Vectran Killer

You’re looking at the first foreign object to penetrate my Marathon Supremes’ impenetrable Vectran layers in nearly two years of riding. I pull these out of Supremes all the time with no ill effects, but this bad boy made it all the way through to the core. It’s such a grand specimen I may have to give it a coat of shellac and mount it in a shadow box.

The wimpy racing tires on our little fixie were attacked by a handful of these same (but smaller) thorns and every single one penetrated the tubes. It goes without saying that the tubes were toast. It’s official: I hate wimpy racing tires (you would too if you were the designated flat fixer in a family of five).

21 Responses to “Vectran Killer”

  • Wuss912 says:

    the dreaded Goathead Strikes again!

  • alan g says:

    Glad I live in south central Pa where those bad looking things do not exist!

  • jdmitch says:

    Yeah, I’ve heard Supremes are mostly goathead proof… but Pluses are supposedly the only goathead proof tire.

    Those new duremes might be good too, but I think that’s due to the thickness of tread as compared to the supremes…

  • voyage says:

    Lucite cube the little bastard.

  • BB says:

    I soooo feel the same about wimpy racing tyres! The first 2 things I’m going to change on a beater bike that’s waiting for a fix-up are the tyres – to Schwalbe Marathon Plus. They make me feel like the broken glass terminator when I commute in the dark!

  • sb mike says:

    I guess this is what happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object. ouch!

  • Doug R. says:

    My evil Plan Worked! I spent all night sprinkling those little boogers on your route! LOL!
    Oh, and as a trail rider, I use good tires and Stop flat liners too! I still get nailed by one of the alien monster heads once in a while! Dougman the Terrible.

  • Alan says:


    I’ve had great luck with Supremes so far, but I guess we’ll have to classify them as “goathead-resistant” going forward… :-)

  • jdmitch says:


    Yeah I’ve yet to flat my supremes (though I have to drop from 35-622 to 32-622 to be able to fit fenders on my bike – gotta find a use for the 35s now). I’m very much a convert. Add schwalbe tubes and it’s heaven. Except on cargo bikes (like my Madsen) then I’m all about the fattest liteskin BAs that I can fit.

  • David says:

    Bummer! Here I am 1000 miles in without a flat on my first pair of Supremes and feeling cocky. I guess I’ll have to stay wary.

  • Brian C says:

    I have Marathon pluses on my bikes, but did put the supremes on my wife’s new Buena Vista. So far no flats on either (although my wife did get a flat on her pluses on her old bike a couple of years ago now – I was so pleased how easy it was to fix (since we were 25 K from home at time). Since we have none of Alan’s nasty tire eaters here I look to years more of trouble free cycling (grin)…

  • Alan says:

    @Brian C

    “Since we have none of Alan’s nasty tire eaters here I look to years more of trouble free cycling (grin)…”

    You’ve jinxed yourself now… ;-)

  • Ryan says:

    Looks like I need a set of these tires.

  • MnG says:


  • Bomber says:

    Good results here with Panaracer Urban Max tires, a bit heavy but they took on the Vermont Gritty roads from March until July, purchased a new Jamis Aurora Elite with Vittoria Rondonneur on them. So far so good, first flat I’m switching back to the urban max’s. We don’t have that thorn you have, but we do have lots of broken glass from beer bottles from “Bubba’s excapades in the pickup truck”

    Next new tire purchase will see me in the Schwalbe Marathon series, I’m sold.

  • Chris Moore says:

    You can try all the tires you want but I’ve personally had a goathead flat a motocross tire (on a motorcycle, obviously) and seen a car tire victimized. Car tires are pretty heavy duty and my moto tires were SERIOUSLY heavy duty – capable of surviving an 80mph rock hit. I don’t think a bicycle tire can be practicaly rideable and goat-proof.

    On wide, low pressure tires Slime seems to be effective, but not at higher pressures. Slime works great on my MTB with 2.25″ tires running at 25psi or so, but utterly fails on 32mm tires running 70psi.

    Best defense is vigilence and education. Know where to look for and how to spot the goathead vine and avoid them and keep an eye out for the things when near them – if you can catch them on the first couple of tire rotations you can pull them out before they get driven into the tube.


  • Chris Moore says:

    Ah – left out education. See this website and if your goatheads are in one spot, consider laying down some of their weevils:

  • Mitch Browne says:

    I ride Marathon Supreme Plus on all my bikes and have had no flats for 2yrs of work commuting 18 miles RT. I’d gotten so comfortable that I no longer carried any patch tools, only a cell phone. I met my disappointment in the form of a staple. It hit near the side of the Vectran and must have glanced off and then into the tube. It shook my world. It can happen.

  • Ryan says:

    Alan, on a group ride a few years ago a foot long piece of metal that appears to be part of an aluminum window frame double flatted 3 bikes in rapid succession. “6 Flat Franny” adorns a shelf in my bike work area in the garage. After that ride I went straight to REI and got a pair of Conti 25c Ultra Gatorskins that still adorn my go fast bike.

    So +1 on the window box idea.


  • Adrienne says:

    A couple of years ago I was riding through Hayward, CA, very late for work and quite lost on the city’s terrible street layout. I was so distracted I never saw what I rode through. Suffice it to say, later that day when Hubby the Bikeman went to change both the super flat tubes, it turned out that I had over 30 Goat’s Heads in each tire! Somehow, he managed to salvage the tires (he used a spoon to kind of scoop them out of the rubber). It was truly amazing.

  • Nhoj Yesdnil says:

    I have never encountered these thorns, but I haven’t had a puncture sense I started using tire within tires. I realize that most people are very concerned about the rolling resistance and weight of their wheels, but I have never had a problem with this. In fact I would rather get there slowly than to be forced to deal with a puncture on the road in the winter.

    I wish that some one would try my puncture proofing method just to see if it works with these thorns.

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