Ok so I’m new to the mountain bike scene having just purchased my first bike about a month ago. It’s a giant talon 3. I commute about 3 miles to work, round trip, when it’s nice but I’ve been now been out on some trails twice with my friend. I’ve been having a blast and loving trail riding however I’ve already had 3 puncture flats…..the stock tires are Maxxis Icon 27.5×2.2. And I am running tubes. Is there a better tire from maxxis or elsewhere that would help give me more puncture resistance? Or have I just had really bad luck?
Tubes are your issue. I am sure plenty of people will echo what I am about to say. The tires aren’t bad but going tubeless is far superior to running tubes. A couple of years ago I was on the fence about going tubeless but nothing was pushing me over the edge. Then I had a span of about a month where every other ride I would pull my bike out to ride to find a flat or I would be walking back in because I flatted half way through ride. It was costing me too many rides. Since going tubeless I haven’t had one flat. You will here all the benefits about being able to run lower pressures and less weight and more traction. All true and nice but not having flats is by far the best reason. No more cancelled or shortened rides. My guess is that your rims are tubeless compatible but don’t know about your tire. I see it is a lightweight xc tire which sounds good with what you are doing right now especially with all the commuting. I would talk to your local bike shop about the tire and see if it will work or not. The original tires on mine said tubeless ready but I was warned about weak sidewalls. I used the opportunity to buy a beefy and wider tire when I converted to tubeless. Talk to your shop about converting. I am at best okay mechanically and I bought all the needed items to convert my tires including new tires and did the conversion myself. One of the easier things you can do yourself. You probably need rim tape, new valves, sealant and possibly new tires. Talk to your shop and watch a couple of YouTube vids. Parktool and GMBN and Seth’s Bike Hack are places I found the videos to help me.
Here’s an alternative to a full tubeless setup. Get some tubes with removable valve cores, remove the cores, inject 2-3 oz (60-90 ml) Stans or another latex sealant into the tubes, and reinstall the cores. Using sealant fill tubes will give you puncture protection without a full tubeless setup. It’s possible that your rims and tires are not tubeless-ready or taped in which case you would need new tires and to alter your rims to be able to go tubeless. Tubeless works great but you need tubeless-ready tires and rims and the learning curve on setting up a bike tubeless is steep. After you do it a few times, it gets easier but the first few times can be messy and frustrating.
While I am a proponent of running tubeless the quickest/simplest way to resolve the issue is to identify the root cause. If you have flatted 3 times in 2 rides it sounds like one or more of the following has/is occurring (1) you are running tire pressures too low and have pinch-flatted, (2) you have a thorn or some other sharp object that’s inside the tire and/or (3) your tire is actually punctured and the tube is being exposed when additional pressure is applied.
For 1, check your tire pressures. You should probably be in the 25-35psi range depending on a number of factors, e.g. weight, trail surface, ride style, etc.
For 2, take a wet cloth and clean/wipe the entire inside of the tire to remove any grit or foreign objects
For 3, check the inside of the tire very carefully by folding it back all along the tire (both sides and middle) looking for a puncture. If this is the reason the puncture should be fairly noticeable.
rmap01 covered it quite well. Also inspect the rim surface and valve stem hole for burrs and other things that can cause tube faults.
I run Q-Tubes SL in my plusser so I can swap tires at a moment’s notice without a marathon of tire spooge and such. The SL tube simulates the suppleness of TL quite well for the ride quality. A fella can also squirt in some Orange Seal for the thorn sized leaks but anything larger might not be successful.
During January, I spent three weeks in AZ without a tire issue of any sort with my 4 hour daily rides. AZ is the thorn capitol of the US of A!