bicycle Tires are a big deal
I hate flat tires. I've had so many of them, so often, I started looking for options. I've spent a great deal of time and money trying different kinds of tires so you don't have to. Learn from my mistakes. Flat tires suck. I've found that Continental Gatorskins are the best all-around flat-resistant tire (and no one is paying me to say so).
First and foremost you have to pump them up. If your tires are low on air you will get flats, and they probably need more air than you think. The old squeeze test is not enough. Get a good floor-pump with a guage and inflate them to the proper pressure (80-120 Lbs for road bikes). Try it if you don't believe me. I bet if you approve them by the squeeze method, then put a guage on there you will find they are still drastically under-inflated.
Besides flat-prevention, keeping your tires properly inflated will make the bike easier to pedal. My tires get get a little soggy about every 100 miles or so. Check on them every couple weeks if you ride a lot. It makes a huge difference, makes the bikes faster, easier, more fun.
These tires are awesome. I have been riding them for months over the glass-strewn streets of Seattle and have yet to get a flat even once. And the ride is nice, not too stiff, not to heavy. Perfect. Get some. They are supposedly almost as flat-proof as the Armadillos.
When looking for the ultimate flat-proof tire, I found these. I gotta tell you. You can't get a flat tire in them if you try, but they are a bit of a drag. They feel like they are full of sand. If you want to ride over broken glass and nails, and you want to do so slowly, get these. I could feel the differenece immediatley. Heavy and soggy, but supposedly the most flat-proof tire available in the world. I rode them for about a year, over all kinds of crap, never got a flat. Check out this video.
Don't do it. I bought some of THESE, and despite the many happy and highly suspect reviews on their website, they ride like they are made of solid PVC plastic (I think they might be). Total waste of money. I'm amazed my teeth didn't fall out during the unhappy week that I rode to work on them. And a bitch to install/remove. I had to cut them off with a box knife, not without damaging my wheel in the process. Besides all that, they are terribly prone to skid at stops and corners. So much for traction. If you get some airless tires, expect to have a bone-shaking last week on Earth.
Tires have limited life-span
Even Continental Gatorskins start getting flats after about 2,000 miles. I learned that the hard way after I wore out my first pair. Turns out, most tires have a limited life-span, anywhere from 1,000 - 2,500 miles. They start getting more flats because the internal fabric weave starts to breakdown. That's about once a year for a daily commuter like me.
Here's the flat-prevention summary
- Get a nice big pump with a hose and a gauge, even for your frame/pack. It's impossible to get enough air in there with those silly miniature things, and you can break your valve stem off with all that herky-jerky action.
- When fixing a flat, do whatever it takes to find out where that glass got into your tire and dig it out or you'll have another flat in short order.
- If you don't pump your ties up to their recommended pressure, you'll get pinch-flats. Use a gauge!
- Tires start getting flats in their old age. Get a new pair after 1-2k miles.
- If you don't like flat tires (I don't), get Continental Gatorskins .