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Old 07-27-05, 05:58 PM   #1
Bikerchuck
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Performance Ultralite Tube Failure

Excerpts from letter to Performance Bicycle:

A picture is worth a thousand words.

This refers to what happened on the very first ride after installing the Performance Bike Ultralite tube catalog no. 00-8180 of which I had ordered two on 6/17/05. It was installed in a Panaracer 700 x 23C tire rated for 150 PSI mounted on a Mavic hook rim).

The first twenty miles were smooth and fast with good responsive steering and acceleration. Specifically, there was absolutely no warning of a tire going soft UNTIL I took a very familiar ninety degree turn at 22 mph as I always do. However, with the failure of the tube and the sudden softening of the front tire, the increased G-forces of the turn caused the RIM to carry the load and, of course, there is virtually no traction when it's metal on (CLEAN AND DRY) asphalt. I will not soon forget the sound of the metal rim grinding sideways along the asphalt!

I am usually the last person to complain, but this HURT (AND STILL DOES -shoulder, elbow, hip, buttock, anterior upper chest and scapula- not to mention bending bike parts and marring the screen face of my heart rate monitor).

Given that this appears related to a quality control issue I thought that you had better be aware of this. The bonding of the valve stem to the tube was defective. I have installed many tubes in my day and have not subjected the valve to any stress, be it lateral or linear such as might occur with over-tightening the valve stem stabilizing nut. The hole in the rim has no sharp edge and what edge there is has been covered with three layers of small duct tape squares over the normal rim cloth tape. The tire was inflated with a floor pump to 135 PSI as measured with your Zefal pressure gauge. I had purchased a second (identical) tube and am definitely afraid of attempting to use it.

Have other readers had similar failures of this (made in China by Kenda) brand with the Performance lable?

I thought that readers should be aware of this kind of failure for obvious safety reasons. Performance said they sould submit the issue to their Tech department ( and refund my purchase price for the two tubes).

Has anyone found a brand name light weight tube that has been more pridictably reliable???

Many thanks for your input. Have a great and safe biking experience.
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Old 07-27-05, 06:34 PM   #2
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Well gee, I was just going to buy some Performance-branded tubes, but I don't think I will be doing that now!
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Old 07-27-05, 06:50 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gwhunt23
Well gee, I was just going to buy some Performance-branded tubes, but I don't think I will be doing that now!
I by em in bulk,and never had a bad one. A sample of one is stastically bankrupt.
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Old 07-27-05, 07:01 PM   #4
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Yeah, i've gone through a lot of performance tubes on my mountain bike and road bike and never have had a problem and only had to replace them because of punctures and general stupidity.
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Old 07-27-05, 08:09 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sydney
I by em in bulk,and never had a bad one. A sample of one is stastically bankrupt.
But the sample size is larger than one. I've seen quite a few threads like this one about Performance tubes . . . and have experienced the same thing myself more than once.

http://groups-beta.google.com/group/...56100bfecec483
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Old 07-27-05, 08:29 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by neil0502
But the sample size is larger than one. I've seen quite a few threads like this one about Performance tubes . . . and have experienced the same thing myself more than once.

http://groups-beta.google.com/group/...56100bfecec483
Well, the poster was citing a non buying decision based on a sample of one. Performance doesn't make tubes anyway,and the house brand stuff likely comes out of the same same facility in Asia.
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Old 07-27-05, 11:23 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sydney
Well, the poster was citing a non buying decision based on a sample of one. Performance doesn't make tubes anyway,and the house brand stuff likely comes out of the same same facility in Asia.
All of your replies are appreciated as I am trying to assess the statistical significance of my tuber failure. One of the posters in the referenced link commented on the failures of the Performance tubes while commmenting on the good quality of the Kenda brand tube. Interestingly, my Performance Ultralight tube that failed was made by Kenda in China, as evidenced by their imprint on the tube.

Also of interest was one reader's comment about installing the tubes without the valve stem stabilizing nut so as to minimize some of the stress on the valve stem as it is being inflated.
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Old 07-28-05, 09:31 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bikerchuck
Also of interest was one reader's comment about installing the tubes without the valve stem stabilizing nut so as to minimize some of the stress on the valve stem as it is being inflated.
Another thread about this sort of thing: need tips to prevent valve stem flats

To reiterate my comments:

1) Burr at the valve stem hole in the rim. Get a round file and carefully file it down. You may not feel it, but it may be there nonetheless;

2) Using valve stem nuts? Throw them away. You don't need them. People overtighten them--especially after inflating the tire. Sure recipe for a tear;

3) Using a decent floor pump, or a hand (mini) pump? If you're using a mini-pump, chances are, the back-and-forth (rocking) motion as you stroke the plunger are tearing the tube at the valve stem reinforcement. Use a decent floor pump.

4) Using a particular brand of tubes?? Try another. Performance cheapies are a bit notorious for this problem. Try Michelins (or something else).

Good luck!
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Old 07-28-05, 09:50 AM   #9
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I have used Ultralite and even the lighter Lunarlite tubes for many years. Never had a problem that was the fault of the tube. And I use stem nuts and probably get them too tight.

I had never really looked for any writing on the tubes but if Performance tubes now scare you and they are made by Kenda you also need to avoid Salsa tubes as they are also.

SS
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Old 07-28-05, 10:01 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by soonerschwinn
I had never really looked for any writing on the tubes but if Performance tubes now scare you and they are made by Kenda you also need to avoid Salsa tubes as they are also.
I'm not sure that's a safe assertion.

Many manufacturers happily do "private-label" production--manufacturing products for sale by other companies under each company's name brand. The contracting company has the ability, in most cases, to dictate their own specifications, including materials and tolerances that effect quality control.

In other words, Performance Bike could have Kenda manufactur a line of tubes that are absolute garbage, using lower grade butyl rubber, thinner walls, and cheaper reinforcement at the valve stem patch, than Salsa. They could then specify that a "failure rate" of 3% is ok, where Salsa might specify 1%. Even though "Kenda" appears on the tube, you can't be sure that the tubes are all the same, from one private-label brand to another.

These are all made up numbers, but you get my drift....
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Old 07-28-05, 08:17 PM   #11
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If I get a flat, chances are I'll get another very soon. I think I know why:

The mini pump I use for on-the-road repairs has a rubber compression chuck. After inflating, I yank the pump off the valve after releasing the compression. I think this is stressing out the valve/tube joint and setting it up for another failure.

Under normal inflation pressure, there's just a few pounds of force trying to pop the valve off the tube. When I pull off the mini pump chuck, that force is probably on the same order of magnitude, i.e. the valve/tube joint is seeing maybe twice the kind of load it expects to.

If I'm just topping off the air at home, I use the floor pump, which just clips on to the valve with no stress.
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Old 07-28-05, 08:49 PM   #12
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I've had good luck with Performance house brand Ultralite tubes (did not say Kinda though). But like all Presta threaded stems there may be a lot of drag on the pump chuck when pulling it off the stem. Now I usually buy unthreaded stem tubes like Michelin, but I'm not afraid of the Performance tubes.

Al
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Old 07-29-05, 01:46 PM   #13
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I've used Performance Ultralights but the failures vary, stem-to-tube failure, and seam failure. I switched to Michelins. They're better IMO.
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Old 07-29-05, 02:30 PM   #14
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I've had two Kenda tubes do this in the last month. Not from Performance, from the local bike shop. I've never seen this happen before. The first time, I may have tightened the valve nut a little too much, but the second time I didn't put the nut on at all.

What's the point of the valve nut, anyway?
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