Punctures

Those of you who follow me on Twitter may have noticed my recent Brompton tyre problems. On Thursday morning I was cycling from Macclesfield to Manchester along the Middlewood Way, when I heard a violent, “Whoosh,” of air leave my back tyre. Thankfully I was very near Rose Hill Marple station so I decided to just fold-up and hop-on. When I took the tube out I found a small spear-shaped piece of glass had managed to pierce the centre of the tyre tread.
A utility bicycle needs to be resistant to punctures; if the frequency of punctures on a bike is too high, it will cease to feel like a viable mode of transport. This was the fist puncture I had on the Brompton which was not due to the poor rim tape, and I decided it would be wise to invest in some Schwalbe Marathon Plus tyres as an upgrade over my Brompton green-label tyres.
This turned out to be a wise choice, on Friday I got a second puncture. At first I expected it would be a piece of the glass which had worked its way through after the repair, but when I pried the tyre off the rim to patch the tube, I found that the puncture was a rather large tear in the sidewall (I had been taking a turn at the time of the puncture. I patched the tyre and the tube and hoped it would hold until my new tyres arrived.
On Saturday I got a third puncture whilst riding down Princess Street in the evening. This was about 1 cm away from the previous sidewall puncture. Again, I patched the tube and put the tyre back on the rim. By this point, the tyre was starting to look like a special effect from Peter Jackson’s seminal masterpiece; Braindead.
CIMG2656
The bulging, infected-looking tyre
CIMG2659
Some serious warping
I decided that the bike was more of a liability than an asset in its current state, and decided to walk instead on my Sunday train trip to The South.
Today I got my new tyres, which have been fitted to the Brompton. The Marathon Plus tyres were quite challenging to get onto the rim, but their reputation suggests I won’t be taking them off regularly. The tyre-swap also provided me with an opportunity to replace the frankly terrible Brompton rim tape.
CIMG2662
The new tyres seem make the Brompton feel a bit more nippy than before, and the ride is a tad harsher, likely due to being 2 mm narrower. Another advantage is the extra clearance between the tyre and the mudguard stays, removing the squeak after a bodged fold which was common with the old tyres. Overall, I am quite pleased with them, as long as I don’t have to take them off for a while.
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7 thoughts on “Punctures

  1. I've got Schwalbe Marathons Plus on my Pashley – never failed – good choice. I find nothing more frustrating than a puncture – I only ever had those on my bakfiets which has the regular Marathons.

  2. Pingback: Brompton: One Year On | Chester Cycling

    • I did want to use some of that, but Edinburgh Bicycle Co-operative stopped selling it. I wanted to get the bike working again as quickly as I could so I just bought some of the Specialized tape for 26 inch tyres and folded the excess back along the rim, holding it in place with electrical tape. Has held up well since then, despite being a pretty shonky solution.

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  4. Has anyone fitted Marathons on the latest style rims? I have just fitted my Brommie with the new 2013 rims. The Marathons were much easier to get on….BUT! they would not seat properly and wobbled and kicked on the perfectly true wheels. I have now switched to the Brommie green labels and the problem has gone.

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