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Tubular Tire Flats and Service Life

Read why I ride tubular (“sew up”) tires exclusively.

Today my Veloflex Sprinter flatted, due to a cut from something sharp, perhaps glass. But like most flats on tubular tires, it retained ~40 psi or so, enough for me to ride 12 miles home without risking rim damage.

Tire sealant helped, but never really fixes punctures, contrary to claims of vendors of tire sealant. I was disappointed yet again with the Vittoria Pit Stop sealant, which has a flawed design that allows the plastic top to pop off and blow out a huge pile of latex bubbles. I’ll be switching to the Effeto Mariposa Espresso that has a much better design with a short rubber tube for a positive seal.

The Sprinter tire had significant wear, being partly squared-off from wear. This makes it more prone to flats. I rode 780 miles on this tire before the flat— far better than bad luck, but less than the 1200 miles of wear I’d typically go before replacing it. Heavier rider + more climbing = shorter service life.

Front tires last 3-4X as long as rear tires, because climbing puts massive torque on the rubber on the rear tire, and next to none on the front tire. So I always run the race-weight Veloflex Record on the front, and the somewhat more durable Veloflex Sprinter on the rear.

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