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  1. #1
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    Tires blow, not tube. How? Does this happen to anyone but me?

    How and what to do about it?

    It has happened to me 3 times in the last two years. It seems like something is on the tire, and it gets worse over a few minutes. I get off to look and the tire liner and tube are bulging though the outer tread of the tire. While I watch, the bulge is expanding. The whole area around the hole begins to bulge balloon-like. Except that I use Stop/2 tire liners and the thick puncture-resistant tubes, the tube would have obviously blown.

    Nothing notable happened in the, say, half hour before the events. In fact, in two cases I was in some store for the previous hour, and everything was fine for the first few minutes of the ride.

    Examining the inside of the tire, the visible cords are frayed. The other cords that run in the opposite direction, crosswise, seem intact. The tube pressure just ripped through the outside rubber by pushing those cords out of the way.

    I don't inflate the tires beyond the recommended max. The tread is not very worn. In one case, the tread looked virtually new.

    It is hard walking a bike and groceries home for like two hours. A flat could have been fixed. After this happens, the tire is absolutely shot because of all the broken cords.

    Just so you'll know where I'm coming from, I don't ride the bike for fun (although I have come to enjoy it), speed, or athleticism, but for utility, so I'm not concerned about the weight of tires, tubes, liners, etc.

    The tires have lasted roughly: 1.5 years and 7 months on the back; and 2.5 years on the front. In no case have I had a flat in this time frame.

  2. #2
    Bikaholic blamp28's Avatar
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    I have had this happen twice on a particular brand and model of tire. I stopped using them and bought better tires. I had been trying so much to save money that I bought "cheap".
    Trek Fuel XC MTB, Giant OCR Road Bike, Rans Screamer - Tandem

  3. #3
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    If the fraying happened on the outer ply (under the tread) than the tire suffered a cut caused by glass or another road hazard. The liner did it's job protecting the tube, but can't protect the tire between it and the road. You might consider tires with kevlar belts under the tread in the future, but there's no bulletproof way to protect a tire from road hazards like glass.

    --

    OTOH if when you remove the tire you find that the inner (visible) ply is frayed, than the problem may be your tire liner itself. These are usually fairly rigid and can chafe the inner surface of the tire, especially if ridden with high loads or under-inflated tires. The damage is usually most severe at the end or overlapping section of liner.

    It's a catch-22 situation, tire liners prevent punctures, but can themselves become the problem over time. You need to balance the benefits against the drawbacks, and decide if you'd rather forgo liners in the future.
    There are alternatives for flat prevention, such as the liquid tire sealants.

    If you stay with tire liners, consider another brand, or try lining the insider of the tire with duck tape as an anti-chafe measure. But be sure to maintain decent tire pressure at all times as this is key to preventing chafing.
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by blamp28 View Post
    I have had this happen twice on a particular brand and model of tire. I stopped using them and bought better tires. I had been trying so much to save money that I bought "cheap".
    Your input is much appreciated. Yours is the single instance of a problem like mine I have found anywhere.

    Do you in fact use tire liners that wear the cord inside down?

    About how long did the tires that failed last, and how long have the expensive tires lasted, for comparison?

    If that is the problem, as it appears to be to be as described by FBinNY, then unless a better tire uses different material for the cord, it will still wear it down. The tires I have are cheap and easy to find (for my size, 26 X 1 3/8, or 37-590 ), 7 bucks plus 5 shipping, but when I have looked around at places that have expensive tires, they sell the ones I got for cheap for not much less than brands with a reputation. So are the more expensive tires really just the cheap ones sold for more? IAC, functionality, not weight, looks, grip versus slickness, or wear is my concern. The tire wear on these cheap Kenda's has been amazingly low IMO.
    Last edited by kflorek; 07-31-11 at 06:44 AM. Reason: typo

  5. #5
    Bikaholic blamp28's Avatar
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    The two tires that failed wer Michlin - low end costing about $12-$15 each. These tires had fewer than 1000 miles on them when they failed. I was offered a free replacement as a waranty remedey but I declined as I was completely unimpressed and had two long rides interupted with poorly built tires. I have since switched to Specialized Armadillo tires for $60 each and Have about 5000 miles on them so far and they are holding up great. They are kevlar lined in three separate directions which is why they are so expensive. I do not use tire liners but FBNY's explaination makes a lot of sense to me. There are diferences between products. It is worth making an informed decision and spending more time on the bike than in the shop.
    Trek Fuel XC MTB, Giant OCR Road Bike, Rans Screamer - Tandem

  6. #6
    Senior Member NukeouT's Avatar
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    I have been using Cheng Shin 27"s on one bike for over a year now and vintage Specialized 700c's on another for just under a year. Sure i've gotten some punctures, but I have yet to loose a tire. They are at the point now where I am waiting for them to go from simple wear and tear rather than something drastic.

    Could that problem be your break pads? My friend had his adjusted wrong for a long time and went through several sidewalls before he figured it out. Similar symptoms to what youre describing.
    Time waits for no one.

  7. #7
    Senior Member BCRider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
    .....These are usually fairly rigid and can chafe the inner surface of the tire, especially if ridden with high loads or under-inflated tires. The damage is usually most severe at the end or overlapping section of liner.
    ......
    The local shop where I hang out a lot and where I'm beer drinking buddies with the owner and mechanic won't install liners anymore since they've had too many come back with exactly this trouble for "warranty".

    To the OP. If the wear occured from the inside as you seem to be describing I would suggest that you ditch the tire liners and get tires with a kevlar or similar flat resistant belting. Excellent options are the Speciallized Armadillos, any of the Panaracer tires with "TG" (Tour Guard) in the name, Schwalbe Marathons or any others with a flat resistant belt in the tire's carcase.
    Model airplanes are cool too!.....

  8. #8
    Bikaholic blamp28's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BCRider View Post
    The local shop where I hang out a lot and where I'm beer drinking buddies with the owner and mechanic won't install liners anymore since they've had too many come back with exactly this trouble for "warranty".

    To the OP. If the wear occured from the inside as you seem to be describing I would suggest that you ditch the tire liners and get tires with a kevlar or similar flat resistant belting. Excellent options are the Speciallized Armadillos, any of the Panaracer tires with "TG" (Tour Guard) in the name, Schwalbe Marathons or any others with a flat resistant belt in the tire's carcase.
    +1 As I posted above, I use the Armadillos on my road bike but I also use the Marathons on my tandem. These have been great tires. It really says something that this shop won't even install the liners due to this repeated issue.
    Trek Fuel XC MTB, Giant OCR Road Bike, Rans Screamer - Tandem

  9. #9
    Senior Member JayButros's Avatar
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    ...get some Panasonic RiBMos tires.

    I don't even carry a repair kit for standard errand type rides. I ride daily and have never had a flat.

  10. #10
    Insane Bicycle Mechanic Jeff Wills's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kflorek View Post
    If that is the problem, as it appears to be to be as described by FBinNY, then unless a better tire uses different material for the cord, it will still wear it down. The tires I have use are cheap and easy to find (for my size, 26 X 1 3/8, or 37-590 ), 7 bucks plus 5 shipping, but when I have looked around at places that have expensive tires, they sell the ones I got for cheap for not much less than brands with a reputation. So are the more expensive tires really just the cheap ones sold for more? IAC, functionality, not weight, looks, grip versus slickness, or wear is my concern. The tire wear on these cheap Kenda's has been amazingly low IMO.
    Your tire size is going to be an issue. 26 x 1 3/8 tires to fit EA3 rims just aren't that common anymore. Harris is probably your best source for non-Kenda tires in this size: http://sheldonbrown.com/harris/tires/590.html . I'm afraid that if you're buy 7-dollar tires, you're getting what you paid for...
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Wills View Post
    Your tire size is going to be an issue. 26 x 1 3/8 tires to fit EA3 rims just aren't that common anymore. Harris is probably your best source for non-Kenda tires in this size: http://sheldonbrown.com/harris/tires/590.html . I'm afraid that if you're buy 7-dollar tires, you're getting what you paid for...
    I agree that there are very few choices in EA3 tires, but that doesn't mean that his $7.00 tires are inadequate. The OPs problems seem to originate in the tire liner chafing the inside of the tire, something that even the most expensive tire is vulnerable to.

    Man to doctor: My elbow hurts whenever I do this -- demonstrates.
    Doctor: well stop doing that.

    The solution doesn't call for better tires, just removing the tire liners. Then only time will tell if he starts getting an unacceptable number of punctures.
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    +1 throw out the liners. I have put some miles on a bike with the same size, low end tires and/or ancient, cracking tires and they just don't blow.

    I did have liners some of the time. I don't recall the brand, but the type I used were not a problem. They were a greenish, transparent plastic.

    However, even when I didn't have liners, flats just weren't a huge problem for me.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
    The solution doesn't call for better tires, just removing the tire liners. Then only time will tell if he starts getting an unacceptable number of punctures.
    Actually in the several years before I got the puncture protection paraphernalia, and I had already begun using my bike as I do now, I had but one flat. It happened conveniently while the weather was warm, and I put in my spare tube, but I was thinking of how it would be in the snow and cold, with wet and frozen fingers. The cause of the flat was a barely visible flake of glass, too thin to possibly reach through the tire tread, which had presumably migrated through by repeated pressure and flexing every time the tire met the surface of the road. It should be easy to protect against something like that. I got the thick anti-puncture tubes (maybe 1/8 in thick at the outer diameter, normal otherwise) and the no-puncture tire liners, as easy insurance against an infrequent event.


    I still have all these old tires. (If I have to explaining why, then you wouldn't understand anyway.) The most recently blown (which was on the front and lasted 2.5 years) has two areas inside that look much like the area that blew: gray and frayed looking. That's eyeball proof of FBofNY's concept to me. What about the back tires? Surprisingly, the other two blown tires at first appeared not to have other bad spots, although they did have long lines of slight discolorations. But pressing my fingers firmly against the tire tread, working all the way around, incredibly, I found a second hole in each of the tires that had never been noticed. Going back to the first tire, I also found a second, tiny hole; this one at just two broken cords. In every case the rip is perpendicular to the visible cords, and in line with the cords under. You would expect ripping due to impact to be in either direction at random.


    It seems logical that the pressure of the tube against the tire would not allow the liner to move; and no movement = no wear. But thinking another way, the tube and the tire flex at a particular spot once each revolution. The tire liner is very tough and consequently is of a material that does not stretch anywhere the amount rubber does. Therefore the tire, in stretching, rubs against the tire liner once per rotation. Due to unevenness in the tire, and the way the liner is put in, stretching concentrates in the “weakest link” until something breaks.


    So the tire liners go. To make tire liners worthwhile I would have to get tube punctures a lot more frequently than tire blow outs, and it is nowhere near that. And I should probably just get new tires too, because they will have been weakened.


    Riding a bike regularly has proven to have unforeseen complications. And pleasures.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Wills View Post
    Your tire size is going to be an issue. 26 x 1 3/8 tires to fit EA3 rims just aren't that common anymore. Harris is probably your best source for non-Kenda tires in this size: http://sheldonbrown.com/harris/tires/590.html . I'm afraid that if you're buy 7-dollar tires, you're getting what you paid for...
    Thanks for the link to non-Kenda tires. Interestingly they do sell Kenda's there besides, although I think my next buy will be something else, just to see the elusive difference if any. The Kenda's they sell for $15 plus $8.50 are the 7 buck tires at the optimal seller I got mine from. I understand that Harris is full-service and I accept that the extra in the price reflects added value and is reasonable. I point it out because it confirms my idea that a lot of the premium in prices has to do with something besides being a better executed tire. Another premium is for the very slim market of bicycling enthusiasts who require or desire something more than the mass-market children's bikes

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    I use those Kenda tires on my Raleigh. Same size in a gum wall. I use 3 rear tires to one front. My rears get just over 2000 miles. My front now has just over 7000 yes, 7000 miles on it. It is showing wear and is getting close to replacement but is still going strong.
    I have had very good luck with them. Based on my experience I would have to say that your problem is not with the tires.

  16. #16
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    It is around 2 1/2 years since I posted this question, and I thought I'd update with my experience since.

    To test if the tire liners were the only problem, when I removed them I went with new Kendas, rather than higher priced tires, as I was thinking of doing at the time. The tested Kendas are K40-HP ( 26 X 1 3/8, or 37-590 ), with a recommended maximum pressure of 90 pounds, which I use at 65 pounds. Kenda has others tires of the same size (for instance plain K40), with a recommended 55 pounds max, which is unhelpfully low for riding on pavement. Two of the tires that had the problems before were the 55 pounders, at 55 pounds. The last one, on the back, was a 90 pounder, at 65.

    I have had no tire blow outs, and no flats, since then.

    Last summer, I looked over my tires, as I occasionally do, and saw a cut on one tire, and decided to change it. I used the opportunity to examined the tire with 2 years of use, and inside it looked identical to the new tire. No sign of gray and fraying areas that I got when using tire liners.

    For frequent flats from glass or thorns, tire liners could be useful. As insurance against occasional flats, to avoid having to change tubes in the cold a long way from home, they are a new problem, not a solution.

  17. #17
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    didn't read everything. so did a "find" on "pad" and didn't find that word mentioned in any of the posts. so....

    i've had that happen when i found my brake pads were just a tad too high (wonder who did THAT? ) and were, in fact, riding on the sidewall.

    if so, it doesn't take long for things to go sideways.
    Last edited by hueyhoolihan; 02-24-14 at 02:29 PM.

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