averaging 2 flats a week...help



growler4

New Member
Apr 10, 2007
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I used to think I was getting so many flats because of the road conditions here but then i started having tubes blow when I was not even on my bike.....bought new tires last summer, wondering if i should be looking for new wheels, any advice? I am kinda new at this.
thanks:confused:
 

531Aussie

Well-Known Member
Apr 11, 2004
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I bet it's cheap rim tape.

Most production bikes these days come with thin rubber rim tape which is as useless as having a rubber band in there.

best to get some good cloth stuff like this


D_343%20VELRT2.jpg
veloxrimtape.jpg
 

fish156

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Mar 26, 2005
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growler4 said:
I used to think I was getting so many flats because of the road conditions here but then i started having tubes blow when I was not even on my bike.....bought new tires last summer, wondering if i should be looking for new wheels, any advice? I am kinda new at this.
thanks:confused:
I know that this might seem obvious, but are you keeping a close eye on your air pressure?

Are you getting flats on the front AND rear wheels? Even distribution? Or, just one of them?

If the problem is not specific to one wheel, I would be replacing the rim tape as suggested above, by 531. While you are at it spend a few minutes and carefully inspect the inside of the rims for sharp edges. When I build new wheels myself I spend a good amount of time doing this inspection and it's surprising how many sharp edges you can find on some pretty high quality rims. Smooth them off with some emery cloth, or a file, or a deburring tool, and then install good quality cloth rim tape. Most sharp edges are not going to smooth themselves out and they will just keep flatting your tires over and over.
 

growler4

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Apr 10, 2007
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fish156 said:
I know that this might seem obvious, but are you keeping a close eye on your air pressure?

Are you getting flats on the front AND rear wheels? Even distribution? Or, just one of them?

If the problem is not specific to one wheel, I would be replacing the rim tape as suggested above, by 531. While you are at it spend a few minutes and carefully inspect the inside of the rims for sharp edges. When I build new wheels myself I spend a good amount of time doing this inspection and it's surprising how many sharp edges you can find on some pretty high quality rims. Smooth them off with some emery cloth, or a file, or a deburring tool, and then install good quality cloth rim tape. Most sharp edges are not going to smooth themselves out and they will just keep flatting your tires over and over.
thanks for replying
it is only the front that keeps getting flats...i went to the local shop and they sold me a rubber band to use as rim tape....the problem continued after that. Not sure if i will try new rim tape or alltogether go and buy new rims.
 

fish156

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Mar 26, 2005
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growler4 said:
thanks for replying
it is only the front that keeps getting flats...i went to the local shop and they sold me a rubber band to use as rim tape....the problem continued after that. Not sure if i will try new rim tape or alltogether go and buy new rims.
Ok, that leads me to believe that it's something specific to that combination of tire and rim and not some global problem.

Well, you have nothing to lose by removing that "rubber band". I would pursue the "sharp edge" theory and see what you find. Sometimes this can be a burr that is right on the end of the spoke nipple. This can be caused by someone driving the nipple in aggressively and having the driver slip out of the screwdriver slot in the end. This can leave that burr. So, you have to check every nipple end, in addition to all of the surfaces on the rim. It's actually most likely that you have a sharp object embedded in your tire.

I did not say it before, but you can make your diagnosis much, much easier if you install the tire and tube on the wheel in the exact same position every time. Almost all (but the very cheapest) tires have a colored label on the sidewall. This label will usually have the manufacturers logo, the tire model name, and the tire size on it. When you install the tire on the rim, make sure you center this label over the tube valve. Alot of tires will only have the colored label on one side. Install this so that the colored label shows on the drive side of the bike. That is the way any pro would install your tire, and, as you will see, for a very good reason. Then when you get a flat you take out the tube, inflate the tube enough to find where it's leaking and lay the leaking tube over the tire and wheel in the same relative positions they are in when it's all put together. By observing where the leak in the tube is you should be able to relate this very closely to that same position on the tire and the rim. You should get in the habit of always installing the tire label centered on the tube valve.

If you get in that habit, you should be able to find the source of your puncture very quickly, every time.

But, this does not help you at the moment. I think it's very possible that you have some sharp object embedded in your tire. This would explain why your tires may puncture when you're not even on the bike. Tires/tubes under pressure may just take some random amount of time to get a "sharp" to make it's way through the tube and cause the puncture. Take a cotton ball and drag it around the inside surface of your tire and see if it snags on something sharp. Don't be tempted to do this with your finger or you may slice it open. When you find the sharp object, take a pair of pliers and pull/push it out. Almost every time you find the "sharp" you'll have some thought like "geez, no wonder I was getting flats". Until you remove the "sharp" you will get punctures (in the exact same position on every tube) over and over.

It's possible that your "sharp" is, indeed, on the rim. You can use that cotton ball on the rim, also. Then file, sandpaper, or deburr that "sharp". The rubber band rim strips work, but not near as well as quality rim tape. Get good rim tape from your bike shop and install it.

Learning the lesson of how to diagnose a puncture is something that every cyclist needs to learn eventually. Again, once you prepare your tire/tube/rim in a known relationship it's pretty easy to do the post mortem and find the cause of your tube's demise ;-) The fact that you were honest about your abilities make this a lot easier. Thanks for that ;-) I'll bet you will quickly find the cause of your flats.

Best luck!
 
Jun 6, 2006
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WHERE is the damage on the tube? Inside? Outside? is it shaped like a semi-circle as if it had been cut by the spoke holes of a double wall rim? Have you gone over the inside of your TIRE with a fine tooth comb?
 

growler4

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Apr 10, 2007
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garage sale GT said:
WHERE is the damage on the tube? Inside? Outside? is it shaped like a semi-circle as if it had been cut by the spoke holes of a double wall rim? Have you gone over the inside of your TIRE with a fine tooth comb?
I think i have figured out that every time i get the flat it is caused by the same spoke hole....i had originally decided that was not the case because i had bought a "rubber band" rim tape from the bike shop to replace the old rim tape.....im starting to think that the solution is just to purchase high quality rim tape and see if that ends my problem.
 
Jun 6, 2006
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if you have double wall rims, ok. if you have single wall rims then make sure you don't just need to grind a spoke down.
 

growler4

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Apr 10, 2007
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garage sale GT said:
if you have double wall rims, ok. if you have single wall rims then make sure you don't just need to grind a spoke down.
How do i tell if i have single or double wall rims?
 
Jun 6, 2006
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If you were to drill a hole between two spoke nipples straight down towards the hub, would you have to go through one or two walls of metal?

Single wall rims have the spoke nipples touching the inner tube. Double wall rims have a second wall above the wall which the spoke nipples are in, and you can see the spoke nipples through holes in this second wall. The rim tape has to protect against the inner tube bursting through these holes.

Look at sun rims (sun-ringle.com) or some other rim maker for examples.

Where is the damage on the tube and what does it look like?
 

growler4

New Member
Apr 10, 2007
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garage sale GT said:
If you were to drill a hole between two spoke nipples straight down towards the hub, would you have to go through one or two walls of metal?

Single wall rims have the spoke nipples touching the inner tube. Double wall rims have a second wall above the wall which the spoke nipples are in, and you can see the spoke nipples through holes in this second wall. The rim tape has to protect against the inner tube bursting through these holes.

Look at sun rims (sun-ringle.com) or some other rim maker for examples.

Where is the damage on the tube and what does it look like?
I see the tube keeps going through the same spoke hole and popping....i assume i need to start fresh with better rim tape