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6 Tips to Help Prevent Tire Punctures & Flats Before They Happen (2021)

Some tips to help you ride longer and farther, without fear of flats.

Black flat tire on gravel road.
Black flat tire on gravel road. Source: Adobe Stock

There’s no greater joy than riding a bike. But there’s no greater pain than getting a flat tire. Getting a flat can really be a nightmare, especially if you’re far from home or a bike shop. And even if there is a bike shop nearby, there might be a waiting list. So, how can you prevent tire punctures on a bike?

You can prevent tire punctures by

But there’s a lot more to it than that. So, In this article, you will learn how to prevent tire punctures and flats so you can ride farther without fear of getting stranded with a flat.

Editor’s note: This article was updated on October 29, 2021, to include additional information regarding tire punctures.

What is a tire puncture?

A tire puncture is a sudden instance where the integrity of your tire diminishes, causing air to leak out. This can happen suddenly or slowly over time.

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All cyclists must deal with punctures eventually. If you commute by bicycle, punctures may be very irritating since they can create lengthy delays.

Cyclists that travel inside a city with a strong cycling population may be fortunate enough to come across a bike shop that can repair the puncture on the spot, although there might be a waiting list.

How can I prevent tire punctures and flats?

Preventing flats may seem like it’s all up to chances. You could just avoid riding over a glass or sharp objects, but as you are aware, this isn’t easy in many places. But there are a lot of things we can do to prevent them. Below are six tips on how to avoid getting punctures and flat tires before they happen.

1. Make sure your tires are fully inflated to spec

Pinch flats occur when you ride into anything that makes a sudden impact, such as a rock, railroad track, or the edge of a pothole. The collision compresses the tire so much that the tube becomes trapped between it and the rim’s edges.

This results in two little holes on the rim side of the tube. Because they resemble fang marks, pinch flats are sometimes known as snakebite flats.

The majority of pinch flats are caused by a combination of three factors: insufficient inflation pressure, too thin tires, and/or improper riding style.

Thus, to avoid pinch flats, fully inflate your tires to the manufactures specifications, monitor your air pressure, and stop slamming your underfilled tires onto the curb or any. We rin into curbs and other things we shouldn’t from time to time, but if you do it with underfilled tires, you might just get a flat. So make sure that you inflate your tires properly.

WTB bike tires with tan trim.
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WTB bike tires with tan trim. Source: Unsplash

2. Check your rim tape

Rim tape is a protective film that fits between the inner tube and the rim, hiding the sharp edges of the spoke holes. It is often made of plastic or rubber. These sharp edges are often the unnoticed culprit for puncturing your inner tube.

Check that the rim tape covers all spoke holes after removing your tires and tubes since the rim tape may have ripped or moved to the side. I usually advocate investing in high-quality rim tape to avoid this problem.

3. Buy puncture-resistant tires

Consider getting some tires that have additional protection to lower the possibilities of a puncture.

Gator skins are a great option. They are quite effective at lowering the possibility of a puncture. These tires contain a reinforced rubber layer that is extremely robust and efficient against punctures.

Check out some of the puncture-resistant tires below. We also have an entire blog post dedicated to helping you choose an inner tube for your fixed gear bike if you need some help deciding.

4. Consider using slime-filled innertubes

Another technique to avoid punctures is to use slime-filled inner tubes or self-healing inner tubes. When slime-filled tires get a puncture, the slime quickly moves to self-seal the hole.

Slime-filled tubes are available pre-filled, or you may buy inner tubes with detachable valve cores that you can fill yourself.

One of the drawbacks of slime-filled inner tubes is that they add some weight, although not much. You won’t notice it when commuting or doing leisure activities.

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It’s important to note that liquid tire sealant is known to damage rims, which may be expensive to repair. Furthermore, no tire sealant is a long-term solution. In fact, since many service locations will not repair a tire coated with a chemical sealant, you may need to purchase a new tire to replace your flat.

You should not use Slime on Kenda tires because they are cotton lined and cotton rots when wet from slime.

If none of that is a concern, and you just want t to avoid punctures when far from home, consider these slimy options below.

5. Use protection tape

Another option is to get some puncture-resistant tape and wrap it over the inner of the tire. This is meant to function as a puncture-resistant belt.

6. Try solid tires

Solid tires have become increasingly popular. A breakthrough technique has enabled the production of lightweight tires that match the weight of a tire and inner tube. You will never have a puncture with these new solid tires since they are 100% puncture-resistant.

An obvious drawback is that they’re heavier, which kind of goes against the whole light wight fixie thing we love so much. But hey, it is an option.

How to replace an inner tube if you get a puncture

If worst comes to worst, you will need to know how to replace your inner tube. Learn to disassemble and reassemble your bike’s wheels and tires to get more acquainted with it. It’s not as complicated as it seems, and there are lots of YouTube videos that explain each stage of the process.

Removing the front and back wheels on a single-speed or fixed-wheel bike is significantly easier than on a road bike with a cassette and derailleur. All you really need is an adjustable spanner for the wheel nuts (or nothing at all if you have fast-release wheels), a pump, and some tire levers.

Need some help? Check out this video that shows you how to remove your fixed gear tires. We also wrote an article on how to install an inner tube that’s worth checking out.

A video called How To Change a Tyre and Inner Tube on a Fixed Gear Bike from 63fixed’s YouTube channel.

Conclusion

Getting a puncture is never fun, but if you can employ some of these tips, you just might avoid tire punctures in the first place.

In this article, we covered what tire punctures are and how to prevent them. Here are some key takeaways:

Key takeaways

  • Make sure your tires are fully inflated to manufacrures specifications
  • Check your rim tape
  • Consider puncture-resistant tires
  • Consider using slime-filled innertubes
  • Use protection tape
  • Concider solid tires
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So, do you have any tips you’d like to add to this list? Let us know in the comments below (we read and reply to every comment). If you found this article helpful, check out our full blog for more tips and tricks on everything fixie. Thanks for reading, and stay fixed.

Written by Bradly Knight

As a native New Yorker, Bradley is no stranger to the fixed gear scene. He’s been riding fixed for over ten years. When he’s not on the bike, you can find him practicing his many hobbies including playing guitar, video production, and photography.

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