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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 08-05-09, 09:50 AM   #1
nickthaquick1
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I hate flats!!!

so i got a flat after 400 flat free miles, ill take it. but i attempted to fix my first flat today and successfully managed to:

1. bend my wheel...now it needs truing
2. puncture my spare tube, now i need to get the flat fixed AND buy a new tube

its 90 and sunny out on my day off and i'm stuck here typing this and my bike is at the shop...fml
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Old 08-05-09, 09:56 AM   #2
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Wow, that sucks. Are the tires just really hard to get on and off? I am running Vittoria Rubino Pros on Mavic Open Pros and they come off with ease using levers and go back on by hand. I really dislike tires that fight me.

I got the roadie down night before last and went to top off the tires, and the front would not take air and would only release air in tiny burps. Finally got the tube empty and tried to reinflate and no luck, so I changed the tube.

Three minutes later, new tube is in and filled with air. Took the pump head off the valve and it was hishing at me. Screwed down the valve locking nut, and still hishing.

Replaced that tube with another new tube and finally had a rideable bike after 10 minutes of futzing with tubes.

Was in the middle of putting the lights on my bike and helmet when a buddy called and really needed to talk through some things, so I ended up not riding.
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Old 08-05-09, 10:49 AM   #3
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I know some might think this is "zen/new-age baloney" advice, but I think fixing flats (especially patching a tube) is one of those things that you really want to go into with the right attitude. Its beneficial to relax, take your time and not try to rush things. Of course you do have to learn the proper steps to complete the task successfully. A tube can be patched over and over and fuction as good as new, so you probably can salvage your punctured spare tube. Also, if you are really committed to being prepared in the future, you might consider practicing your flat-repair technique at home so you'll be ready on the road. Don't get frustrated, it gets easier with practice.
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Old 08-05-09, 10:59 AM   #4
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No one LIKES flats...on the other hand the more you have the more practice you get fixenem...OR the more money you spend not fixenem.............
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Old 08-05-09, 11:06 AM   #5
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I had a flat two weeks ago by the Jones Beach path. Many times of the year, that area gets filled with Gnats and blood sucking black flies. Fortunate for me I was spared, only had the Sun beating down on me until I got the flat repaired. That would've mad me hate flats even more.
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Old 08-05-09, 11:36 AM   #6
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Maintaining 20+ police bikes, I fix a lot of flats. Pretty much a quickie for me, no more than 15 minutes from pulling the wheel off to sticking it back on.
It's been my general experience that better tires are easier to work on. The cheapie "Kenda" Chinese-made tires you see on so many low-end mountain bikes can be a real bear. Stiff and thick.

With decent tires I can usually pop the thing off with a couple of quick sweeps of a single tire lever and re-install with no tools at all.
One of the things I find lately in my guys' tires are tiny bits of steel-belt material, little sharp bits of wire no more than 1/4" long. Very hard to spot.
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Old 08-05-09, 01:56 PM   #7
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[QUOTE=Bikewer;9425589One of the things I find lately in my guys' tires are tiny bits of steel-belt material, little sharp bits of wire no more than 1/4" long. Very hard to spot.[/QUOTE]

Goathead and grass burr needles look like bits of wire. In my area they are often mistaken for wire.
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Old 08-05-09, 02:46 PM   #8
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Fixing flats is almost an art form, with each experienced mechanic having his own bag o' tricks.

If your shop offers basic bike repair courses take them up on it. Otherwise here's a few tricks.

1- Thin tire levers make it easier, and metal ones, if you can find them, are thinner than plastic.

2- Tire levers are for removing tires only, you should be able to remount the tire with your bare hands

3- Pre-fill the tube with enough air to give it shape. This makes stuffing it into the tire without twists much easier. Later if it's hard re-mounting the tire, let some air out from the tube.

4- remount the tire with the valve at the bottom, and work from the top pushing the tire over the rim to the center and pushing all the slack around and down both sides towards the valve.

5- Using brute strength (OK to gnash your teeth here) push the last ten inches of tire near the valve over, then push the valve into the rim to push the tube into the tire where you might have trapped it between the tire seat and the rim.

6- Inflate to a low pressure and check that the tire is seated evenly all the way around. If needed, let out the air and massage the tire around the rim until it's even. Check again at low pressure.

8- If and only if you need tire levers to horse the last bit of tire over the rim, do not insert them blind under the tire, instead wedge them around the closest mounted area and try to crab them towards the unmounted zone by degrees. Sliding the tire lever into the tire blind is a sure way to puncture your newly (almost) installed tube.

BTW- just to frustrate you a bit more, the record for all this is something shy of a minute. (ATB tire)
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Old 08-05-09, 03:27 PM   #9
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Flats are a fact of life if you ride a bike... I seem to get one every 10,000 km or so.

Knowing how to repair / replace a tube is an essential skill and I always carry a spare tube, patch kit, my pump, and tools.

Some tyres are a joy to work on... the Schwalbe Hurricanes (atb) on my fixed mtb can be removed and replaced without tools. Although they have a wire bead they are much like folding tyres in their ease of removal.

These tyres just gave me their first flat after some 10,000 km of riding... I did not mind fixing that flat.
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Old 08-08-09, 05:42 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A.Winthrop View Post
Hi,
.
I know a BF member who has been riding much longer than I and
who has NEVER had a flat! He revealed that embarrassing
secret on a ride with me last month when he picked up a
staple in his front tire. Fearing his tire would go flat
if he pulled the staple out, he rode the bike a half a mile
to a safer place by the side of the road and then pulled it
out. No flat! We continued riding, completing a metric
century.
.
Now doesn't that just make you want to carry a box of tacks
next ride to sprinkle behind you just to give him the joy
of repairing a flat on the road? I mean that guy is just
TOO lucky and it's not fair to the rest of us!
.
Sorry, I can't reveal his name as he might then be the target
of angry road warriors.
.
A-

I'd like to publicly thank you for the jinx. I was out riding in the glorious weather today, when I heard a tick-tick-tick from the rear wheel. What was it? Why, it was a tack! Do you know, I instantly thought of you. Happy thoughts of course, not involving any bodily harm. Wish I had a camera to document the event; but alas, you'll have to indulge in my suffering through this description only.

I'm glad it was a tack, as that made locating the puncture a cinch. I had it repaired in about 15 minutes. And I'm lucky I realized I forgot my pump on yesterday's ride, or I would have been up the proverbial creek without a paddle. However, there was a gas station not too far back, and I always bring a schrader-presta valve adapter along.

Let's see if bike karma works its magic on your tires!

Last edited by JunkYardBike; 08-08-09 at 06:51 PM.
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Old 08-08-09, 06:19 PM   #11
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ME TOO!! (in reply to topic title)
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Old 08-08-09, 07:56 PM   #12
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One lesson to be learned by the OP: You must have a Backup Bike for those rare instances when Bike #1 is Out of Order.
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Old 08-08-09, 08:07 PM   #13
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You must have a Backup Bike
or for some of us 2 or 3 or...

btw, obviously mt and road tires are like night and day. I don't think we even need to discuss mounting mountain tires do we?
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Old 08-08-09, 08:50 PM   #14
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nickthaquick1,
I had a bunch of pinch flats when I changed my first tube. I won't tell you how many but it was more than 7 and less than 9. No s***!!! But I learned a couple of things---how not to get pinch flats and how to patch tubes. Just trust that you will get better. After all, I told you and that's law!
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Old 08-09-09, 08:37 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A.Winthrop View Post
.
I know a BF member who has been riding much longer than I and
who has NEVER had a flat!
FWIW, I've had more flats in the last month than in the past 5 years. Go figure.
One was bad enough that I also got to teach my teenage daughter how to boot a tire with a dollar bill.
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