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Practical tips to avoid punctures

Practical tips to avoid punctures

Electric scooter and monowheel riders do these 3 things to never puncture again.

Punctures are a reality of life for bicycles, scooters and of course also electric scooters and monowheels with inflated tires. However, due to smaller tires, they are more likely to experience a puncture.
Although the rider's survival is rarely threatened (most punctures occur without causing injury), a puncture is still a frustrating problem. What follows is usually a good workout, sweating it out while pushing your scooter to the store. For users commuting to work, this usually involves an unscheduled delay; it's never pleasant and it always happens when you don't have time... You will probably have no other solution than to go to a specialized store to have your inner tube or tire changed. tire. This will have cost you time and money that you could have avoided by following these few preventative tips.

A flat tire is probably the most common technical problem an electric scooter user will face. Some users may experience multiple punctures over the course of a month, a week, etc. This may lead them to think that the replacement of the previous punctured tire was not done properly or perhaps that the reason is that you do not completely respect the basic rules to preserve your tires?

Unless you choose hard compound tires, there is a high probability that you will face a puncture one day. The good news is that there are tips to follow to reduce the chances (or bad luck) of puncturing.
This article explains how to take care of your tires and tubes to reduce punctures.
To avoid getting a puncture, you must first become familiar with the pneumatic wheel and understand the causes of a puncture.

Myths and facts about wheels and flat tires

THE MYTH - The tire is flat.
THE FACTS - The inner tube is punctured.

An inflated wheel consists of an outer tire and a synthetic rubber inner tube hidden between the tire and the rim. The inner tube is the part that holds the compressed air, like a donut-shaped balloon.
The inner tube absorbs shock and rebounds, while the tire on the outside protects the inner tube and provides traction. Many cyclists or riders don't know there is an inner tube in their tire until their first puncture.

Outer tire and inner tube (with pump valve)

Most bicycles and almost all electric scooters and monowheels use this traditional outer tire and inner tube combination. For cars and motorcycles, the tire and the inner tube have merged to become what is called a tubeless tire, a Tubeless tire.

When a puncture occurs, it is the tube that deflates, not the tire. Unless there is a very large hole in the tire, the tire can still be used after replacing the inner tube.

THE MYTH – All punctures are the same
THE FACTS – There are different types of punctures

The first type of puncture is caused by foreign objects puncturing the inner tube, also called penetration puncture. Objects such as glass, nails, sharp stones or road debris pass through the tire and pierce the inner tube to cause a puncture.

A puncture by penetration on an inner tube

The second type of puncture is caused by an impact on the rolling surface. This is called a pinch puncture. This is usually caused by driving at high speed over bumpy surfaces, manhole covers, or hard edges like the corner of a sidewalk for example. The sudden impact pinches the inner tube between the wheel rim and the hard surface, cutting the inner tube.
In both types, punctures or tears can range from tiny holes less than a millimeter to gashes several centimeters long. Small holes can take several hours or days to deflate the wheel, while larger ones cause immediate deflation with a rapid loss of pressure.

THE MYTH - A perforating object caused the puncture.
THE FACTS - You caused the puncture.

Lack of regular maintenance combined with an aggressive or sporty driving style are the most common causes of punctures for electric scooter tires.

Contrary to popular belief, most electric scooter punctures are NOT punctures due to penetrating sharp objects but rather poor driving habits or lack of tire maintenance.

For a penetrating perforation to occur, the driver must first encounter a penetrating object that they can drive over. This armor-piercing object is already not easy to find. Then the driver will have to roll over the object in the perfect way so that it can puncture the tire. Finally, the penetration must be deep enough to pass through the tire and inner tube. Unless you are riding on a fakir board, the chances of puncturing by puncturing with an object are rare.

However, a puncture can simply happen if you do not regularly take care of your scooter or if you do not drive conscientiously.

3 things to do to avoid a puncture

There are three things you can do to avoid punctures. To help you remember them, we have organized them with the acronym “ AIR ”, meaning

  • Add a puncture preventive fluid

  • Regularly inspect and maintain

  • Ride active & attentive

“A” for “Add a preventive puncture fluid”

A tire tube puncture preventative is a liquid latex that you can pump into the tube through the same valve used to inflate the tire. The fluid will settle and fill the inside of the inner tube when the wheel turns. When a hole appears, liquid seeps into the hole and dries quickly, sealing the leak. It works like how blood clots in a wound to stop bleeding. The liquid can be effective against penetration and pinch punctures.

A puncture preventative fluid can seal many punctures over time, covering holes several millimeters in size (most punctures are quite small). This means that a sealant can protect you from a puncture without you even knowing it. One bottle of sealant contains enough liquid for a single application to the front and rear inner tubes. They generally cost less than the price of an inner tube with labor.

“I” for “inspect regularly”

By “inspect” we don’t mean a regular visit to your scooter dealer’s workshop, but rather routine checks that you can and should do yourself.

Check that the tire pressure is sufficient

The first and most important check to make is to make sure the tire pressure is sufficient. This is an essential control. In fact, the primary cause of punctures on electric scooters and monowheels is punctures due to insufficient pressure. When tire pressure is low, the inner tube cannot “reset” itself perfectly. This makes it easier, during an impact, to have instant pressure on the rim and the rolling surface, which pinches the inner tube on both sides of the rim. This causes the inner tube to rupture with snake bite type holes (with 2 holes on each side.).

Think of a tube of toothpaste with its cap. If it were half full, it would be easier to squeeze the tube until the inner surfaces of the tube touch, whereas with a full tube it is more difficult. With sufficient and suitable tire pressure, the inner tube can absorb vibrations and resist compression without being damaged.

A bicycle pump with pressure gauge is very useful for maintaining sufficient tire pressure. The best way to check tire pressure is to use a standard bicycle pump with a pressure gauge. The pressure gauge will allow you to finely adjust the tire pressure. Plug the nozzle into your tire valve to check the pressure once every fortnight if you drive regularly. Most electric scooter tires perform best between 2.75 and 4 bars. If the needle falls below 2.75 bars, apply some pressure on the pump to bring it to the correct pressure. You will be rewarded for your efforts.
As an added bonus, fully inflated tires also confer a significant positive impact on fuel efficiency. A properly inflated tire will be more efficient with more powerful rebound, more speed and a smaller surface area in contact with the ground for reduced rolling resistance.

Always follow the tube and tire manufacturer's pressure recommendations
For heavier drivers, maintain slightly higher pressure to compensate for gravity.

Check the condition of the tires

The second check or inspection concerns the condition of the outer tire. It's simple and takes very little time. Worn tires are thinner and easier to puncture by a sharp object, resulting in penetration puncture. It is common to see electric scooter drivers riding on completely smooth tires and this does not concern them that much. The best indicator for checking tire wear is to look at the condition of the thread.

The worn tire (left) has shallow grooves, they are almost completely erased and absent. The new tire (right) has clear, deep grooves to effectively drain water and grip the road surface.

Threading refers to the grooves molded into the tire, primarily to drain water. On a new tire, the grooves are sharp, clearly visible and deep. On worn tires, these grooves tend to be shallow or completely worn out. Generally, if you have to look closely at your tire to see the grooves, it is well worn. In addition, worn tires are not only prone to punctures, they are also more slippery on wet or sandy surfaces. Have them changed quickly to avoid falling.

Aside from the exterior of the tire, old tires can also be worn on the interior surface. This wear can include rough surfaces or frayed fibers on the inner surface of the tire, which causes abrasion of the inner tube and wears it out prematurely. This check is not easy to do on your own and is generally done in a workshop as part of an inner tube change. If in doubt, bring the electric scooter in for a check and tire change.

Check for foreign bodies

The third inspection is for particles lodged in the threads/grooves of your scooter tire, or possibly in the tire material itself. If any sand particles or debris are stuck, brush them out carefully with a toothpick, paper clip, or old toothbrush. Stubborn particles may require a stiffer brush with thicker or metallic bristles. This check is also useful for detecting any sharp objects that have already partially penetrated the tire, preempting a future puncture.

“R” for “Ride active & attentive”

Physical preventative precautions such as proper tire pressure and proper tire maintenance are not enough to protect you from flat tires. Good driving habits can also make all the difference.

Ride calmly when the road is wet

Whenever possible, avoid riding in extreme wet conditions. The link between wet driving conditions and the risk of punctures is not immediately obvious. But experienced users will tell you they've had more punctures in wet weather or winter.
During a wet ride, the wheels pick up small, sharp particles such as sand, metal scraps and other road debris. Moisture helps these products adhere to the tire and rim. Every time you stop, water trickles down and circulates these particles into the space between your tire and inner tube. These particles remain in this space and are compressed at each stop. The rotational force generates this expansion effect of the tire which wears on these particles. The sharp particles are pressed against the thin, millimeter-thick rubber of the inner air chamber that attempts to hold air under pressure when spinning at more than 700 rpm. This creates ideal conditions for sanding the inner tube and ultimately causing a puncture.

More importantly, wet surfaces are also more slippery and dangerous. Water can seep into the electric scooter, corrode expensive electrical components and damage the batteries. Water damage is generally not covered under the seller's warranty.

Ride with a responsive posture

This means that instead of having a passive driving position, try driving with a position that allows you to be responsive in the event of evasive action or emergency braking. Position your body ideally to have the ability to instantly react to the condition of the ground or your surroundings.

An inner tube can more easily withstand an impact if the rider has anticipated the obstacle by relieving the scooter of its weight or by avoiding it.

For example, when approaching a speed bump, slow down and bend your knees slightly and let the scooter rise beneath you as it goes over the hill. When riding on bumpy terrain, be more flexible, bend your knees slightly so that the bumps become smoother as you pass. And if possible avoid jumping the sidewalks, whether to go up or down them; stop and get off your scooter to overcome the obstacle.

These active driving habits greatly reduce harsh impacts on the tires. The smoother, smoother, more flexible your driving, the less impact there will be on your tires and consequently fewer punctures as well.

Active riding also means always choosing a path or road that your electric scooter can use. Get into the habit of always anticipating what is in your field of vision. To do this you must drive slowly and remain attentive at all times. An adjustment of a few centimeters to the left or right is enough to avoid a manhole cover, a crack in the ground or a large branch. Walk around dirty spots on the ground, visible debris, and anything that could puncture your tires.

The Holy Grail of Tube Longevity

Your goal now is to postpone the next puncture as late as possible and make your inner tubes last at least as long as the life of your tire. When the tire is worn and needs to be replaced, take this opportunity to also replace the inner tube with a new one. The old inner tube did its job well but it has certainly suffered a lot, take the opportunity to replace it too even if it is not punctured.

Follow the three steps of “Add puncture protection fluid”, “Inspect regularly” and “Drive actively & attentively” (acronym “AIR”) to take care of the inner tubes of your electric scooter. They will allow you to save money, save time and maintain maximum security.

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