Before moving west to Colorado I thought goat heads were rocks. As I’m entering my second winter in Denver, I can tell you that goat heads are death to all things rubber and air. It is a weed that forms a hard thorn on various edges, puncturing most anything that runs over it.
Puncturevine, Tribulus terrestris L. from the Zygophyllaceae or (Caltrop family) and sometimes better known as a goathead, is a plant designed to survive.
If you venture off trail in Colorado, especially in the fall and winter, there is a chance you’ll run over a few (dozen) goat heads. Thorn resistant tires and a sealant inside your tire or tube can help, but not a fix all. I would say that 2 out of 6 times that I go off the beaten trail in Denver, I get goat heads in my tires. Sometimes, I get away with it – finding my tires flat the morning after. Sometimes, the penance for riding off trail is plopping yourself down next to the trail to pull 15 thorns from each tire. There is no patching a tube this beat up. If you are running tubeless it can take a pocket bottle of Stans to plug all the holes.
My first step in this battle this winter is to run a thicker mtb tire on my Ogre. Inside the tubes will be TruGoo, a sealant that clogs the holes that thorns cause. Inside my bag will be two tubes and a handy patch kit or two. I’ll let you know how this works.
How do you deal with goat heads or thorns?