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Bicycle Mechanics Broken bottom bracket? Tacoed wheel? If you're having problems with your bicycle, or just need help fixing a flat, drop in here for the latest on bicycle mechanics & bicycle maintenance.

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Old 06-05-08, 02:45 PM   #1
Burnt Sienna
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Constant Flat Tires

This has become a complete mystery to myself and several bike shops in the area. It all started happening in March when all of a sudden every single morning I would come down stairs and find that my front wheel was flat. For the longest time we (which is the bike shops that I frequent and myself) thought somehow the tube was being pinched. It started to become a mission - every time the tube was replaced, whoever changed it would thoroughly check to make sure that wasn't the case. Tools were never used, etc..
Well, eventually I gave up and replaced the wheel itself, the tire and put a new tube on it. One month later, the exact same problem is happening on the brand new set up. I have had the change the tube every day this week and it makes no sense.
Since it may be asked, I'll tell you that the hole appears in different places. Sometimes it is on the inside of the tube, sometimes on the side or the outside (like I ran over something). They are never in the same spot on the wheel either. And, in all this time, my back tire has never gone flat.
So, does anyone have another theory as to what could be happening?
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Old 06-05-08, 02:50 PM   #2
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Buy your tubes somewhere else!
Sounds like a bad batch.
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Old 06-05-08, 02:59 PM   #3
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You need to establish the root cause of each flat and go from there. Hole on the outside of the tube? Something punctured it. I've dug out little shards of glass from the tire, little bits of metal, pieces of ceramic, etc. Obviously, these need to be removed from the tire before a new or patched tube in installed.

Holes on the inside points to problems with wheel preparation prior to installing the tire/tube. Are the spokes below flush? Is the rim tape in good condition?

Are you using kevlar belted tires? This will help prevent some punctures. Are you keeping it properly inflated? Riding on an under inflated tire can cause problems which can lead to flats.
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Old 06-05-08, 04:59 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Bill Kapaun View Post
Buy your tubes somewhere else!
Sounds like a bad batch.
Balogna!
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Old 06-05-08, 05:02 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Burnt Sienna View Post
Since it may be asked, I'll tell you that the hole appears in different places. Sometimes it is on the inside of the tube, sometimes on the side or the outside (like I ran over something). They are never in the same spot on the wheel either. And, in all this time, my back tire has never gone flat.
I'm wondering about where you're parking your bike. I'm wondering if it's possible that somebody is ice picking your tire or if some animal is using your front tire for a "teething ring".
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Old 06-05-08, 07:26 PM   #6
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I'm wondering about where you're parking your bike. I'm wondering if it's possible that somebody is ice picking your tire or if some animal is using your front tire for a "teething ring".
You got there first, does the OP own a cat?
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Old 06-05-08, 08:05 PM   #7
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I'm wondering about where you're parking your bike. I'm wondering if it's possible that somebody is ice picking your tire or if some animal is using your front tire for a "teething ring".
I was thinking maybe that was happening too for a while because it's parked in a back room of our building and the landlord was having all these guys working on the first floor. I thought maybe one of them was doing something to my tire all the time but it's been happening again and no one's working down there right now!

I don't think my tires are kevlar, but I have a spare set of new ones that are so maybe I'll stick that on and see if it helps. I thoroughly check the tire, rim, tape everything every time I change the tire. If there's something going on with any of these it must be microscopic!
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Old 06-05-08, 08:24 PM   #8
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You've eliminated all the possibilities then it must be something you're riding over, since you are storing it in the same area all the time.

Try carrying your bike once you get off the road to where it's supposed to be stored. Or just take off the front wheel and store it in your room and see if it repeats.
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Old 06-05-08, 08:59 PM   #9
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Are you locating the flats and finding that they are always in the same spot? If so it points to a wire or shard of glass or thorn that's hiding inside the tire belt. When the tire flexes during riding this evil deamon of darkness will poke out of hiding and bite at your tube until VOILA, it's leaking again.

I dug and dug at one tire and still had re-occuring flats from it. I finally gave up and bought a new tire for it after about flat number 5 in as many days. I never could find the culprit.
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Old 06-06-08, 08:07 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Burnt Sienna View Post
Well, eventually I gave up and replaced the wheel itself, the tire and put a new tube on it. One month later, the exact same problem is happening on the brand new set up. I have had the change the tube every day this week and it makes no sense.
Since it may be asked, I'll tell you that the hole appears in different places. Sometimes it is on the inside of the tube, sometimes on the side or the outside (like I ran over something). They are never in the same spot on the wheel either. And, in all this time, my back tire has never gone flat.
So, does anyone have another theory as to what could be happening?
If it's any consolation--and I know it's not--I've been having what sounds like the exact same problem and was going to post a question about it here, then found this thread. Weird.

In my situation, I've replaced a stupid number of tubes (different mfgs, so it's not a batch problem), THOROUGHLY checked the rim 100 or so times, and finally swapped out the tire, but it's still going flat . (It's my back tire, too--never my front.) I'm planning on just replacing the wheel this weekend, but it sounds like you tried the same thing and even THAT didn't do it?
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Old 06-06-08, 09:33 AM   #11
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check the rim for a metal bur that might be rubbing the tube. Because the bike is NOT in your possesion all night - it could be a disgruntaled neighboor who does not like that you keep your bike in a public area.

try keeping your bike in your apt for a few nights
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Old 06-06-08, 10:35 AM   #12
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Sharp burr somewhere on the rim?
Rim tape shifted exposing a nipple or hole?
Something lodged in tire?
Been a little to friendly to the neighbor's wife recently?
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Old 06-06-08, 03:06 PM   #13
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" Since it may be asked, I'll tell you that the hole appears in different places. Sometimes it is on the inside of the tube, sometimes on the side or the outside (like I ran over something). They are never in the same spot on the wheel either."

I still think you are getting bad tubes.
Have you tried different brands?
Are your tubes a bit "undersized" for the tire?
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Old 06-06-08, 03:15 PM   #14
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What size and brand of tire, what pressure?

Normally, if you have little holes on the outside that you can't find anything iin the tire, that means a sticker. Holes on the inside can mean various things, but it's a different problem.

When you fix one of these, try airing up the tire first, see if it is leaking out through a hole in the tire- if so, that helps spot the place. Mark where the valve stem is whn taking in apart so you can find the exact spot. If you don't see anything, rub your hands around and feel for it. Or try holding the tire up to the light and looking for a spot of light.
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Old 06-06-08, 03:47 PM   #15
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i always get a clean rag and rub out the inside of the tire after i feel by hand for anything hard or pointy. then i shake a little gold bond or talcum powder around in there. then i do the tube and the rest of the action. this, kevlar tires and having good rim tape (i use zefal or velox - whatever the lbs has in stock) has given me great success after i had a similar problem a few years back and went through a couple tubes on my back wheel in short timeframe. turns out there was a lot of friction under high pressure causing easy pinch flats. it should also be noted that it is good practice to inflate the tube slowly after you get the tire popped onto the rim, and use your fingers to smush it around and kind of pull at the tire to ensure the tube isnt pinched between the tire and rim before going all the way up to full pressure. if you skip this step you may never know until you've already put the tube under duress and as soon as you put riding weight on it and roll down the block you'll blow it out. just some ideas.
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