Preventing Flat Tires With Tire Liners

Mr. TuffyWe’ve been fairly lucky on our bike touring adventures so far, in that we’ve had very few flat tires to contend with (we use tough Marathon Extreme tires) but – depending on the roads you’re riding and the tires you’re using – you may not be so fortunate.

Eric & Elaine Hendrickson have traditionally had a lot of flat tires, but they recently found a solution that’s put their flat tire woes to a stop: Mr. Tuffy tire liners. After a difficult trip on rough tracks across Newfoundland and Labrador, Eric sent us an email to tell us about their experience with the liners:

“We had just touched down at mile zero in St John’s, the capital city of Newfoundland, and were making a side trip to Cape Spear where we met our first distance biker of the trip. He was a cross-Canada biker that had just come from mile zero to finish his trip. As cyclists do, we started comparing notes about our trips.”

“His was fast road trip (average 225 km per day) while ours was a slow off road trip (averaging 65 km per day.) We then compared things we had with us but never used, and we both still had all of our spare tubes still in the boxes. He had done just over 7,000 km on road while we had done just under 3,000 km of mostly dirt and gravel roads. Finally, we compared past trips and we both discovered we had many flats. Last summer we averaged 157 km per flat. In our discussion, we realized we had both switched to racing tubes and Mr. Tuffy tire liners.”

Rough Roads Across Newfoundland

“We rode many miles of rough road on our journey across Newfoundland and Labrador, including shale, broken glass and metal. Not once did we get a flat. Mid-way through the trip I had to change a tire as it was worn to the point I had little traction. When I removed the tire, I found several small pieces of broken glass in the liner. I just wiped it clean with a rag and put it inside the new tire, re-installed the old tube and continued on our way.”

“We returned home with the same two new tubes that we had started the trip with earlier. According to my wife it was the best investment made for the trip, and I would have to agree. The tire liners come in a variety of sizes and types, and are easy to install. We selected ours based on trying to maintain a tire weight that was about the same. We got rid of the heavy-duty inner tubes and used light-weight tubes instead, so there was little weight change.”

Do you use tire liners? Share your experience by leaving a comment.


  1. Amaya
    23rd July 2011 at 11:38 pm #

    Since we started use Slime tube protectors
    the number of punctures we’ve gotten has been way, way down.

    Definitely worth the minimal investment and extra weight.

  2. Aushiker
    24th July 2011 at 12:15 pm #

    Personally I find good tyres do the trick, having had tyre liners result in a puncture before even getting one bike out the bike shop. On my tourer I run Schwalbe Marathons and they seem to perform well.

  3. Ray Swartz
    24th July 2011 at 4:11 pm #

    I have used tire liners for several years now and have very few flat tires. In fact, it isn’t unusual for me to do a month long tour without flats.

    Many people say that tire liners cause flats, but my experience is that this isn’t so. But, even if they do cause flats once in a while, they certainly reduce flats from road debris greatly.

  4. richarf
    24th July 2011 at 4:54 pm #

    good tyres include kevlar protection. these tapes are more likely to slice your tube in a high pressure bang/release imo.

  5. raymond
    24th July 2011 at 5:03 pm #

    Liners do cut down on punctures,especially from thorns. We’ve found that after a few hundred miles they wear a hole in the tube where they overlap and deflate very quickly. I’ve tried cutting and taping them, but it doesn’t seem to make a difference.

  6. Brenda in the Boro UK
    24th July 2011 at 10:31 pm #

    On new cycles we installed “slime” brand tyre liners and both had cuts in the tubes from these. We have both gone back to Schwalbe marathon plus tyres and no futhur problems. Won’t use those liners again.

  7. Slocket
    4th November 2012 at 6:48 am #

    RhinoDillos the new dual layer tire liner is supreme. They have two layers, hard in center with a softer feathered edge out over layer to stop inner tube overlap cut punctures as occurs in single layer Slime liner. Additionally Rhinos center hard plastic is 25% more puncture resistance according to lab and self test.

    Yes, they work great. I run them in fall and cut flats down by 75% on trial with extreme thorns. These with a puncture resistance tire had only one thorn 1/4 inch long get through in about 800 miles, normally about 14 flats in same time period over 3 months worst time for thorns on dirt trials.

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