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Punctures, WHY? and how to avoid getting them

Hello All

This is my first post but I have been reading this site for a while and picked up some useful stuff.

Last year was my first real year of triathlon and I enjoyed it immensely and took part in many Olympics and one Half IM..... I’m also hoping to qualify for the 2008 Olympics… yeah right J

My only real problem is with punctures – in 6 out of the 8 races I did last year I got a puncture which has a disastrous effect on my run (as I try to make up time on the bike – I know, I know I should continue at same pace). And more to the point, really chuffs me off.

So what I need from you guys is to tell me what causes punctures (apart from the obvious) – i.e. poor quality rim tape is not strong enough to contain the pressure of the tube and you can cut the tube on the wheel eyes…

And most importantly how do you stop puncture.

Are you more likely to get a puncture at 100 PSI than say 90?

Does how you sit and position your weight make it more or less likely to get a puncture?

Are 23mm tires less likely to go than 20mm?

It would be great if we could brainstorm this and solve all our puncture problems for ever more!

Annoyingly I have not had one puncture while training on the roads!!!! What’s that all about?!!


p.s. 220 should do a feature on this.


  • It depends on what is causing the punctures.

    1)Rim tape, or innertube expires, valve bust etc etc, do more maintanance on your bike. Change the tubes two weeks before the event. Inspect your tyres for damage etc regularly.

    2)Thorns, glass, nails etc. Avoid running them over;) Once you have a puncture take your time fixing it, ensure you have found the cause of the puncture and removed it before putting the new tube in and pumping it up, otherwise you will simply repuncture the new tube.

    Snakebite punctures, rare on a road bike, but caused by hitting a pothole, or similar at speed and literally 'bursting' the tyre, called a snakebite as you get two holes next to each other. To avoid these avoid potholes, if you know you are going to hit one, stand up and relax your legs so that your legs absorb most of the jolt reducing pressure on the tyre (or bunnyhop over the pothole!). Also helps to run at higher pressure, you are more likely to snakebite when running lower pressures.
  • Forgot to add, sacrifice a virgin to the puncture gods prior to each race ;)
  • BonusBBonusB Posts: 279
    Supposedly running tubs helps reduce the chances of a puncture, not entirely sure why though.

    However if it follows the thinking behind tubes then I can see why. Run your tyre at a higher pressure. If I get pushed off into the grit I can hear it pinging out from under the wheel because it is so hard (imagine if it was softer it can deform more easily and thus puncture). I typically run at 100-110psi depending on the weather (I heard somewhere if it is wet running a lower pressure will help with grip) and have only had one puncture so far (I imagine having just written that though that I've put a nail in my tubes [8D]).

    I'd also imagine the quality of the tube and the tyre used help. I know that there is a tyre out there under the name of Armadillo or some such which is extra-reinforced against puncturing compared to regular tyre. Remember though that it will affect your rolling resistance and slow you down.

    At worst it could be your exceptionally unlucky.
  • pdundepdunde Posts: 99
    I had a problem with my first racer, it was puncturing all the time and every time i was replacing the inner tube....if this is the case with you its probably something inherent with your wheel / tyre setup.

    One of two possibilities springs to mind

    1) You dont have any inner rim tape to protect the inner tube from the sharp edges of the spoke holes (that was my problem - insulation tape around the inside of the rim sorted my problem out!)

    2) there could be a peice of thorn / something sharp stuck in the tyre thats repeatedly puncturing the tube. (run your finger round the inside of the tyre to feel for something).

    If its none of the above inflate your tyre as high as it will go on a normal temp day and that should help.....If its a really hot day run about 100 psi tops as the heat causes the air in the tyre to expand, thus increasing the pressure further.

    Hope that helps.....ps my money is on number 1) haha.
  • pdundepdunde Posts: 99
    Sorry i will read your post properly next time - just notice you said you have rim tape haha ;-)
  • jonEjonE Posts: 1,113
    Sorry bit late in replying to the thread,did the puncture occur in the same place but you could not find a cause?If so they may be a problem with your wheel(small fracture) that only opens out when put under pressure i.e your body weight and pressure from your body forceas you pedal.It took me a season to find mine including 2 DNF's due to running out of inners and patches (7 in 25 miles).
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