March 25, 2007: Cannonball's Tech Tips -- #4: Save Your Skinnies


Here's a news flash -- tires are expensive, especially road tires. You'd think: less rubber, lower cost. But you'd be wrong.

A good road tire will run you around $45 to $65 and will probably last about 600 kilometers (km), give or take. For schleps like myself, trying to live the Campagnolo dream on a Forte budget, dropping a Benjamin every couple of months for new road tires can really hurt.

Editor's Note: Cannonball runs Michelin Pro2 Race tires on his road bike. At $48.95 a pop, we might add.

So today's tech tip, which is actually a Romulus tech tip that he authorized for exclusive use by Sweep the Blog, Johnny!, shows you how to eek a few more km out of those skinnies.

To Extend the Life of Your Road Tires

Required tools: one rag, one bottle of clear nail polish or liquid glue, one very small regular screwdriver.

1. Wipe down the tread of your tires.
Before you can inspect your tires for nicks or cuts, you need to clean them off so you can see what you're looking at.

Tire glue Clean the tire
It's Ka-raaaaay-zee how well this tip works
1. Clean it to see it

2. Inspect the tires for nicks and cuts.
From an identifiable spot on your tire (such as the valve stem -- otherwise, you'll just keep going around and around without knowing where exactly your examination started), slowly rotate the tire and look for any damage.

3. Remove any embedded debris.
Rocks, grit, and even glass can become embedded in holes or cuts in your tires (and are often the source of the holes and cuts). Over time, these embedded particulates can grind their way down through your tire lining, and may eventually cause a tube puncture. Using a small regular screwdriver, carefully dig out any embedded debris. Try not to push the debris further into the tire or make the cut or hole any bigger.

Remove debris Apply the sealant
3. Get that sh%t out of there
4. Looks like you picked the wrong week to stop sniffing glue

4. Carefully apply a sealant to the nicks and cuts in your tires.
Using the applicator brush or pentip of a bottle of clear nail polish or liquid glue, carefully daub the polish or glue into each cut or nick in your tires. A little bit of excess polish or glue is OK -- it'll wear away before you've hit the 2-km mark on your next ride -- but don't go nuts and coat your entire tire tread. It's not Shoe Goo!

5. Let dry for a couple of hours, and then go ride.
Nail polish or liquid glue will dry pretty fast, but give it a couple of hours, just to let the glue cure down into every nook and cranny.

6. Inspect your tires after every ride and reapply as needed.
Because your road tires take a constant beating out there on the asphalt, you should inspect your tires before every ride as part of your regular preride routine. Most likely, there will be new cuts and nicks that need attention. Be sure to examine the old cuts and nicks as well.

Using this method will not significantly extend the lifespan of your tires, but it will add a few more rides to the back end of your tires. At $50 a pop, every little bit helps.

Also check out the following:


Dist: 67.6 km Time: 2:45:14 Avg: 24.5 Max: 59.0 Wgt: 162.5

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