There’s something every rider dreads: that moment when you start to feel like something’s wrong with your bike. One second, you’re cruising along, and the next, your ride starts to feel unwieldy.
You quickly signal to get off the trail so you can figure out what’s going on. You take a look and your heart sinks. It’s a flat tire.
A sudden flat is something that can ruin your ride. Fortunately, there are preemptive steps you can take to keep them rare, especially if you follow these tips from our service team:
1. Ride Defensively
You know that old saying about how an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure? That definitely comes into play when you’re trying to ward off tire damage.
Take control of the situation by riding defensively. Stay out of the gutter when riding in the road since that's where everything sharp and nasty on the road ends up after it’s blown, washed, or swept out of the lane. Avoid construction-heavy spots where you may encounter stray screws or nails. If you see a broken bottle (or anything at all sparkly, really!), try to see if you can safely steer clear.
Sometimes, the threats aren’t as easy to spot. Puddles can obscure hidden dangers under the water and you never know what may be covered up by that wet pile of leaves in the road. It’s better to play it safe and avoid them entirely when you can.
2. Keep the Air in There
Maintaining proper tire pressure is important. When your tire’s filled correctly, you can enjoy smoother, faster rides. Another big bonus? It helps you avoid flats.
An underinflated tire leaves less cushion between your rim and the road, which means when you hit bumps, you’re more likely to experience a pinch flat, a type of flat caused by the tube being pinched between the rim of the wheel and a hard riding surface. Low pressure also increases the likelihood of your tire picking up sharp debris and suffering a puncture flat, which occurs when a sharp object (like an upholstery tack, drywall screw, or pinot grigio bottle fragment) stabs the tire and tube.
To help avoid these, use a bicycle pump and a bike tire gauge to make sure your tire is consistently at the recommended PSI (or pounds per square inch). For best results, top off the pressure every 1-2 weeks. Just like a balloon, it’s normal for your tires to lose a little pressure over time.
3. Perform Regular Tire Inspections
What an operable tread (left) looks like compared to a worn down tread (right).
Examine your tires before and after every ride to make sure they're in good condition. This means inspecting them for any shrapnel you may have picked up while riding.
If you notice anything that's become embedded, pick it out with a sharp blade or needlenose pliers. A dental pick is awesome, if you happen to have one. Leaving it in there gives it the opportunity to slowly work its way in deeper and ultimately puncture your tube.
Depending on the size of the object you remove and how far it has penetrated, the tire may still be usable, although if the threads of the casing are visible, it will need to be replaced. Replacing a tire before its time is disappointing, but trust us, it’s a better option than waiting for your tire to give out when you’re on the trail.
A worn tire won’t put up the same fight against puncture that a fresh one will, so replacing a tire at the right time can save you a ton of hassle. Knobbed tires, like those on the RadRover, usually prefer to be retired when you can start to see wear patches between the knobs on the casing of the tire, and smoother tires, like those on the RadWagon, should be swapped when the grooves are worn away down the centerline where they hit the road.
4. Up Your Protection With Tire Armour
Tire liners like Tannus Armour can help decrease the likelihood of puncture flats. It wraps around your inner tube to provide 15mm of puncture protection on the top, as well as 2mm of sidewall protection.
All of our tires come with puncture protection, which helps safeguard you from sudden flats. But what if you're looking for some extra peace of mind? Rad Power Bikes has partnered with Tannus on a new lineup of tire armour!
Tannus Armour is a tire insert that wraps around your tube to provide 15mm of extra puncture protection. This makes it harder for sharp objects to penetrate your inner tube. It’s also designed to help protect your rim on those hard hits and help stabilize your tires on corners and cushion the ride for more comfort.
We’ve worked with Tannus to create custom sizes that fit all of our models. Each order comes with two liners and two tubes -- one for each tire.