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tire protection worth it?

brigid2010-04-29 02:41:54 +0000 #1
I just bought my first bike in 20 yrs., which is being delivered to the lbs today! The store owner was talking to me about accessories and options I might want on the bike, and he suggested tires with extra protection from flats, such as kevlar (I think) tires which were $20 to swap with mine, or strips that go inside the tires, which were only a few dollars each. Do you more experienced bikers think these are worth it? The bike is a Trek 7200, which I liked partially because the tires that come with it are narrower and smoother than most of the other hybrids I looked at, and I liked the feel of the ride better. The kevlar tires are nubby, though. I will be riding on paved streets in my neighborhood. What do you think?
jobob2010-04-29 02:50:09 +0000 #2
Do you enjoy fixing flats?

I swear by my kevlar-belted tires. I have had 1 flat so far (OK, so now I'm doomed). There are a lot of kevlar-belted tires out there, with a variety of tread designs. Ask your LBS what they have. Some bike shops don't carry much of a supply.

Looking up the specs for the Trek 7200 on the trek website, it shows your bike supposedly comes with 700x35c tires. If you like skinnier you could probably go down to 32c width.

As for the other stuff (liners, goop, etc.), they are a real pain and a real mess when you do end up having to fix a flat.

By the way, you really should learn how to fix your own flats. It's very empowering. And you will see how switching tires (assuming they are the correct size, of course) is really not a big deal.

If you're on the peninsula, the Bay Area Velo Girls put on a monthly bike basics clinic at Summit Bicycles in Burlingame. I've never attended it but I've heard good things about it.

Congrats on the new bike!!!

And have fun with it. It will all make sense eventually, trust me

PS - check the 'lost my tire virginity' thread for some sage advice. The Gatorskin and Armadillo tires that are mentioned are a couple of the kevlar-belted brands out there.
divscotty2010-04-29 03:15:00 +0000 #3
I've used the slime liners for 3 years. They can be moved from tire to tire and if you blow up your tube with your breath before putting the tube in the tire(presta) it holds the liner in place and is no problem. Once I began using the liners the only flats I ever get are pinch flats.

Karen London2010-04-29 02:56:29 +0000 #4
I now use Kevlar tires on my Brompton. Before Kevlar I had a flat about every 2 or 3 months. After, not for more than one year.

I asked my local dealer once about slime (the gunk that goes inside tires). He said he would use slime if I needed to ensure I did not get a flat for one trip only e.g. for about two or three weeks, but longterm he said the problem with those products is that they can break up and not only not protect against flats, but maybe cause other problems.

He recommended Kevlar.

I pay the extra for Kevlar now all the time wherever it is available. As my old non-Kevlar tires need replacing, each one gets replaced with a Kevlar. It costs more but really pays out in less hassle and less expense recovering from flats. I also always carry at least one spare tube so I never have to mend a flat on the road. Then I mend the tube at home in peace warmth dryness and comfort.

When touring far away from home I also carry a spare Kevlar tire as well as 3 spare tubes.

Cannot tell you how many times that has helped me especially in hot- hot- Italy.
2Gowans2010-04-29 04:13:29 +0000 #5
When commuting in an area with a lot of hawthorn hedges in the 80's I would've given my eyeteeth for any of the puncture protection stuff around now.

FAO Brigid: Seeing as you like the tyres currently on the bike (and how the bike handles with them), if I were you, I'd start with puncture resistant belts inside the tyres for now, and see how you get on. If you change your mind in a few months, you'll have had time to save up for new tyres.
OakLeaf2010-04-29 04:52:15 +0000 #6
I think it depends on where you'll be riding. If there's a lot of road debris or broken glass, or if plants with tough thorns are common in your area, then you probably want the extra protection. But if your roads are kept clean, then the extra weight isn't much fun.

Same with knobbies - if you never plan to go off road, then slicks or road tread give you a lot less rolling resistance on the street. But if there's any gravel or sand roads or grass paths on your usual routes, or if they're nearby and you want to be able to navigate those surfaces, then go with knobbies.

If the feel of the wheels and tires is a big reason why you chose your bike, then you probably don't want to mess with that too much. Maybe you want to play it by ear and see how often those tires don't give you the traction or flat protection that you want.

Most things on bikes (like most things in life!) are a trade-off. You can get something that's acceptable all-around but isn't particularly great at anything - or you can get something that's really good at one thing but really awful at everything else.

PS Enjoy the new bike!!! Welcome back to riding!



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