So, I've had at least two flat tires on my way to work. Therefore, I'm tempted to splurge on a pair of Specialized Armadillo's (not the elites...)

However, I am not a particularly skilled rider. I had a pair of racing slicks from the late 1990's (at the latest!) and they were a tad on the nightmarish side - I slid out at 5 miles an hour trying to leave a parking lot.

Seriously - slicks were enough to give me an existential crisis.

At the same time, I'm notorious for being, err, close, yea, that's it. Close to late. As such, I don't really like flat tires. My choices at the bike shop came down to this: cheap gumwall tire with treads and Kevlar Inserts, or a pair of Armidillo's which have minimal treads.

Which should I choose? I commute in all weather conditions.

Speed is nice, but I really care more about not dying and not calling in late from the side of the road than minimizing rolling resistance.

  • I think this is a valid question, but you might get more responses if you edited it to get rid of some of the irrelevancies. – PeteH Jul 11 '14 at 8:30
  • Avoid the inserts. There are puncture resistant tires with more tread if slicks scare you. – paparazzo Jul 11 '14 at 12:18

Your sliding out at 5mph wasn't because the tires were slicks, it was for some other reason. They were either lousy tires, improperly installed, rider error, or some other factor.

If you are riding on the road, there is no need for any kind of tread. Slicks are perfectly fine, despite your thoughts from your previous experience. In fact, they are ideal, and will be easier to handle on the road than tires with tread. A definitely don't get any of those combination tread tires, those are the worst.

Forget the treaded tires with kevlar inserts. Get the Armadillos, Continental Gatorskins, or some other sort of flat resistant tire. Make sure they are always pumped up before you ride, and they'll serve you well.

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  • 1
    The Tyre pressure is probably even more important than the puncture proof layers, especially in road bike or similar narrow tyres. – arne Jul 11 '14 at 5:18
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    Get the widest Schwalbe "Plus" tyre that fits your bike. Many friends use the Marathon Plus and my partner's been very happy with her 28-622 Durano Plus. – Emyr Jul 11 '14 at 15:41
  • What about muddy spots? – user1833028 Jul 12 '14 at 1:34
  • @user1833028: You'll have to slow down a hair, but treaded tires won't give you any improvement in muddy spots on the road. – whatsisname Jul 12 '14 at 15:59

If you're commuting on roads, there are plenty of good tires with kevlar belts for puncture protection (e.g. Schwalbe Marathon line). Slicks are ideal for roads since you don't need tread - this is a good page to read about the topic.

You don't say how you got the flats though, so it is possible you had a bad valve or inadequate rim tape or underinflation, none of which a new tire would fix.

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  • I'm pretty sure my tubes were the victim of piercing damage.. – user1833028 Jul 11 '14 at 23:05

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