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How To: Prevent Punctures

CATEGORIES
July 26, 2021
AUTHOR:
Tom Cornwell

Ride your bike enough and eventually, you’ll get a puncture. And I think we can all agree, they’re a bit of a pain in the arse. However, there are a few secrets that can help prevent them. Here are our top 5 tips to prevent punctures…

1. Keep your tyres PUMPED.

A tyre at 90psi has half as much rubber in contact with the road as a tyre at 40psi, so it's less likely to encounter shards of glass or flint in the first place. When it does, the glass/flint/etc. is less likely to press into (and be picked up by) the tread of a firm tyre than a soft tyre.

Firm tyres are also much less likely to suffer snakebite punctures, where a bump flattens the innertube against the wheel rim so that it gets nipped between rim and road - looking like a snakebite.

Tyres have a pressure rating stamped on the side. Making sure your tyres are inflated within this range, will not only lead to optimal performance but also less punctures. It’s a good idea to check the pressure regularly as they do lose pressure over time, we advise checking skinny tyres every few days, medium width tyres every week, and fat tyres every couple of weeks.

Invest in a track pump (i.e. a floor pump) with a pressure gauge. This takes the guesswork out of tyre pressure checking and makings pumping much easier.

2. Check for sharps.

Some punctures are instant and unavoidable. A thorn or shard of glass impales or slashes the tyre and it deflates immediately. Others are gradual. A crumb of glass or sharp grit becomes embedded in the tyre and gets slowly forced through as you ride, causing a puncture hours or days later.

If you know you've just ridden through glass or can see or hear that one tyre has picked up a bit of grit, pull off the road, dismount, spin the wheel slowly, and then (taking appropriate care) brush it off. When you check your bike's tyre pressures at home, have a quick look for sharp items, too. Carefully dig out any that you find with a flat head screwdriver or the like.

3. Stay out of the gutter.

Debris often gets swept to the edge of the road by the repeated passage of car tyres.

The gutter is where bits of glass end up, with debris often getting swept to the edge of the road by the repeated passage of car tyres. Rural roads have their own minefields, when hawthorn bushes and the like are trimmed, spraying pointy bits of wood across the road.

Do your best to avoid the debris and your tyres will thank you for it.

4. Choose some puncture-resistant tyres.

Choosing tyres with a protective layer under the tread, can do wonders to protect you from punctures. This may be a synthetic fibre such as kevlar or a different consistency of rubber. Our lead mechanic at fettle Hyde Park Kit, emphatically recommends Goodyear Vectors; “They’re great for puncture protection, but unlike other tyres on the market still roll beautifully. They are puncture protection tyres without feeling like puncture protection tyres”

5. Go tubeless!

Yeah that’s right, away with the inner tubes.

Remember snake bites (or pinch punctures)? Well tubeless tyres don't feature an inner tube, and therefore, the only thing to be pinched is the tyre itself, which is inherently more durable than a butyl or latex tube. Not only will sealant help the tyre remain inflated and on the rim in the first place, but it will also plug in any holes caused by pinches or sharp debris, by virtue of centrifugal forces and chemistry.

There are many other benefits to tubeless that we’ll cover in a further guide, but if they already sound like a winner for you, you can book a power-up to tubeless tyres here.

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