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  #1  
Old 10-27-2013, 08:24 PM
Alan Alan is offline
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Angry blankety-blank blackberries

Last week my wife rode her EZ3 on a sidewalk along a busy street. She didn't realize that blackberry vines had encroached on it until she was committed, so she just rode on through (as I would have, too). Next day she had a very flat tire. I'm busy pulling out the thorns but it's turning into a Herculean task, so many are embedded in it. So far I've only found four that penetrated the tire, two along the center and two out on the shoulder, but I can see and feel dozens more on the outside and I'm sure they'll work their way through over time if I leave them in place. (And some are breaking off when I try to get them out...bleah!)

I know I've run over plenty of blackberry vines along my way and don't recall this sort of massacre, or even a direct connection to an ordinary flat, but maybe I've been lucky.

It's a Primo Comet tire, 20 x 1.5, high thread-count casing with Kevlar belt, barely a year old, a couple hundred miles, supposed to be a good tire with decent hazard resistance. In a water test of the tube there are two active pinhole leaks and numerous slow bubblers. I guess I'll Slime the tube because it seems like a new tube will just get holed again by any thorn I miss or can't dig out completely.

Anyone have any experience as to whether that tire needs to be replaced? Have you had such a bad experience with blackberries?
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  #2  
Old 10-27-2013, 10:20 PM
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Simple Nature Simple Nature is offline
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Alan, you need better tires.
Those thin tires are like candy to thorns.
Even with thick tires, I try not to ride over blackberry vines.
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  #3  
Old 10-27-2013, 11:03 PM
Alan Alan is offline
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Yeah, I'm afraid that's probably going to be the real fix. These Comets are nice, supple, easy-rolling tires that Coventry suggested, but something like Marathons wouldn't have this problem (at least not this bad).

BTW, the best tool I found for picking out the thorns is a fingernail clipper.
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Old 10-27-2013, 11:48 PM
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wsbob wsbob is offline
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I've had a few thorns piercing tires...but dozens? Never that bad. I'm aggressive when taking them out. Grab the outside of the tire between thumb and forefinger, then dig them out with the tip of a small knife, like a swiss army pen knife.

Use good light, hold the tire up close so they're easy to see. If they can be got out...which they should, the tire rubber doesn't really want them...I figure the slender pierced hole they make in the tire casing is no big detriment to future performance or resistance to further threat from thorns.

Just avoiding blackberries on the road, bike lane, path, etc. ...is the best option. Or run lugged tires.
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  #5  
Old 10-28-2013, 05:21 AM
canuck canuck is offline
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Never had an issue with black berry.

All those lovely tree lined bike lanes, sections of Evergreen Parkway, Tualatin Rd and many others.

Seems the tree of choice to provide shade is oak.

While I love the shade, this time of year the bile lanes are full of crushed acorns.
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  #6  
Old 10-28-2013, 07:08 AM
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Simple Nature Simple Nature is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alan View Post
Yeah, I'm afraid that's probably going to be the real fix. These Comets are nice, supple, easy-rolling tires that Coventry suggested, but something like Marathons wouldn't have this problem (at least not this bad).

BTW, the best tool I found for picking out the thorns is a fingernail clipper.
I love my Marathon tires. My last set went a whole season (5,000 miles on a trike) and never looked at them once other than to add a bit of air from time to time.

There are also ceramic guard performance tires that really work well. The ceramic grit protection layer tends to grind up the infiltrators before they reach the soft tube, even glass shards. You should find this on the Schwalbe Ultremo tires if going fast is important. These are now available in 406 and 451: http://www.schwalbetires.com/bike_ti...res/ultremo_zx
http://www.schwalbetires.com/marathon_extreme_home

Last edited by Simple Nature; 10-28-2013 at 07:11 AM.
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  #7  
Old 10-31-2013, 07:52 AM
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Spiffy Spiffy is offline
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I agree that you need better tires...

I've had my wide (1.9"?) Continental Top Contact tires for years without a flat... picked them up at 21st Ave Bicycles... expensive and worth it...

I rode through a football field's length of blackberry bushes along some train tracks during a group ride... people thought I was crazy but still no flats...

I don't flinch at all for sparkles in the bike lane... unless it's a half-broken bottle...

basically, I don't have to pay too much attention to avoiding flats...
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  #8  
Old 10-31-2013, 08:09 PM
Alan Alan is offline
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Default slime

I have to agree, those Comets aren't all I'd hoped for. They're a reputable brand but I think they're aimed more for low rolling resistance on long road rides than for the hazards of urban errands. They have thin rubber and slick tread, so the thorns didn't have far to go to penetrate the cord, and the Kevlar belt didn't keep them out, either. I saw two poked through the Kevlar belt itself, and several more through the shoulder of the tire just outside it.

I've gone over quite a few blackberry vines in fields and along trails with Continental Town & Countries with no problems (26x1.95; flatted once on a tiny glass sliver), and I've hit some unavoidably with Conti Gatorskins (27) and TourRides (700) without getting flats. The T&C and TR have tread blocks with thicker rubber. The Gatorskins are slick but notoriously tough. I don't recall ever flatting from bb thorns over many years with a bunch of different road tires, mostly near-slicks (27x1-1/4").

For now I'm Sliming that tire's tube. That means it won't patch very well, but it's so full of tiny holes now that it's shot otherwise, and this way any new small holes won't make it unrideable. I think I'll go ahead and Slime the other two while I'm at it, just so I don't have to patch'n'pump this winter. And that way, when we put new heavier-duty tires on it next spring, it won't be as much of a change in pedaling feel, having worked all winter to push that Slime around.

PS - wsbob, I started out removing thorns with a pocket knife as you described but some broke off in the rubber. I tried a couple pairs of fine-jawed pliers but the thorns didn't stick out enough to grab most of them. The nail clipper worked great, grabbing firmly just below the surface. I'm not worried about the tiny holes in the tire, I'm worried about thorns that didn't get completely removed and how they could migrate in and puncture the tube. Guess time will tell.

Last edited by Alan; 11-01-2013 at 07:07 PM. Reason: PS
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