So what do bike riders hate most after bad drivers? Punctures, of course. You can survive for months unscathed and then you’re hit by a triple deflation outrage in as many days.

It’s my own fault, I’m to blame, I was getting overconfident. Having survived the majority of 2011 without a single flat I thought I had become invincible and hatched a cunning plan. Of course it backfired spectacularly and as my penance I spent last week inflating leaky inner tubes at the roadside.

The cheap tyre experiment was not a success. I had stopped puncturing, so reasoned it didn’t matter what tyres I rode. Some brands are a lot more expensive than others so I swapped my usual £80-per-pair of choice for some budget entry-level rubber at considerably less than half the cost.

It didn’t seem sensible wasting good product on the grit-strewn streets so I decided I was going to make do with my budget compromise.

What could go wrong? The back wheel became a little less grippy out of the saddle and I began confusing flint cuts with the tread pattern.

I persevered at my peril.

The more you pay, the less you puncture. It really isn’t more complicated than that.

Robert Garbutt is editor of Cycling Weekly

  • PMR

    What I hate the most about cheap tyres isn’t the fact that they punture easier, its that they are often b as terds to get off/on the rims!
    Swapped my cheapos for Gatorskins and haven’t looked back, no punctures in about 1500 miles and no worries if I do puncture as they are easy to work with.
    Got some sworks race tyres for my TT bike, limited punture resistance on those but if I punture during a TT or Tri, then my race is messed up anyhow.

  • ragtag


  • Carlton Gower

    If we are talking pure puncture resistance you would go a long way to beat the touring oriented tyres of this world…if you are talking £80 a pair you are into seriously lightweight and puncturability goes UP as price does – as you are paying for lowering the weight and therefore structural integrity…

  • S J Lowther

    1 puncture in 3 years cycling country roads all year round, the only time I hold my breath is when the farmers have cut their hedges leaving the cuttings spread over the road.

  • Cavologuardi

    Thank you, Mr Garbutt… not had a puncture since October… you write this… and I get four in a week… er, where do I send the bill for new tyres?

  • kozzo

    If only expensive would equal good …
    In reality it is not so simple

  • Ron Stuart

    So my comments were a bit embarrassing then well there was nothing in there offensive, plus some dammed good buying advise. Frankly not impressed with the censorship.

  • Ken Evans

    If you do much riding then you will get through tyres.
    It is crazy when a skinny bike tyre costs more than a much larger car tyre !

    But I agree some cheaper tyres aren’t adequate for the purpose intended,
    generally I have found the famous racing brands are the best.

    There are many inferior inner tubes on the market,
    I have only found 2 brands that have consistent thickness, diameter, and circularity.

    As with many other cycling items, the high-end consumer is ripped off,
    but if you need the quality there is little you can do, but pay up.

    Also tyres are a safety critical part, that keep you in contact with the road,
    even when the road is wet, slippery, greasy, or icy.

    Good tyre design seems to be as much an art as a science,
    where high tech materials don’t guarantee superior performance.

  • Phil Riley

    JD. I Think Mr Garbutt is a share holder in some EXPENSIVE tyre companies.

  • JD

    Not sure about the reasoing behind this blog – cheap tyres are no saviour but expensive ones puncture too.