Author Topic: Annoying rash of flat tires - is there a solution?  (Read 7665 times)

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Offline Sir_Geek

Annoying rash of flat tires - is there a solution?
« on: October 04, 2005, 10:48:36 am »
Greetings, my fellow cycling enthusiasts. I have what you might think is a rather silly question, but it's one that has been plaguing me recently. I don't bike much - maybe 20 miles a day - but I've been experiencing an extremely frustrating rash of flat tyres. 10 in the past month and a half, to be more specific - all in the rear wheel. I think I end up walking more then I bike. :) It started after I hit one of those annoying storm drains (the ones with the parallel bars, spaced just widely enough for a bike wheel to fit in between). I later noticed a small dent in the side of the wheel - perhaps this is the source of my problems? So my question is, is there something wrong with my bike, or do I just have extrodinary bad luck? Do you gentlemen think I should perhaps replace my wheel, or do you think a new tire would solve my problems,...or should I just accept it as an inevitable part of riding? Thanks, all.

Offline judyrans

Annoying rash of flat tires - is there a solution?
« Reply #1 on: October 04, 2005, 06:49:55 pm »
Sir_Geek wrote:
Quote

I've been experiencing an extremely frustrating rash of flat tyres....I later noticed a small dent in the side of the wheel - perhaps this is the source of my problems?


It's hard to say without seeing your rim. It would probably have to be a sharp spot, though. Consider the possibility that there is something small and sharp stuck in your tire. You put a new/patched tube in, the sharp object causes your tube to puncture. You patch or replace the tube, the sharp object strikes again.

You can carefully run your fingers gently all over the inside of your tire, hoping to feel a sharp spot. Take care not to slice your finger on it! A better way is to take an old pair of panty hose and carefully run it around inside the tube. The hose will find the the sharp spot even better than your finger, with less risk of a cut finger. (Having panty hose is an advantage of NOT being a gentleman. A single knee-high takes very little space in your tool kit.)

It's also possible that your tire is worn out. Worn tires punture more easily as they are thinner. Also, old puncture wounds in your tire can fill up with sharp bits of sand that rub your tube until it punctures.

Be aware that bike lanes and shoulders may have lots of glass and other debris. Motor vehicle tires "wash" debris into the bike lane or shoulder. It stays there (unless the governmental unit sweeps the space). Bike tires aren't big enough to push the debris out.

Judy (who is not a gentleman, but has fixed a lot of flats)

This message was edited by judyrans on 10-4-05 @ 2:52 PM

Offline wanderingwheel

Annoying rash of flat tires - is there a solution?
« Reply #2 on: October 04, 2005, 07:45:06 pm »
What kind of flats do you get?  Are they all punctures or are they usually pinch flats?  Pinch flats can be identified by their two small parallel slits in the tube.  Are the holes always in the same spot or do they occur at random around the tire?  

Ten flats per year is too many for me.  Hopefully with the answer to these questions you will be able to find the cause.

Sean


Offline Sir_Geek

Annoying rash of flat tires - is there a solution?
« Reply #3 on: October 04, 2005, 08:02:22 pm »
Hmmm... you may be right, Judy. It is an old tire and is probably rather weak becuase of that. I don't think there's anything sharp stuck in it, though - I've already exaimined it in the manner you suggested. But perhaps it is just too old. I guess I'll try replacing that - hopefully that might be the problem.
  One thing I heard was that I might be running my tire pressure too low. It's a racing bike - a Bianchi Prema - and I've been using 60-80 psi. Someone I know said that using 100+ psi might help my problem. Is he right?



And wanderingwheel, I think I usually get puncture flats, not pinch flats, positioned rather randomly. Although I have to admit, I don't know all that well. :)


 Thanks to both of you. (And sorry for calling you a gentleman, Judy - I assumed. :blush:)

This message was edited by Sir_Geek on 10-4-05 @ 4:08 PM

Offline wanderingwheel

Annoying rash of flat tires - is there a solution?
« Reply #4 on: October 05, 2005, 03:02:45 am »
Assuming you're using normal road tires (23 or 25 mm), 60 psi is much too low and 80 psi is borderline.  At these low tire pressures it's very easy to get pinch flats.  Depending on your weight and the weight of anything you're carrying, the tire pressure should be between about 90 and 115 psi.  Be sure to check the tire pressure regularly, especially if you haven't ridden it in while.  It's a well known fact that while a tire may not lose any pressure if it is ridden every day, it can lose over 20 psi if it sits idle for 2 days ;).

Here's a tip:  Next time you get a flat, look at where the hole is in relation to the valve stem and then check the wheel and tire in the same location to try to identify the culprit.

Sean


Offline RussellSeaton

Annoying rash of flat tires - is there a solution?
« Reply #5 on: October 05, 2005, 11:50:57 am »
Ideas:

1.  As already mentioned, pay attention to where the flat occurs on the tube and tire.  I patch my tubes so I easily know if I get numerous holes in the same spot because I already have patches in that spot.  Line up the tire label over the valve stem so you can roughly figure out where a hole develops on the tire.  With the tube you can roughly measure from the valve of course.

2.  It could be the rim dent causing the flat.  By observing where the holes occur in #1, you can figure if the holes occur right by the dent.

3.  I've had bad luck with spoke holes in the base of the rim.  Big spoke holes allow the tire to flex into the holes and develop thin spots.  Or push the rim tape down so the tube is cut on the edge of the spoke hole.  New rim tape can be beneficial.  If the rim will accomodate it, Velox cloth tape is great and less susceptible to big spoke holes.  Uisng duct tape or other goofy things for rim tape is not a good idea.  Check what kind of rim tape you have now.

4.  Sometimes things get imbedded in the tire and you just cannot find the ovject or even notice its there until you get multiple flats.  After a couple suspicious flats like this, I replace the tire with a new one.  Life is too short to waste on preventable flats.  I use cheap tires so when I replace them, its minor dollars.  This also reduces the number of variables that could be causing the flat.

5.  I'd suggest running higher tire pressure.  Not sure that is what is causing the flats, but I don't think pressure tht low is very good.


Offline Sir_Geek

Annoying rash of flat tires - is there a solution?
« Reply #6 on: October 07, 2005, 06:52:52 pm »
Well, I've cleaned out my tire carefully and started using about 100 psi and so far haven't had a problem - I had a great ride today. Perhaps that was all I needed. Not to mention, I can go faster on harder tires. :)


                       Thanks, all. I appreciate your help.


Offline Beep!Beep!

Annoying rash of flat tires - is there a solution?
« Reply #7 on: May 23, 2006, 11:02:56 am »
A new wheel would be a good idea plus try to buy tyres with double or triple puncture protection plus slime/gel tubes. Have you tried a tyre skimmer? Fit a cable tie around the mudgaurd or make a small flap of plastic from a plastic milk bottle then bolt it to thre rear of your brake bolt [nut side]. This will 'ping' rubbish off your tyre and although not perfect does work rather well!