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Frequent flats?

Old 05-20-21, 06:56 PM
  #1  
gthomson
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Frequent flats?

I just recently upgraded my wheels on my road bike and since then I've had two rides with a slow leak leading to a flat tire about 3/4 into my ride. I checked the tire at the beginning of the ride and everything felt fine but after about 30 KM's into my ride the tire was so soft I had to stop.

What things should I check on the rim that might be causing this? About 3 weeks ago on my first ride with the new set of wheels, I ran into a slow flat about 3/4 into my ride so checking the tube I had a slow leak. Last week I rode the same distance and no problems. Tonight, I did a similar ride and again a slow flat about 3/4 into my ride.

Thank the lord for an understanding wife who came to pick me up!
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Old 05-20-21, 07:19 PM
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Is the rim tape staying in place when you put the tires on? I messed up a long time ago and when I was fighting a tight fitting tire I inadvertently moved the rim tape with a tire pry and the tube rubbed itself raw against the inner spoke access hole. It was frustrating until I realized what I'd done. Good luck,
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Old 05-20-21, 07:24 PM
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You have to diagnose and find root cause. Find the hole in the tube, determine exactly where that is on the wheel or tire, and identify the culprit. Many of us who have been cycling for decades have stories of inexplicable repeat flats, but those are rare and come down to our inability to find root cause. Find it, fix it.
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Old 05-20-21, 10:33 PM
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Good advice above.

in addition, Remove the tube and keep it in the same position as it came out of the tire. Inflate the tube and listen for a leak or slowly move your hand over the tube feeling for escaping air. If you find the leak, look at the exterior of the tire for the culprit and gently sweep your fingers inside the tire casing for anything sharp. If you cant find the leak, submerse the inflated tube and look for bubbles and patch there. Or save yourself a lot of time and sweep the inside of the tire, remove the culprit and put in a new tube.

be sure that you are not running your tires under inflated. Check the max pressure on the tire casing and lower it by 10 lbs.
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Old 05-21-21, 08:11 AM
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In the last ten years, I think I had more flats from my own carelessness installing the tube and tire than I have from road punctures.

If you flat within a ride or two of putting on a tube and/or tire then you should really watch everything you do more closely.

Letting the tube get pinched as I rolled the bead of the tire over the rim was a big culprit. To a lesser degree tire levers used incorrectly either punctured or started a failure point in the tubes.

So learning new ways helped. I don't even use tire levers anymore. Not even to remove the tire.

But as the others mentioned you have to do some forensics on your failed tube and tire. It was only by finding out why I flatted that I knew what to look for and correct.

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Old 05-21-21, 01:43 PM
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Originally Posted by rsbob View Post
be sure that you are not running your tires under inflated. Check the max pressure on the tire casing and lower it by 10 lbs.
The first sentence is good advice. The second one is not. Correct pressure is a function of tire width and rider weight, and has zero to do with max pressure rating.

Go here to figure out the right pressure to use as your starting point: https://www.cycleschinook.com/tire-pressure-calculator/.

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Old 05-21-21, 06:59 PM
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Thanks all for the advice, I did cover the basics of removing the tire, pulling out the tube and testing for the hole which was discovered. I assumed it was my fault and replaced the tube but the same thing happened and that's was what triggered me to create this post, assuming there was something out of the ordinary as to why this happened twice.

As per the advice above, I pulled off the tire, checked the rim tape and wheel closely but they are new, so no problems there. So then i looked at the Gatorskin "puncture resistant" tire and found this tiny little metal spike which was clearly the culprit of the slow puncture. Not sure what it was but it looked liked the tiniest nail imaginable that penetrated the tire and punctured the tube.

I went out the other day and bought a bunch of spare tubes at a good price so hopefully i am in the clear for a while.
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Old 05-21-21, 07:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Iride01 View Post
In the last ten years, I think I had more flats from my own carelessness installing the tube and tire than I have from road punctures.

If you flat within a ride or two of putting on a tube and/or tire then you should really watch everything you do more closely.

Letting the tube get pinched as I rolled the bead of the tire over the rim was a big culprit. To a lesser degree tire levers used incorrectly either punctured or started a failure point in the tubes.

So learning new ways helped. I don't even use tire levers anymore. Not even to remove the tire.

But as the others mentioned you have to do some forensics on your failed tube and tire. It was only by finding out why I flatted that I knew what to look for and correct.
so how do you get the tire off if no levers? No way to get gatorshell and schwalbe marathon on without levers right?
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Old 05-22-21, 08:28 AM
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Rather than feeling around with your fingers for a sharp object in the tire, a better alternative is a cotton ball, used dryer sheet, handkerchief, etc. Better than adding a punctured finger along with the punctured tube.
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Old 05-22-21, 08:32 AM
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You may well have a Radial Tire Wire imbedded in the tire.
We get them where we ride.
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Old 05-22-21, 09:22 AM
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Had a tire that slowly lost air no matter how many new tubes I replaced. Couldn’t see or feel anything protruding from tire. Finally stretched the inside of the tire around a pipe and felt the broken end of the wire core. I believe that as the tire was stressed during riding, the wire would become exposed and pierce the tube.
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Old 05-22-21, 12:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Flip Flop Rider View Post
so how do you get the tire off if no levers? No way to get gatorshell and schwalbe marathon on without levers right?
You have to meditate and get in the right zone and achieve a certain zen level. <grin>

If I was on the road broke down, I'd probably use a lever to remove. But at home in the air conditioning I just let all the air out of the tube, push the bead off the bead seat on the side that I'm removing, and then again just grab the sidewall of the tire between both thumbs and forefingers and ease it over the rim. Sweaty fingers don't work well so that's why I probably wouldn't on the roadside.

I might have to go back and push the bead down in the spoke channel a time or two. But it's getting easier every time I try. Though I've not used Gator Skins or other puncture resistant tires. Don't know if their sidewalls are stiffer. But for regular road tires, I've done GP5000, Specialized Turbo Cottons, Bontrager something or other and Vittoria Rubino Pro's successfully.
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Old 05-22-21, 05:11 PM
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Originally Posted by gthomson View Post
Thanks all for the advice, I did cover the basics of removing the tire, pulling out the tube and testing for the hole which was discovered. I assumed it was my fault and replaced the tube but the same thing happened and that's was what triggered me to create this post, assuming there was something out of the ordinary as to why this happened twice.

As per the advice above, I pulled off the tire, checked the rim tape and wheel closely but they are new, so no problems there. So then i looked at the Gatorskin "puncture resistant" tire and found this tiny little metal spike which was clearly the culprit of the slow puncture. Not sure what it was but it looked liked the tiniest nail imaginable that penetrated the tire and punctured the tube.

I went out the other day and bought a bunch of spare tubes at a good price so hopefully i am in the clear for a while.
Also be aware that old tubes can be more prone to failure than new ones. I've gotten flats from failures on older tubes where the valve stem attaches, or seam has failed. I just got my first flat of the year, a puncture, but the spare I had in my bag was pretty dry. It had probably been sitting in there a few years unused. I hope it makes it through the season. I always carry 2 spare tubes. To add insult to injury all my co2 cartridges were used and never replaced So I had to use my tiny hand pump. Limped home on around 50 psi.
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Old 05-22-21, 07:11 PM
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Whoa, so many potential problems causing flats. I was lucky to discover that it was an obvious spike stuck in the tire puncturing the tube but not always as easy to determine.

dendawg can I ask what you use as a pump extension for your co2 cartridges? i carried around cartridges for a few years before I realized I actually needed something to connect them to
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Old 05-22-21, 09:42 PM
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Originally Posted by gthomson View Post
Whoa, so many potential problems causing flats. I was lucky to discover that it was an obvious spike stuck in the tire puncturing the tube but not always as easy to determine.

dendawg can I ask what you use as a pump extension for your co2 cartridges? i carried around cartridges for a few years before I realized I actually needed something to connect them to
Sounds like you found a wire off radial steel belted tires. Those are pesky and can be hard to find sometimes. And yes, Gatorskins can be easily penetrated by those rascals.

Here is what I use

https://www.amazon.com/Genuine-Innov...63764626&psc=1
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Old 05-22-21, 10:09 PM
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Originally Posted by 10 Wheels View Post
...Radial Tire Wire imbedded in the tire...
There is a section of road in a State Park where I ride that has a down hill steep turn that is much, much fun to negotiate. But beware... at the sharpest part of the turn where the asphalt is thick are all kinds of little wires, glass, flints, and goat heads embedded like little land mines to take you out for having to much fun. They are always worse after some good Texas Summer heat then remain fixed when weather cools.

Must of us just don't ride that section unless on really thick tires...
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Old 05-23-21, 05:04 AM
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Originally Posted by gthomson View Post
Whoa, so many potential problems causing flats. I was lucky to discover that it was an obvious spike stuck in the tire puncturing the tube but not always as easy to determine.

dendawg can I ask what you use as a pump extension for your co2 cartridges? i carried around cartridges for a few years before I realized I actually needed something to connect them to
The shop where I bought the bike 14 years ago outfitted the seat bag with a mini hybrid handpump/co2 inflater. Can't remember the name. The hand pump is good enough to get a tube primed, but much easier to use the CO2 once the tire is mounted. I also carry a larger blackburn hand pump in my handlebar bag which is what I used when I realized I had no CO2. I just bought a cheap inflator like this for $14 on Amazon. Lenzyne used to sell one that looked like this. I used it on a job a few years back to charge an effects device for a show I was working on. Those little 16 gram cartridges can charge a high pressure cylinder to 900 psi 2x. And that little charger lasted a couple of months daily use. The main problem was the o-ring would sometimes pop out when releasing a partially empty cartridge.
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Old 05-23-21, 05:33 AM
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I've managed to injure both my shoulders over the years (grade III acromioclaviclular separations on both sides in separate accidents) and now have developed significant arthritis, especially in the right shoulder. As a result, I can no longer pump tires to full pressure with a frame pump. Found that out the hard way last year; I was only able to get about 50psi with significant discomfort after a flat. So now I carry CO2 as well as the pump. There's not much in the way of traffic or amenities where I like to ride, and I don't want to be stranded.
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Old 05-23-21, 05:41 AM
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Originally Posted by JohnDThompson View Post
I've managed to injure both my shoulders over the years (grade III acromioclaviclular separations on both sides in separate accidents) and now have developed significant arthritis, especially in the right shoulder. As a result, I can no longer pump tires to full pressure with a frame pump. Found that out the hard way last year; I was only able to get about 50psi with significant discomfort after a flat. So now I carry CO2 as well as the pump. There's not much in the way of traffic or amenities where I like to ride, and I don't want to be stranded.
Just remember to release the CO2 and fill with air when you get home. For whatever reason CO2 will leak out of a perfectly good tube over a few days
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Old 05-23-21, 10:15 AM
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Originally Posted by dendawg View Post
Just remember to release the CO2 and fill with air when you get home. For whatever reason CO2 will leak out of a perfectly good tube over a few days
Do you really feel that necessary? Air leaks from a perfectly good inner tube pretty fast too. Especially those of us using narrower 25 mm tires and higher inflation pressures. I top off my tires with a pound or two every 2 to 3 days. So since I'm constantly checking, I'm not so sure emptying the CO2 is necessary.

I use that same simple inflator jppe linked. If the OP gets a CO2 inflator of any sort, then they need to practice with them. On that particular inflator, you have to screw in the cartridge to puncture it, then unscrew it ever so slightly to let the CO2 flow. So you can snug it back up and have some CO2 to top of with on the way home if you only have a slow leak or did a poor patch job.
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Old 05-23-21, 10:48 AM
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Originally Posted by dendawg View Post
For whatever reason CO2 will leak out of a perfectly good tube over a few days
The reason is because CO₂ is more rubber-soluble than air. It literally dissolves faster into the rubber.

https://chemistry.stackexchange.com/a/54859

You don't have to replace the CO₂ in a tire, as long as you pump your tires frequently. But if I were going on a very long day ride after using CO₂, I'd probably deflate the tire first.
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Old 05-23-21, 12:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Iride01 View Post
Do you really feel that necessary? Air leaks from a perfectly good inner tube pretty fast too. Especially those of us using narrower 25 mm tires and higher inflation pressures. I top off my tires with a pound or two every 2 to 3 days. So since I'm constantly checking, I'm not so sure emptying the CO2 is necessary.

I use that same simple inflator jppe linked. If the OP gets a CO2 inflator of any sort, then they need to practice with them. On that particular inflator, you have to screw in the cartridge to puncture it, then unscrew it ever so slightly to let the CO2 flow. So you can snug it back up and have some CO2 to top of with on the way home if you only have a slow leak or did a poor patch job.
Good explanation why CO2 leaks or so much faster. Article
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Old 05-23-21, 12:20 PM
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Originally Posted by downtube42 View Post
Good explanation why CO2 leaks or so much faster. Article
I've never noted any big difference from tires I've filled with a CO2 cartridge. Though that is far and few between. Probably one maybe two tires that were mine, the others were people I helped and never saw again. A few on my son's bike too.

I still don't know why I specifically have to deflate the tires and refill them with air.... or even nitrogen. I'm going to be connecting my pump to them anyway to check with the gauge on the pump. So a stroke or two more pumps isn't going to hurt me.

Instead of going to the trouble of emptying the CO2 as something important. It would seem to me the most important recommendation is check your tire pressure before every ride. Which I do. Though every other ride might be just a squeeze between my fingers to check.
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Old 05-28-21, 10:56 AM
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My most frequent issue with flats has been improper installation. I put a brand new Michelin endurance on the back , power on the front, flatted on the second ride. They were so hard to get on the wheel I had to use tire levers. (I know, I know) and must have mostly pinched the tube. It let go 8 miles in. Patched at the side of the road and it was flat the next day.

Put a new tube in and summoned my Hulk hand strength to get it on and no issues since. Last year I had a tiny chip of limestone embedded in the tread of my old tires. I ride a crushed limestone trail pretty frequently and sometimes a chip gets embedded. The old tires were a piece of cake to get on and off but the Michelin's are way tougher.
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Old 06-07-21, 08:59 AM
  #25  
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Originally Posted by Bigbus View Post
the tube rubbed itself raw against the inner spoke access hole. ,
Since this is a new wheel, here's my guess. The tiniest arc of uncovered spoke hole will do that.
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