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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 11-01-09, 01:48 PM   #1
fiataccompli
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too many flats

I have an '80s road bike with the original rims (wheels as built, I suppose) that I have been riding lately. Well, not too much, as it turns out because I've had 3 flats in about 30 miles of urban riding (some harsh bumps/transitions, some having to slightly bunny-hop obstacles). The bike has Gommitalia Calypso tires that were on the bike when I bought it (they appeared to have no wear, but were clearly not new...ie, some drying on the walls, but nothing particularly worrisome - so I ran them). I have a few questions:

1. Is there anything inherent about these tires that makes them a bad choice for urban riding?

2. The rim tape is rather narrow...so it doesn't fully cover all of the holes for the spokes....this looks like the culprit (unfortunately, I didn't notice it during the 1st on-the-road flat/fix)..sounds like i need new tape, right?

3. Anything else I should consider?

I usually ride this bike during my lunch hour at work, so flats are seriously unwelcome from every perspective. Oh...it was the back tire all 3 times, each time properly inflated (115psi) at the start of the ride & I weigh something like 185lb.

thanks in advance,
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Old 11-01-09, 01:59 PM   #2
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1) Those are high TPI tyres e.g more fragile than cheaper lower TPI tyres like say a vittoria rubino, or schwalbe stelvio. And they're narrower - 23c. If you want to bomb around more get wider tyres 28's etc, if your wheels will handle them (likely)

2) You need to figure out what exactly is causing your flats. Pinch flats? Rim Tape? Tyre too narrow for the rim? I suspect the former due to your weight and circumstance.

3) I suggest not riding your bike as if it was indestructible for one. Go light over bumps and don't drop curbs like a sack of potatoes.

Last edited by operator; 11-01-09 at 02:03 PM.
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Old 11-01-09, 02:52 PM   #3
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Definitely replace the rim tape. Those are very good tires. Inflate to max pressure, whatever is written on the sidewall. Run around the inside of the tire with some cotton cloth, looking for snags, some penetration you may not have noticed. If you are getting snake-bites (you know what those are?), you need to run more pressure. I run 23c on our tandem, 300 lb. team weight, so 23c isn't necessarily a problem for a 185 guy.

If you keep getting snake-bites, get some Vredesteins or similar, something with a higher inflation max. If you're getting a lot of punctures, you may need to go to Armadillos or similar.
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Old 11-01-09, 08:26 PM   #4
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thanks - that's helpful. They're 700-23 tires and were max pressure at least when I left the office each time. FWIW, I probably made it sound like I'm harsher on the bike than I actually am. There's no bombing around or jumping going on, but there are some unavoidable bumps & uneven pavement around town. I'm pretty well-versed on gentle landings/transferring weight over bumps/etc....which is helpful, but not ideal.

I have a bunch of bikes and in general I have not been riding this one any differently than i have others with 23c & 25c. Usually, I opt for 28 or one of my 27"x 1/4" wheeled bikes for lunch rides, but that's more for comfort than flat tire hassles.

Thinking more one the holes & their location, I'm thinking rim tape may be the culprit. I guess I was wondering if some tires are more prone to sidewall buckling (and thus, pinch flats) than others.
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