No ordinary tyre guarantees to be absolute puncture free, but improvements in technology have gone a long way to reducing your chances of puncturing. For the average rider and commuter, buying a puncture resistant tyre is probably one of best upgrades to make. Highly puncture resistant tyres usually have a trade off of greater weight and higher rolling resistance (i.e. slower) but the slight decline in speed is well worth the greater peace of mind that comes from having less punctures.
Armadillo – Specialized All Condition
The tyre feels pretty tough and resistant to small scratches. It claims to be designed for low rolling resistance; but, in practices feels a little heavy. I am quite happy using it on my commuting bike and also added to rear wheel of my training bike. I have been using them for over three years (5 days a week) During that period I have had three punctures and one was a 6 inch nail. Roughly speaking its a puncture rate of 3 / 7,000 miles or 1 per 2,000 miles. It’s also pretty hard wearing, I get maybe 3,000 miles on rear and 5,000 miles on front, which is a long time for a commuting bike. Overall this is a very good value tyre which offers excellent puncture resistance. It really is a good investment and one of my favourite. Armadillo Tyres at Evans Cycles
Schwalbe Marathon Plus
This has one of the strongest puncture resistance and is almost impregnable. Pictures show you can put a drawing tack in middle and it doesn’t penetrate to the inner tube. It comes with an extra layer of rubber which resists even a drawing pin. It is quite heavy at over 900grams, but, this is because of the thickness of the rubber. If you really want a very strong puncture proof tyre, this has one of thickest layers of protection. It has a heavier rolling resistance (but doesn’t feel totally dead), but you won’t be buying it so you can be light and fast. At £30 for a tyre, it may seem a lot, but it will reward the investment in time saved and cost of new inner tubes. Schwalbe Marathon Plus at Wiggle 700c*25 – 200c *38.
Schwalbe Durano Plus Performance Tyre
The road bike version of the Schwalbe Smart Guard puncture protection. Again heavier than your average tyre, but offers unrivalled puncture protection with only slight decline in rolling resistance. Despite the marketers claim, you definitely wouldn’t race on this as the extra weight would be a handicap, but if you are sick of getting punctures this is one of best protection you can get. Good for training bike, very low ratio of punctures. It is available in 700c*23 to 700c *25
Racing Puncture Resistant Tyres
Continental Ultra Gator Skin
The other tyre I like to use on my winter training bike is the Continental Ultra Gator Skin (all season). As as added bonus it has good handling properties in the wet (essential for winter riding). It also feels a lighter ride than the Armadillo. You can also get the Continental Gator Skin Hardshell (which has added layer to prevent tyres splitting)
Continental Four Seasons
Continental Four Seasons, weighs 250grams, but is the best Continental Tyre for resisting cuts and punctures. It has two vectran layers, plus a special tyre compound to prevent splits in the sidewall.
The Continental 4000 are somewhat prone to sidewall splits, and there puncture resistance is not spectacular.
Schwalbe Ultremo ZX
At only 195grams, these are a super slick and smooth racing tyre. They have low weight and low rolling resistance, and also are easy to put on. However, despite low weight, they still are good at resisting punctures. After 2,000Km on rear wheel, I’m yet to experience flat.
- Advisable for summer, and not winter.
Other ways to minimise punctures include
- Avoid riding in wet grit and dirt
- Mend an inner tube without pinching it whilst putting it back on – Tips for mending a puncture
Puncture free tyres
The only absolutely puncture free tyres are those that are completely solid. I wanted to try one, but, was told they were too wide to fit a racing bike. If anyone has good experiences with puncture free tyres and knows where you can get one for 700*25, I would be interested in hearing, you can leave a comment below.