Question (and sorry for not knowing anywhere better on the Wiki to post this - feel free to move it if anyone does). Does anyone have any experience with buying and/or using Kevlar cycle tyres in Cambridge? The amount of punctures I seem to get while cycling make me think it's worth investing in a pair. But I'm not sure what the price range should be, where in Cambridge I'd buy them, or even whether they're good. A Google search indicates reasonably positive opinion but far from universal. Any comments, anyone? --AlexChurchill
In Cambridge, no, but I used to cycle around MK a lot, and the redways were full of broken glass / sharp stones / thorny plants that the council cut down and then left to rot on the cycle path. I bought a kevlar tape that can be used to modify bike tyres from Halfords, cost about £6 for two reels (i.e. 2 tyres, but if bought make sure you buy the correct width). They make it in several grades (racer, mountain narrow, mountain wide, etc.) and it has the bonus of not needing to buy new tyres, just take off the tyre, pad the space between it and the inner tube and fit it back on. Worked fine, if a little fiddly to set up. But its CheapCheapCheap?. No punctures in 2 years of cycling through glass-strewn housing estates. Many other people I knew had no such protections and got a puncture every month or so. Once checked the tyre + found three thorns embedded into the tape, but none had gotten close to the actual inner tube itself. --Jumlian
Yes it does. My cycle shop has been denying all knowledge of anything to reinforce my tires. This sounds perfect. --Vitenka
I'll see if I still have the box at home (despite me now living up North, and not owning a bicycle). There seem to be a few makes out there though. A quick Google shows that between £6 and £8 id where you're heading, which is a lot cheaper than £55 per tyre for a kevlar-reinforced tyre. That, and a few sites I found said that the reinforced tyres don't actually work very well. For reference, the tape I got for a standard sized mountain-bike tyre was about 1 1/2 inches across, pink, with a 1/2 inch-wide white stripe down the middle, but I can't OTTOMH remember the manufacturer--Jumlian
(AlanLawrence)Well, obviously ymmv, but a number of people I know have tried the tape and been less than happy with it. The problem is that it has sharp edges, and thus can cause punctures if the fit is not *exactly* right. I've used a variety of kevlar-belted tyres though, generally costing £20 or so a tyre I admit, and been pleased with all of them; 3 punctures in 5500 miles (all in the back wheel, of course...), the last of which was due to a sharp, rigid, metal spike about half an inch long. Nearly punctured my finger when I found it. If you *really* want puncture-proof, then "Schwalbe Marathon Plus" are the tyres to use, you can stick tacks in them without puncturing the tube, and in fact as you roll the wheel round against the ground, the tacks should even be forced out. They aren't exactly light or fast, of course....
The other thing that is really good are the self-sealing inner tubes. I've used two varieties, and the ones with "SLiME?" in worked much better than the unbranded clones. Once on the way to the train station I had a puncture so big I could hear the air hissing out of it as I rode along, but couldn't stop to do anything about it or I'd have missed the train; by the time I'd got to the station a few minutes later it had long sealed itself and the tyre still had enough air in it to ride reasonably well. Most punctures you do get you won't even be aware of, just top up the air from time to time....
I bought one of those inner tubes a while ago, but somehow it managed to explode and make a mess. Not sure why, possibly I overinflated it or maybe that I made a hole in the tyre by being stupid and cycling a bike with narrow racing wheels offroad. You could see the inner tube poking through the hole in the tyre although this wasn't actually where it split. --MawKernewek
Ouch, that sounds pretty messy. otoh I suspect you were unlucky - I had a (normal, not self-sealing) tube explode on me not long ago, made a hole about 3*1 inches (!). Think I must have trapped a small bit of tube tight inbetween tyre and rim :-(. The self-sealing ones are a bit tricky to set up, you have to be careful to inflate and especially deflate them correctly to avoid spraying slime everywhere (!) and/or clogging up the valve; also if you get a snakebite puncture (or an explosion!) it's not gonna help much and will just make a mess. I keep mine at about 90psi though and they work fine. --AL
Just to clarify things, I wasn't actually riding the bike at the time when it exploded, I think the tyre being overinflated must have made the tube pinch somewhere. --MawKernewek
Extremeley belated reply here. In summary though - I bought the infill strips, and they were rubbish. All they did was catch thorns, then slide around the inside of the tyre until you get a side puncture. --Vitenka