Nothing is more frustrating than having your ride interrupted by a puncture, particularly if you’re in a hurry or not able to stop to do the necessary repairs. There are a number of things you can do to minimize the risk of punctures, including maintaining the correct inflation pressure and regularly checking your tires for any embedded objects.
Furthermore, upgrading your tires to a set made from good quality rubber or another puncture resistant material can go a long way in reducing punctures and minimizing your time spent doing patch-ups.
What should you look for when buying puncture resistant tires?
When purchasing a new set of puncture resistant tires, it is important to consider the environment you’re riding in, the weight of the tires and the grip and rolling resistance.
Depending on what season you’re riding in, you may have to prioritize one of the above factors in order to satisfy the other. If you tend to ride in the city, only using your bike to commute to work, you may be able to forge some puncture resistance in favor of a more lightweight and speedy tire.
However, if you are riding on rough roads, puncture resistance will be more beneficial than a lightweight tire.
Clinchers or Tubeless Tires:
Clincher tires are the most popular tires that are used today. Clincher tires have beads around the outer edge that hook onto the rim of the wheel. Clincher tires have a completely separate inner tube, making them easy to repair or replace without having to change your entire tire.
Tubeless tires are a relatively new technology available on the market. Tubeless tires utilize an airtight rim and tire, forgoing an inner tube completely. Tubeless tires can be run at much lower pressures, minimizing the danger of pinch flats whilst saving you a small amount of weight.
Tubeless tires can be difficult to install and you will most likely need a good quality sealant to help seal the tire on the rim- this will also aid in preventing punctures.
What is the best material for puncture resistance?
Puncture resistance in your tire will ultimately come down to the material it is made from. Generally, each brand has their own unique material and composition that enables a more puncture resistant tire, affording you more durability and wear.
Most companies will use a material known as Kevlar to reinforce their tires. Known to be used in bulletproof vests, Kevlar offers unmatched protection against even the sharpest of rocks and glass.
There are two kinds of Kevlar that are used in bicycle tires:
Kevlar beads are normally used for high-performance tires, offering a lightweight tire that does not compromise on quality. Kevlar bead tires have become very popular with long distance riders due to their convenient storage and folding features.
Unfortunately, tires made from Kevlar can be difficult to install. However, using these tires with hook edge bicycle rims should ease any installation difficulties.
Kevlar Belted Tires:
The use of Kevlar under the tread surface of the tire can be beneficial in reducing the impact of smaller objects such as shards of glass, thorns or nails. These tires generally have higher rolling resistance and are, unfortunately, more expensive.
Kevlar is not the only puncture resistant technology available, with many riders opting for tire liners or tube sealants. Tire liners offer some of the best protection available, providing a barrier between the tire and the tube.
Unfortunately, some tire liners can add extra weight to your wheel, slowing down your ride significantly. Tube sealants are a great option as they can repair existing punctures as well as prevent new ones from occurring. Although they can become messy during installation, sealants will often create a plug that will outlive your tire altogether.
What are the best puncture proof tires?
Continental Gator Hard-shell Urban Bicycle Tire
A leader in puncture resistant tires, the Continental GatorSkin utilizes a unique ‘PolyX Breaker’ insert and ‘DuraSkin’ sidewall protection to offer premium quality puncture resistance. Their reptilian design, composed of dense polyester fibers paired with polyamide fabric encasing, has been handmade in Germany since 1871, maintaining the highest standards while evolving their product to employ the most up-to-date technology.
The GatorSkin has three main components, resulting in a sturdy and virtually impenetrable tire. A deep casing overlap, extra wide ‘PolyX breaker’ along the entire tread strip paired with the ‘DuraSkin’ bead-to-bead casing offers both quality and durability while maintaining an affordable price.
You can find a quality set of GatorSkin’s for around $40.00 on Amazon. Click here to check the current price
If you would like to find out more about the Continental GatorSkin, check out our ‘Continental GatorSkin review’ article where we go a little more into depth.
Hutchinson Intensive 2 Road Bike Tire
The Hutchison Intensive 2 Tubeless Tire underwent five years of testing and development before being introduced as one of the most durable and weatherproof tires available on the market. Utilizing 25mm wide, bead to bead puncture resistant casing reinforcement, Hutchison’s Tubeless Road Tires are usable in both wet or dry weather, making them perfect for year-round use.
An extra millimeter of compound on the rolling tread combined with a puncture breaker underneath the tread allows for greater durability and prevents punctures without damaging your performance or slowing you down. Weighing in at just 315 grams, these lightweight tires are made from quality bi-compound material and boast supple and heavy-duty casing.
Available for around $40 on Amazon, the Hutchison Intensive 2 Tubeless Tire is a must for any cyclist battling sporadic weather conditions. Check reviews and current price here.
Vittoria Zaffiro Pro III 23 Road Bike Tire
If you are shopping on a budget, look no further than the Vittoria Zaffiro Pro III tire. Primarily used as a training tire, this top-quality tire offers a more secure grip, an extended lifespan on high mileage rides and, more importantly, complete protection from punctures and flat tires. Boasting an Aramid, or Kevlar, Endura 3D tread, this tire has deeper middle grooves accompanied by shallow shoulders. Such a combination improves your tires overall grip and will afford you durability and stability in even the toughest terrain or wettest weather conditions.
The PBR puncture protection also affords you extra protection against punctures, offering defense against road damage or sharp rocks. The Vittoria Zaffiro maintains fast-rolling performance, offering you a faster ride, without sacrificing the quality of your ride.
You can find the Vittoria Zaffiro Pro III 23 Tires on Amazon for as little as $25 – check current price. Don’t let the budget pricing of these tires deter you; the Vittoria Zaffiro truly are some of the best puncture resistant tires available on the market.
Maxxis Re-Fuse Folding Tire
Another tire perfect for riders looking for a durable, good-quality training/commuting tire without spending a fortune is the Maxxis Re-Fuse Folding Tire. This tire offers unrivaled traction, durability, and lifespan. A combination of a Kevlar belt and silkworm cap ply casing offers the ultimate puncture resistance, making them appropriate for most weather conditions and terrains and highly capable of dealing with any unwanted debris.
These lightweight tires weigh in at only 270g and boast a diamond knurled design, offering you one of the most comfortable rides you will ever experience. Not only that, you will also notice a remarkable difference in your speed and efficiency. The Maxxis Re-Fuse is also available in a number of colors so you can match your tire to your bike!
You can find the Maxxis Re-Fuse Folding Tire on Amazon for the competitive price of around $40. These well-rounded tires are an excellent choice for cyclists who are looking for a heavy-duty wheel that can be used for general commuting or even for racing.
Depending on your personal preferences and the conditions you’re riding under, you will find any one of the aforementioned tires a useful asset to your bike and they will undoubtedly save you the hassle of patching up a puncture. Personally, I find both the Continental GatorSkin and the Maxxis Re-Fuse Folding Tire to be the best options available for cyclists.