A year and a half ago, on my way home from work, I heard a thumping sound coming from my bike. I pulled over, stepped off the bike and BAAM! The tube in my back tire exploded and shredded the tire. Fortunately, I was only a few blocks from a bike shop. A few miles farther into my commute, I would have had to call someone for a ride (at the time, my commute was 10 miles each way).
I was using a road bike for my commute. The tires were Specialized All-Condition Sport. They’d provided reasonable puncture resistance for several thousand miles. I had one puncture flat with them before the blowout. I have no idea what I ran over that day to compromise the tire that badly.
I asked for the toughest road bike tires they had to replaced both tires. They presented Bontrager Race Lite Hardcase. As I struggled to get them on the rims, I thought, “These things better be tough as nails! I don’t want to change a tube when I’m in a hurry.” They were tough. Those tires have seen many miles since then without a single flat.
I ran over something (probably a sharp shell embedded in the rocky pavement at Ding Darling) that took a deep chunk out of the tire. I rode it another 8 miles without noticing — the tube was safe and the tire didn’t even have the slightest bulge.
I suspect that kind of damage to a lesser tire would have resulted in instant destruction… and having to call someone to pick me up.