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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 07-15-11, 04:33 PM   #1
jonrick1
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Tips for tire inflation after bikes have been sitting a while?

After dealing with a cross country move and getting settled in our new place, I realized that I'd forgotten to keep the tires in our 2 road bikes inflated. All 4 tires are essentially flat but we'd like to get out and ride this weekend if possible.
I'm not a wiz at bicycle maintenance so I would appreciate any feedback on tips for reinflating the tires so I don't get a buldge or pinch flat.
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Old 07-15-11, 04:59 PM   #2
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Just inflate them. Once it's installed correctly the tube stays in the tire even when deflated.

If you want you can remove the wheels and check that the tube is not under the bead. Start at the valve stem and move the tire to one side and then the other, looking for tube sticking out from under the bead. A rim strip that's not black makes this easier. Move to the next section (you can only inspect about 4 inches at a time). Stop when you get to the valve stem. It takes me about 20 seconds to inspect a wheel.
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Old 07-15-11, 05:05 PM   #3
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+1 just fill it up, then ride.
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Old 07-15-11, 05:17 PM   #4
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Unless the things have had a chance to dry rot, there should be no issues.

The tires on one of my road bikes sat all winter and deflated to the consistency of marshmallows. I fired up the compressor come Spring, and threw the air to 'em. 'Been riding 'em ever since.
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Old 07-15-11, 05:41 PM   #5
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Attach pump, insert air.

It's that simple. If you're concerned that the tire might have gotten unseated, inflate only to 20psi or so, spin the wheel to check that the tire is even all the way around, then inflate to riding pressure.

If your bike was sitting on the rims the tire might have gotten a set, and you could hear or feel a small thump as the flattened zone comes around, but this goes away pretty quickly.
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Old 07-15-11, 06:32 PM   #6
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A few years back, I had left an old road bike in a closet for literally 20 years. Old enough it wore 27x1 tires. Pulled it out, figured it wouldn't hold air, pumped it up. Rear tire was flat spotted and appeared to take a bit of a set. Left it inflated overnight, and the set was gone. Cleaned and lubed other items on it, figured the tires would never last at all. Road it a couple hundred miles over some weeks with no issues.
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Old 07-15-11, 06:51 PM   #7
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Don't forget to let out the winter air and reinflate with summer air
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Old 07-15-11, 08:20 PM   #8
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Besides pinch flats, a tire that's not sitting correctly due to problem with the rim or tire (size for instance) can push the tire off off the rim and expand until it pops. It pretty much comes down making sure the inner tube is sitting on the rim properly and keeping an eye on it while it's inflated so you can deflate it if you notice a problem. I think the maximum amount of time I've had with a tube that blew out was about thirty minutes, but those were some funky old steel rims (one had been welded at some point in time).
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Old 07-15-11, 10:55 PM   #9
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Approach the bike in a calm but assertive fashion. Carry the tire pump in plain view; most bikes have had their tires pumped up by hand before, and will be reassured that you're not plotting to turn them into a fixie or something. Fasten the pump head to the valve of each tire and pump until the desired inflation level has been reached.

During inflation, listen for ominous stretching noises that might indicate the bike is angry, and if any are heard, STOP PUMPING and look for places where the tire is lifting over the edge of the rim. If these warning signs are not heeded, the bike may attempt to puncture your eardrums with a very loud BANG (generated by an exploding inner tube). In these situations, if the tire is deflated and given a sort of kneading massage in the affected area, the bike will de-escalate, retract the inner tube from between the rim and the tire bead, and allow you to fully inflate the tire.
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Old 07-15-11, 11:00 PM   #10
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Put about 15-20 psi in them, rotate them slowly and eyeball the beads on both sides of each tire. If they look ok, pump em up and ride.
This is pretty much the same thing to do with a newly installed tire.
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Old 07-18-11, 09:59 AM   #11
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Thanks

I will give it a shot. This happened to me about a year ago and I got a flat about 2 miles from home. Bike shop told me that it was because of a pinch flat. Anyhow fingers crossed!
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Old 07-22-11, 12:21 AM   #12
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@mechBgon: LOL
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Old 07-22-11, 09:37 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by jonrick1 View Post
I will give it a shot. This happened to me about a year ago and I got a flat about 2 miles from home. Bike shop told me that it was because of a pinch flat. Anyhow fingers crossed!
Pinch flats don't come from just sitting around. The occur because you hit the sharp edge of a pothole while riding with the tire inflated at too low a pressure.

ALthough I suppose if you handled the biker roughly while the tires were flat you could pinch flat the tube by bouncing the rim and tire off something around the house. But in your previous case you made it 2 miles from home. If you'd pinch flatted it due to banging around with low tires at home you would not have made it out to the 2 mile mark.
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Old 07-22-11, 10:35 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Myosmith View Post
Don't forget to let out the winter air and reinflate with summer air
Correct, and summer air is lighter then the denser heavier winter air.

Speaking of correct air pressure here's a calculator just for that, but don't use the first one it's too confusing, the other two are just fine, and read the link to optimizing your tire pressure to get more info on the front to rear ratio. http://www.dorkypantsr.us/bike-tire-...alculator.html
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