Perhaps the most annoying of occurrences on a bicycle is a puncture, or worse, punctures. That ominous hiss from the tyre followed by slow, or even rapid, deflation. A practiced hand will have the tyre off, tube replaced or repaired, and bike back on the road in a few minutes, if you are actually carrying all the stuff you need to do so in the first place. Of course, the same goes for kick scooters and there are a number of strategies to help avoid punctures.
One of the easiest ways to reduce the risk of punctures is to try and avoid them in the first place. Now, this is not always that easy but using common sense when riding your scooter can pay dividends. First of all keep an eye out for likely puncture causing areas. An obvious one would be patches of broken glass, another not so obvious one is hedge cutting. If you’re riding beside a hedgerow you may pick up thorns, particularly if hawthorn or blackthorn are present. Another is to avoid riding in the gutter of a road, or if on a footpath, the edges of the footpath, both are places where all the puncture causing debris ends up. Try to avoid potholes or manholes when possible. It’s all about observation.
As well as taking steps to avoid punctures in the first place, routine maintenance can also help. Essentially, you just need to look after your tyres. Clean them after each ride and inspect the treads for damage or anything sticking in the tyre. Also keep your tyres at the correct pressure, as a properly inflated tyre is less likely to puncture. It goes without saying that worn or aged tyres should be replaced. It’s also worth checking that the rim tapes are correctly in place and there are no sharp edges or points on the inside of the wheel rims.
As a keen off-road cyclist, I’ve been using tyre sealants for years now and rarely get a puncture. Tyre sealant is a liquid that is injected into the inner tube that, when the tyre punctures, reacts with the air to seal the hole. You can leave the foreign object in the tyre and keep riding. Once back home you can deal with the puncture. I’ve been using latex based sealant to good effect though have recently changed to Kevlar based products as I found that latex based ones always ended up gunging up the tyre valves.
My final strategy to help avoid punctures is to use tyres with in-built puncture prevention, usually some form of puncture resistant layer below the tread. Note, I say puncture resistant, as there is not such things as a puncture proof tyre, at least if you use inner tubes or tubeless tyres. The stock tyres on my Swifty Zero are Kenda Kwest 16 x 1.50 and do not appear, as far as I can determine, to have any inbuilt puncture resistant layer but do have PRC (Puncture Resistant Casing) puncture protection. I’ll stick with them for now but will likely change to another brand with inbuilt puncture resistant layers. You should also make sure the inner tube is the correct size for the tyre size, too small an inner tube will result in a thinner tube wall when inflated, potentially increasing the risk of punctures.
So, to avoid getting punctures, try and avoid them in the first place, look after your tyres and tubes, use puncture sealant and fit tyres with an in-built puncture resistant layer.
Finally, a few of hints and tips you might want to know before you get a puncture.
One, removing the tyre is not all that easy and I would recommend some practice beforehand. Two, disconnect the v-brakes to assist in removing or installing the wheel. And finally, three, if you have mudguards fitted you will first need to remove the rear mudguard, to remove the wheel, even with the tyre deflated, especially with the larger tyre sizes such as the Maxxis Hookworm.
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