I would imagine most cyclists dream about bicycling in Southern California. Sometimes, us locals hate it. Why? The roads are so poorly maintained, potholes deep enough to break a wheel, cracks large enough to swallow both wheels, broken chunks of asphalt large enough to take out a whole peloton, enough broken glass per ride to build windows for a 3,000 sq. Ft. custom house and the latest – small wires that come from cars with blown out steel belted tires.
In fact, a friend of mine who is a head mechanic for a local bicycle shop told me that he fixes a lot, he said A LOT of flat tires and 85% of flats he now sees are caused by these small wires which easily penetrate both tire and tube.
For my training, I use the most inexpensive tires I can find. On the roads out here, tires get sliced up so quickly, that they need to be replaced long before they actually wear out. My tire of choice is the Performance Forte Pro brand. Fairly inexpensive ($40 retail, and as low as $21.25 on sale) and includes features of tires twice the price like Armor Clad Technology, Dual Compound Tread and a 120 TPI casing. I would rather have a new $21.25 destroyed after a couple of rides than a high end $125.00 name brand tire.
This happened several days ago and just a few miles from his house. The worst thing is that this was his second tire sliced in a month! He jokes “at least my tires are sponsored.” The guy in front of him kicked up an aluminum can…maybe I should add aluminum cans to the list above?
SO WHAT ARE WE SUPPOSED TO DO TO PREVENT FLATS?
As you can see, short of using solid rubber tires, there’s nothing that will prevent ALL flats, but, there are several options that can greatly reduce the likelihood of flats occurring. The list below shows several technologies to choose from, each with their pros and cons.
KEY FEATURES OF RHINODILLOS™
What is Soft-Tips™ and Why is this important?
Once installed, tire liners overlap and there is usually a square edge exposed to the tube. Over time, this edge can wear a hole into the tube thereby causing a flat. Soft-Tips™ is a silicone covering over one end that is exposed to the tube. The other end goes underneath.
Instead of this potentially sharp, straight-cut edge of hard polyurethane cutting into the tube, the silicone end gradually reduces the thickness so that the transition to the edge is soft and smooth – no sharp edges.
INSTALLING THE RhinoDillos™ TIRE LINERS
For this test, I used a brand new Performance Forte Pro+ 700x23c folding road tire. I even viewed the RhinoDillos™ installation video where they have a very young Morgan (AKA Bike Girl) showing how easy it is to install these liners.
Installation wasn’t exactly as easy as the video showed. There were two major differences for this; (a) her application was a large mountain bike tire, mine was a skinny road tire; (b) she used an already broken in MTB tire while I used a brand new folded road tire that anyone knows that has ever tried to install a tube into a brand new road tire, the tire wants to fold back in on itself – fighting its way back into how it was folded into its original packaging.
The easiest way to install the RhinoDillos™ into a new 700×23 road tire is the following;
Step 1 – install new tube into new tire and onto rim. Inflate to 120psi and let it sit over night. In the morning, it will have relaxed enough to maintain its new round shape.
Step 2 – deflate tube, remove tube and install new RhinoDillo™ inside of the tire. Once installed, force the RhinoDillo™ into and around the tire feeding slack into the tire, just short of the RhinoDillo™ starting to buckle.
Step 3 – measure precisely (measure twice cut once), then cut off the non soft-tip end so that it lines up closely to the other end – about half-way under the Soft-Tips™. Now, install the tube and button it up.
The purpose for Step 3 is that if you allow full overlap, you have about 6-inches of 2 layers of RhinoDillo™ between the tire and tube resulting in the dreaded “bump,” “bump,” “bump,” “bump,” “bump,” “bump,” as this section of the tire comes into contact with the road. Following Step 3 will ensure that the RhinoDillo™ lays flat
HOW DID THEY PERFORM?
I noticed that pumping up the tires, it usually takes 35 pumps with the floor pump to fully inflate. With the RhinoDillos™ installed, it took 26 so they definitely take up a little room inside the tire. Currently, I have put 500+ miles on these RhinoDillos™. My test configuration is Shimano Dura-Ace 9000 C24 wheels, Performance Forte tires, Serfas tube.
1) ROAD FEEL – In general, the wheels have a slightly softer feel. Vibrations are absorbed by the liners. It’s subtle but just enough to notice. The bike still handles and corners like it did before installing the liners. The road feels less harsh.
2) WEIGHT – I can feel that the wheels are heavier. The RhinoDillos™ add a total of 136 grams, or 68 grams (2.4 oz.) per wheel. The Duro’s add a total of 50 grams, or 25 grams (0.9 oz.) per wheel (but are not in production anymore).
I can definitely feel the added weight of the RhinoDillos™ (but then again, they are advertising flat-prevention, not light-weight). The difference in weight feels equivalent to switching over to a Zipp 404 clincher from a Dura Ace C24 clincher. A little heavier but once rolling it’s nice and smooth.
3) NO FLATS – They DO one thing VERY WELL and that’s STOPPING FLATS! Testing these RhinoDillos™, I ran over stuff that I would have cringed before. No flats to date and I have no hesitations or reservations when rolling over glass, thorns or other debris knowing that I will not be flatting. I have full trust and faith in these liners.
I am fortunate enough to have two sets of wheels – a set for training and a set for racing. The RhinoDillos™ are in the training wheels so there’s no issue about weight. And since the wheels, with RhinoDillos™ handle the same as before I installed them, I have no problems continuing to use the RhinoDillos™ -as well as recommending them to others.
This is a fantastic product. No more getting warmed up, then having to stop for 5 minutes to change a flat. With these liners, you can just keep rolling and rolling and rolling. The RhinoDillos™ work very well … a perfect “set it and forget it” product.
As for the added weight, they are marketing their product as an effective Flat Prevention System not a lightweight semi effective solution so I can’t deduct any points for weight. If you want a truly “Unstoppable Flat Prevention” System, then look no further.
As for BEST USE? At 1.2mm thick, this tire liner will protect the tube from just about anything. But, by being on the thicker side of liners, I would use this for areas prone to thorns, especially the dreaded goat head thorn.
YES, I highly recommend these tire liners!
I have always enjoyed bicycling and, through a series of coincidences, became a Bicycle Industry Consultant and Product Tester. I continue to test prototype products for companies and publish only off the shelf production products on biketestreviews.com.