Contrary to this blog post's title, I'm a big fan of puncture-resistant tires. When one struggles with numerous flats, it's inevitable to seek and find a solution that works best for your particular situation. Tires of this caliber are often heavier, but for a commuter or tourer, I find it's a worthwhile trade-off.
So I was disturbed to read in Adventure Cyclist, a magazine published by Adventure Cycling, whose mission supports "bicycle travel and recreational cycling", an article presenting tire minutiae in such a way as to leave the reader in confusion. Basically, it presented the pros and cons of fatter tires versus narrower ones, high pressure versus low, advocating hard to find tire savers, and supporting regular tires versus puncture-resistant rubber.
|I regularly read this blog, but wonder if his article in Adventure Cyclist|
is misplaced. You can buy tire savers through his company.
Photo credit: Jan Heine, Off the Beaten Path
On the surface, the article is a good one. However, a deeper look reveals the author promoting tire savers, a looped wire gadget that flicks debris off the tire before it can embed in the tread, reducing the potential cause of a flat. They were popular in the 70s, but between the whine and road grit propelled upward onto the brakes and frame, their use fell out of favor. Even if you want to try tire savers, try locating them today.
In the 80s, puncture-resistant tires became a viable option. The article reveals inefficiencies with Kevlar-belted type tires (or any flat-proof tires for that matter): they roll 15% slower. This isn't earth shattering news. Puncture-proof tires have always been heavier because of extra protection between rubber and road.
I do not dispute the facts. However, I feel it's a disservice to present it in Adventure Cyclist under the Mechanical Advantage heading, like it's absolute truth. In reality, it's one person's opinion.
For beginners, for long distance bicycle travelers, for commuters—Adventure Cyclist's main readers—the best advice should be encouraging flat-free travel. Riding on adequately inflated tires, avoid riding road shoulders filled with debris—cause of punctures—and as added protection, using a Kevlar-belted tire should make any flat-phobic novice feel competent. Weight and minor inefficiencies shouldn't be a major factor.
But that's purely my opinion. If you read the article, what did you think? And what type of anti-flat measures do you subscribe to?