Flat Tires, Lance Armstrong and Specialized Armadillo's



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B

Brian

Guest
I have a Raleigh R500 that I have only been riding this season. I am fairly new to road cycling and
understand that flats are part of life, but I must really have bad luck. I seem to get flats for no
reason. Sometimes I repair the tube myself, sometimes I use a new tube and sometimes I have the shop
do it. But no matter what, I still get flats. Some are caused by obviously things like a pothole.
But other times they get punctured on the smallest rock it seems. I know that road tires are
sensitive, but I thought they could put up with occasional rock or stone or dip in the road?

Also, in reading up on the Tour de France I read that Lance has only gotten one flat in the last
couple years. Are the routes swept with a fine tooth comb before rides? Does he have special tires?

Finally, I am looking into the Specialized Armadillo. Shop says they are the best thing for puncture
resistance. Yes I know they are heavier and a little wider than my tires and that will lead to some
performance decrease. But I would rather be a little slower overall then faster for a few miles
before 15 mins fixing a flat!

Brian
 
M

Michael S.

Guest
Are you sure you're inflating them enough? I've gone years without punctures.

"Brian" <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:[email protected]...
> I have a Raleigh R500 that I have only been riding this season. I am fairly new to road cycling
> and understand that flats are part of life, but I must really have bad luck. I seem to get flats
> for no reason. Sometimes I repair the tube myself, sometimes I use a new tube and sometimes I have
> the shop do it. But no matter what, I still get flats. Some are caused by obviously things like a
> pothole. But other times they get punctured on the smallest rock it seems. I know that road tires
> are sensitive, but I thought they could put up with occasional rock or stone or dip in the road?
>
> Also, in reading up on the Tour de France I read that Lance has only gotten one flat in the
> last couple years. Are the routes swept with a fine tooth comb before rides? Does he have
> special tires?
>
> Finally, I am looking into the Specialized Armadillo. Shop says they are the best thing for
> puncture resistance. Yes I know they are heavier and a little wider than my tires and that will
> lead to some performance decrease. But I would rather be a little slower overall then faster for a
> few miles before 15 mins fixing a flat!
>
> Brian
 
M

Mack Mad

Guest
"Brian" <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:[email protected]...
> I have a Raleigh R500 that I have only been riding this season. I am fairly new to road cycling
> and understand that flats are part of life, but I must really have bad luck. I seem to get flats
> for no reason. Sometimes I repair the tube myself, sometimes I use a new tube and sometimes I have
> the shop do it. But no matter what, I still get flats. Some are caused by obviously things like a
> pothole. But other times they get punctured on the smallest rock it seems. I know that road tires
> are sensitive, but I thought they could put up with occasional rock or stone or dip in the road?
>
> Also, in reading up on the Tour de France I read that Lance has only gotten one flat in the
> last couple years. Are the routes swept with a fine tooth comb before rides? Does he have
> special tires?
>
> Finally, I am looking into the Specialized Armadillo. Shop says they are the best thing for
> puncture resistance. Yes I know they are heavier and a little wider than my tires and that will
> lead to some performance decrease. But I would rather be a little slower overall then faster for a
> few miles before 15 mins fixing a flat!
>
> Brian

You might want to sweep and clean the inside of the tire and the inside of your rim. If you are
having frequent problems it might be a burr on the rim, or other sharp material on the inside
causing the puncture. Inflation should also be checked.
 
A

Alex Gill

Guest
Yes, How are they flatting. Is a piece of glass doing it? Sidewall torn? Pinch? I used to flat out
and it was almost alway caused by a pinch. I make sure they are firm, but don't overdo it. I also
recommend the Michilen rim-strips; they are made of green plastic and feel they protect me better
against pinched tubes than the cloth (I put it over the cloth). Tip: don't carry a patchkit to as
a first resort, always carry an extra tube and fix the damaged tube when you have the time to
spare. -Alex

"Michael S." <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
> Are you sure you're inflating them enough? I've gone years without punctures.
>
> "Brian" <[email protected]> wrote in message
> news:[email protected]...
> > I have a Raleigh R500 that I have only been riding this season. I am fairly new to road cycling
> > and understand that flats are part of life, but I must really have bad luck. I seem to get flats
> > for no reason. Sometimes I repair the tube myself, sometimes I use a new tube and sometimes I
> > have the shop do it. But no matter what, I still get flats. Some are caused by obviously things
> > like a pothole. But other times they get punctured on the smallest rock it seems. I know that
> > road tires are sensitive, but I thought they could put up with occasional rock or stone or dip
> > in the road?
> >
> > Also, in reading up on the Tour de France I read that Lance has only gotten one flat in the last
> > couple years. Are the routes swept with a fine tooth comb before rides? Does he have special
> > tires?
> >
> > Finally, I am looking into the Specialized Armadillo. Shop says they are the best thing for
> > puncture resistance. Yes I know they are heavier and a little wider than my tires and that will
> > lead to some performance decrease. But I would rather be a little slower overall then faster for
> > a few miles before 15 mins fixing a flat!
> >
> > Brian
 
T

Tim McNamara

Guest
In article <[email protected]>, [email protected] (Brian) wrote:

> I have a Raleigh R500 that I have only been riding this season. I am fairly new to road cycling
> and understand that flats are part of life, but I must really have bad luck. I seem to get flats
> for no reason. Sometimes I repair the tube myself, sometimes I use a new tube and sometimes I have
> the shop do it. But no matter what, I still get flats. Some are caused by obviously things like a
> pothole. But other times they get punctured on the smallest rock it seems. I know that road tires
> are sensitive, but I thought they could put up with occasional rock or stone or dip in the road?

Really skinny tires (700 x 23 or narrower, like 18) are really prone to flatting when you hit
something- called a pinch flat. You need to pump them up to a rock hard 120 PSI to prevent this.
Check your tire pressure before each and every ride, and top them up if they're not hard as rocks.

The alternative is a slightly wider tire, say about 25 mm. That extra couple of mm makes a huge
difference in pinch-flat resistance; they're more comfortable and all other things being equal
they roll every bit as fast. I use Avocet 700 x 25 slicks (which are very hard to find locally) or
Continental Ultra 2000 700 x 28. Neither has a Kevlar belt for puncture protection (they don't
work anyway).

BTW, pinch flats frequently have two tiny holes (hence the nickname "snakebite" flats) and the
pattern of the tire casing is often embossed on the tube around the hole(s). If it's only one hole,
look to make sure there isn't a piece of glass or something lodged in the tire which keeps
re-puncturing the new tube. Check also that there isn't something sharp on the rim poking the inner
tube (like a spoke end). If you have rubber rim strips, replace them with fabric ones like Velox.

> Also, in reading up on the Tour de France I read that Lance has only gotten one flat in the
> last couple years. Are the routes swept with a fine tooth comb before rides? Does he have
> special tires?

No and no. But in my experience the roads in France are very clean and free of the shattered glass
that liberally carpets US roads- or at least the roads where I live. Whenever I travel, I come home
and think that Americans really do treat their nation likes it's one big-ass garbage can. (Of
course, I've never been to a third-world country).

> Finally, I am looking into the Specialized Armadillo. Shop says they are the best thing for
> puncture resistance. Yes I know they are heavier and a little wider than my tires and that will
> lead to some performance decrease. But I would rather be a little slower overall then faster for a
> few miles before 15 mins fixing a flat!

The Armadillos are fine, but I really think you have some other problem at work here. Either your
tire pressure is far too low (you do own a floor pump with a gauge, right? If not, you should get
one); or you've got shards of glass or something else sharp stuck in your tires; or you've got
something sharp on the rim side if the inner tube; or you've got waaaaay too skinny tires; or the
roads in your area suck even worse than mine.

I mean, by comparison, I get hundreds if not thousands of miles between flats, even riding on US
roads that are poorly maintained and swept once a year- if even that often.

Good luck!
 
B

Bill Davidson

Guest
Brian wrote:
>Also, in reading up on the Tour de France I read that Lance has only gotten one flat in the
>last couple years. Are the routes swept with a fine tooth comb before rides? Does he have
>special tires?

I think they go over the roads with a street sweeper a day or two before. They still get occasional
flats. I doubt Lance uses any special "anti-flat" tires. I'm sure he uses high performance tires. A
street sweeper should get most things that can go through the tire. I've heard he's still using
tubulars which reduces the risk of pinch flats.

>Finally, I am looking into the Specialized Armadillo. Shop says they are the best thing for
>puncture resistance. Yes I know they are heavier and a little wider than my tires and that will
>lead to some performance decrease. But I would rather be a little slower overall then faster for a
>few miles before 15 mins fixing a flat!

I've heard good things about Armadillos though I haven't tried them. I'm prejudiced against
non-folding tires and the Turbo Armadillo is a wire beaded tire. It has a nice low thread count
kevlar belt though which protects even the sidewalls.

I use a Performance Kevlar belted rear tire plus a light weight slime tube. I haven't had a flat in
about 800-1000 miles. Unfortunately, the belt doesn't protect the sidewalls. Avoid high thread count
(tpi) kevlar tires (like Vittorias) as they provide little protection. Go for the thick low thread
count belts. Low thread count means thick threads and a thick belt. Less performance but also less
flats. Fine if you're not in a race.

Also, keep you're tire pressure up and avoid potholes, glass and other debris as much as you can.

--Bill Davidson
--
Please remove ".nospam" from my address for email replies.

I'm a 17 year veteran of usenet -- you'd think I'd be over it by now
 
A

Ant

Guest
[email protected] (Brian) wrote in message
news:<[email protected]>...
>
> Finally, I am looking into the Specialized Armadillo. Shop says they are the best thing for
> puncture resistance. Yes I know they are heavier and a little wider than my tires and that will
> lead to some performance decrease. But I would rather be a little slower overall then faster for a
> few miles before 15 mins fixing a flat!

based on on my limited experience, i'd say that yes, the armadillos do work. however, ill never run
them on my bike, as the tank-like design of these, and the bontrager 'hard case' tires, make me
really dislike them. Very heavy. Very stiff, and difficult to mount.

i think the bontragers are particularly bad.

-anthony
 
R

Raymo853

Guest
"Bill Davidson" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
> Brian wrote:
> >Also, in reading up on the Tour de France I read that Lance has only gotten one flat in the last
> >couple years. Are the routes swept with a fine tooth comb before rides? Does he have special
> >tires?
>
> I think they go over the roads with a street sweeper a day or two before. They still get
> occasional flats. I doubt Lance uses any special "anti-flat" tires. I'm sure he uses high
> performance tires. A street sweeper should get most things that can go through the tire. I've
> heard he's still using tubulars which reduces the risk of pinch flats.
>

The roads I saw this year while riding the course the morning of the stages was clean, but not
spotless. There were still sections with gravel on them but it was rare. Walking up Luz Ardiden I
did see broken glass on the road and the near-by Basque guys looked guilty to me as I kicked it off
the course.
 
M

Mark Hickey

Guest
[email protected] (ant) wrote:

>[email protected] (Brian) wrote in message
>news:<[email protected]>...
>>
>> Finally, I am looking into the Specialized Armadillo. Shop says they are the best thing for
>> puncture resistance. Yes I know they are heavier and a little wider than my tires and that will
>> lead to some performance decrease. But I would rather be a little slower overall then faster for
>> a few miles before 15 mins fixing a flat!
>
>based on on my limited experience, i'd say that yes, the armadillos do work. however, ill never run
>them on my bike, as the tank-like design of these, and the bontrager 'hard case' tires, make me
>really dislike them. Very heavy. Very stiff, and difficult to mount.
>
>i think the bontragers are particularly bad.

I gave up on the Armadillos as well, and switched to the Continental Gatorskins. They don't feel
any different than a normal high-performance clincher, but are amazing at deflecting glass and
thorns (at least until they're pretty much worn out). I'm going to try a pair of the Hutchinson
kevlar-belted tires to see how they work out - one of my regular rides is a veritable torture test
for flat resistance, as the dedicated bike path (that bypasses a really nasty shoulderless six
lane) is covered with trimmings loaded with thorns. If you don't get flats riding that, you have
great tires.

Mark Hickey Habanero Cycles http://www.habcycles.com Home of the $695 ti frame
 
R

Robin Hubert

Guest
"Brian" <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:[email protected]...
> I have a Raleigh R500 that I have only been riding this season. I am fairly new to road cycling
> and understand that flats are part of life, but I must really have bad luck. I seem to get flats
> for no reason. Sometimes I repair the tube myself, sometimes I use a new tube and sometimes I have
> the shop do it. But no matter what, I still get flats. Some are caused by obviously things like a
> pothole. But other times they get punctured on the smallest rock it seems. I know that road tires
> are sensitive, but I thought they could put up with occasional rock or stone or dip in the road?

Welcome to the world of bicycling. Punctures are inevitable, but there are ways to minimize them.
Keep you tires properly inflated. Avoid obstacles. Look ahead for sparkles and avoid them! Do not
ride outside the lane where car's right tires track, or you'll be riding in all the **** they blow
off to the side. BTW, small stones will not puncture a bicycle tire.

>
> Also, in reading up on the Tour de France I read that Lance has only gotten one flat in the
> last couple years. Are the routes swept with a fine tooth comb before rides? Does he have
> special tires?
>
> Finally, I am looking into the Specialized Armadillo. Shop says they are the best thing for
> puncture resistance. Yes I know they are heavier and a little wider than my tires and that will
> lead to some performance decrease. But I would rather be a little slower overall then faster for a
> few miles before 15 mins fixing a flat!
>

You can get more flat resistant tires, but none are flat-proof (except solid tires ... do a google
search on that). What's the point? So, you get a couple less flats. Learn to ride as mentioned above
and your flats will be minimized. If you keep riding in the gutter, you'll get lots of flats on the
Armadillos, too.

--
Robin Hubert <[email protected]
 
J

James Cassatt

Guest
As others have noted, you are having far too many flats. I have had Armadillos and they do work.
However, as suggested shech the rim for a small burr. I once bought a new wheel and had two flats
within 50 miles. The culprit was a burr. I filed it smooth with emory cloth and have not had a
flat since.

[email protected] (Brian) wrote in message
news:<[email protected]>...
> I have a Raleigh R500 that I have only been riding this season. I am fairly new to road cycling
> and understand that flats are part of life, but I must really have bad luck. I seem to get flats
> for no reason. Sometimes I repair the tube myself, sometimes I use a new tube and sometimes I have
> the shop do it. But no matter what, I still get flats. Some are caused by obviously things like a
> pothole. But other times they get punctured on the smallest rock it seems. I know that road tires
> are sensitive, but I thought they could put up with occasional rock or stone or dip in the road?
>
> Also, in reading up on the Tour de France I read that Lance has only gotten one flat in the
> last couple years. Are the routes swept with a fine tooth comb before rides? Does he have
> special tires?
>
> Finally, I am looking into the Specialized Armadillo. Shop says they are the best thing for
> puncture resistance. Yes I know they are heavier and a little wider than my tires and that will
> lead to some performance decrease. But I would rather be a little slower overall then faster for a
> few miles before 15 mins fixing a flat!
>
> Brian
 
T

Tim Lines

Guest
I agree with your opinion on the armadillos BUT ...

There's a place and time for a tire like this. January/February rides when you'd freeze to death if
you stopped pedalling long enough to fix a flat comes to mind as an example of the time. Commuting
to work up the glass strewn shoulder of highway 516 is a place. Sometimes the piece of mind is worth
the trade off.

Stopping to change a flat by the side of a bike trail on a warm summer day can be a
pleasure, however.

ant wrote:
> [email protected] (Brian) wrote in message
> news:<[email protected]>...
>
>>Finally, I am looking into the Specialized Armadillo. Shop says they are the best thing for
>>puncture resistance. Yes I know they are heavier and a little wider than my tires and that will
>>lead to some performance decrease. But I would rather be a little slower overall then faster for a
>>few miles before 15 mins fixing a flat!
>
>
> based on on my limited experience, i'd say that yes, the armadillos do work. however, ill never
> run them on my bike, as the tank-like design of these, and the bontrager 'hard case' tires, make
> me really dislike them. Very heavy. Very stiff, and difficult to mount.
>
> i think the bontragers are particularly bad.
>
> -anthony
 
D

dlj0

Guest
In article <[email protected]>, [email protected] .net
(Brian) writes:
>I have a Raleigh R500 that I have only been riding this season. I am fairly new to road cycling
>and understand that flats are part of life, but I must really have bad luck. I seem to get flats
>for no reason.

There really is a reason. It is worth figuring it out. Look for where the hole in the tube is. If it
is on the tread part of the tire, the outside, look for a shrp object still embedded in the tire at
the same point. I always line up the label on the tire with the valve so I know where to look.

If the hole is on the inside of the tube, examine the rim tape, and replace it if there are cracks,
or if it doesn't cover the spoke holes well. I recommend Velox.

If there are two holes on the side of the tube, it's a "snake bite" puncture resulting from too-low
pressure. I suspect this in your case, if you have a lot of flats.

>Sometimes I repair the tube myself, sometimes I use a new tube and sometimes I have the shop do it.
>But no matter what, I still get flats. Some are caused by obviously things like a pothole. But
>other times they get punctured on the smallest rock it seems. I know that road tires are sensitive,
>but I thought they could put up with occasional rock or stone or dip in the road?
>
Of course they should. I usually have one or two flats per year, with maybe a REALLY BAD DAY where I
will have 4 flats in one ride every couple years.

>Also, in reading up on the Tour de France I read that Lance has only gotten one flat in the last
>couple years. Are the routes swept with a fine tooth comb before rides? Does he have special tires?

He always has new tires. He doesn't have to think about making them last 4000 miles. He rides very
nice tires rather than $20 cheapies. Plus, what you read was probably wrong -- maybe only referring
to race miles rather than training.

>Finally, I am looking into the Specialized Armadillo. Shop says they are the best thing for
>puncture resistance. Yes I know they are heavier and a little wider than my tires and that will
>lead to some performance decrease.

Wider, not a problem. Heavier, not a big deal. But they also have far more rolling resistance than
other brands. They will slow you down.

You really need to trace down why you get so many flats that it bothers you. Fix that, rather than
ride tank tires.

Look for:

1) underinflation. Big cause of flats.

2) Too skinny? 20mm tires are for the 140-pound and under set, and even then only for racing. 23mm
are not for folks over 200 pounds. Ride a reasonable tire for your weight and you will be more
comfortable and flat less.

3) Learn to ride "soft", getting out of the saddle for rough roads.

4) Watch out for glass, goathead thorns, etc.

David L. Johnson Department of Mathematics Lehigh University
 
G

Gazoo

Guest
are you possibly putting weak spots in the tube while installing them?

--

"Brian" <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:[email protected]...
> I have a Raleigh R500 that I have only been riding this season. I am fairly new to road cycling
> and understand that flats are part of life, but I must really have bad luck. I seem to get flats
> for no reason. Sometimes I repair the tube myself, sometimes I use a new tube and sometimes I have
> the shop do it. But no matter what, I still get flats. Some are caused by obviously things like a
> pothole. But other times they get punctured on the smallest rock it seems. I know that road tires
> are sensitive, but I thought they could put up with occasional rock or stone or dip in the road?
>
> Also, in reading up on the Tour de France I read that Lance has only gotten one flat in the
> last couple years. Are the routes swept with a fine tooth comb before rides? Does he have
> special tires?
>
> Finally, I am looking into the Specialized Armadillo. Shop says they are the best thing for
> puncture resistance. Yes I know they are heavier and a little wider than my tires and that will
> lead to some performance decrease. But I would rather be a little slower overall then faster for a
> few miles before 15 mins fixing a flat!
>
> Brian
 
M

Matt Temple

Guest
In article <[email protected]>, Mark Hickey <[email protected]> wrote:

> [email protected] (ant) wrote:
>
> >[email protected] (Brian) wrote in message
> >news:<[email protected]>...
> >>
> >> Finally, I am looking into the Specialized Armadillo. Shop says they are the best thing for
> >> puncture resistance. Yes I know they are heavier and a little wider than my tires and that will
> >> lead to some performance decrease. But I would rather be a little slower overall then faster
> >> for a few miles before 15 mins fixing a flat!
> >
> >based on on my limited experience, i'd say that yes, the armadillos do work. however, ill never
> >run them on my bike, as the tank-like design of these, and the bontrager 'hard case' tires, make
> >me really dislike them. Very heavy. Very stiff, and difficult to mount.
> >
> >i think the bontragers are particularly bad.
>
> I gave up on the Armadillos as well, and switched to the Continental Gatorskins. They don't feel
> any different than a normal high-performance clincher, but are amazing at deflecting glass and
> thorns (at least until they're pretty much worn out). I'm going to try a pair of the Hutchinson
> kevlar-belted tires to see how they work out - one of my regular rides is a veritable torture test
> for flat resistance, as the dedicated bike path (that bypasses a really nasty shoulderless six
> lane) is covered with trimmings loaded with thorns. If you don't get flats riding that, you have
> great tires.
>
> Mark Hickey Habanero Cycles http://www.habcycles.com Home of the $695 ti frame

I agree with these comments about the Armadillos. I commute to work in Boston, about 10 miles
each way. I do get flats. and I should probably get something hardier than the Panaracer Pasela's
that I ride. I ride about 150 miles a week. I'm well into my 50's. To me, the one set of
Armadillos that I bought brought me back to my tricycle-riding days, when I had a non-inflatable
set of tires on my bike. I rarely say things like this (I usually, say blame myself for disliking
my Brooks Professional after riding it for about 10,000 miles), but I found the Armadillos the
most uncomfortable and unpleasant tires I've ever had the displeasure to use. There's a set
hanging in my basement which anyone out there is welcome to (if willing to pay postage and for a
box to ship it in.)

Matt Temple
 
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