How to Prevent Flat Tires on Electric Bikes

Court

Administrator
Staff member
Hi guys! My Dad recently purchased RadRovers for himself and my Step-Mom to go on RV trips. We've been chatting about different upgrades and accessories like racks and bags... but he was also interested in flat tire prevention. Anyone who has owned a heavier ebike, like the fat tire models, and had to remove a wheel with a hub motor setup without a bike stand knows that it can be a real pain. So, my Dad found a couple of solutions and I wanted to pass them along and ask for your input too! I know there are some foam inserts and even puncture proof tires that are solid (from Specialized) for one of their urban models that I saw last year. I have found that all electric bikes tend to lose tire pressure faster due to the heavier weight of the bike+battery, so checking tire pressure before each ride is a good idea (I just squeeze my tires to get a basic idea of whether they need air). One thing I really try to do here on EBR with the reviews is include tire pressure ratings so you know without having to squat down and squint at the tire sidewall (especially if your tires are dirty or scratched up). Another quick tip is that flipping an ebike over (balancing on the handlebar and saddle) to change a flat is a bit more risky with ebikes due to fancy button pads and displays, so consider using something like these handlebar jacks to protect your cockpit! Before jumping in, here's another really good post from the forums with lots of other tips on bicycle tire flat prevention. Okay, here's what my Dad told me about how he plans to reduce flat tires:

Hi Court, I found a product called Tannus Armor that is designed to reduce flats on bicycles. Here is a link to the product page. They have different sizes for Schrader, Presta, and Tubeless tires and they also make completely airless tires. For anyone who is wondering, Schrader valves are the bigger ones like you'd find on a car tire and Presta valves are the skinny ones that have an insert which has to be unscrewed a little before adding air.

I plan on using the version shown on the link that still has a (smaller) tube inside of the insert. Since it is smaller and farther away from the contact with the road, it is less likely to get punctured. In addition to the benefits of added puncture protection, they help absorb shocks and can be ridden at lower tire pressure. It seems like they were originally designed as a tubeless alternative that prevents "burping" on competitive mountain bike tires. Here is a good video explaining it:


I still plan to use a sealant inside of the tubes for our RadRovers "just in case" something manages to get through and puncture the tube. I want a bullet proof solution for RV trips. Since it is very HOT in Arizona, I plan to use Flat Attack vs. Slime or another sealant. Flat Attack works the same but it is organic and lasts the life of the tire (5 year guarantee), where other sealants tend to dry out in hot weather. Flat Attack is glycol based vs water based which is why it does not dry out but it can only be used in bikes with tubes. In AZ, the bike shops say that the other sealants need to be replaced.

And that's it! I hope this helps you guys out. I thought his ideas and these products were very interesting and I hope it helps you too ;)
 
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Sierratim

Well-Known Member
@Court ,

This has been a widely popular topic on the EBR forums. I guess nobody likes flats!

THIS THREAD had 141 posts at last count covering everything from calling AAA to Tanus Armor to handlebar jacks to thorn strips, and much more. The SEARCH function brings up literally dozens of threads re 'flats'.

Just thought you ought to know...😎
 

Court

Administrator
Staff member
Awesome! I really appreciate the link @Sierratim, I hadn't done a lot of reading or searching on the topic of flats before posting. Would you believe that it has been YEARS since I've actually had to deal with one myself?! Simply maintaining the proper air pressure and avoiding hazard areas has kept me in the clear. Probably doesn't hurt that most of the bikes I cover have brand new tires on them. I'm going to elevate the link you shared in my original post, thanks again :D
 

john peck

Well-Known Member
May not suit all bikes, but I have found having a dbl. leg kickstand can simplify repair in the field as opposed to flipping the bike over.
They allow for rocking either wheel off the ground so to drop the wheel out & rocking it down onto the axle after repair. Yesterday,
hadn´t ridden in a while, (smoke), found the front flat after 2200 mi. It was so easy to drop & replace, 15 min. Rear hub is still a hassle,
but far simpler. It can seem next impossible in the field. Anything that can prevent this chore in the first place has my vote.

P.S.Unfortunately the great number of my flats have been at a torn valve stem, (very torquey motor)
 
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Court

Administrator
Staff member
Check this out! Mikey from Blue Monkey Bikes just posted a video review of the Tannus Solid Tire insert that completely prevents flats. I haven't gotten all of the details yet, I'm guessing they offer limited sizes, but they look cool and he did a great job with it :)

 

reed scott

Well-Known Member
Check this out! Mikey from Blue Monkey Bikes just posted a video review of the Tannus Solid Tire insert that completely prevents flats. I haven't gotten all of the details yet, I'm guessing they offer limited sizes, but they look cool and he did a great job with it :)



Seems too good to be true but the guy makes a solid case for them in the video. 😶
 

Latitude

Well-Known Member
Great idea. It will definitely be interesting to see how the concept adapts to wider tires. I’m also curious as to why the orange colour... it wouldn’t be my choice if I had an option.
 

reed scott

Well-Known Member
Considering the nasty hassle of flats I wonder if they could find a better compound with maybe a little more cushioning and just glue them to specially made rims? You ride 5k miles and put on a new set of wheels. Or maybe they could stretch that out o 7k or so. :rolleyes:
 

reed scott

Well-Known Member
May not suit all bikes, but I have found having a dbl. leg kickstand can simplify repair in the field as opposed to flipping the bike over.
They allow for rocking either wheel off the ground so to drop the wheel out & rocking it down on to the axle after repair. Yesterday,
hadn´t ridden in a while, (smoke), found the front flat after 2200 mi. It was so easy to drop & replace, 15 min. Rear hub is still a hassle,
but far simpler. It can seem next impossible in the field. Anything that can prevent this chore in the first place has my vote.

P.S.Unfortunately the great number of my flats have been at a torn valve stem, (very torquey motor)

John, what is your experience with tubeless on that bike if any?
 

JES2020

Active Member
I have read that those solid tires can deform when left un ridden for a while which causes an irritating "limp" in the tire until it reforms.

I thought I had beaten the flat issue by using slim AND a liner, however this AM my front was flat!

It seems my tire, which has great brand new looking knobbys, was so old that the sidewall tore lol, and the tube blew out through the tear.
Live an learn...if you have a weak point chaos will find it.
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
May not suit all bikes, but I have found having a dbl. leg kickstand can simplify repair in the field as opposed to flipping the bike over.
Unfortunately, the double leg kickstand doesn't fit most of mid-motor ebikes. I have one in my hub-motor e-bike, a valuable item indeed.

@reed scott: One of my e-bikes is equipped with tubeless wheels. I have mixed feeling about the concept. Last August I rode into a gravel road made of extremely hard and fine rock. A small shard of rock punctured a 2.6" thick tubeless tyre. The sealant was actually gushing through the hole, making the whole front of the bike dirty and difficult to clean (but that was just an aside). I was able to return at low tyre pressure to some civilised place. Meanwhile, the sealant did its work and the puncture got self-repaired (I had no tubeless repair kit with me). It was enough to re-inflate the wheel and I could continue my long trip.

1600903407155.png

Sealant attempting to do its work on the ride I mentioned. It eventually worked OK.

However, such fix is temporary. After returning home, it is basically necessary to remove the tyre (and pour any remaining sealant to a vessel); the rim tape should be replaced with a new one; the tyre is the best to vulcanise, replace on the wheel, adding fresh sealant. It is indeed a dirty job.

Benefits are the possibility to ride in rough terrain at low inflation pressure and the self-repairing capability (especially if one carries the repair kit with them - no need to remove the wheel). I reckon it is often easier to use a regular tubed wheel and just replace the inner tube on the ride...
 
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Tars Tarkas

Active Member
Considering the nasty hassle of flats I wonder if they could find a better compound with maybe a little more cushioning and just glue them to specially made rims? You ride 5k miles and put on a new set of wheels. Or maybe they could stretch that out o 7k or so. :rolleyes:
Flats aren't that much trouble. If you have tube tires just add a healthy dose of your favorite sealant which will take care of maybe 90% of flat problems. Know how to fix a flat and carry the tools & supplies you need. It's really not that big a deal. Tools and supplies will fit in an under-saddle bag with a spare tube.

TT
 

JES2020

Active Member
Considering the nasty hassle of flats I wonder if they could find a better compound with maybe a little more cushioning and just glue them to specially made rims? You ride 5k miles and put on a new set of wheels. Or maybe they could stretch that out o 7k or so. :rolleyes:
They now have tubes that can be installed without removing the wheel. Perfect for getting home and switching it out for a standard tube, rinse and repeat.
 

john peck

Well-Known Member
They now have tubes that can be installed without removing the wheel. Perfect for getting home and switching it out for a standard tube, rinse and repeat.
Actually those tubes have been around for sometime. I still have one which was overpriced & of German manufacture. They sent the wrong
size & I never bothered to do anything about it. Nice to see Huffy´s made them affordable. Okay for a field repair I suppose, but I don´t
think I´d want to ride on one for any length of time. The knob & socket appears to be an improvement on the German version., Stil , I can
patch a tube without removing the wheel.
 

john peck

Well-Known Member
Unfortunately, the double leg kickstand doesn't fit most of mid-motor ebikes. I have one in my hub-motor e-bike, a valuable item indeed.

@reed scott: One of my e-bikes is equipped with tubeless wheels. I have mixed feeling about the concept. Last August I rode into a gravel road made of extremely hard and fine rock. A small shard of rock punctured a 2.6" thick tubeless tyre. The sealant was actually gushing through the hole, making the whole front of the bike dirty and difficult to clean (but that was just an aside). I was able to return at low tyre pressure to some civilised place. Meanwhile, the sealant did its work and the puncture got self-repaired (I had no tubeless repair kit with me). It was enough to re-inflate the wheel and I could continue my long trip.

View attachment 66358
Sealant attempting to do its work on the ride I mentioned. It eventually worked OK.

However, such fix is temporary. After returning home, it is basically necessary to remove the tyre (and pour any remaining sealant to a vessel); the rim tape should be replaced with a new one; the tyre is the best to vulcanise, replace on the wheel, adding fresh sealant. It is indeed a dirty job.

Benefits are the possibility to ride in rough terrain at low inflation pressure and the self-repairing capability (especially if one carries the repair kit with them - no need to remove the wheel). I reckon it is often easier to use a regular tubed wheel and just replace the inner tube on the ride...
True enuff Stefan, but then a rear tire on a mid-drive isn´t remotely as much of a hassle as a rear hub. A dbl. leg is also handy for things
like brake adjustment or spoke tuning & replacement, but I also have a rear mount single for general use on the bike. A dbl leg
requires a level surface.
 

JES2020

Active Member
Best way to avoid flats is don't ride!

Next best is to add a healthy portion of Slime....
I had slime AND a liner...sidewall tore and tube blew a dime sized hole. luckily I was home but this tuffy would have saved my neck out in the wild.
True enuff Stefan, but then a rear tire on a mid-drive isn´t remotely as much of a hassle as a rear hub. A dbl. leg is also handy for things
like brake adjustment or spoke tuning & replacement, but I also have a rear mount single for general use on the bike. A dbl leg
requires a level surface.
I never thought of a double leg for repairs. Makes sense, not sure one will fit on my bike so I need to get it home and use my cieling wench in my garage to lift the whole bike off the ground.
I will be very glad to try those if they ever make them for 26 x 4 tires!

TT
Another trick is you can actually stuff you tire with grass and leaves then ride home gently to avoid rime damage.
 

john peck

Well-Known Member
I had slime AND a liner...sidewall tore and tube blew a dime sized hole. luckily I was home but this tuffy would have saved my neck out in the wild.

I never thought of a double leg for repairs. Makes sense, not sure one will fit on my bike so I need to get it home and use my cieling wench in my garage to lift the whole bike off the ground.

Another trick is you can actually stuff you tire with grass and leaves then ride home gently to avoid rime damage.
That might have saved me a 4 mile walk when i deflated a perfectly good tube with a defective pump.😳