Preventing Flats on Your Road Bike

We often get asked by newer road bike riders, “Why am I always getting flats?”  We thought we would give a few tips on how to avoid flats on your road bike.

When you head out on the first bike ride of the year you usually pump-up your tires to the max psi listed on the tire sidewall (usually 110-130psi), and you are on your way.  A couple days later you get the bike out and go for another ride, but on this ride you get a flat while you are just riding along.  Why?

One of the most common reasons of a flat on a road bike is improper tire pressure.  Because you are putting so much air pressure in such a small space you will lose up to 30 psi overnight.  This is normal.   If you are only running 80-90psi in your tires, which is common if you didn’t check your tire pressure before your ride, hitting rocks, railroad tracks, cattle guards, etc., will put just enough stress on the tube that it may not flat immediately, but it will go flat 5 miles down the road when you are just ridding along.  Here is a  tip to help prevent the majority of flats: Pump your tires up before EVERY ride.  Even if you ride in the evening and are riding again in the morning, check your tire pressure.

The best way to check your tire pressure is with a good floor pump.  A good floor pump may run you $80 but it will save you more in the long run with the cost of tubes and labor to change them if you aren’t able to do it yourself.  Check out the Fezzari 2-in-1 floor pump here.

A few other tips to prevent flats.

While your tire is off of your wheel, run your fingers on the inside of your tire to feel for any thorns, glass, rocks, or any other foreign objects that could pop a tube.  Also check the inside of the rim to ensure there aren’t any burrs that could cause the flat.  This is applicable to mountain bike wheels and tires too.

While riding, avoid the gravel patches that are common at intersections.  These small rocks can put small slices in your tires and decrease tire life as well as cause flats.

When crossing railroad tracks, cattle guards or other unavoidable bumps, slow down and stand up.  This will allow your body to absorb some of the shock instead of putting all the force on your tires and bike frame.