Green Tyres: another ‘solution’ to punctures that doesn’t work

This article was published in 2007, in Newsletter 75.

I am plagued with punctures. I don’t know why. It’s not that my bike is very different from anyone else’s (it’s a Dawes Galaxy) nor that I do vastly more mileage now I don’t have a long journey to work any more. I replace tyres frequently and always make sure I get the offending sharp object out when I mend a puncture. I do carry a lot of weight on the bike sometimes.

Green Tyre: worn out and not recommended
Image as described adjacent

I’ve tried all sorts of solutions. Instant patches peel off instantly. Expensive strengthened tyres burst around the rim rather than the tread. Goo in the inner tube which is supposed to seal punctures doesn’t work. Can no one solve this problem effectively?

I was reminded about Green Tyres by a letter in the paper, so after getting independent punctures on three consecutive outings, the last of which left me stranded after two separate punctures on the same journey, I thought I’d give them a go.

My experience was not a positive one!

Green Tyres are solid ‘micro-cellular’ polyurethane tyres. They used to be green in colour but now come in many different colours. Mine cost about £15 each, with £10 delivery direct from the manufacturer. The cost is comparable to that of a good quality tyre and inner tube.

My experience got off to bad start though. It is vital to order not only the correct diameter tyre, but also one with the correct size inner rim to sit in the wheel. I did this, but they sent some bright red ones the next size up, which wouldn’t fit of course. I found it hard to get the company to accept what my ruler was telling me: they claimed to have sent the right size. In the end I did send them back and received some black ones in the correct size the next day. However, despite asking, they have still not refunded the postage for returning them, so the whole lot cost me nearly £50 instead of £40.

Once I had the correct size they were pretty easy to fit with the special spatula-like tyre lever and cable-ties supplied.

The tyres claim to be equivalent to 70psi inflation of a pneumatic tyre, which is what I would normally achieve with my track pump. This may be so, but it doesn’t feel like it. I think this is because they don’t seem to deform like a pneumatic tyre. This meant that as well as a firm ride, the rolling resistance was enormous. What was once an easy ride became tremendously hard work. It didn’t help that my bike immediately took revenge on me for trying to prevent punctures by seizing up the bearings on the rear wheel. Even when that was fixed though, moderately long journeys that would have been fine before now leave me completely exhausted.

The bike’s handling was drastically affected. Instead of compressing to match the contour when crossing a slightly raised white line, a road repair or a tactile paving slab, the Green Tyres slip.

Worse, the bike’s handling was drastically affected. Instead of compressing to match the contour when crossing a slightly raised white line, a road repair or a tactile paving slab, the Green Tyres slip. This is at best disconcerting, but nearly brought me off my bike on more than one occasion. I found this highly alarming and led to a severe drop in confidence while cycling.

Nevertheless I persisted. They claim ‘exceptional high resistance to wear … tests have shown exceptional life span 3 – 4 times longer than rubber tyres’. So why has my rear tyre now worn out after only six months’ of use? It has lost every shred of tread and several millimetres below that. Its wear characteristics have proved to be worse than an equivalent pneumatic tyre.

So finally, after the extra tension the tyres put on the wheel caused a major buckle when a spoke worked loose, I have given up and put a pneumatic tyre back on the rear wheel. I’ll do the same on the front when it next has to come off.

I wasted £50 on these tyres out of frustration with continually getting stuck at the roadside in freezing weather replacing and mending inner tubes. But poor customer service, overstated claims for durability, making cycling such hard work and, critically, how safe I felt, led me to abandon my experiment.

The one good thing was: I didn’t get a puncture! How can I avoid them in the future and just what is it about my bike that gives me so many?

David Earl