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    How To Prevent Punctures On Your Mountain Bike | MTB Skills & Tech


    – As a pro-racer, (relaxing music) I've definitely had plenty of times where a flat tire has let me down It's the 21st century, and we're still getting punctures

    So annoying But technology definitely has moved on Tires and rims can make it almost avoidable, but I'm talking about riding skills here as well Definitely you rough riders out there, there are things you can to to try and avoid punctures So, if you're someone who still regularly gets punctures, hopefully this is how to solve them

    But before we get into that, why don't you vote? Just go up there, see that little icon up there, let us know how often you're still getting punctures And don't forget to subscribe, and hit that bell icon down there so you know every time we do an upload (logo whirring) You still see punctures an awful lot in racing, from downhill enduro and cross-country, which I think is pretty crazy, racers throwing away runs when there's technology available that almost makes punctures impossible Not definitely impossible, but makes them much harder We'll get into that technology a bit further along in the video, but I think the number one riding skill to help you prevent getting punctures is just being smoother

    So by that I actually mean unweighting over obstacles, so using a bunny hop, and using that technique in large or small versions, just so you don't slap into those edges and hit those rocks We've done lots of skills videos on this, so definitely check those out And the other part of being smoother I think, is learning how to pump trails So that means you can really read a trail for it's transitions, and rather than trying to pedal through these edges that, you know, you might not be able to see all of them, especially in rock gardens where most of the time might be okay, but there might be one really bad edge, and if you're pedaling, you can't really judge so well when the weight is going to be heavy on the tires So when it comes to pumping, you're again unweighting over the hard edges, then you're really weighting the bike into the bits where it's smoother to make the speed, so you're reading the trail better and you're going to be smoother

    Unweighting, pumping, and I've missed one: downhill, better lines Now that all comes under the same umbrella I think, that is trail craft And these are all things that you need to learn, so you know where you can push hard and pedal through sections, or when you need to rely on better lines and pumping so you avoid crashing and punctures Tubeless tires Now, tell me everyone's running tubeless tires

    I don't actually know I do, and pretty much everyone I know does, but again, vote up there, let us know if you're still running tubes, because inner tubes are the arch enemy of rocks and thorns Anything that goes through the tires can hit that tube, and you'll get those punctures With tubeless, it can't happen That good old snakebite, where you smack a rock and it pinches your tube between the rock and the rim doesn't happen with tubeless tires

    Although, if you do smack them hard enough, you can rip the tire Now, tubeless, it can be a bit messy and a bit of frustrating setup to begin with, but once you've got the knack of it, it's really not a problem And again, we've got loads of videos on this, so no excuses Try and learn how to do it, I think you'll probably be grateful for doing it Tubes or tubeless, if you're still getting snakebites or ripping that tire from impact, then one way to avoid this is by going higher on your pressures

    Now, I'd say there's like an operating limit of how high you want to go, anything above 30 I think is probably too hard, maybe even above 28, because what will happen, the more pressure you put in, you get slightly less tire footprint on the ground, so you'll have less grip, less tire touching the floor, but also it starts feeling really harsh You won't get any of that nice sort of dampening affect of that tire on the floor, and it'll feel really stiff So definitely a limit on how hard you want to go with your tires For those that are running tubeless tires and you're still getting punctures, is that maybe you haven't got enough sealant, or it's dried out, because after, you know, maybe six months, depends where you live, how hot it is, how often you're riding, it can dry out, and you don't have it sloshing around inside your tires Then if you do get a thorn, it's not going to get there and fill that hole

    So it's worth checking your sealant every now and again, and to be honest I err on the side of caution I put quite a lot of sealant into my tires Also you might find that when you've set your tire up as a tubeless system, you pump it up, you can still hear little bits of air coming out, and you can't quite see where, don't actually know where it is, sometimes it might be a bit of a gap between the tire bead and the rim, or even still some holes between the tape and the rim, and that's where, again, sometimes if you go for a ride and get it sloshing around inside there, it'll stop it from leaking Sometimes just put a bit more sealant in, and again do the same thing, go for a ride, or just spin it around, get that sealant going into those tiny little microscopic holes, and it should seal the problem Okay, so there's some of my tips, but I think I need the help of an expert for some further advice

    If only I knew someone that had their own mountain bike technology YouTube channel (swooshing) Doddy, found one Before we get started into the tech of preventing punctures, when was the last time you had one? – I got to say, probably a good couple of years ago, maybe three, I've been tubeless, and sensible tire options for many years now

    – To be fair, I think I've had one sooner than that, more recently than that I should say But, I did burp a tire just this week because I was a bit lazy and didn't pump it back up to the right pressures So something to be wary of with a tubeless setup is having a stable tire still So let's get into tires first, how would be a way that people could prevent punctures if they're getting them? – Um, okay, well let's look at tire tech for example So, when you're picking the tire that suits you as a rider, you've got to consider a few things, what you're using it for, and even your body weight

    Like a heavier rider naturally is going to need a slightly heavier tire to give a bit more support – I guess I kind of do that as well This is my cross country bike, it's almost down country where I've gone for a wider rim, just talking about my set, but also probably a heavier tire than some, this is the XC-Trail rather than the XC-Race, which is super lightweight, but you don't get the stability of the Trail tire – Absolutely, yeah So just as Neil was saying, an XC-Race tire is exactly that

    It's designed to be as light and efficient as possible as covering ground A sacrifice is you could puncture these a bit easier, purely because of the weight of them A more sensible choice would be going for a trail casing It's got a bit more sidewall protection, a bit more protection on the top of the tire, and then again another level up from that is to look at something, you see them called enduro-based tires They've got much thicker carcasses on them, and these particular ones actually have teardrop shaped, like an insert on the side wall– – And that's dual-ply as well, I guess? – It's really heavy duty tire, yeah

    It's designed to give maximum support Now, something that's quite interesting to say is that I'm a bit of a heavy rider, I tend to ride on a heavy-duty tire on the rear, and I stick to a lighter tire on the front So I don't need heavy-duty tires, but they do give me a bit more support as well – I guess the lazy way I do it is I look at the weight of the tire, and a heavier tire, I should know is going to have more protection compared to a 600 gram tire that's going to be pretty lightweight – Yeah

    – What about inserts? That's something that people are experimenting with, even cross country racers – Yeah, so sometimes I tend to run a lighter tire on the rear for the rolling resistance, to keep it nice and quick, and I'll run an insert in there Now, there's a couple of different types of insert you can get You can get those that are designed purely to protect the rim, and to stop you getting a pinch flat, or you get those like this one by Victoria, which are designed to actually let you continue your race or continue your ride, it's like a run-flat system if you like So the whole point is, if you do get a puncture, you're not going to damage the tire or the rim any further if you need to carry on that ride

    – And potentially run lower pressures without worrying about burps– – Absolutely – Because you're not going to roll the tire quite as easily – Yeah, it's going to hold the tire on, and of course it's going to affect how the tire feels, kind of like tire suspension if you like – What about rim widths? Again, I've gone probably a bit, like heavier weight almost, so I've got the e*thirteen XCX carbon rims, they come in 24 or 28, so I've gone for the 28 I'd rather have, well, I don't mind the weight, just say I'd rather have more volume, and that's going to help as well I presume

    – The wider the rim, you're going to get a slightly bigger shape to the tire, you're going to get more support as well So if you're running a bigger tire, say a 235 on a narrow rim, it's going to wobble around more at lower pressures So if it's a tire pressure thing for traction where you're reducing your pressure, a wider rim is going to give that tire more stability So there are lots of factors to take into account

    – An older, worn-out tire's going to have less rubber on it as well, so less protection, particularly? – Yeah, absolutely, and good point actually, is talking about tire tread design Now, some people would choose to have one tire design and use that all year round, which is fine Obviously it will suit your price point there But if you're a rider that likes to have, say, an open-tread tire for mud, just be cautious if you're using that in really rocky conditions, because the whole point of an open tire is it allows the tire to clear that mud, but it also exposes a lot of the tire carcass If you're riding in rocky conditions, something with a much more compressed tread design is going to protect your tire a lot better

    – So you've got to get, the obstacle is to get through the tread and the carcass to get to it – Absolutely, yeah, it's way tougher – So, even sometimes just sticking a fresh tire on could be an option, also a good chance to check your rim tape, make sure it's in good condition Check there aren't any burrs on your rim, especially if you're still running tubes, that could cause a problem Tubeless valves can get gunked up eventually with the sealant, so you can open them up, use something like this, sealant remover to get in there and clear them out I suppose

    – Um, one last little interesting thing I discovered recently when setting up a budget bike tubeless, was the rims on this particular budget bike were so budget that actually was a very slight like gap on the join of them, and air was leaking through the gap Even though they were properly taped up and everything – Okay – And ended up having to use more sealant to get them sealed, so just something to be cautious of if you're setting up tubeless – Right, if you want to see Doddy's video of the Victoria tire factory tour, interesting tech to see how these things are made, click over there for that one

    – Yeah, and also click over there if you want to see me setting up a bike tubeless for the first time – Thumbs up if you love tubeless tires

    Source: Youtube

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