So I decided to switch the tires of my Ibex X-Ray, I’ve been riding with the Sweetskinz Rattleback tires for quite a while.

One of the drawbacks of riding with the Sweetskinz tires is their weight; they are thick and they are not light. I had a spare set of Continentals that came off my Bianchi Via Nirone, since I’m not riding at night, I figure I would shave a couple of pounds by installing them.

Well, the Sweetskinz tires may be heavy, but I haven’t had a flat since I installed them over a year ago. As luck may have it, my front tire got a flat the first day I switched the tires. No biggie, I changed tubes and I was back on the road in 5 minutes. Yesterday was the second day I rode with the Contis, yep, I got another flat, this time it was my rear tire. Now, here’s the part that sucked, I forgot to patch the spare tube so when I reached for my patch kit to fix it, the glue was so old that it had already hardened. I was SOL and my only option was to call my wife so she could pick me up.

I maybe sacrificing speed and weight, but my Sweetskinz Rattlebacks are going back on the Xray, I rather have their reliability and comfort. Oh yeah, I also need to get a new fresh patch kit.


  1. Iron Man

    Nothing makes a bike commuter feel more humiliated than calling someone for a ride. I’ve done it. I can take the jeers and cursing of passing motorists, or the cat-calls and snide remarks of kids, but to call the wife for a pick up is such a bummer.

  2. Jared

    You should check your rim strips. I went through 4 tubes after putting my new Contis on, thinking I was pinching them, when in fact, an exposed piece of aluminum was puncturing the tubes.

  3. Marrock

    There’s something about that last pic…

    Looks like you parked the bike there and someone backed into it or something.

    Like one of those “Abandoned bikes of NYC” pics.

  4. Palm Beach Bike Tours

    Flats suck.

    Even on my fast bike, I’d rather have heavy tires than have to swap a tube or fix a flat.


  5. Arnie

    Moe, I’ve been riding to work on a Marin Muirwood 29’er for the last 2 months. The bike came with Contis which have turned out to be a big disappointment to me. Why? I double flatted 3x and that’s never happened with other tires. After the 1st incident, I installed Slime brand tire liners and put Slime inside the tube and still double flatted twice. I’m thinking the rubber on the Contis are way too soft and now I’m in the market for a tougher tire.

  6. Colin

    I don’t really mind the occasional flat, but two in a row like that sucks. Still I’d think there’s gotta be something in between the seemingly flat-loving Contis and those huge 37c tires.

  7. tadster

    What model Continentals are your tires? I see the word
    “Ultra” in the last pic, but I can’t make out the rest. I had been strongly considering upgrading to Continental Ultra Gatorskins because I had heard they are so reliable. But, your post gives me pause.

  8. lady clay

    I use the Conti Ultra Gatorskins and the only time I’ve had a puncture flat I found an industrial-sized wood staple in my sidewall. Other than that, I’d say I’ve put a couple of thousand of miles on them with no problem at all. I should point out that I commute to work in Atlanta and that riding over broken glass is a more or less daily occurrence.

  9. Val

    Indeed, the Conti Gatorskins are one of the toughest tires out there. It is worth remembering, too, that flats can be karmic and unpredictable. You should definitely check carefully, and try to determine the cause of the two you just had. Maybe the tires are a contributing factor, and maybe not. I would also be unsurprised if you were to put the Sweetskins back on and get flats in them, too (definitely NOT trying to wish anything on you here, just saying). Jared has a good point about the rim strips, and it could also be that something has changed on your route. Good luck!

  10. Moe (Post author)

    Tadster: They are Continental Ultras.

    Val: The section of the street where I got the flat had a lot of debris, I must have ran over some glass.

    I checked the rims carefully and they checked out OK. I guess it was just my luck.

  11. Ghost Rider

    Flats come in groups like that, too. It’s karmic or something…but you’ve got ’em out of your system now!

  12. Palm Beach Bike Tours

    I have 400 miles on my latest pair of Continental Ultra Gatorskins. These are either my second or third pair and I have them on both my bikes.

    I know I’ll flat next time I take the bike out having said this but, in 2,000 or so miles on Ultra Gatorskins, I haven’t had so much as a slow leak, let alone a full-on flat.

    The tires wear well and hold the road nicely. My only real complaint is that they are limited to 120 psi . I’m a big guy and would like a harder tire.


  13. rektide

    I’m currently on vanilla Contie Ultras; I get periodic punctures but what I notice most is that if the PSI gets under 80 it is extremely easy to get a pinch flat. Obviously thats low PSI, but sometimes I opt not to pay attention to these things.

  14. Bodhisativa

    Same thing here Moe.
    Just the other day I switched from 35c’s to 25’s and I got two flats in the same day. The first was on a gravel road and the area was marshlands infested with green heads (new englands seasonal arch nemisis, like a horsefly and bite fiercely).

    Fortunately I had two tubes with me.

    The next day I put the 35 back on because like you I hadn’t had a flat in about a year either.

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