Motivation to ride is becoming more difficult to find when almost 1 out of three rides ends in a puncture!
A Little Background
I bought my first bike in August 2011 and it had Rubino, wire bead tyres on it. They seemed to work ok and were durable so when the time came to change them I moved on to Rubino Pro folding tyres. These were also satisfactory with a few extreme failures due to special objects rather than the tyres themselves. For only a couple of dollars more I then moved on to Vitoria Diamonte’s, the next level up from the Rubino Pro’s. These had a rapid demise due to impact with some special object. In the mean time I had received a pair of schwalbe ultremo zx tyres from the video Phil Crick made of me when I completed the 1,788km Every Second Counts challenge in 13 days. I thought I would give these a go.
Initially I was really impressed, with lower rolling resistance and what appeared to be better puncture resistance. When they did get cut the cut seemed to stay closed and not gaping and they had good grip giving good confidence on fast downhill rides. This pair of tyres look very promising until the day I was paying just a little to much attention to somewhere other than the road directly in front of me and hit a piece of broken paver that had been dropped in the bike lane at some speed puncturing both tyres at the same time and ultimately causing a failure in my rear rim. The impact had damaged the sidewall of both tyres but they were both usable to ride towards home where I got a third puncture, I was only carrying 2 spare tubes that day, and called for a ride home for the second time since I started cycling! One of the tyres I continued to use on the front wheel while I replaced the back one with a used Rubino Pro. That lasted a couple of rides before, at Christmas 2012, the rear rim failed and so I needed to replace the wheels.
New Wheels, New Tyres
I Ordered a new pair of schwalbe ultremo zx and a Fulcrum Quatro wheelset. The bike was performing well as was I after loosing 8 kg’s and working harder on shorter rides including a hill climb in each. Unfortunately this is when I started using the “Lifeline Tubes” from Wiggle and though the increased number of punctures was due to them. The first of these tubes contracted a slow leak via a hole the size of a 3 corner jack or pin prick so I replaced it with a new tube which deflated only hours after it was installed and the bike was still on the stand. This turned out to be a faulty tube which split along a fold where it had been packed in the box so I now wondered if the last two problems were in fact faults with the tubes. I replaced it with a third from the batch and then bought 2 vitoria tubes from Upfront Cycles to carry with me on the 127 km TDU BUPA challenge. This one survived the challenge and 2 20 km family rides in the Barossa until it to deflated. I replaced it with another from the batch which 3 rides later, about 120 km’s, it to got a slow leek and so I replaced it with the new vitoria tube from my LBS.
SSRC P Ride – McLaren Vale
I rode down to the SSRC P ride, some 23 km’s from home, to partake in a ride to Kangarilla, Meadows, Willunga and back, a 62 km route with some undulations. So far so good, made it back to the coffee shop in McLaren Vale with the group with still inflated tyres. Only 23 km left to ride home! About 10 km’s from home I felt deflated as I felt my rear tyre bottoming out and I knew it was going down again! Feeling lazy and because it was a strange slow leak I pumped it up and rode home without trouble but it is in fact dead flat while it sits on the maintenance stand as I write this.
Yesterday I threw in the towel, all I want is reliability! I don’t race and have always looked for reliable products on the bike so I ordered a pair of Continental GatorHardshell Folding Tyre 700 x 25 mm. Sure I could have gone for Gaterskins but if I am traveling that path why not go for the one level better puncture resistance and wet weather training tyre with the slightly higher profile of a 25 instead of 23 for increased protection against pinch punctures!
Lets hope that’s the end of those puncture issues! Lets face it, the new tyres will be a little heavier but I will not take a spare tyre and only 1 instead of three spare tubes in the saddle bag so I will be better off Here’s to more riding and less downtime !