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  1. #1
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    WTF are you guys using for tires and WTF am I doing wrong?! (LONG)

    I'm 6'3" 250 lbs had my giant rapid 3 since 2nd week of february. Just got another flat tire today. That makes my total now 3 flat tires. (5 if you count the 2 that I damaged because the LBS kinda mis-informed me on my minipump)

    The first issue was not an actual flat tire, the tire itself somehow bubbled on my 2ND TIME OUT on the bike. not sure what caused it I just knew that I felt a bah-bump bah-bump and looked down and saw my wheel wobbling. I was scared ****less that I bent my rim that early on because someone had told me that at my weight I was going to go through tires.

    They replaced that tire with an armadillo, so far no problems with it though I don't really like the feel of the tire and I'm paranoid that i've blown a tire again.

    2nd issue was a couple weeks later, I ride 8 miles to a postoffice in lower manhattan and lock my bike up. I come outside an hour later and the front tire is flat. fortunately there is a bike shop 2 blocks away. I tell them to just replace it with an armadillo as well.

    3rd issue was caused by me, I was trying to top off my tires with my mini pump and broke both valves. took it to lbs and had them replace the tubes. get down the street and bah bump, bah bump. I see that the front tire was off the bead. I deflate,tuck it back in, inflate with my minipump (that I was finally told is not for topping off pressure, its to get enough air to get you back on the road and headed to the nearest decent pump/air compressor) i pump it up and it's good to go.

    A few days later I top off the air in the tire and bah bump bah bump, the bead on the front is out again. This time I take it home and inspect the tire and there appears to be a little bit of damage on the tire but I couldn't tell if it was enough to make it not seat properly. i finally decide to just put the stock tire back on the front. I rode 18 miles with that on sunday and then rode 10 miles today and locked up the bike. I come downstairs a couple hours later to go to work and whaddyano, tire is flat again! I pump it up with mini pump and roll the bike around a bit and I hear the air hissing out.

    So now I'm going to put my armadillo back on and see if it will seat properly. if not, I'm going to see if I can send it back because perhaps it is damaged enough on the sidewall and wont seat. All I know is that I'm trying to love my bike, i really am. when she is working, she is great. but these flats are killing me. I live in Manhattan, the streets suck and I really do my best to avoid the bad streets. unfortunately, i'm new to biking so I'm still learning which streets to avoid, but it's not like I'm jumping off of curbs or nailing huge potholes.

    It's gotten to the point that I've lost confidence in riding the bike, especially at high speed and that is really annoying because I love how peppy the bike is. What kind of tires are you guys riding on. The stockers are kenda kwest 700c x 28 max pressure 85psi though LBS said I could inflate to 100. the armadillos are rated at 100psi max. Any suggestions for me? Can I go to a wider tire on these stock rims? would that even help? how much speed will it kill?

  2. #2
    Gears? CliftonGK1's Avatar
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    As of recent, I'm a big fan of the Panaracer Pasela TG (folding bead) tires. I've got about 1000 miles on them this year, they still look nearly new, and I haven't had any puncture issues. I went with 32mm version (measures 30.4mm on my DT RR1.1 rim) and takes 95psi for a nice smooth ride on even the roughest of chip-seal.
    I'm 230 pounds, and my heavy mileage during the weekend is 200 - 400k in a single timed randonneuring event. I wouldn't have picked tires which are speed killers since maintaining pace is important to finishing an event. I've seen no noticeable difference in the 32mm Pasela TGs vs. the 28mm Gatorskins I was rolling on previously; and the ride is so much more plush. The Gatorskins are nice and fast at 115psi, but a harsh ride on heavy chip-seal.
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  3. #3
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    I have some Vittoria Randonneur tires on my bike and I havent had any problems with them. I run over quite abit of glass, ride a mix of paved road and gravel roads.
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  4. #4
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    Get a good floor pump. Pump your tires up everyday before riding.

    Learn to patch the tubes.

    700 X 28's are fine. That is what I use.

    I had 28 flats last year. One flat this year.

    Chad (the guy carrying his bike) had EIGHT Flats one day.

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  5. #5
    Senior Member Herbie53's Avatar
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    hard to give any specific advice without seeing in person or being you, , but in the spirit of BF I will tell you something anyway.

    I have not had issues for awhile, but some 40# ago (250ish) I did have tire issues.

    1st one was the stock Kenda's on my Scatterini were basically crap and would break the bead if inflated to max recommended or on certain bumps.. Fix was new tires. I use the Kendas now on the trainer. I would have said this was most likely, but you've changed out the tires. What are the rims? Any dents, odd spots or reason that they might not be clinchering very well?

    2nd and 3rd issues were with rim tape not being good enough or worn... tube would get a hole on the rim side. tape had stretched over time and the tube was going into the spoke hole and killing itself.
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  6. #6
    Senior Member Nola_Gal's Avatar
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    You shouldn't need to go to wider tires. Any chance you're over-inflating? I know early on I blew the tire off a the rim a couple of times. The other thing is to make sure the tube is seated well before inflating to full pressure. Again, I know from experience, that if it's pinched, it may not go flat right away but it won't take long...
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  7. #7
    Senior Member rthomse's Avatar
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    You might want to go to Mountain bike reveiw.See which tires have te best ratings.You didn't say if the tires had holes or the tubes. Id check the liner on the rim.
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  8. #8
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    Take the bike to your LBS, explain your problems to them, ask questions, watch and learn as they work. Have them set you up with a proper floor pump and some good tire levers, then find yourself an old wheel you can use to practice removing and replacing tubes and tires. Practice till you can do it blind-folded. At this point the God of flat tires will fear you and only throw flats at you when he's really having a crappy day.
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  9. #9
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    I'm about your weight and use the same size tires as you. I bought some Michelins that had trouble seating (way too loose). I've had no such issues out of two different Vittoria models cheapie Zaffiros, and pricier Rubino Pros. Both models can handle well over 100 psi, I like to run 100r/90f.

    I'd recommend finding a bike shop/coop/club that puts on new rider or basic mechanical skills classes.
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  10. #10
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    Unfortunately, tires get flats. It's just a fact of life. Once I managed to get 3 flats on one 30-mile ride! That said, I have a couple of suggestions:

    1) Buy a floor pump. Inflating the tire with a mini-pump, even with a good one like the Topeak Road Morph, isn't as easy as it is with a floor pump. As you've found out, it's also easy to damage the valve even with a good pump like the Topeak Road Morph. Check the pressure on your tires before every ride, and top them up if it's low.

    2) Have someone show you how to remove, patch, and replace a tube. It sounds easy, but there are a few tricks to it. If you don't do it correctly, it's easy to pinch the new tube between the bead and the tire, which will lead to another flat within a few miles. Many bike shops will show you how to replace a tube. Some have scheduled classes, some will do it whenever you ask.

    3) Put together a good tire/tube repair kit. It should consist of: a spare tube of the appropriate size, a patch kit (one that contains glue, not pre-glued stick-on patches), a set of Pedro's tire levers, tire "boots" (for fixing holes in the tire), and a Topeak Road Morph pump. Carry this stuff with you on every ride! An under-seat bag works well for everything except the pump, which can be zip-tied to the frame.

    4) Ask a bike shop you trust to evaluate your tires and make sure they're usable. Tires should not come off the rim! Though it can occasionally happen if you leave a tire sitting flat for a long period of time, or attempt to ride the bike when the tire is nearly flat.

    5) Whenever you get a flat, it's a good idea to know what caused the flat. If you don't figure out the case, chances are you'll have another flat in short order. That means running your hand over both the inside and outside of the tire before you replace a tube. If the hole is on the rim side of the tube, which is rare, check the rim tape to make sure there isn't anything embedded in the tape and that the tape itself is still in place. If you have someone change a tube for you, ask them why the original went flat!

  11. #11
    Senior Member curbtender's Avatar
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    6' 250, I run my Armadillos at 120, with 700 23. You may need to bump them up to the max. Still, flats happen.

  12. #12
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    Make sure you've got the right tube size, too. I like Gatorskinz better than Armadillos, for whatever that's worth, but whichever tire, make sure you're at the max recommended pressure, not under, and not over - and =measure= it with a gauge, don't go by feel. Only time I flatted on the Gatorskinz was when it was 20lbs under-pressure. Pinch-flat when I hit a rock. I pumped it back to what I thought was full pressure, until i got curious and broke out the gauge... my "guesstimation" was waaaay off.

    Also, if you ride mostly in the city, once every other week or so, look over the tire very closely, and pry out the glass and metal shards that have lodged themselves in the rubber. Kevlar is very good at resisting punctures, but it's very sensitive to abrasion. The kevlar layer on "flat-proof" tires will be penetrated by the stuff stuck in your rubber layers eventually as it rubs through it.

  13. #13
    SERENITY NOW!!! jyossarian's Avatar
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    Like everyone said, get a floor pump to fill up and top off. The mini pump is just to get you back to civilization. When you get a flat, make sure you clear the cause of it. Don't just swap the tube and get rolling again or you'll get another flat. Armadillos are good and tough, but may feel a bit dead. What kind of flats are you getting, punctures or pinch flats? The kind of flat tells you what you need to watch out for. If pinch flats, make sure you stand up and float over rough surfaces and potholes. If punctures, just try to avoid debris that would puncture your tire.

    I'm in NYC too and I use Conti gatorskins. I need to replace them cuz I can see lots of nicks and holes in them, but they're still holding up fine. I use them everyday for commuting, errands, riding around and even organized rides like the 5BBT.
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  14. #14
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    thank you for the replys so far. I honestly think that the front armadillo was overinflated by the lbs the time I rode a few blocks and had it come unseated. i fixed it and it was fine. then I had a crash on the bike and the front tire hit a large edge in the street at 25mph but it didn't flat the tire, the tire slid down the edge and I went over the bars. it could have done some damage, but I may have overinflated again a few days later when I forgot my gauge at home.

    I don't have a floor pump at home but I live 4 blocks from my LBS and 12 blocks from a gas station with an air compressor. I will definately take care to use a gauge each time I inflate.

    There is a very good chance I'm going to upgrade the wheels next. I'm muscular, i'm 245 lbs at about 18% body fat. If I drop 20lbs I'd be ripped. my bodyweight is pretty much never going to be below 225 and I'm really enjoying riding so I think tougher wheels is a logical next investment and the fact that I do use the bike to commute to clients means having an extra set of wheels would be handy for when i don't have time to fix a flat and need to get out of the house (like today, I had to be to work in 10 minutes and discover a flat) It would be nice to just run upstairs and grab a whole wheel and go about my merry way.

    One last thing, when i spin the newly repaired front tire with the armadillo on it, i see the rim is true but when I look at the tire, i see the tire itself seemingly moving left and right MUCH more than the rear tire does. Could I have a defective tire and that be the reason for it popping off the rim?

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    I had a few problems with the tube coming out from under the bead of the tire before I learned to avoid that. The main thing is to make sure the tire is seated evenly on the rim as you pump it up. Check at about half pressure.

    There is a witness line just above the rim on most tires to make this easier. If it is higher at some spot you can let the air out and work the other side higher. Just fiddle with it.

    I did have one long stretch getting about a flat every 3 weeks. None of them were due to weight. Nails and that sort of stuff.

    Our yard doesn't have a fence and is used as a short cut sometimes by people getting to the mall across the alley. One night 3 teenagers took the short cut and the next morning I noticed one of them had stabbed both tires of one of my bikes. Probably because it was locked up and he couldn't steal it.

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  16. #16
    Banned. Mr. Beanz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chipcom View Post
    Take the bike to your LBS, explain your problems to them, ask questions, watch and learn as they work.
    Learn what?!...Find somebody that rides and have them show you how to install the tires properly. Plenty of riders are willing to teach and help.


    Quote Originally Posted by CPFITNESS View Post
    . took it to lbs and had them replace the tubes. get down the street and bah bump, bah bump. I see that the front tire was off the bead.

  17. #17
    Banned. Mr. Beanz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CPFITNESS View Post
    2nd issue was a couple weeks later, I ride 8 miles to a postoffice in lower manhattan and lock my bike up. I come outside an hour later and the front tire is flat. fortunately there is a bike shop 2 blocks away. I tell them to just replace it with an armadillo as well.

    ---------------------------------------------
    i finally decide to just put the stock tire back on the front. I rode 18 miles with that on sunday and then rode 10 miles today and locked up the bike. I come downstairs a couple hours later to go to work and whaddyano, tire is flat again!
    You flatted with the stock tire so you removed it. Later decide to reinstall it. Did you find the debris or the problem that caused that initially caused the flat? If not, that's a big No-No!

  18. #18
    Banned. Mr. Beanz's Avatar
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    When installing a tube/tire, I fill it with about 10-20 psi, squeeze the tire together , the entire circumference of the rim to verify the tube isn't pinched somewhere along the line. I also push the valve into the rim as the tube around the valve seems to be a trouble spot for this. Also gives me achance to verify that the rim tape inside is still seated evenly as the spokeholes will also casue a flat by sucking the tube throught the holes.h
    WHile you have the tire off, verify no small metal frags are on the rim tape/strip. This will also cause a puncture.

    After I verify it's not pinched, I inflate the tire and spin it while holding by the hub. I watch the line (of the bead on the tire) spin to make sure it's even where it sits on the rim.

  19. #19
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    i used to ride and fix bikes all the time as a kid so fixing a tube is no problem. Living here in Manhattan I live on 83rd st, my bike shop is on 87th street and my gym where I do most of my training is on 93rd st. Since i bought the bike there they are great with me on labor. I'm usually not doing the work myself because it's easier to drop the bike off and have them do it while I walk the other 6 blocks to work and then grab it when I'm done.

    I'm a bit annoyed that they may have installed it incorrectly and had it pop off the tube. Free tuneups and labor for buying bike at an LBS sounds great on the surface but i'd rather pay to get it done right.

  20. #20
    Banned. Mr. Beanz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CPFITNESS View Post
    I'm a bit annoyed that they may have installed it incorrectly and had it pop off the tube. Free tuneups and labor for buying bike at an LBS sounds great on the surface but i'd rather pay to get it done right.
    I've learned to do it myself. One bike had a 3 year free service agreement. It was joke and so was their workmanship. I learned to do it myself, including building my wheels.

    WhenI bought my wife's bike, it came with a free one year plan. I told them I do everything myself but they said, "no no no, bring it in so we can do it right". So I made all the adjustments during the first 60 days then took it in as it was running perfectly. Mechainic put it on the stand and asked, "what do you want me to do with it?". WTF! You guys told me to bring it in! He spun the cranks a few times and said , "it's good!"

    Ay yay yay!

  21. #21
    Downtown Spanky Brown bautieri's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CPFITNESS View Post
    i used to ride and fix bikes all the time as a kid so fixing a tube is no problem.

    For you it must be I keed, I keed.

    Seriously, you're fine on the 28s. Tires can be a bit finicky so I'll offer up a couple of tips. One thing you have not told us is where the flats are occurring. Are they rim side (on the top of the tube), side walls, or on the bottoms? Sometimes you just get a crappy tube that leaks air through no fault of your own. Now if the flat is rim side, then your rim tape has slid over (it happens) and the tube is cutting itself on the holes your spokes attach to. Buy a good cloth tape and ditch the tube. I've never successfully patched a rim side torn tube. A hole on the side wall is from a pinch flat. Basically you hit something like a pothole, grate etc. and your tire compressed under your weight allowing your rim to come down and pinch your tube. This happens when you don't have enough air in your tires. Seeing how you are using a frame pump all the time (because you must hate yourself ) I suspect your tires are greatly under-inflated. The air compressor at the gas station likly isn't accurate either so swing by the LBS and pick up a nice floor pump. You can get a good one for about 50 bucks. If the hole is in the bottom of the tube then you had a puncture. Easy to patch but can be a real pain to find the culprit sometimes. Run your fingers along the inside of the tire to find the offending object, the remove it. If you can't find the little devil then pull apart a cotton ball so it's nice and fluffy. Then gently brush it along the inside of the tire. The cotton fibers will snag on whatever caused the flat.

    Hope this helps, don't give up on the biking because the flat tire gnomes are picking on you. I once had a nasty case of flat tire gnomes that were plaguing me on my trainer of all things.

  22. #22
    Senior Member rockdog's Avatar
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    +1 to everything CliftonGK1 said somewhere above. I'm 6'3" 250lbs and switched from 28mm Gatorskins to 35mm Pasela TGs, much better ride,no regrets at all. Not knocking the Gatorskins, they were fast and durable and might have been fine if I were always riding nice smooth pavement. I noticed very little difference in speed moving to the fatter tires and a much nicer ride, much better handling on rough surface and when fighting through debris on the shoulder or in the bike lane.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by bautieri View Post
    For you it must be I keed, I keed.

    Seriously, you're fine on the 28s. Tires can be a bit finicky so I'll offer up a couple of tips. One thing you have not told us is where the flats are occurring. Are they rim side (on the top of the tube), side walls, or on the bottoms? Sometimes you just get a crappy tube that leaks air through no fault of your own. Now if the flat is rim side, then your rim tape has slid over (it happens) and the tube is cutting itself on the holes your spokes attach to. Buy a good cloth tape and ditch the tube. I've never successfully patched a rim side torn tube. A hole on the side wall is from a pinch flat. Basically you hit something like a pothole, grate etc. and your tire compressed under your weight allowing your rim to come down and pinch your tube. This happens when you don't have enough air in your tires. Seeing how you are using a frame pump all the time (because you must hate yourself ) I suspect your tires are greatly under-inflated. The air compressor at the gas station likly isn't accurate either so swing by the LBS and pick up a nice floor pump. You can get a good one for about 50 bucks. If the hole is in the bottom of the tube then you had a puncture. Easy to patch but can be a real pain to find the culprit sometimes. Run your fingers along the inside of the tire to find the offending object, the remove it. If you can't find the little devil then pull apart a cotton ball so it's nice and fluffy. Then gently brush it along the inside of the tire. The cotton fibers will snag on whatever caused the flat.

    Hope this helps, don't give up on the biking because the flat tire gnomes are picking on you. I once had a nasty case of flat tire gnomes that were plaguing me on my trainer of all things.
    I don't use the minipump to inflate. When I first bought it, one guy at the bike shop said that 1. The gauge on it was VERY ACCURATE and 2. It was capable of fully pumping up my tire. I don't know why he told me that , 3 other guys in the shop when I brought it back thinking that the pump was broken all told me that was not the case!!! Once I learned to use the pump, it's good enough to get some air in there if I get a flat until I can get to a real pump. The gas station has a flat tire fix guy (it is in NYC) so I can always get a tire gauge from him if I don't have mine. I'm definately going to use a gauge everytime now. The rim tape SHOULDN'T be the problem though anything is possible, the bike is only 6 weeks old

  24. #24
    SERENITY NOW!!! jyossarian's Avatar
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    Most gas station compressors don't normally pump up to 110 psi or even 85 psi since car tires usually only pump to 50-60 max. Also, they use Shrader valves. If you're using Shrader, that's fine, but if you're using Presta, you'll need an adapter.
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  25. #25
    WNY Clydesdale Steamroller67's Avatar
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    Feb 2010
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    I'm 6 foot, about 260 and ride about 100 miles a week on rural roads in salt tarnished New York State. My bike came stock with Vittoria Zaffiro's. I blew both tires within 3 months. I've been on 700x23 Continental GP 4000 all-seasons for over a year now. I haven't had a flat since. I run the front at 100 psi and the rear between 100 & 110 psi on stock Mavic cxp22 rims, which are nice for Clydes (32 spokes). The tire itself recomends 100 psi max. Open a can of whoop-ass on the flats gods. Take care...

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