Flats can be a real bummer and in the worst cases end a ride if you are not prepared. Here are a few pointers on how to avoid them and what to do if you are experiencing them frequently.
There are 2 main causes of flats: 1. Pinches (most common) and 2. Punctures (less common...depending on where you live). The resolutions for each of these causes can be a bit different. This article addresses the points relative to tire pressure and w/o running inserts. If you want to know our thoughts about inserts, check this out.
- If you pinch flat, you simply were not running enough air for that application/terrain. It really is that simple. Comparing PSI or PSI recommendations with other riders can often be a futile practice - different terrain, riding styles and regional variations in rock type and trail speed all have impacts on what tire pressure you personally should run. Just because Mr Shreddy McShredster weighs the same as you, running the same PSI wont necessarily be the correct for you. Ultimately an individual rider should know best....but if you are having frequent trouble pinching, you're not running a high enough pressure for the tire spec, speed and terrain you were riding.
- Tire pressure: Use a digital tire gauge before EVERY ride. You should be more diligent about checking tire pressure than even lubing your chain. Every. single. ride. Don't let air out mid-ride "for the descents" (it's long been proven that harder tire pressure is not as beneficial as it may seem for climbing/flats when MTB'ing). With some attention and diligence, you will get to a point where you can pick the correct pressure based on which of your local areas you are riding riding and how rocky/fast they are. Also, you can decide "I want to reduce pressure for a bit more cornering traction but pay the pinch price if I make a mistake riding and come down hard on a sharp rock" vs "Im running a pressure where I know I can ride the descents of rocky trails like a hack and not worry about pinch flats because I didnt bring my pump". We have a handy article here which outlines starting points for tire pressure.
- All Semi-Slick tires (not just e*thirteen) will be more susceptible to pinch flats when compared with a non-ss of identical construction. This is because tire knobs pad impacts when you have a situation where tire pressure is so low that an impact compresses the tire into the rim. You will need to run a slightly higher pressure with an semi-slick than with a non semi-slick.
- This one is pretty simple - if you are experiencing frequent punctures, you need a heavier duty casing tire. Air pressure will not likely make a quantifiable difference here.