Fat versus thin tyres

scandiman

Warming-Up
Aug 12, 2010
96
0
0
Ota-ku
#1
Have been discussing a bit with Phil re. if thicker/heavier tyres help to avoid flats (all of them, including pinch ones). Very simply put (sorry Phil!), his point of view is that - assuming correct tyre pressure and use of rim tape - luck is a big factor. But also that there will be many different opinions.

Which I am sure is very true and leads me to my question - do the rest of you think fatness matter? Or is it quite simply a case of good karma coupled with quality slimness and maybe not too reckless conduct? Currently I have cheap and thick and heavy tyres and I have not had a flat in the mere 1.5 years I have been cycling. I have been out in nasty weather and occasionally over potholes and glass and what have you (that said, I do try to be good to the tyres). I would love to go slimmer (25/26 ish or less) if it would not mean a lot of more flats, however.

The below threads deal with flats and tyres respectively but not really with fat vs slim. So, would like your thoughts on it. And, considering that the threads are old-ish, maybe an update on your favourite tyres also.

Thanks!

/frode

https://tokyocycle.com/bbs/showthread.php?t=289&highlight=tyres
https://tokyocycle.com/bbs/showthread.php?t=889&highlight=tyres
 

FarEast

Maximum Pace
May 25, 2009
5,528
538
193
Yokohama
#2
I use 700x20c and I seem to puncture a lot less than a lot of people, seemed to have bad luck with Continental at the beginning of last year on training rides thank god! But switched back to Vittoria and had no issues.

I think there are several points to make that can contribute to punctures:

Where you ride:

Inner city roads have some nasty debris I've found nails, staples, tacks, pens and stuff to have caused flats when out in the city with friends. The country side you only need to worry about sharp stones and sticks, although there are some of nasties they seem to be in less supply out in the mountains.

Where you ride in the road:

Riding in the gutter is the easiest place to pick up flats, roads are convex so all the debris ends up where most of you ride. Riding in the 1/3rd area about 1 -1.5m off the gutter takes you out of this red zone, it's also the smoothest area due to the traffic wearing down the asphalt/Tarmac

How you ride:

A lot of riders new to the sport ride heavy; they haven't learnt the art of taking the weight off the front wheel and then the back as they go over small obstacles like raised grating small pot holes or very low curbs that can cause tire pinches. Also the bunny hop is a great little trick for clearing debris…or when racing other riders ;)

So many riders in the early days or riding a road bike can be prone to punctures and buckles.

After you ride:

Not many riders check their kit after a ride, they get back after a great day in the mountains and either give the bike a quick wipe down or just stow it for the following day when they have more energy. Many will stow it and only get it out the day before or on the day of a ride.
I always check the bike after a ride, especially the tires to see if there are any nicks cuts or bald patches. If I’m really tired I mark areas of concern with some chalk and go back the next day.
If in doubt switch it out, is the motto we should follow especially if we are riding in groups or racing. It’s not just about your safety but that of everyone.
 

Phil

Maximum Pace
#3
Glad you started this thread Frode, your questions had actually got me thinking about this more.

Basically, my view is that "external" punctures, in which a nail or narrow piece of glass enters the tire from outside, are so rare that any individual's experience with such punctures and different tire brands are statistically nearly meaningless--ie. the "I was riding X brand and got punctures and now I'm on Y brand and I don't get punctures" thing is mostly luck. Also, most quality road bike tires will perform fairly similarly in this regard. (I'm assuming for the sake of argument standard road tires, say 20c to 27c, and ignoring extremes such a uber-light climbing tires and $10 cheapo tires that weigh a ton.)

In the last 4 years or so of road riding, I've had 2 external punctures, one on heavy 27c tires and one on light 25c tires; in both cases a nail was the culprit.

I've had a lot more "internal" punctures (snakebites) and these were caused by, in order, (1) thin or too narrow rim tape, (2) insufficient pressure, (3) riding hard on gravel roads.

The one area I think that tire choice makes a difference is in the sidewalls; light performance tires often have thin sidewalls susceptible to cuts from rocks etc. Though I've never had a sidewall puncture, I've had to replace tires before they were fully worn due to sidewall cuts that caused the inner tube to bulge out.
 

rommelgc

Maximum Pace
Sep 3, 2009
362
101
73
Setagaya
#4
scandiman said:
Very simply put (sorry Phil!), his point of view is that - assuming correct tyre pressure and use of rim tape - luck is a big factor.
I would tend to agree.

My opinion is that it's not how fat the tire is, it's how thick the tire is at the area which remains in contact with the road. Is "contact patch" the correct term? Maybe around 3-10mm left and right from the center of the tire, the area that gets "bald" or "squares off" fastest.

I've only used 23c's but (my) logic follows that fatter tires means larger contact patches. Thus could be more prone to punctures. Larger rubber area that could catch nasties on the road surface.


FarEast said:
I use 700x20c and I seem to puncture a lot less than a lot of people, seemed to have bad luck with Continental at the beginning of last year on training rides thank god! But switched back to Vittoria and had no issues.
I'm the reverse right now. Got a punc with Vittoria a year ago caused by a piece of metal causing a 2mm wide cut on the tire. Haven't flatted (knock on wood) yet with the Contis yet. I feel the Vittoria (Open Corsa Evo) do have less rubber in the middle area, while one can fee extra rubber on the Contis (GP4000s).
 

FarEast

Maximum Pace
May 25, 2009
5,528
538
193
Yokohama
#5
Ok I agree totally that the width of the tire makes no difference to the puncture resistance at all. The width of the tire is specifically designed for handling.

I'm the reverse right now. Got a punc with Vittoria a year ago caused by a piece of metal causing a 2mm wide cut on the tire. Haven't flatted (knock on wood) yet with the Contis yet. I feel the Vittoria (Open Corsa Evo) do have less rubber in the middle area, while one can fee extra rubber on the Contis (GP4000s).
Agreed.... I think a lot of the time its down to personal preference. The punctures I beleive were just bad luck and the wheels I was using at the time, the fact that I was used to riding Vitt's and then had to ride Conti which was followed by a spate of punctures, certainly affected my opinion.
 

Ludwig

Speeding Up
Oct 9, 2008
871
0
36
Setagaya-ku, Tokyo
#6
I agree with both Phil and James. Over the past two years (26,000km) I have had only punctures which all had a very good explanation:

- Small leakages on tubes that I had used for over a year and that got simply weak

- External puncture on a rindo on a tyre that was really worn out (12,000km?)

- New tube exploding at the end of a ride, as it was clearly not made out of good material/had a manufacturing fault

- Tube had been folded inside the tyre by the original manufacturer - lasted for a year, but eventually failed on a gravel road

- Puncture while riding with partially deflated road tyres (for better traction) on a gravel road

I have never had a snake bite or an external puncture on a reasonably new tyre. None of the sharp stones or gravel has ever punctured one of my cyclocross tyres either. I basically practice what James and Phile advise above.

Width should not matter if tyres are well inflated. If you like to ride with soft tyres, wider ones will avoid punctures, because the chance of a snake bite is a lot lower.
 

andywood

Maximum Pace
Apr 8, 2008
1,718
1,364
133
Niigata
#7
Tips for avoiding punctures:

 Two layers of rim tape.

 Talcum (baby) powder on the tube and inside the tyre before installation

 Pumping up the tyres to the right tyre pressure (depending on body weight and riding conditions)

 Pumping up the tyres before each ride

At this time of year:

 Old tyres that you don’t mind getting damaged

 Check the tyres for flints/sharps after each ascent or descent on roads closed to traffic

If the inevitable does happen and you get a flat:

 A 200 yen adapter in your bike bag so you can use a mama chari pump at the nearest house / shop to get up to a decent pressure quickly and without killing yourself

Just a few weeks left and no punctures so far for me this year – touch wood. I too don’t think tyres have much to do with it but I’ve been using the vredestein range for training tyres and racing tyres.

http://www.vredestein.com/Tweewielers_Bandgroepen.asp?UserSessionID=78147089&BandtoepassingID=3

Andy

www.jyonnobitime.com/time
 

Wolfman

Speeding Up
Jul 31, 2007
631
18
38
Suginamiku
#8
"I was riding X brand and got punctures and now I'm on Y brand and I don't get punctures"
I was riding 23mm Shwalbe Ultremo Rs and got 4 punctures in 250km and now I'm on Conti 4000s and I don't get punctures [at least not in 600km].

Same kind of roads, one pair had a crap wall that let anything through, the other didn't. Light tyres, but utterly useless for rindos. More than just the surface contact area in my opinion.