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Clydesdales/Athenas (200+ lb / 91+ kg) Looking to lose that spare tire? Ideal weight 200+? Frustrated being a large cyclist in a sport geared for the ultra-light? Learn about the bikes and parts that can take the abuse of a heavier cyclist, how to keep your body going while losing the weight, and get support from others who've been successful.

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Old 04-04-14, 06:53 AM   #1
Chris92009
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Getting Lots Of Flats on Rear Wheel - Thoughts?

I am 260lbs and I have been getting lots of flats lately on my rear wheel. The tire and tube are both new (less than 200 miles) and I cannot see any slashes or cuts in the wheel so maybe it is a pinch flat?

I use 23 tires and fill to about 120-130lbs...

Thanks for your insight!
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Old 04-04-14, 07:58 AM   #2
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A few thoughts:
(1) Have you inspected the inside and outside of the tire closely after each flat to make sure you remove whatever caused the flat?
(2) Is your tire worn or thin? I often get a rash of flats right before the tire wears out because there's not so much rubber left to stop wires, glass, etc. from penetrating. If you're riding "event" tires and super light tubes over rough roads, there may be less rubber than you think.
(3) It's spring. There's often a lot of crap on the roads early in spring. It's a good time to put on new tires (see also #2 ) until passing traffic blows that crap off the road.
(4) Where are you riding? If you're near or to the right of the fog line, there's more crap that'll flat you than where car's tires roll.
(5) Can you fit wider tires? Wider tires at lower pressure often reduce the incidence of flats.
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Old 04-04-14, 08:06 AM   #3
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For multiple flats, check the rim strip to make sure it did not slide to one side exposing a spoke hole. Also, inflate the tube to find where the hole is to see if there is a thorn or object stuck in the tread of the tire. Be careful if you run your fingers inside the tire as I have seen many a times where the cyclist ends up with a bloody finger.

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Old 04-04-14, 08:09 AM   #4
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Change out your rim tape.....its the silent killer. Get a roll of Stans 10mm yellow tape for about $7. It should be enough to cover about 4 wheels.
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Old 04-04-14, 08:28 AM   #5
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Running tires at 130 psi is asking for flats. The tire has no give when it hits something sharp. You'd be much better off with a 700x25 or even 28 tire (if your bike can take one) at 100 psi. Also get a tire with some flat protection like a Continental Gatorskin or Specialized Armadillo. I'm 220 lbs and ride 700x25s at 90-100 psi and haven't had a pinch flat yet. Anyone who says that 23's at high psi are 'faster' than 25's at 100 psi are full of it except on glass-smooth roads.

You don't need to really 'see' something that causes a flat. A tiny wire, such as those thrown off by a blown truck tire, can cause a leak. When you remove the tube and find the leak, match it back up to the tire. That's where the leak is. If it's on the inner part of the tube, it certainly can be the rim tape as other's mentioned. Otherwise look for something embedded in the tire. I've had to resort to rubbing my fingers inside the tire to find a wire, thorn, or shard of glass.
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Old 04-04-14, 08:45 AM   #6
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Jeff had a great suggestion. NEW RIM TAPE. I had 3 blow outs last week on my rear tire. Here is my analysis and conclusion.
First blow out - was a brand new tube, had stan's in the tube, 120 psi and a backpack. It was a monday and my pack is loaded with clothes, towel, and stuff for the week. 5:20 in the morning, threw the tube away, it was cold.
Second blow out - riding home, blow out after I hit a bump. kept the tube and wanted to look at it.
Third blow out - pumping up my tire at night before the next morning - 5 minutes later - blow out!

Observed both tubes, both split, same area. Conclusion and visual observation - at the end of the rim tape there was a slight exposure of tube to rim/spoke hole. New rim tape $6.50 and no blow outs. Savings: no headaches of tube change at 5:30 in the morning, stan's $3.50 per tube, and new tube $6.50. Try changing your rim tape!
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Old 04-04-14, 08:47 AM   #7
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Are they cheap tires?
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Old 04-04-14, 08:52 AM   #8
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Tire is too small and pressure is too high.

Get something like a 700x28 from Continental of it fits your frame, you will go faster with more comfort and get fewer flats.
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Old 04-04-14, 08:55 AM   #9
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Currently I have Continental Super Sport Plus 700x25 and the rear has 1400 miles on it. It is running low. It appears that the tire was not the problem, I had a blow out when I was pumping up the tire. Think about putting 120 pounds on your thumb and running it around the inside of your rim...is there anything that might be causing friction?
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Old 04-04-14, 09:07 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris92009 View Post
I am 260lbs and I have been getting lots of flats lately on my rear wheel. The tire and tube are both new (less than 200 miles) and I cannot see any slashes or cuts in the wheel so maybe it is a pinch flat?

I use 23 tires and fill to about 120-130lbs...

Thanks for your insight!
Pinch flats usually exhibit two holes (like a snake bite). Is that what you're getting?

Are they slow leaker flats or not quite blowouts?

Are they all in the same spot?

Are you using new tubes or a frequently patched tube and are you sure the patches are holding?

Are you causing the flats by the manner you install the tube and tire?

Have you found the cause of the flats? If you keep putting a new tube in without figuring out why you're having flats, guess what - the same cause is going to give you another flat.

Run a cotton ball around the inside of your tire and see if it snags on anything. The tiniest little wire from the tire will give you a ton of flats. I also like the rim tape idea - velox cloth rim tape is inexpensive and very secure. I have had problems with the cheap plastic strips some wheels have preinstalled.
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Old 04-04-14, 09:08 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Weatherby View Post
Tire is too small and pressure is too high.

Get something like a 700x28 from Continental of it fits your frame, you will go faster with more comfort and get fewer flats.
That was my thought. 23 mm tires at 260 lbs seems like you are pushing it.
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Old 04-04-14, 09:13 AM   #12
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Great points so far! I am using Continental Hard Shell Tires with Forte Std Presta Tires Tubes (however installed last night new Forte Puncture Resistant Tubes). I ran my finger around the tire inside and did not feel any sharp points, I am not using any rim tape since the wheels are Mavic Elite's and do not have any spoke holes in them however I have taped around the valve hole ... would you still use rim tape?
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Old 04-04-14, 09:13 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TrojanHorse View Post
Pinch flats usually exhibit two holes (like a snake bite). Is that what you're getting?


Run a cotton ball around the inside of your tire and see if it snags on anything. The tiniest little wire from the tire will give you a ton of flats. I also like the rim tape idea - velox cloth rim tape is inexpensive and very secure. I have had problems with the cheap plastic strips some wheels have preinstalled.
The cotton ball idea is magnificent! I will be using that method in the future.
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Old 04-04-14, 09:14 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TrojanHorse View Post
Pinch flats usually exhibit two holes (like a snake bite). Is that what you're getting?

Are they slow leaker flats or not quite blowouts?

Are they all in the same spot?

Are you using new tubes or a frequently patched tube and are you sure the patches are holding?

Are you causing the flats by the manner you install the tube and tire?

Have you found the cause of the flats? If you keep putting a new tube in without figuring out why you're having flats, guess what - the same cause is going to give you another flat.

Run a cotton ball around the inside of your tire and see if it snags on anything. The tiniest little wire from the tire will give you a ton of flats. I also like the rim tape idea - velox cloth rim tape is inexpensive and very secure. I have had problems with the cheap plastic strips some wheels have preinstalled.
They are slow flats...I need to examine the tire tube next time and see if they are pinch flats...that is my guess since the tire themselves are not slashed...what is the correct method for installing the tube and tire...did not think there was an incorrect manner so to speak?! LOL
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Old 04-04-14, 09:15 AM   #15
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That was my thought. 23 mm tires at 260 lbs seems like you are pushing it.
What if I did 23 tire at recommended 120 or 115.....?
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Old 04-04-14, 09:16 AM   #16
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I always use new tubes...nothing repaired!
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Old 04-04-14, 09:16 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thrllskr View Post
Currently I have Continental Super Sport Plus 700x25 and the rear has 1400 miles on it. It is running low. It appears that the tire was not the problem, I had a blow out when I was pumping up the tire. Think about putting 120 pounds on your thumb and running it around the inside of your rim...is there anything that might be causing friction?
I will need to check closer but I am not aware of anything...maybe the cottom ball method?
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Old 04-04-14, 09:17 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
Are they cheap tires?
No, Continental Hard Shells with New tubes...
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Old 04-04-14, 09:20 AM   #19
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New rim? Check for burrs near the valve hole or spoke holes.
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Old 04-04-14, 09:21 AM   #20
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What if I did 23 tire at recommended 120 or 115.....?
Don't know. As someone who whose weight has fluctuated from 220 to 270 over the years, I never even considered going below a 28 mm tire. I currently run 32 mm Panaracer Ribmos on my Salsa Casserol, though I may go down to a 28 when these wear out as I do far more road riding with the Salsa, and I just bought an old mountain bike for dirt and gravel.

I just had a discussion with a guy at a LBS, who was telling me Specialized makes a tire that is a 28, but has the contact patch of a 25.
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Old 04-04-14, 09:21 AM   #21
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The cotton ball idea is magnificent! I will be using that method in the future.
A linen towel works well also

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris92009 View Post
They are slow flats...I need to examine the tire tube next time and see if they are pinch flats...that is my guess since the tire themselves are not slashed...what is the correct method for installing the tube and tire...did not think there was an incorrect manner so to speak?! LOL
A little air in the tube, install it in the tire, valve first into the rim, one side of the tire on, start the second side, let the air out of the tube, (a little talcum powder inside the tire is good, allows the tube to move a little bit during installation) slide the rest of the tire on, now a little bit of air, check the bead all the way around, more air, check bead, all done.

A slow leak will show under water, might be the valve stem.
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Old 04-04-14, 09:34 AM   #22
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Take a piece of chalk in your underseat bag next ride and mark the tube before you remove it so you can see where it is leaking if you get a flat. Then look at that spot on the tire over the leak and see if you can find what caused it. If you don't get a flat, then carrying the chalk was clearly the cheapest solution ever. And count me as one who disagrees with all of the opinions about low pressure and wide tires. I used to be 265# (now around 240). I tried wider tires at lower pressure, and was measurably slower and still got just as many flats. If you ride a tire designed for higher pressures with a more supple casing, you can ride higher pressures without too much difference in ride quality. I ride 320 TPI Vittoria 23s at 135 psi and feel like I am flying compared to riding heavier tires at 115-120 psi.
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Old 04-04-14, 09:36 AM   #23
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I just had a discussion with a guy at a LBS, who was telling me Specialized makes a tire that is a 28, but has the contact patch of a 25.
Well, that's bass-ackwards. Why would you want that?

Quote:
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A slow leak will show under water, might be the valve stem.
You definitely need to find the leak in your leaky tubes, which will hopefully lead you to the actual source of your flats. Dunking a partially inflated tube in water is a great way to find it.

And yes, there is definitely a correct way to install a tire! Here's a nicely detailed blog post at parktool that goes over it - Park Tool Co. ParkTool Blog Tire and Inner Tube Replacement

You can damage the valve stem, you can pinch the tube between the tire and the wheel, you can fail to get the tire installed (the bead needs to "hook" under the rim... there's a little mold line called a witness line that should run straight all the way around your tire, although if you're getting 130 psi in there, odds are good the tire is on correctly)

And your tires should be installed with the label over the valve stem so that you know where it is, and you can match up the leak in the tube with the tire's position and maybe narrow down your search area.

It's time consuming but better than fixing the same flat more than once.
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Old 04-04-14, 10:18 AM   #24
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Great points!
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Old 04-04-14, 11:02 AM   #25
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Line up the valve stem as TrojanHorse recommends, note which side is facing which way on the wheel. Next flat find the leak and then compare its location to the tire and rim to find the cause. Are you using levers to mount the tire? If so stop doing that. You could be pinching the tube between the bead and the rim, to fix that only put 10psi in the tire then pinch the tire back from the rim all the way aroung the tire both sides to make sure the tube is not pinched, only then inflate to ride pressure.

I do not agree that the problem is either high pressure or too narrow of a tire. However if you want to improve your ride quality consider switching to 25 or 28 mm tires. The Spesh Roubaix 23/25 are rather nice tires. I like them.
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