Flat tires suck!

One of the biggest downers any bike commuter will experience is a flat tire. Not only can experiencing this make you late for work, but it also will leave you frustrated and dirty.

I’ve used Slime in the passed and even used heavy duty tubes to compliment each other. Tire liners are also another alternative or addition to the Slime and thicker tubes. But the problem with that is it becomes very heavy. I remember adding heavy duty tubes and Slime on Priscilla’s bike and later found out it weighed over 5lbs more than it did before!

I’d like to hear about how you prevent flats on your commuter bike? Are there alternatives to the options that I’ve mentioned?


  1. kim

    Kevlar tires. I have WTB Slickasaurus tires (stock) on my Surly LHT, and have yet to get a puncture (first 1000+KM) and I ride on some pretty nasty streets here in South Korea. My Specialized Sirrus has regular Spec. tires on it and gets regular flats under the same conditions. I stock it up to having good, kevlar-enhanced tires.

  2. Josh

    Schwalbe Big Apple tires. I’ve had exactly one flat in 2,250 miles of streets around frat row and cheap student housing, which means tons of glass on the road. I’m not winning any races, but it’s my commuter bike–that’s ok.

  3. Erik

    I use Schwalbe marathons. Definitely recommend kevlar tires.The lower rolling resistance from having a high PSI (from using marathins) is very nice.

    I also recommend riding a little farther to the left. The cars sweep debris when they roll over the road. And they sweep it down the slope of the road. This is almost always to the right of the lane. Which means, you the bike rider get to ride through all of that debris!

  4. Justin

    Schwalbe Marathon. I’d rather pay extra and carry the extra weight than spend any time fixing a flat on the side of the road. I regularly drive over glass on my commute in Oakland and I’ve never gotten one.

  5. Val

    Once again, we see that everything comes with a price. The five pounds added to Priscilla’s bike were worth it if they worked (as they probably did). You may not accelerate as fast with five pounds more rotating weight, but you will get more excercise, and exactly how fast do you go while patching a flat? All your previous strategies are good, and all the suggestions above are good, as well. If you do all that and still get flats, it is possible to do even more (personally, I like the Marathon Plus – truly heavy, but a really nice ride, and almost impossible to flat). Just remember that confining pressurized air in a tight space will always have hazards, and reducing those hazards will always have a price. Choose according to your priorities and conditions.

  6. Justin

    Whoops, I ride the Marathon Plus’s, I forgot to add the “Plus” in there.

  7. Ghost Rider

    5 lbs. for heavy duty tubes and Slime? I find that difficult to believe. Each application of Slime weighs 1/2 a lb. at best (4 oz. of liquid for each tube), so there’s a pound or so. Heavy-dtuy tubes must be lined with lead sheets or something to weigh an additional 4 lbs. over stock tubes!!!

    In any case, I’d rather push around extra weight than have to stop to fix a flat on my way to or from work. Some of the neighborhoods I roll through are not exactly safe…I’d have to keep a Glock in with my tire levers and spare tube. So, for me it is Slime tubes, Mr. Tuffys AND kevlar-belted tires. On my road bike, I have Serfas flat-protection tires and one pre-Slimed tube on the front wheel — that seems to do the trick.

    Despite all that armor, I really haven’t noticed much of a difference. The bike was a pig already!

  8. lady clay

    Continental UltraGatorskins for me – as other folks have said, Kevlar works wonders.

  9. Jamis_Bater

    Has anyone noticed that sometimes tires can be a crap shoot? One set gets you 5,000 miles, the next set gets a deep cut within the first 200 miles?!

    I’d agree with the Kevlar advice for sure though. On my road bike I like a thick tube like Performance’s Forte Road Thorn Resistant tube.

  10. Michael Plakus

    Another vote for Schwalbe Marathon Plus and Supreme. The Plus’s are quite heavy but almost bullet-proof (1 flat in 12,000 miles). The Supreme’s are substantially lighter but are larger (smallest 700 is 32) so might not work on a racing type road bike but are great on touring and hybrids if a wee bit expensive ($68/tire). They are fairly flat resistant too–3 flats in 8000 miles commuting inside the DC Beltway.

  11. Smudgemo

    Specialized Armadillo Skins for me. They last forever and I’ve had one flat in maybe 5,000 miles. It was my fault because I heard something stuck to my tire, but it was wet out and I thought it got ejected but didn’t want to stop to check. Instead it got worked in and created a sorta-slow leak which still allowed me to get to work before changing the tube. They are only around $25-$30 (as of last year.)

  12. Dominic Dougherty

    You guys really get flats that often? I thought it was just a downtown Long Beach Wal-Mart bike rider issue. When I turned 10 and stopped riding in the gutter and through alleyways, I stopped getting flats.

    There is usually debris close to the curb and on turns, and the rest is just scanning ahead while you’re riding. I don’t know about you guys, but I usually go about 3000 miles between flats (2 per year).

  13. Jacob @ Early Retirement Extreme

    I use a tire liner on my rear wheel (nothing on the front. I think it’s called Mr Tuffy. However, I also make it a big point to steer clear of road debris. I’m ashamed to admit that I don’t commute by bike during the few weeks a year when it’s raining and the road is wet so that definitely helps.

  14. Wayne Myer

    Another vote for Kevlar/aramid. The stock tires on my Trek SU200 have an aramid belt. I had the bike up on the workstand noticed something buried in the center of the tread. I picked it out: a piece of glass. It was worn smooth on the outside (must have been there a while) and was still sharp on the inside. In about 6-7000 miles with those tires, I never flatted.

    First set of tires without an aramid belt, I flatted within 400 miles.

  15. Ghost Rider

    Although the streets of Tampa are littered with glass, I don’t get many punctures. In fact, the only flat I can remember in the past two years was a snakebite caused by a poorly-executed bunny hop over a curb. No amount of Slime or Kevlar is going to protect against THAT!

    I run all this extra protection because of paranoia…I don’t want a flat, I don’t want to be late to work or stranded on an unfriendly street in the middle of the night (my commute home is well after dark).

  16. frid

    I use a combo of Mr. Tuffy liners and usually buy the self-sealing tubes. They actually do repair themselves under certain conditions. It’s just too messy to squirt Slime into them myself. And I never patch, always replace the whole tube if it goes. It’s also important to keep them adequately inflated; I lost a couple of tubes by riding on ’em after a slow leak.

  17. BentheadTX

    I use Schwalbe Marathon Plus tires, 44×406 (20×1.75) on the front of my recumbent and 32×622 (32x700C) on the back. My front tire has 2,900 miles on it with no flats and the back tire has 1,200 miles with no flats.

    It was over 3 years and 6,000 miles without any flats until I moved to Tampa. Three flats in 200 miles forced the change to the Plus tires. My wife and sons bikes run Schwalbe Marathons and they have never flatted.

    My new mountain bike made it 100 miles until it flatted from a thorn so Florida is the flat capital for me.

  18. r.

    I use the Vittoria Randonneurs or Continental’s City Contact tires. I got a huge nail stuck in the Conti’s and was able to pull it out without getting a flat. I think it’s b/c I keep thorn resistant tubes inside my tires.

    I don’t like slime; I have had too many bad experiences where the stuff oozes out of the valve rendering the tube useless. I like Mr. Tuffies and do use them on my grocery gitter, but the liners can move out of place creating a pinch flat.

    I don’t really care if weight is added to the tires. My goal is to get someplace in a timely manner. I still believe acceleration has more to do with the rider than the weight of the bike itself (I got this quote from the really hot doctor while riding in Shelby Forest).

  19. Tim

    Kevlar Tires. I’m a huge fan. I was getting a flat a week until I switched to Kevlar lined tires and haven’t had a flat in 6 months since. Mine are by CST – Selecta, and Michelin makes a good urban tire as well. These also come with reflective strips in the sidewall that I really like having.
    I don’t like the extra weight of slime or plastic liners or double tubes. Those options seem to make the bumps more violent. I’ll pay extra for Kevlar for every set I tires I buy in the future.

  20. kyle

    As a Newbie, I am always searching online for articles that can help me. Thank you

  21. rr1024

    About 10 years ago I bought No Mor Flats, (NoMorFlats) and it has NEVER EVER had a flat.
    road through
    construction sites with nails everywhere, even pulled a screw out of my tire and had to replace the tire but the tube was undamaged!!!!

    Present day, i bought a new bike and with in two weeks had a flat tire. Then I find out that “Bell”, company who makes most of the bicycle inner tubes bought out No Mor Flats, (NoMorFlats) company and guess what they suddenly stopped production of the size of NoMorFlats that fit 26″ tires for mountain bikes…mmmmm I wonder why?
    Bell is a bunch of scum bags just like microsoft

    nomorflats works great if you can find them to fit your bike….I think I may have found the last two on the internet and bought them.

  22. Wadhamite

    NoMorFlats tubes are harder to find than they used to be; but a close size can be fattened up with duct tape, or shortened with a sharp knife. It’s a lot of work but never a flat thereafter! I’ve just gone 10,000 miles without a flat; I have them on all my commuter bikes.

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