Bicycle tires – puncturing the myths

Parts of a tire

This is an interesting article from about an independent bicycle tire testing lab and what they do there. Much of this applies to weight weenies, but there is some decent stuff for us ordinary folks as well, such as:

Puncture-resistant belts work but they’re not created equal: Nylon, aramid and other belts placed under the tread do help ward off flats but there are benefits and trade-offs to the various materials. Tougher ones like aramid are durable and highly cut- and puncture-resistant but their stiff nature sucks up a lot of energy, contributing to rolling resistance. More flexible ones like nylon aren’t as bulletproof but offer a better compromise if you still want to retain good performance.

Well, that may be, but I started using the aramid (Kevlar) belts in my tires a couple of years ago and haven’t had a flat since where I was having at least a flat a month before. And since one puncture can ruin my whole day, I think I would rather put my effort into pedaling rather than changing a tube.

Check it out.

8 replies
  1. Kevin Love
    Kevin Love says:

    Schwalbe Marathon Plus tires came as factory-standard equipment on my Pashley Sovereign Roadster. I’ve never, ever had a puncture with them. I’ll never, ever go back to non-puncture-resistant tires.

    Also, the big 28″ wheels glide smoothly along, even on rough road surfaces.

    I like my bike!

  2. Christopher
    Christopher says:

    Fed up with regular flats, I put a pair of Schwalbe Marathon Plus tires on a bike of mine. Still, I managed to get about one flat a month. Nine times out of ten, the cause of the flat was a tiny strand of wire which I assume came from the innards of balding car tire. For nearly a year I’ve been using another bike which came with a pair of Vittoria Randonneur tires on it. Knock on wood, only once (maybe twice) have I experienced a flat using it. I think maintaining tire pressure is key. Both the Schwalbe’s and the Vittoria’s I’ve used have similar guts if you were to take them apart. In the past year I’ve been in the habit of topping off the tires once a week, instead of once a month (or longer).

  3. Kevin Love
    Kevin Love says:

    How interesting. I’ve never encountered that sort of strand of wire. Even before I started using puncture-resistant tires. I don’t think tires have been made differently in different parts of the world. But I might be wrong.

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