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.
The bulging, infected-looking tyre
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.
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.