Classic Lightweights UK
Classic Components  

Flint catchers 

Peter Underwood 

Flint catchers came in several shapes and formats but they all aimed to remove flints, etc. from the tubular (or tyre) before the second revolution of the wheel which was when the flint would get embedded into the rubber and then with each further turn of the wheel work its way through until it punctured the tube.  They weren't 100% perfect but they gave a sense of security, probably exaggerated. The downside was that in wet weather the catchers sent up a spray of water and grit which got everywhere.

Below are two examples of the mechanical versions which were rather noisier and wore the tyres more (thanks to Steve Griffith for the images)
Both attach to the brake centre-bolt and are inscribed with the maker's name

Flint catchers 1
All alloy Pelissier
Flint catchers 2
Chromed steel TA Raclette

The less sophisticated versions were made from stainless wire and rubber tubing including Allez and Carlton (not connected to Carlton cycles). The impecunious rider could make his own from an old spoke and some tubing. Some were double-sided whereas others were single and all-wire and rubber.

Flint catchers 7

Flint catchers 6
Carlton 'M', for use with mudguards, with one arm rotated to show fixing eye for mudguard nut
Flint catchers 3
This model was marketed as 'Allez' - see advert below

Flint catchers 8
Advert from 'Bikeriders Aids - 1975
(Marten Gerritsen)

Flint catchers 5
Carlton CL ultra-light racing
Flint catchers 4


I recently unearthed these Ozanne flintcatchers - the one on the right is minus the
spring you can see on the other, but will work by gravity (I hope!).

Ron Kitching's Everything Cycling, 1963, page 34.

Craig Griffith, California, USA told me : Ozanne clearly was around back in the early to mid 1930s. The Swiss racing (Imholtz, Carioni, Allegro, Mondia, SKS) bikes of the day had them then and well into the late 1960- early 1960s (Allegro and Mondia). I believe Ozanne was a seperate company. I bought several pairs from a big ebay seller in Europe, and I believe he stated to me they were a small company.  TA  later made exact copies of the Ozannes. I think they are the finest tire savers by far, they can be adjusted to glide lightly on the tire.

Here is an older photo sent by Bob Hanson showing what appears to be the very same style of
 flintcatcher  mounted on a racing bike.  The race photo was surely from the 1930s. 
The bicycle shows ARMOR on the down tube.  Robert Tanneveau (1911-1993)
was racing professionally for the Armor or Armor-Dunlop teams from 1934-1939.

Flint catchers 9
A selection of tyresavers/flint catchers from Nigel Scott