Preventative measures: Tube sealants like
Slime work well to seal small punctures
from thorns or road debris nearly instantly.
Slime sells inner tubes with their sealant
pre-installed as well as in a bottle for
installation in a standard tube.
Toughen up your tires: Tire liners such as Mr. Tuffy’s instantly add an extra layer against
punctures to any tire. A liner over a heavy-duty downhill tube is even better insurance.
be an easy pill to swallow on an assisted bike if it means peace of mind when
the terrain gets a bit rough.
Heavy-duty tubes: There are exceptionally heavy-duty tubes made for
downhill racing that are as much as
2.5mm thick. Riders of bikes that are
human-powered hate them since they
are heavy. Again, with assist, we have
noticed no negative effects, and especially for bikes with hub motors, they
should be considered mandatory.
Puncture-resistant tires: Most
tire companies offer models that are
specifically made for trying conditions.
Whether for on- or off-road use, these
tires usually employ extra material under
the tread to stop sharp objects from
penetrating the tire. Along with the additional material, the rubber compound
itself is often tougher than that found on
Some varieties will also offer thicker
sidewall protection to prevent sliced
tires. The downside to these tough tires
comes in the form of additional weight.
This weight is accentuated by being
located toward the outside of the spinning wheel, but again, with an assisted
bike this is less of a problem.
Proper pressure: Regardless of tire
choice, finding the proper air pressure
is essential for preventing flats. The
number one culprit for pinch flats is
under-inflation, which allows the tire to
compress too easily to the rim when run
into a square-edge object.
While tires have a recommended
pressure rating printed on their side,
Due to the additional weight of an
e-bike’s battery and motor, the tires will
almost always need to be inflated to a
higher pressure than their traditional,
LINES OF DEFENSE
Tire liners: The aim of a tire liner is
to turn any tire into a puncture-resistant one. Tire liners are long strips of
reinforced material that fit in between
the tire and tube. They come in different widths and lengths in order to
fit the varying sizes of tires and are
most effective at preventing punctures
from sharp objects. While effective
in extreme cases, they do add a little
weight, and they can be tough to install
properly by an amateur mechanic.
Sealant tubes: These tubes come
with puncture-sealing liquid inside.
When any small hole is created, the
sealant rushes to and clogs the hole.
While a bit of air may be lost in the
process, the rider can pump the tire
back up to the proper pressure, and the
tire will in most cases hold air as if the
puncture never occurred.
Along with tubes that come with
sealant pre-installed, most bike shops
will also sell bottles of tube sealant
that can be installed in any tube with a
removable valve core. This is helpful not
only in preventing flats, but in rejuvenat-
ing an old tube that has already suffered
a few small punctures.
The downside to this route is that
sealant is limited by the size of the
puncture created. While effective against
pinprick-style holes, it won’t seal a cut
Every rider at one point or another
will deal with flat tires, and as such will
have some experience on the topic.
However, out of all the people who’ve
dealt with flat tires, no one has dealt
more in the area than your local bike-shop mechanic. The most common
repairs that bike shops deal with day in
and day out are flat tires. Each individual rider and bike may require a slightly
different setup, and the best way to
determine a good starting point is to
talk to your local bike shop. They will
not only be familiar with your particular
equipment, but also the terrain in the
local area. ■