I survived my first week with my new Rover 8!   I also enjoyed it thoroughly! But because of back problems I must admit the thought of having to try to repair a puncture path bothers me a lot. 

What are the very best puncture resistant tires?  (I don't aim for speed so if I need a thicker type of tire that would not bother me.)  Are  Kevlar containing tires really as good as they claim? 

And, if I were to get a flat tire would SLIME be enough for the ten miles home or is patching always needed?

Thank you in advance, this forum is a godsend for newbies like me! 


  • Woops!    The word path after the word puncture in the first paragraph is an error!
  • I too have a fear of flats, that is why I am getting Marathon Plus Tires, my research shows they are best and the $100 dollar plus is insurance I am willing to pay.
  • You can get puncture resistant tubes, and tires. Liners are also available for the inside of the tires. I live in western Colorado and we have things called goat-heads. They're little burrs that seem extremely hungry for bike tires. As a preventative, nearly everyone "slimes" their tires right away. That is we put slime in BEFORE getting a flat. Most of the time it's sufficient to stop any leaks from the goat-heads. You can also check with your local bike shop and see what they may recommend for local conditions.
  • Get either Marathons or Marathon Plus tires.  Both run higher pressures than the stock puncture-prone CST tires, so they also roll much better. No need for slime or special tubes with those tires, either.

    I'd say get whichever fits your budget better.  I wanted to get Pluses last year, but found regular Marathons on sale for ~$26 each and went with those.  No regrets or punctures, and I regularly ride on Philadelphia streets.  

    The only reason to prefer Pluses is if you're in Goat-head territory or really, really want to be sure you don't get flats.  If you want to hedge your bets, use Marathons on the front and a Plus on the rear.

    - PaulNM 
  • I have had good luck with the Marathons. If you are not in goathead territory I would go with the Marathons since they cost less and are easier to mount. If you are in goathead territory you will probably want the Marathon Plus. Just a forewarning that on some rims the Plus can be a real bear to mount.
    John Werner
    Rover Tandem Alfine 11 /w IPS
  • All very good advice from Chrissy, keep note of what she wrote.

    Regarding tire protection choices:

    It depends where you're riding and what kind of terrain you're on. City/suburban roads are more likely to have small bits of glass or stone that can work their way through tires. The Schwalbe tires with the built in rubber layers are really good at stopping those kind of punctures.

    If all you do is drive your trike to well paved trails, then the CST's will work really well.

    I mentioned the higher pressure because they have a bonus of less rolling resistance and therefore tend to go faster. I wasn't trying to imply that meant more puncture resistance. That said, now that I'm thinking about it, there is one way in which higher pressure tires do have more puncture resistance.  They're less likely to result in snakebite punctures from sharp jolts (from potholes and other bumps/dips).

    Aside from terrain, there are two other things to consider when looking at tire/tube setups.

    1: Physical ability.  For you, changing tires may take 5 minutes.  For me it's more like 15 due to arthritis and other health issues. For someone like my mother (only in her early 60's), who has both knees and both hips replaced, it may be impossible.  On a trail that's lined with benches or a low fence of some kind, it's easier to do patches/tube changes since you can sit on a "chair" of some kind. On most trails/streets I ride on, I have to get down on the ground.

    2: Time.  For those who ride to/from work or other events, fixing flats is enough of a no-go that it makes sense to spend a little more to virtually eliminate it from ever happening. (Especially during inclement weather.)

    It all depends on where/when/how often you ride, as well as your own abilities and preferences. (And finances.)

    In my case, my Rover8 (Sept 2012) came with CSTs that I used until June 2014.  My first flat was within a month of getting the Rover (during a rain storm, naturally), and I had a couple of more (sparingly) over the next year or two. By early summer of 2014, though, they were starting to happen much more frequently, almost every other ride. 

    That pushed me to finally spend the money for better tires, which I love. I wanted to get higher pressure tires anyway, but couldn't justify the expense until then. I'm pretty sure I put at least 500 miles on the CST's, it may be more like 700+. The marathons haven't had a single flat in over a year, and I've been riding in rougher conditions than I did with the CST's.

    - PaulNM
  • The comments were all very helpful.  Were I fifty years younger I would probably believe that "Wimps fear flats, real cyclists fix flats."  However, as an "elderly gentleman" with severe back problems I would rather spend $150 dollars annually on new tires (that theoretically are not needed) to reduce the probability of a flat from say one in thirty rides to say one in three hundred rides... if Marathon plus will do that .....then I'm buying!  Sadly my local Terra Trike dealer stocks Marathon but claims that their supplier does not list Marathon Plus (???)    I will check the other dealers.

    I live in Sarasota County Florida and all my cycling will be on "rails to trails" such as the Legacy Trail or fairly quiet but well maintained suburban roads.  The trails and roads in my area are very well maintained but the odd nail, bits of metal or glass and the odd sharp stones still occur.

    Thank you.
  • I would stay away from tire liners. They are more likely to cause a flat than prevent one. The problem with liners is the ends overlap and the inside end next to the tube tends to move around and rub a hole in the tube. The only liners I would even consider are RhinoDillos. They use a soft tip on the end next to the tube that prevents the friction rub. Mr. Tuffy seems to be the worst when it comes to rub through flats. The liners also add considerable rotational weight, which is the worst kind of weight for a bike. I just prefer to stay away from tire liners. 

    I agree with PaulNM that not everyone can change a bike tire. My wife has arthritis in both thumbs and cannot change a tire. There are certain rim and tire combinations that just do not seem compatible. In my 30+ years of messing with bikes I have come across these combinations. I have had situations where I could only get the tire on with a Koolstop Bead Jack. Not sure if this is the $5 tool Chrissy57 was referring to, but they actually cost around $12. It can take considerable hand pressure to force a bead over a rim with a Bead Jack. One time I had a 20 x 1.3 Vittoria tire on a Velocity Razor rim. I could not get it off the rim. I snapped 3 plastic levers trying to remove it. I even soaped it with no luck. Tried a metal lever but you have to be careful not to damage the rim with metal levers. I gave up with it because I was getting to the point of causing damage to the rim. I finally cut the tire off with a tin snips.

    Never use a tire lever to put a tire back on a rim. In all likelihood you will pinch the tube. Use your hands or a Bead Jack. There is the Var Tyre Lever that works like the Bead Jack (not as good as the Bead Jack), but they are almost impossible to find in the US. Sometimes you can find them on eBay. The one advantage of the Var is it contains the levers for removing the tire.

    Also if you ride in the rain or on wet pavement you are about 3 times more likely to flat. The small grit like rocks that are on the road or trail will stick to your tires. The sharp ones tend to work their way through the tire and into the tube. When you remove the tube always note the location of the tube in the tire. When you locate the puncture in the tire it makes it easy to inspect the area of the tire to see if the object that caused the puncture is still embedded in the tire.

    John Werner
    Rover Tandem Alfine 11 /w IPS
  • When fixing a flat, always use a soft rag or paper towel to wipe the inside of the tire. Anything sticking through the tire will snag on the wiping material. That's much better than your fingers. If it punctured the tube, it'll slice your fingers.
  • I too have a fear of flats . I replaced mr stock tires on my Rambler with Marathon Racers . A week later I decided that wasn't enough so I replaced those with Marathon Plus and extra tough inner tubes. Anyone want to buy three almost new Marathon Racers?
  • I know there is varied thoughts on Slime...  I'll add my thoughts and experience.   I had holes in three tubes within a month or so.  All the front (Big Apple) tires.  This was getting frustrating for me so when at REI I saw tubes with Slime already in them..I imagine I could have achieved the same by putting slime in a tube, regardless I decided to give them a try.  Put them on the front tires.   Riding a week or so later I noticed something on the tire.  Stopped and pulled it out.   It looked like a big bottle cap with a giant tack secured to the inside of the cap.  Of course that was impaled on the tire.  When I pulled it out there was a short/quick spray-out of the smile then it sealed.  That was probably a month and a half ago and pushing 350 miles.   So far, the seal has been solid.  I have not had to put any additional air in the tire.  So my experience has been a good one.
  • Thanks to all the input I decided to get Marathon Plus HS 440 tires fitted.  I e mailed TerraTrike to get confirmation of the size needed and they told me to get "...Marathon Plus 20x1.35 35-406 Item number 11100757 on their website."

    website."    However, the dealer in Coral Gable (FL) from whom I bought the bike suggested that such a high pressure tire would provide a fast but bumpy ride and since I favor comfort over speed they counter suggested 20X 1.75.   I accepted their advice and they are ordering the tires for me.   So I now have a 130 mile round trip just to get my tires changed!  Pity I didn't know to specify them when I first ordered the bike!
    The other thought that I had was that instead of worrying about repairing punctures in the middle of nowhere I will always carry two spare inner tubes and "merely" change the tubes which is marginally easier.    Driving cars was never this complicated ........  I just phoned for AAA!
  • You could have ordered them from Hostel Shoppe and Fedex would have brought them right to your front door. http://hostelshoppe.com/%28406mm%29-SCHWALBE-Marathon-Plus-20x1.75-Tire-85082/
    John Werner
    Rover Tandem Alfine 11 /w IPS
  • In some areas of the country, AAA is now offering bike assistance services. There are caveats, but it still looks useful to those who have it.

    - PaulNM
  • I love my Marathon Plus 20 x 1.75. Gives one a great piece of mind. On the other hand, if I do get a flat while riding I will be screwed. These tires are noted for being extremely difficult to mount, something I don't think I'd want to attempt.
  • Thank you PaulNM. I did not know that AAA,covered bikes but I looked into it  and they indeed do in many areas such as NJ and parts of New England but sadly not Florida.

    HOWEVER - 
    In the process of doing a search on bike insurance I came across BETTERWORLDCLUB at 

    who apparently offer bicycle insurance in 48 states .   You only get two service calls a year but the fees are reasonable.  Of course fit cycling enthusiasts probably would not need such insurance but for someone like me it might be invaluable.  HAS ANY OF YOU USED THIS COMPANY AND CAN OFFER OFFER ADVICE ON THEIR USEFULNESS/RELIABILITY?

    Thank you
  • Jeff129, The Marathon Plus can be a real pain to mount on some rims. The rims have a lot to do with it so you may or may not have problems mounting them on your rims.
    John Werner
    Rover Tandem Alfine 11 /w IPS
  • Likewise in Western Colorado with goats heads. Original tires were Schwalbe Big Apple Plus, two puncture flats with slime competitor ineffective. The second set of tires are Bell Freestyles with Kevlar, smaller tire width a little higher pressure, slime tubes, no punctures yet. Cost is about 1/3 that of the Schwalbes ($15-$20 each from Walmart.

    I have used the liners on kids bikes with no adverse experiences.

  • marazion - You said: "Driving cars was never this complicated ........  I just phoned for AAA!".  I take exception to the "never" since I learned to drive on a 1928 Dodge with a two speed rear end while on a ranch near V8ictorville, San Bernardino County, California.
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