A few months ago I swapped out my 2" hybrid (smooth center, knobby edges) tires for some 1.35" Hutchinson Acrobats and matching tubes. I normally opt for the cheapest tires I can find but have learned the hard way that the softer mountain bike tires might be great for the off-road sections of my commute route, but they cut easily, resulting in one flat after another. Extremely frustrating. The money I was trying to save on tires was eventually spent on patches, replacement tubes and added commute time.
1.35" Hutchinson Acrobats on my loyal Schwinn Frontier.
At just under $30 each, I considered the Acrobats to be an upgrade. Compared to my 2" tires, the Acrobats had a much lower profile creating a huge gap between the tires and fenders. This lower profile also lowered the bike's ride height, allowing my to put a foot down more easily at stop signs and lighted intersections. The downside was I had to be much more careful when pedaling through turns. A few minor pedal scrapes and it doesn't take long to find your cornering limits. These are not manufacturing-related problems but it was becoming clear that I failed to match the tire to my bike, specific riding style and commute route.
A few weeks had passed before I realized I was no longer getting flats. Although the tires were not a perfect fit for the bike, they were quietly spoiling me. Before and after every commute I would lazily pinch my tires to gauge the tire pressure, never feeling the need to investigate further for embedded glass, cuts or steel belting from a random, blown-out truck tire.
Wanting to get back to a wider tire, I swapped out the Acrobats and now ride a 1.95" commuter tire. Out of curiosity, I decided to finally inspect my tires for debris. The photos below are of the back tire only. The front tire was perfect which demonstrates how much more weight the back tires must support. These tires took a beating and never let me down.
What ever made this cut failed to find it's way to the tube.
Same tire, about four inches from the cut. Again, the tube had no idea.
This looks like metal but when I pulled it out it was actually brown glass.
The gray color is the result of repeatedly grinding against the pavement.
These were all flats that should have happened but didn't. Regardless of what tires you're running, these photos make a strong case for inspecting your tires before and after every ride.
When shopping for new tires, a wider Hutchinson tire was not stocked locally so I made a purchase based on a shop tech's recommendation which I'll reveal in a future posting.
Long story short...if you find Hutchinson brand tires that fit your bike, buy them. Don't be afraid to spend a little more for the kevlar and gel varieties, it's worth it if you don't like changing flats in freezing weather, rain or any weather for that matter.