may just ditch the road bike. I'm using 28C rear and 32C front right now. I've had Two flats since I purchased the bike in I think it was March & never a flat on my way to or from work. If a tire can be inflated to 90psi or more road resistance is not a problem.

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Thanks for the link on the solid tires, and your review. I will give some of the stronger tires a shot but if all else fails I know of one place that has them at least. –  Ehryk Jul 2 '13 at 22:32

Is your problem the tires themselves or are you getting pinch flats? If you don't have a floor pump you may not be inflating to a high enough psi to prevent flats.

When I first got on my road bike I kept getting flats and shredding my sidewalls. It was because I was trying to inflate with my frame pump. Got a floor pump and problem solved.

If that isn't the issue - I've had pretty good luck with my specialized armadillo tires.

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Yeah, I'll try those tires. They were at 100psi, but were narrower than the rims themselves. And I guess expecting to hit potholes on a roadbike is asking too much. –  Ehryk Jul 8 '13 at 18:52
    
Definitely isn't a psi problem then. I'm kind of surprised you are having this much trouble as I am a rather big guy 230lb now but I have ridden on my road bike up to 260 and other than the psi issue I don't get many flats. Maybe the tires you are currently running are cheap but I wonder if it has something to do with the rims. I ride MTB as well and you definitely can't expect as much mtb style riding from road tires. I've bunny hopped and ended up with flats or broken spokes. –  LoganGoesPlaces Jul 8 '13 at 23:50
    
They're 25mm wide rims with 22/24mm wide Continental Attack/Force race tires, which I think was a mistake in tire choice (thin, light race style) AND width. –  Ehryk Jul 9 '13 at 3:14
    
This exact thing happened to me.. thought I had rubbish tyres or something! I very, very rarely get flats now I inflate to 120psi. –  John Hunt Jul 9 '13 at 9:12
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Could be cheap tubes, badly installed tubes, deformed tyres, busted rims etc.. time spent inspecting should help. –  John Hunt Jul 9 '13 at 9:13

I found Continental Gatorskins to be a very reliable tire through a variety of different urban conditions (I live in Montreal, a land replete with potholes, and my ride to work takes me through a light industrial area that has plenty of mechanic shops spilling their debris onto my path).

The suggestions I can give are: 1. always have a spare tube, levers and a CO2 pump for the inevitable flats. 2. ride around potholes if you like your wheels and body. It's a road bike not a mountain bike so don't expect to be hopping everywhere 3. Keep a floor pump at home and ensure that your tires are inflated every week or so.

Keeping high pressure, not hitting the holes, and tough tires have kept me flat free... but that spare tube etc. are worth their cost in reducing my anxiety levels.

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Use Rhinodillos Tire Liners or a similar product. These sit between your tire and tube and will significantly increase puncture resistance. Then make sure you keep your tires at the right pressure.

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Just like @user7373 I use Continental Gatorhardskins on my road bike and I'm really happy with them. They have survived a couple of sharp glass punctures (the outer case has a deep cut but the inner kevlar band is still unscathed).

I would also recommend to use the widest tyre you can fit on your rims, I use 27mm and they are a little bit more resilient than the usual 23mm wheel (if you're on 20mm race tyres you're just asking to get a wrecked wheel)

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Sweep up your garage floor already and keep your tires at maximum pressure.

I live in Minneapolis, ride a surly cross-check, and rarely have flats.

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