Author Topic: Bike Tire Maintenance  (Read 3296 times)

climber1

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Bike Tire Maintenance
« on: November 11, 2014, 08:48:47 PM »
I have had a run of bad luck with my bike lately. First, I got 3 flats from goat's head thorns (first one by itself and then the other 2 at once a week later). Luckily, bike tubes are dirt cheap so the repairs were easy. However, about 5 miles of riding after the last repair, one of the new tube went flat. This was on a totally different route then where I had previously encountered the thorns so I don't think they are related.

Can any bikers give me advice about what could have caused the new flat? The only options I can think of are I missed a thorn when removing them or I installed the tube improperly (possible since this was my first time doing so). Any other possibilities?

What is my best bet for a permanent solution to this? Should I get new tires in addition to new tubes? I understand there are tires which are reinforced to prevent flats and tube sealants? Any recommendations would be appreciated. I am pretty price insensitive as every day my bike is out of commission means I have to spend $30 to commute via Uber.

jgrafton

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Re: Bike Tire Maintenance
« Reply #1 on: November 11, 2014, 09:38:48 PM »
Hi climber1,

I ran into the same issue with my bike.  I'd patch or replace a tube and the next day I'd have a flat tire again.  Happened more times than I care to admit.  I checked the tire for goat head thorns but usually wouldn't find much. 

Finally, I took the bike to a local bike shop in town and asked what was going on.  Found out that I wasn't looking at the tire close enough.  I needed to take the tire off the rim and look it over carefully.  After close inspection, I found that the tire had pieces of glass, thorns, and staples lodged in the rubber!

The procedure that's worked for me:

- find a point on the tire that's easily identifiable (logo on the side is what i usually use)
- holding the tire with both hands, start to rotate it slowly beginning at the identifiable point
- when you find a cut or abrasion in the tire, pinch it to increase the size of the cut
- if there is any debris (glass, metal, thorns) in the cut, remove it with a pair of needle nose pliers, tweezers, or fingers
- keep rotating the tire until you've reached the point you identified
- once you're done, put a new tube in the tire and remount it on the rim

By doing the above, I haven't had a flat in a long time.  I can ride my bike instead of fixing flats all the time!

Good luck!

jgrafton

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Re: Bike Tire Maintenance
« Reply #2 on: November 11, 2014, 09:41:21 PM »
Just noticed you're in Silicon Valley.  Me too.  Goat head thorns are a pain here but so is all the debris in the road.  I commute 15 miles a day on my bike and I've picked up all kinds of stuff in my tires.  Digging the stuff out from time to time has kept me on the road.

amha

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Re: Bike Tire Maintenance
« Reply #3 on: November 11, 2014, 09:44:33 PM »
Schwalbe Marathon Plusses! For years I always bought the cheapest bike tires I could find, and fixed at least one flat per week. Then I spent like $50 on one of those guys (well, $100 for two) and didn't get another flat for NINE MONTHS. (This was while biking ~200 miles/week.)

Also worth pointing out that I had been running through $35 cheapo tires perhaps once every three or four months---the first pair of the Schwalbes I got lasted for 18 months.

I'm sorry if this sounds like an ad---but they really did make a HUGE difference for me. And even ignoring the time spent fixing flats, in longevity they more than paid for themselves.

Here's a link: https://www.biketiresdirect.com/product/schwalbe-marathon-plus-700c

For what it's worth, I also hear awesome things about the Continental Gatorskins, though I've never used them myself.

orbix

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Re: Bike Tire Maintenance
« Reply #4 on: November 12, 2014, 12:36:29 AM »
For what it's worth, I also hear awesome things about the Continental Gatorskins, though I've never used them myself.

I'll put in a vote for the Gatorskins- did wonders for my flat issues.

Another thing to do- every time you change a tube, wad up a section of the old one and basically rub it around the inside of the tire, all the way around. If there's a thorn, glass, or something else pointy in there, there's a solid chance you'll feel the tube 'hang' on it a bit during the swipe, and you'll know there's something there to clean out.

Also, and this might be obvious, but some people miss it- make sure you keep your tires inflated properly, especially the rear one since it carries more of your weight most of the time. If you aren't running enough air in your tires, harder bumps that normally would be absorbed by the tire can end up causing what's called a pinch flat, where the rim pinches the tube against the ground, causing a leak or burst that's totally avoidable.

If you're having major problems with heavy stuff like goathead burrs or frequently encounter broken glass, consider a tire liner. They're a bit on the heavy side, and do cost a bit, but they're a great last resort.

GuitarStv

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Re: Bike Tire Maintenance
« Reply #5 on: November 12, 2014, 05:51:35 AM »
Marathon Pluses, Continental Gatorskins, Specialized Armadillios . . . there are many super tough tires that can be purchased if you want to spend a ton of money.  If you're looking for a cheaper tire with flat protection, I've had good luck with Continental Tour Rides.

How long have you had the tires you're currently using?  They do get worn eventually and pick up enough holes that you'll end up starting to get flats all the time.

ultros1234

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Re: Bike Tire Maintenance
« Reply #6 on: November 13, 2014, 12:33:19 AM »
Before any of this, you need to identify why the tube burst, if possible. After pulling the the tube out, re-inflate it and find the leak. Is it on the inside or outside of the tube? That tells you if the problem is with the tire or the rim. You can also find roughly the part of the wheel or rim where the puncture happened (if that's what it was) and look for the problem there.

Less

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Re: Bike Tire Maintenance
« Reply #7 on: November 13, 2014, 01:24:05 AM »
Pick the bits out if you can.  And +1 for continental gaterskins.  Don't run anything else because they just go and go.