Author Topic: Tire Failure - Not Sure How It Happened  (Read 2684 times)

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Offline Pat

Tire Failure - Not Sure How It Happened
« on: July 07, 2012, 01:51:12 pm »
Hi - My wife and I recently did the Washington State portion of the PCH.  We had intended to do much more, but the rain continued to fall.  So, we decided to regroup and try Oregon in a week or so.  Anyway, my wife's Surly had a strange failure.

Background:  We bought her Surly via Criag's List, and put new tires on, back in March.  We began training, staying almost exclusively on good paved surfaces.  I could get the exact distance from the logs, but we certain put less than 1000 miles on the tires, with about 250 miles under various loads.  We've always been careful about the tire pressures.  I did a general check of her bike before we left, and did some general tuneups.

Tour Preps:  We took the Starlight up, with the bikes safely boxed in their AMTRAK boxes.  We unpacked and assembled the bikes in Portland, and rode to our motel.  The next morning, we rode back to the station and took the Cascade up to Seattle, rode to the Bremerton Ferry, and on to our motel.  I don't think the bikes were ever out of our sight.

Touring:  The first tour day was from Bremerton to Shelton, with rain and drizzle most of the way.  The second morning, we were trying to do at least Shelton to Elma, also in the rain.  Almost immediately in the ride, my wife noticed her rear wheel was rubbing against the brake.  So, standing in the rain, I looked it over, noticing the wheel was a little out of true.  Thinking I could work on it when we got to our next hotel (since camping was slipping away in the rain, I opened up her brakes a little and we set out.  After about 20 miles, she blew out her rear wheel.  I looked the tire over closely as I replaced the tube, looking for something that would cause the blow out.  I saw the damage to the tire and knew the old dollar bill trick would never work.  So, we hitched a ride to Elma, and eventually got another tire (a whole different story).

More Bike Work:  She had several loose spokes, which were tightened.  But her rear wheel was making "funny" noises.  We rode to Centralia and caught a train down to Vancouver, since Centralia has no bike shops.  They repacked the rear hub and put in new bearings, and professionally retrued and retensioned the wheel.  And then, no more problems.  They thought that, since her wheels were in almost pristine shape, but had sat around in a garage for a couple of years, that maybe they had never been properly tensioned, and somewhere on one of our two legs in Washington, the right bump or the right hole came along and loosened up the spokes.  But they couldn't figure out how this would have caused a tear in the tire (too bad I didn't know the relationship of the loose spokes to the tire damage locations.

If this has worked properly, you should be able to see the damage to the tire.  I was really surprised, and immediately looked my bike over, since I am running Michlin City Proteks on my Surly, although I have a 700 and she has a 26.  Anyway, it was kind of strange.

Lesson Learned for Me:  Always check the wheels and tires, every day.  Never take it for granted we can get to the next stop.  And a spare tire can be a life saver.

Thanks,

Pat


Offline dkoloko

Re: Tire Failure - Not Sure How It Happened
« Reply #1 on: July 07, 2012, 07:52:52 pm »
"The right bump" should not loosen the spokes, unless bump was so hard rim was flattened. Report of similar damage to similar Michelin tire:

http://www.amazon.com/Michelin-Protek-Reflective-Sidewalls-26x1-4/product-reviews/B001CSRX18/ref=cm_cr_pr_hist_2?ie=UTF8&showViewpoints=0&filterBy=addTwoStar

Offline Pat Lamb

Re: Tire Failure - Not Sure How It Happened
« Reply #2 on: July 07, 2012, 08:58:00 pm »
It looks to me like the brakes may have dived under the rim and abraded the tire.  Hard to say if that's what happened post mortem like this, of course.  I'd have expected the tire rubbing on the frame to hit higher on the sidewall, out toward the tread.

Good pre-trip maintenance can help solve a lot of these kinds of problems before they happen.  Now you know.  ;)

(And just BTW, this is a good reason to carry a spare tire.)

Offline rcrampton

Re: Tire Failure - Not Sure How It Happened
« Reply #3 on: July 07, 2012, 11:48:18 pm »
It looks to me like the brakes may have dived under the rim and abraded the tire.

+1, that's my first guess too.

A couple of months before each tour I go over my bike top to bottom. I've found under-tension spokes now and then. I get everything buttoned down how I like it and get a couple of hundred miles before I box it up and ship it.

I do carry a spare tire, tubes, and spokes with me. I've had a tough time finding tires and tubes on a lot of my trips, especially off-road trips. There are folding tires out there if you want something that packs down. Fully-loaded touring wears out rear wheels and tires!

I've been down the PCH in WA and OR, what a beautiful ride. We had one full day of pretty heavy rain, and I had two flat tires that day :)

Offline bogiesan

Re: Tire Failure - Not Sure How It Happened
« Reply #4 on: July 08, 2012, 09:43:02 am »
A brake rubbing on the tire leaves a huge signature. The brake area will be covered in black dust. The erosion on the tire is clean because it's being burned away and heat polished. That is, until you burn it into the casing and then you might see something like in your photos. But a brake rubbing on the tire rubs on the entire tire or there will be a fierce bump while braking and you can smell the rubber burning. It's unmistakable.

The most common cause of brake erosion tire that I can think of is not seating the tire properly in the drops. Easy to do. You set it and then sit on the bike and then set it again with some mass and ithe axel will almost always shift. An improperly adjusted brake mech makes itself known on the first serious application of the brake.

So, I'm not going with the brake idea. Something else. Impossible for us to tell form here; it's all speculation.
I play go. I use Macintosh. Of course I ride a recumbent

Offline Pat

Re: Tire Failure - Not Sure How It Happened
« Reply #5 on: July 08, 2012, 11:48:45 am »
In Elma, when I got replaced her tire, I got two...different manufacturer.  We kept the old front tire and it is now her spare.  My trucker has the Michlin tires, like I said, but no problems so far.

The Amazon review was interesting.  Just goes back to the old "buyer beware" approach.

Thanks for the feedback.

Pat

Offline tonythomson

Re: Tire Failure - Not Sure How It Happened
« Reply #6 on: July 08, 2012, 06:08:14 pm »
Maybe nothing more than a fault with the tyre?  And it was nothing that you did or didn't do.  Personally I would never tour without a spare and some of those patches that will get you by if the tyre splits.
Just starting to record my trips  www.tonystravels.com

Offline jcostanz

Re: Tire Failure - Not Sure How It Happened
« Reply #7 on: July 09, 2012, 11:43:25 am »
Looks similar to what happened to me a couple of years ago.  The tire Failed in about the same location.  I was on day 7 about 10 miles from the end of a 500 mile bike tour.  I had last topped off the air in the tire 3 days before.  I attributed the failure to overpressure in the tire and possibly a slight flaw.  I had at the time 3 different size tires in the same brand and model(conti top touring 2000?), 20" 26" and 700. the pressures listed on the tires were very different and I didn't notice that the one was the lowest.  The bead ripped off the rest of the tire about 12" long on the 700 tire.  I noticed about 10 miles before the failure that the tire was bulging slightly but I had hoped that I would be able to finish the ride.

I found a trick that worked for me several years later when the rim on a bike failed.  It was a double walled rim and the center of the outer wall failed and one side wall failed, about 6" long on a 20" wheel.  I used duck tape to replace the rim strip and then wrapped the tire and wheel, going between the spokes  to keep the tire on the rim.  I was able to go over 60 miles on this setup before I was able to get a replacement wheel shipped to me.

Jeff

Offline Pat

Re: Tire Failure - Not Sure How It Happened
« Reply #8 on: July 09, 2012, 06:37:56 pm »
Adding duck tape to my list of things to carry...good point

Offline staehpj1

Re: Tire Failure - Not Sure How It Happened
« Reply #9 on: July 10, 2012, 07:08:16 am »
Duct tape or stitching with an awl would both allow that tire to be ridden on for a few hundred miles.

I see that jcostanz mentioned that he (she?) blamed high tire pressure.  I have to say that I have more often seen that type of failure to be blamed on too low pressure.  The idea is that the tire flexed in a too tight bend against the rim.  Perhaps either could cause it in different ways, but I have my doubt that high pressure was the culprit.

Offline indyfabz

Re: Tire Failure - Not Sure How It Happened
« Reply #10 on: July 10, 2012, 09:42:11 am »
but I have my doubt that high pressure was the culprit.

Assuming no damage/wear/manufacturing defect, I think you are right. I spoke with a rep. from Continental at the "one and done" Philadelphia Interbike show many years ago. He explained that the max. pressure figure on the sidewal is nowhere near what the tire is designed to withstand, both from rupture and "blow off" persepctives.

Offline rcrampton

Re: Tire Failure - Not Sure How It Happened
« Reply #11 on: July 10, 2012, 11:24:40 pm »
A brake rubbing on the tire leaves a huge signature. The brake area will be covered in black dust. The erosion on the tire is clean because it's being burned away and heat polished. That is, until you burn it into the casing and then you might see something like in your photos. But a brake rubbing on the tire rubs on the entire tire or there will be a fierce bump while braking and you can smell the rubber burning. It's unmistakable.

The most common cause of brake erosion tire that I can think of is not seating the tire properly in the drops. Easy to do. You set it and then sit on the bike and then set it again with some mass and ithe axel will almost always shift. An improperly adjusted brake mech makes itself known on the first serious application of the brake.

So, I'm not going with the brake idea. Something else. Impossible for us to tell form here; it's all speculation.

I'm having second doubts to blaming the brakes now too. You're right, the smell of burning rubber is very strong. I think that's hard to miss. Maybe if the wheel was out of true enough to only rub in that one spot? I'm reaching there :)

The good news is that after a couple of failures like that we all usually get pretty anal about seating tires and tubes and don't take much for granted. With that extra care I never had any more problems :)