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I keep getting punctures from these thorns:

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They are all over the roads round here when the hedges at the side of the road get trimmed. They regularly go straight through my Schwalbe Land Cruiser tyres, even after I added a Kevlar tape liner.

My understanding is that these particuar tyres offer some limited puncture resistance, and this would be enhanced by the tape, but obviously it's not enough in this case.

Is it possible to buy tyres with enough puncture resistance to withstand these thorns or are they too severe? I was thinking of the Schwalbe Marathon Plus in particular.

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    Is there any chance that the people who employ the trimmers could get them to clear up the mess afterwards? Are the thorns a danger to pedestrians? Jan 26, 2023 at 20:15
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    So that white stuff in the image is the “kevlar liner”? Are you sure this is any help at all? Looks like a felty fabric. That may be some help against pinch flats, but it's hardly going to stop thorns – even if the fibres are something as tough as kevlar, the thorns can just poke right between them. Simply thicker rubber or a layer of duct tape would probably accomplish more. Jan 28, 2023 at 0:25
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    Please remember comments are for clarifying and improving the question/answer. Comments are ephemeral.
    – Criggie
    Jan 28, 2023 at 4:01
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    The Kevlar liner is “Panaracer Flataway”. In the photo it didn’t work, but that’s not to say it never works. Jan 29, 2023 at 11:41

8 Answers 8

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The Schwalbe Land Cruiser (without Plus) only has a “K Guard” puncture protection.

According to Schwalbe it’s one of their weakest puncture protection technologies: https://www.schwalbe.com/en/newsreader/schwalbe-protection-benchmark-of-puncture-protection

You could go for tyres with more puncture protection and/or go for a tubeless setup with sealant in the tyre which would immediately seal such small punctures. You can also use sealant in normal tubes.

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    Tubeless really shines for this situation, would highly recommend. I've ridden around for weeks with several thorns embedded in my MTB tyres without them losing air.
    – Andy P
    Jan 25, 2023 at 11:43
  • If dealing with sealant, tubeless would also be my way to go in that situation. On top of puncture protection, another side benefit is to run them at lower pressure, which is great for comfort (Marathon can run at low pressure too, but at the cost of higher rolling resistance than tires designed for this purpose).
    – Rеnаud
    Jan 25, 2023 at 13:33
  • Good advice. Ghetto tubeless also works fine for rear wheels if you are on a budget. Jan 25, 2023 at 15:16
  • On this advice, I bought the Schwalbe Marathon Plus. Today on my ride, I stopped and found a twig with nasty looking thorns on it. At home, I tried to push a thorn through the new tyres - they did not penetrate. Not a completely scientific test but I am happy. Jan 27, 2023 at 10:06
  • Tubeless sounds interesting but my bike is 15 years old and I'm confused about whether or not the wheels would be compatible - this would be a whole new question. Jan 27, 2023 at 10:12
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No protection is 100%, and of course we don't know how many of those thorns your Land Cruisers defeated. Tougher tyres can improve your odds.

I ran Marathon Plus on my hybrid and got very few punctures in tens of thousands of km, none from thorns though thorn-prone areas weren't a large fraction of my riding. The only thing to get through the tread was a self-drilling roofing screw, but I had wire get through the sidewall a couple of times. I switched to them after a few punctures on Road Cruisers, which I believe are similar in puncture protection to yours, but with less tread.

On ground covered in similar thorns after hedge-cutting, my Marathon Supremes (a slick touring tyre) had one puncture that I didn't find until the next day. A riding companion on lighter tyres got 3.

If you're going to run a tough tyre and a liner, it might be worth looking more at polyurethane liners. They deform rather than attempting to hold the line against sharp things. I've been lucky with them against urban debris and the inside ends of ice spikes, but eventually the end of the liner itself abraded the tube.

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Yes - thorn-resistant tyres do exist. Thorn-PROOF on the other hand. may be too heavy.

The main defense a tyre has to reject a thorn or other puncture causing items is thickness. I bet few if any car tyres get punctured by these thorns, because car tyres tend to be 10-30mm thick on the tread. This is excessive on a bicycle, but the thicker the tread, the more material a thorn has to go through.

The second feature of a tyre is an armoured belt. In cars that are the metal wires that run Radially around the tyre, but in a lighter bicycle wheel it could be kevlar or plastic. Sometimes these belts are built into the tread, like the Schwalbe Marathon, or you can add extra layers using products like the Tannus inserts.

The downside of all this added thickness is rotational mass, which makes the bike feel heaver, slower to accelerate, and the thicker sidewalls mean it has higher rolling resistance.

You can combine defenses in layers, by having sealant inside the tyre so if a thorn does make it through there's the chance of sealing around it.


A parallel approach is to ask the hedge trimmers about cleaning up after themselves, or to the home owner or to the local authority if the hedge is on public land.

If enough people complain about the plants AND there's a motivated council, it may be possible to get the hedges torn out and replaced. I had a loverly cherry-blossom tree which tried to take out my eyeball with 3 inch thorns, so it regrettably became firewood.

Plants can outgrow their usefulness.


Last option may be to modify your riding technique and stop riding through the hedge trimmings. This may not be possible depending on the road layout and space available.

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You might benefit from the tire liner made by Tannus: https://tannusamerica.com. Its not 100% effective at preventing flats, but if used with a good puncture resistant tire and sealant in your tubes, you might not have to worry about those thorns too often.

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  • What kind of product is that? At least some broad category. Otherwise this is like a click bait. Some kind of liner? Jan 26, 2023 at 18:00
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    @VladimirFГероямслава Tannus are a fairly well known company. They make tyre liners, tubeless inserts and solid tyres.
    – Andy P
    Jan 27, 2023 at 8:59
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I'm not sure how long these hedge trimmings are, but I would consider just proactively cleaning them off the road, if we are talking a small area.

For perspective, I ride the same 12 mile route every day. I would never clean the whole thing. Of course. But I occasionally see broken glass (looks like from a single beer bottle) in the bike lane. And the problem with bike lanes and parked car lanes, is there's not enough movement to clean up debris (road is clear because of car tires throwing debris). So, I will try to avoid the glass when I see it, but will then go back (in my car) with a pusher broom and clean up the glass (either into a dustbin, or to the far side, whatever works. It's not an every day thing. Maybe every couple weeks. Worth it to me.

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  • I like this. It does not just benefit yourself, but the entire cycling community as well.
    – Ted Hohl
    Jan 27, 2023 at 17:37
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Go tubeless, for sure. Since going tubeless several years ago I've had exactly one flat tyre, and that was because something (probably broken glass) caused a centimetre-long gash in the tyre. I ride over little twigs like in the picture on a nearly daily basis, and haven't had any problems with it since going tubeless, and that's with the very soft and supple Schwalbe G-One Allround.

Plus they roll better than with inner tubes. Win-win. The only downsides I can think of is that it's a bit more of a mess to work with (but you need to do it less frequently), and you have to top up with air more often.

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Yes, but...

Back in the mid-late 90s, I had the same problem, so I fitted Greentyres. They certainly did work, for what I wanted. I could happily ride through thorns, broken glass and anything else, and not have to worry about the state of my tyres.

Unfortunately, cycling alongside my friends, I could clearly see the effect on rolling resistance. On my racer with fairly thin tyres, I was getting significantly worse rolling resistance than any of my friends on heavy mountain bikes with chunky mud-plugger tyres.

According to Cycling Weekly, 25 years later the situation still isn't that different. No doubt there's been some progress, but you'll still notice the difference. So you have the trade-off of whether you want better performance and more risk of flats, or vice versa.

Or try better tape. That won't eliminate the risk of flats, but the odds may be more in your favour.

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    "heavy mountain bikes with chunky mud-plugger tyres" +1. My tubes go bad from dryrot. If the name of your bike has the word road in it, that's where it belongs.
    – Mazura
    Jan 28, 2023 at 3:30
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Solution. I was hoping to find a steel belted bicycle tire. I'd pay big bucks for any tire that works against this nightmare. I prefer unpaved trails, but I cant even walk my bike on one without getting a thorn. In the past I just filled the tube with sealant. And from the conversations here that looks to be about the best I can do other than try tubeless tires.


Hedges are not my problem, they are Himalayan Blackberry bushes. They barely grow at high elevation in the Himalayas where they barely grow in a brutal environment. But in Western Washington, western Oregon, coastal British Columbia they are a aggressive & brutal noxious weed that can easily take over a property killing any vegetation under 10-15 feet high & I've seen them send shooters into tree branches 35-40 feet off the ground.

They are horrible for thorns. If you fell into a patch the thorns can be as long as .33” 8.5mm. and rip open skin or puncture. They also have bacteria from the rats, deer mice, possums & God knows what else. I once got a nasty antibiotic resistant bacteria that swelled up my legs & the wound almost went gangrene. That was from one puncture.

They are horrible plants, and there are only 2 ways to deal with them. Cut them down (which spreads thorns) or chemicals & nobody wants to do that unless things are real bad. If you cut them down they just grow back in a week. They can inundate a trail & make it impassable if you do not act aggressively they will take over.

As for trails owned by govt, they do weed whack if the trail is part of a park system. But all that does is spread the thorns.

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  • So you filled the inner tube with the sealant, not the tyre? Any solution that involves inner tubes will have problems in such environment. Even with very strong reinforcing belts you will get thorns into the sidewall. Jul 17, 2023 at 9:00
  • This is an interesting anecdote, but it doesn't answer the question if there are any thorn-resistant tyres.
    – DavidW
    Jul 17, 2023 at 11:02
  • Welcome to the site - Can you please edit your reply to more-address the question about "Can you buy tyres to resist punctures from large thorns?" If the suggested steel-belted tyre exists a link would be good - the best I could find is Kevlar belted tyres, and various hard plastic tyre liners.
    – Criggie
    Jul 18, 2023 at 8:41

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