archival and resource material for human powered recumbent tricycles

Schwalbe Jumbo Jim and Mr. Tuffy failure aftermath


This morning I removed the Schwalbe Jumbo Jim 26×4.80 fat tires from the ICE Full Fat trike, along with the Mr. Tuffy tire liners and Schwalbe inner tubes. Inspection of the Mr. Tuffy tire liners revealed goathead thorns (from the Tribulus terrestris plant) had breached the Mr. Tuffy liners, penetrating through into the inner tube.


Goathead thorns, from the Tribulus terrestris plant

ICE Schwalbe Issue 2 (1)

The carnage from a few miles of Mojave Desert riding – a valuable lesson learned

ICE Schwalbe Issue 2 (2)

The ICE Full Fat up on blocks, prior to deciding on next path to follow regarding tires. The trike is a highly sophisticated backcountry vehicle. All it needs to realize its full potential is a road contact system (tires) that actually is reliable! Perhaps ICE might contemplate the introduction of an ultra rugged backcountry tire that rises to the same high standards as the company’s trike! It seems unfortunate to believe that a superior and dependable off-road vehicle like the Full Fat is severely compromised, indeed, rendered useless, by inferior tire offerings such as the Schwalbe Jumbo Jim. If a rugged, dependable, and reliable tire already exists, please share your knowledge here so that we may all benefit. No one wants to see what happened to me occur to them. I just want to ride, not be bothered with figuring out what tire actually works, and it can become pretty costly trying various tire brands to find a rugged offering. Car tires don’t go flat from thorns, neither should ours! Added tire weight is an acceptable compromise for “get home” dependability.


8 responses

  1. Steve, the first thing I see is that the tire tread is way too open. This causes the bike to ride on the soft part of the tire instead of the tread, especially on soft ground.
    More air pressure might stand the tread up so you don’t have the pressure on the flat but I would look for a tire with more rubber. Those look good on the beach but not over goatheads.
    I would look for a tire that is 50/50 toread or more. Enough that the soft part of the tire never hits the ground.

    November 26, 2015 at 10:07 am

  2. Ed Blanchard


    I have read your tale of torment, tears and trials in yesterday’s and now today’s postings. I share this grief with you and others who venture from man’s sterile, artificial paths unto nature’s beckoning back country and suffered the [pressurized air] of a tire or two.

    I too use Schwalbe Marathon Plus tires coupled with their extra thick tubes on my trike, a Terratrike Tour II. It has been my misfortune to suffer a blow out many times while riding my steed through some beautiful Arizona desert. But, enough of this crying over spilt beer!

    You asked about alternatives. I do not have one yet but, I am resesrching the possibility of mounting a low-weight, selectable compressibility, SOLID fill tube to replace these irrascible antiquated air-filled demons we use now. If this solution is just around the corner for auto/truck applications, it has to be possible for us bikers & trikers.

    In the meantime there is always a cold bottle of a favored brew to sooth a ‘deflated’ heart.

    November 26, 2015 at 10:31 am

  3. I am using the Surly Lou tires 26 X 4.8 and as of yet have had no trouble, but I did also received my Q-4 just after you have picked up your ICE Full Fat, Now whether, or not time does any thing to a tire I have no idea… But I live on the Treasure coast of Florida, in which is a big tourist magnet in which brings all types, but what it is I am driving at is that a lot of the younger folks think it just funny as all heck to throw their empty pop, and beer bottles out the window when they are done with it contents… Then leaving shards of glass on the sides of the road, and on bike paths…! I thought a few times I might have caught some of the glass while trying to avoid them, But either I did avoid them, or I just went right over them, I’m not to sure which.. But I was truly concerned, as you are, because as you have stated, only just received my ride as well… And that is right after you got your’s… I suggest the Surlys, although costly, so far rugged enough to handle all the riding, on and off road as I do…!
    Best of luck with this, and a Happy Thanksgiving to you, and all trikers associated with, and on the Asylum..!

    November 26, 2015 at 11:24 am

  4. Hildalgo

    Perhaps someone should contact Heidenau tire company in Germany. They make a great tire for adventure motorcycle. With the rise of the fat tire movement in bikes and trikes, there may be enough of a market to prompt them to consider

    November 26, 2015 at 1:19 pm

  5. You hit the nail on the head Hildalgo! This fat tire craze is so new, tire manufacturers have not caught up with the many ways fatbikes and fatrikes are now being used. They are still making tires with the old “weight weenie” mentality of diamond frame road racers. YES! By all means, we need a tire manufacturer who makes motorcycle tires to design a huge fat tire with thick enough tread and sufficient protective belts to stop goathead thorns cold! It’s hard to enjoy an outback adventure always worrying about having tires going flat every few miles. It will be VERY interesting to see if bicycle tire manufacturers actually adapt and design a superior tire unaffected by thorns (like car and motorcycle tires), or if they just remain mute and continue with the status quo. I have my suspicions, but hope they are wrong.

    November 26, 2015 at 3:05 pm

  6. Goat heads love bicycle tires, plain and simple. Thin light weight rubber just can’t hold up. Try a motorcycle tire if you don’t mind the extra weight or use Slime in a thorn proof tube. Every night I picked the little devils out at camp with tweezers only to see small green spots form on tire when I traveled around the Sonora Desert in 2005 with Schwalbe Marathon 20″ plus Mr Tuffy and Slime. I had to add air now and then due to some loss.
    I have seen entire bike clubs stopped for tire repair due to these nasty’s.

    November 27, 2015 at 9:30 am

  7. Phil Jones

    I don’t mean to sound condescending, but a motorcycle tire manufacturer needs to get on board?… these are human powered vehicles we’re talking about. Good luck accelerating something which has over 30lb’s of extra rotating weight!! ( This is nothing to do with being a weight weenie, it’s common sense. Avoid Schwalbe Jumbo Jims you say? Why not just try them set up Tubeless with a latex based sealant as they are intended to be like this: … which mountain bikers have been doing for a decade now, with flawless results. Blaming equipment is a cop out, sometimes you just have to understand the limitations of the activity you’re doing and make peace with it!

    December 4, 2015 at 1:17 pm

  8. Howdy Phil,

    ICE would be well advised to send their Full Fat out to new customers from the factory with a reliable tire setup, such as the tubeless option with Stan’s Sealant already installed. The customer, who has no prior experience with tubeless conversion options, should not be the one to figure this out from serious flat tire episodes – ICE knows better. Yes, this trike is most definitely in need of a tubeless tire arrangement.

    Using a motorcycle tire on a human powered trike would be an unwise decision, as such a tire would be far too heavy. However, using a cycling tire with the same superior construction as the Schwalbe Marathon Plus would be ideal for this trike, heavier than the cheaply made Jumbo Jim, but a fraction of the weight of a motorcycle tire. A motorcycle tire would be overkill, as it is designed for a powerful petroleum based engine, which is not needed for human legs pushing pedals.

    Perhaps ICE will realize that sending Full Fat trikes to serious off-road riders with a tube setup and Jumbo Jim tires is doing nothing but making the trike seem incompetent – For example: I had several non-triker folks who actually saw my Full Fat in this condition, and all independently indicated to me that I need to get a new trike because this one is unreliable – I had to explain to them that it was not the trike that has the issue, but rather the tire setup that the manufacturer sends out to customers from the factory – even with that explanation, they indicated that after paying so much money for this trike, I shouldn’t have to expect these results.

    They are correct in my way of seeing things – This trike costs a fortune for most people, and it should come equipped to handle the backcountry without watching dozens of video presentations on how to convert to tubeless. Yes, I have been educating myself about this conversion, and yes, I will be doing it, but look at the new money needed to be thrown at the project! For a trike of this expense, a customer simply should not have to go through this protracted process just to enjoy it in its element.

    December 6, 2015 at 8:41 am