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Old 05-23-12, 07:57 PM   #1
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7 flats in 7 days

So after having no flats for about a year (finally figured out that the Stops Flats 2 brand of tire liners really does stop flats better than other brands and if you buy the right size they don't give you flats either) I'm suddenly having a rash of flats:

#1. It started with a regular puncture flat (only second front tire flat I've ever had and it only happened because I wasn't using a tire liner). I replaced the tube with a brand new one (it's my policy to avoid patching).
#2. That tube exploded. So I replaced it with another brand new one.
#3. That lasted for a day then somehow I got a spoke flat (you know from the spoke poking through the rim tape). Considering I was using the same rims and rim tape for over 1000 miles it seemed like a fluke...I was also outta spare tubes so I just patched the original (unexploded) tube and put it back in.
#4. That tube exploded (in a different area from the first explosion). So I patched another old tube I had lying around and put that in.
#5. That tube also exploded (in yet another area). So I patched another old tube and put that in.
#6. Then I got another spoke flat (again in a different area from the first spoke flat). So I patched it and replaced the 3 layers of strapping tape I was successfully using as rim tape for over 1000 miles with some nice thick cloth hockey tape.
#7. Finally I just got another spoke flat.

I'm at my wits end. There are no burs or pointy areas inside the rim and even if there were I'm now using thick cloth tape that reaches almost from bead to bead. What gives?

EDIT- I'm now up to 11 flats in 9 days:
#8. Another "spoke flat" pinhole (after adding a second layer of cloth rim tape). Removed tire, turned it inside out and cleaned it in the shower (also cleaned rim in shower) to make sure there are absolutely no sharp particles present.
#9. Flat from patch failure. Threw out tube and replaced with different (patched) tube.
#10. Another "spoke flat" pinhole. Patched it and this time tried to be more gentle when scuffing/abrading patch area.
#11. Another "spoke flat" pinhole (this time on opposite side of rim). Replaced 1.25"-1.6" wide tube with 1.5"-1.9" wide tube.

EDIT- Problem was that the tubes were too narrow!

Last edited by chucky; 05-29-12 at 08:00 PM.
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Old 05-23-12, 08:25 PM   #2
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have you recently trued your rims or had them trimmed, if they are trued incorrectly you may have weird flatting issues. if so I would have your wheels re-tensioned from the ground up.???
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Old 05-23-12, 08:29 PM   #3
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I'm sceptical you're getting 'spoke flats". Tubes don't normally explode. I suspect it's related to how you are mounting the tires. Are you using tire irons to get the tires on?
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Old 05-23-12, 08:42 PM   #4
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have you recently trued your rims or had them trimmed, if they are trued incorrectly you may have weird flatting issues. if so I would have your wheels re-tensioned from the ground up.???
What the heck does that have to do with flat tires ? "trimmed" rims ???

Anyway, "exploding" tubes usually points to user error ... either pinching the tube under the bead of the tire, or not seating the tire evenly around the rim. Nothing wrong with tire irons when used correctly.

For #7, the spoke is coming through the tape ? Or the spoke hole is exposed ?
What size & type of rims & tires. What psi are you using ?
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Old 05-23-12, 09:34 PM   #5
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I'm sceptical you're getting 'spoke flats". Tubes don't normally explode. I suspect it's related to how you are mounting the tires. Are you using tire irons to get the tires on?
I'm just using my hands to get the tires on and they go on very easily without any struggle. Also what I'm calling a "spoke flat" is just a single pinhole directly above the spoke hole (on the inner circumference of the tube).

I'm very careful about mounting my tires after noticing how crooked they can be when mounted carelessly (I've mostly observed this crooked mounting on new/display bikes)...also one time I had a bump in my tire (on another bike) due to the bulky part of the tube (over the valve stem) being seated too close to the tire bead and since then I'm extra extra careful. For example, I never pump up the tire all at once, but rather I pump to:
-40 psi then let the air out.
-80 psi then let the air out.
-and finally to 100 psi.
...that way I make sure the tube doesn't get pinched.

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What the heck does that have to do with flat tires ? "trimmed" rims ???

Anyway, "exploding" tubes usually points to user error ... either pinching the tube under the bead of the tire, or not seating the tire evenly around the rim. Nothing wrong with tire irons when used correctly.

For #7, the spoke is coming through the tape ? Or the spoke hole is exposed ?
What size & type of rims & tires. What psi are you using ?
Neither spoke nor spoke hole is coming through the tape or exposed....if I had to guess I'd say the inflated tube is flexing the tape and expanding into the spoke hole where it gets punctured, but why would it suddenly be able to do that with good cloth rim tape or after thousands of miles of successful riding (with 3 layers of strapping tape)?

The rim is an Araya RB-17 (ISO 406) with an Intense MicroKnobby folding bead tire (20x2.0" wide). Tire is rated for 110 psi and I usually pump them to 100 psi...but the explosions/punctures have been happening around 60 psi.

Also this wheel has never been trued...nothing changed since the day I built it.

Last edited by chucky; 05-23-12 at 09:51 PM.
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Old 05-23-12, 09:40 PM   #6
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Multiple flats can also occur if a sharp object that caused the first flat is still stuck in the tire, so it can eventually cause another flat.
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Old 05-23-12, 09:42 PM   #7
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^Since you were running 60psi when you got the flats, maybe they are pinch flats?

Also, you should install a tube, inflate to around 20-30psi, deflate, seat the beads correctly, and inflate to pressure. This allows the tube to seat correctly between the rim and the tire. Report back. Also, I'd recommend some Velox rim tape.
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Old 05-23-12, 10:08 PM   #8
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^Since you were running 60psi when you got the flats, maybe they are pinch flats?

Also, you should install a tube, inflate to around 20-30psi, deflate, seat the beads correctly, and inflate to pressure. This allows the tube to seat correctly between the rim and the tire. Report back. Also, I'd recommend some Velox rim tape.
Thing is that, including the first, only two of these flats happened after riding. The rest were all in the repair stand or even after the wheel was removed for thorough inspection.

Also I do use that method when inflating my tubes (see above), but I don't use Velox. Can you see impressions of the spoke holes when you use Velox or is it so thick that the rim well just looks smooth? When I put a single layer of cloth hockey tape I could see the impressions of the spoke holes (but it was no worse than what I observed on the factory wheels I've had), but I just added a second layer and now it's so thick that the rim well just looks smooth...I'll report back tomorrow if that stopped the flats (but not tonight because I don't like pumping up patched tires to full psi until they've had a few hours to fully cure).
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Old 05-23-12, 10:10 PM   #9
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Thing is that, including the first, only two of these flats happened after riding. The rest were all in the repair stand or even after the wheel was removed for thorough inspection.

Also I do use that method when inflating my tubes (see above), but I don't use Velox. Can you see impressions of the spoke holes when you use Velox or is it so thick that the rim well just looks smooth? When I put a single layer of cloth hockey tape I could see the impressions of the spoke holes (but it was no worse than what I observed on the factory wheels I've had), but I just added a second layer and now it's so thick that the rim well just looks smooth...I'll report back tomorrow if that stopped the flats (but not tonight because I don't like pumping up patched tires to full psi until they've had a few hours to fully cure).
You can see a slight depression after having 100+psi tires on them for 1k+ miles. Before they see any pressure, they are very smooth. I've never gotten a rim side puncture since I switched to Velox (though I haven't installed any on my new roadie yet).
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Old 05-23-12, 10:15 PM   #10
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You can see a slight depression after having 100+psi tires on them for 1k+ miles. Before they see any pressure, they are very smooth. I've never gotten a rim side puncture since I switched to Velox (though I haven't installed any on my new roadie yet).
Yeah, well for me cycling is an exercise in self-sufficiency so I only use solutions that I could replicate from scratch with my own hands. I can't make "Velox" brand tape, but I could weave myself generic cloth hockey tape if I needed to.

But based on what you've said here I suspect the hockey tape is a little thinner than Velox...so I'll post back tomorrow as to whether two layers of hockey tape solved the problem. Thanks everyone for your help.
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Old 05-23-12, 10:55 PM   #11
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Chucky:

I've had 3 flats in 4 days since Saturday. Thorn on Saturday picked up during a 50 mile ride, glass on Monday, and old instant glueless patch detaching on Tuesday (not the patch put in on Saturday). Technically, I might have had the detached patch on Wednesday because I noticed the flat around 2am, so it could have gone flat after midnight. All have been replaced with good old rubber cement and some old 1 inch squares of old cut-up inner tube and I'm still riding the same tube, which incidentally, has like 8 patches on it.

At my wits end? Hardly. I don't intend to give the flat-tire-gremlins a single tube. I'm gonna keep patching this tube until the cows and me are stuck walking home.

I don't have the inside spoke poke through you're having and I ain't having 7 flats in 7 days (knock on wood), but I highly recommend that you think back on the last few weeks and recall if yougot cursed by anyone, like a spouse, a significant other, or you cursed the tire-gods an now are paying the price. Better to make amends. I know I'm up the creek and in the dog house with my Karma points because 10 days ago, I went to my Mom's house for mother's day, but I forgot entirely about my wife, who's the Mom of my 3 kids. Duh. But instead of making up for it this past weekend, I went fishing instead. These flats are my punishment. I have no doubt.

Question for you, is what moral crime did you commit to warrant 7 flats in 7 days?
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Old 05-24-12, 06:06 AM   #12
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Yeah, well for me cycling is an exercise in self-sufficiency so I only use solutions that I could replicate from scratch with my own hands. I can't make "Velox" brand tape, but I could weave myself generic cloth hockey tape if I needed to.

But based on what you've said here I suspect the hockey tape is a little thinner than Velox...so I'll post back tomorrow as to whether two layers of hockey tape solved the problem. Thanks everyone for your help.
Huh, so do you also have a rubber tree in your backyard so you can manufacture new innertubes for when it fails again? Just use the right parts and get real velox. Strapping tape (hard plastic w sharp edges !yikes!) and hockey tape are not "solutions".
If you're consistently having the tire blowoff but you're sure that you aren't pinching the tubes between the tire/rim, then check the tire bead for any worn places, check the rim for any deformation/damage to the hook area....
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Old 05-24-12, 01:48 PM   #13
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Huh, so do you also have a rubber tree in your backyard so you can manufacture new inner tubes for when it fails again? Just use the right parts and get real velox. Strapping tape (hard plastic w sharp edges !yikes!) and hockey tape are not "solutions".
If you're consistently having the tire blowoff but you're sure that you aren't pinching the tubes between the tire/rim, then check the tire bead for any worn places, check the rim for any deformation/damage to the hook area....
Question if he's going to improvise his rim tape. Wouldn't he be better off cannibalizing an old tube? Instead of using either strapping tape or hockey tape?
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Old 05-24-12, 02:17 PM   #14
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Question if he's going to improvise his rim tape. Wouldn't he be better off cannibalizing an old tube? Instead of using either strapping tape or hockey tape?
In a pinch, I've done just that. Old tubes work great for rim strips, and you can make them as wide or narrow as you need. You have to be careful with the valve hole, though. I have used a hole-punch to make sure I get a good round hole, rather than risk using a knife and having it tear across from a jagged edge.
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Old 05-24-12, 03:10 PM   #15
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Mother ****er! I woke up this morning and the tire was flat AGAIN (pinhole in the spoke area)...so you can make that 8 flats in 8 days.

Now I'm really at my wits end because if I put any more rim tape in there I won't be able to get the tires on and off easily. Only good news is that a pattern is starting to develop with the last three flats all being within a few cm of each other.

I'm hesitant to patch it because when I eventually replace the tube with one that doesn't have these thick patches I don't want it to also instantly flat.

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Huh, so do you also have a rubber tree in your backyard so you can manufacture new innertubes for when it fails again? Just use the right parts and get real velox. Strapping tape (hard plastic w sharp edges !yikes!) and hockey tape are not "solutions".
If you're consistently having the tire blowoff but you're sure that you aren't pinching the tubes between the tire/rim, then check the tire bead for any worn places, check the rim for any deformation/damage to the hook area....
No, but I could grow a rubber tree if I needed to (but I couldn't grow magical "schwalbe" rubber if that were the essential ingredient of a "real" inner tube).

Just because I want to understand what makes the parts work myself instead of paying Velox a million dollars for cotton and glue doesn't mean I'm not using "the right" or "real" parts. On the contrary I am using the "right" parts and I am using the "real" parts...I just want to make them myself; Otherwise I would just go to the Hyundai dealer down the block and buy a "real" vehicle.

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Originally Posted by Digital_Cowboy View Post
Question if he's going to improvise his rim tape. Wouldn't he be better off cannibalizing an old tube? Instead of using either strapping tape or hockey tape?
What makes you say I'm improvising? How does Velox make their tape? That's what I trying to do....and why shouldn't I be able to? You act like I'm trying to rediscover plutonium here....it's freaking cloth tape: cotton and glue!

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Old 05-24-12, 04:19 PM   #16
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Mother ****er! I woke up this morning and the tire was flat AGAIN (pinhole in the spoke area)...so you can make that 8 flats in 8 days.

Now I'm really at my wits end because if I put any more rim tape in there I won't be able to get the tires on and off easily. Only good news is that a pattern is starting to develop with the last three flats all being within a few cm of each other.
Be careful of tube-orientation when you remove. Take off tyre and tube. Then place blown tube back over rim in the same direction as before. Line up the hole in the tube with a specific rim-hole & spoke that was under the blow-out. Inspect the rim-tape and rim-drilling very carefully at that spot.

Post a close-up photo for us to inspect.

Personally, I wouldn't use rubber rim-strips on anything over 25-30psi. I've tried all sorts of things: strapping/packing tape, multiple layers of first-aid/hockey tape, electrical tape, masking, duct tape, multiple inner tube rim-strips, etc. Given the low cost of Velox versus the dollars I would be earning if I wasn't messing with trial&error experiments with home-made rim-strips , I'll only use Velox from now on as my time is way, way more valuable.

BTW, the secret to Velox is the fabric's thickness and stiffness. The glue that stays tacky is also part of its success.
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Old 05-24-12, 04:39 PM   #17
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Just in case there's any sand or metal shavings I couldn't see I took the tire off and washed the rim in the shower...and I also turned the tire inside out and washed that along with the tube. Then I got 2 more flats:
-1 failed patch
-1 more spoke hole

That makes a total of 10 flats in 8 days.

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Old 05-24-12, 05:02 PM   #18
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Post a close-up photo for us to inspect.
The middle spoke in this picture is where the flats are happening:


And here's a close-up (exact spot is where my finger is pointing):


And here are where I patched the tubes (there are 4 patches and one unpatched pinhole above the leftmost, uppermost patch)...strange thing is keeps poking through in different spots (but all in the same general area as you can see):



Quote:
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Given the low cost of Velox versus the dollars I would be earning if I wasn't messing with trial&error experiments with home-made rim-strips , I'll only use Velox from now on as my time is way, way more valuable.
But what if Velox goes out of business or you're on tour and you can't get Velox? Isn't it going to be a much more costly to figure out what makes good rim tape work then.
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Old 05-24-12, 05:06 PM   #19
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You're pinching the tube when you put the tire back on, I think.
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Old 05-24-12, 06:08 PM   #20
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I was thinking about why the flats are collecting in the same general area, but not in the same spot (they're next to each other) and I had an idea:
Maybe the current rash (last 5/10) flats are being caused by the metal scuff/abrasion tool (you know for scuffing the surface of tube so it can vulcanize to the patch)? Is that possible?


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You're pinching the tube when you put the tire back on, I think.
With what, my fingers? With the kevlar tire bead? How could this tube possibly be that fragile when the tires are so easy to get on and off? I used to have rims, tires that were hell to get on and off and I never pinched a tube with those (despite snapping many tire levers).
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Old 05-24-12, 06:35 PM   #21
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Do you have another wheel that you can use?

If you do and it stops the flats then you know it's an issue with the wheel.
If it doesn't stop the flats then you know it's an issue with the tire.
I guess putting on another tire is another path of diagnosis. You could swap the front and rear tires.

Have you looked and felt the bead of the tire, maybe there something protruding from it, or it is bent, or something.

Nothing wrong with rolling you're own rim strips.

Could the bead be separating? I've had tires do this.
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Old 05-24-12, 06:49 PM   #22
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Self-sufficiency is good as long as you're not causing more problems than you solve.

Underneath all that rim tape, are there spoke ends that protrude beyond the nipples? I would grind them down if so -- you may not feel it when the tire is off the rim, but at 100psi, things are going to get cozy in there.

- Scott, who is hoping to keep Velox in business for as long as he will need them...
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Old 05-24-12, 07:06 PM   #23
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there is a company in Philadelphia that is making rim tape competing with Velox. It's nice.

exploding tubes means that the tire is coming off or it's not inside the tire when you are inflating. I had one of those a while back. I push the tire in around the rim to make sure that the tube isn't trapped between the tube and tire. I notice you are using steel rims, those take a lot of care and are somewhat more prone to tires slipping a bead
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Old 05-24-12, 08:30 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
exploding tubes means that the tire is coming off or it's not inside the tire when you are inflating. I had one of those a while back. I push the tire in around the rim to make sure that the tube isn't trapped between the tube and tire. I notice you are using steel rims, those take a lot of care and are somewhat more prone to tires slipping a bead
You mean you slide the tire around the circumference of the rim? Hmm...sometimes I try that to get the tire label lined up with the valve stem, but none of the tires I've used are loose enough to slide. I do, however, pinch the tire and do a visual check that there's nothing between the bead and rim-hook.

Also the rims are chromed aluminum:
http://www.benscycle.net/index.php?m...roducts_id=201
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Old 05-24-12, 08:56 PM   #25
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I didn't read all of the responses but sometimes it's just your turn to get flats. Curious, how old is the tire? Did you finally get real rim tape? Are you using decent tubes? New tire, new tube and rim tape and I'll bet you're good to ride.
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