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Old 08-12-10, 07:02 PM   #1
Coach50
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Double Flat today.... :-( ...Need tube suggestions

This morning was a beautiful day and I needed to get some miles in because the weekend is all booked up with activities. I'm 7.70 miles into my ride when suddenly I hear some unusual noise. I look down to see my front tire is flat. No problem, I think to my self, I've recently taken a class on how to change a flat tire and I'm prepared with the essentials. Mind you, this is my first ever flat..yes, I'm a newbie. I change repair the flat and place it back on the front and wheel away....only to hear the same unusual noise. As I check the bike that's when I notice the back tire was flat too. Crap. I only had one spare tube so I called me wife and she picked me up. Lesson learned.....take 2 spare tubes my rides.

I went to REI, because I was nearby, and bought some of the Novara 700x20/25 tubes. I get home and check the reviews on REI and find they don't have very good reviews. I, being a newbie, figured all tubes were the same. What tubes do you use?
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Old 08-12-10, 07:50 PM   #2
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I get a lot of my tires/tubes from biketiresdirect.com. Free shipping on orders over $75 (not hard with quality tires). They carry a variety of tubes in different levels of quality. I have found their least expensive ones work for me, BUT I run puncture-resistant tires. Continental Ultra Gatorskins, and Specialized Armadillo's.

BTW, on one ride up the American River Parkway, I had three flats on my front tire (before switching to 'better' tires). Used my spare tube for the first, bought a tube in Folsom for the second, and 'aired up' the third (only a few miles from end of ride). When I got home, I unmounted the tire, and turned it inside out, then went over it--found a berry thorn about 1/32" through to inside! The bike shop guy at Folsom had also missed it, so I did not feel too bad. I quit using Forteza SE's, though!

Now I carry two tubes and a patch kit--just in case.
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Old 08-12-10, 08:10 PM   #3
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I buy whatever tube is available at the LBS (whichever) where I happen to be at the time. I'm guessing tires make more difference than tubes.

I carry two tubes + patch kit + boot. I carry the boot perchance I get a rip in a tire or a blowout. A boot "saved my bacon" on one ride.
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Old 08-12-10, 08:13 PM   #4
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Did you find the cause of the flats? Very few "usable" tubes - meaning not weighing 2 pounds or something like that - for a road bike will resist whatever gets through the tire and/or kevlar liner. It may take a bit longer from one tube to another, but, IMHO, they will always, eventually, succumb to glass, radial steel wire, goathead or whatever got through the tire.

If you didn't find the cause of the flat(s) and remove it, be prepared for another.

I carry 2 tubes, a patch kit and some self-sealing patches just to get me home. And,I have had 3 flats in about the same number of miles.
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Old 08-12-10, 08:17 PM   #5
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+ 1 on investing in tougher tires. They're more expensive but they're worth it. Also, be sure to check your tire after your change out your tube to find the culprit.
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Old 08-12-10, 08:38 PM   #6
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A flat front and rear tire at the same time may be an indication of too little air pressure in both. You may have hit a hole or other bump and "pinched flatted" the tubes. Tires at the proper pressure should not pinch flat as the air will keep the tire from bottoming out against the wheel. If you ran over a broken bottle or piece of metal then you are SOL, which I've done before.
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Old 08-12-10, 08:52 PM   #7
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I check my tire inflation before every ride and always carry two or three tubes and a patch kit. I like the security of having two, but an additional reason for having extras is that I like to have it to give to another cyclist in need. One time I got caught without a spare and another cyclist (driving past in his car) stopped and gave me a spare and wouldn't take any money for it. I'd like to "pay it forward" sometime.
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Old 08-12-10, 09:20 PM   #8
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Thanks to everyone for thier input. For the record I air up my tires before each ride too. Also, carefully looked and felt along the outside and inside of the tire. I looked and felt along the tube. And I looked and felt along the inside of the wheel too. Before I go back out I'll wipe down the tires and check again for anything I may have missed on the roadside.

Sound as if tubes are pretty much the same but tires are a better investment. Right now I'm riding with OEM Vittora Zaffiro Pro Slick. I did look at some Continential Gatorskins at REI and I think they were about $45.00 each.
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Old 08-12-10, 09:25 PM   #9
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Flats seem to be part of bike riding.
I carry three spares tubes, patch kit , and tire boots.
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Old 08-12-10, 09:32 PM   #10
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Thanks to everyone for thier input. For the record I air up my tires before each ride too. Also, carefully looked and felt along the outside and inside of the tire. I looked and felt along the tube. And I looked and felt along the inside of the wheel too. Before I go back out I'll wipe down the tires and check again for anything I may have missed on the roadside.

Sound as if tubes are pretty much the same but tires are a better investment. Right now I'm riding with OEM Vittora Zaffiro Pro Slick. I did look at some Continential Gatorskins at REI and I think they were about $45.00 each.
You may have to go over the tire with a fine tooth comb, so to speak. I have spent many minutes finding the cause. Sometimes I turn the tire inside out. Wire and thorns can get imbedded, only to show when the tire is reversed flexed. If you don't find it, it will happen again. Some folks drag a kleenex around the inside. Check both the inside and the outside almost under a microscope.
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Old 08-13-10, 01:07 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by DnvrFox View Post
You may have to go over the tire with a fine tooth comb, so to speak. I have spent many minutes finding the cause. Sometimes I turn the tire inside out. Wire and thorns can get imbedded, only to show when the tire is reversed flexed. If you don't find it, it will happen again. Some folks drag a kleenex around the inside. Check both the inside and the outside almost under a microscope.
dnvrfox Has made the important point. Unless it is obvious what has caused the puncture- Look again to find the cause. It may have been and in-and-out thorn but they are rare.

You have forgotten one important thing in your puncture repair kit and that is the puncture repair kit. A spare tube and levers are fine but mutiple punctures and you are stuck. Unless it is raining- I Repair the puncture rather than change the tube. Then I have a tube for the bad punctures that are irrepairable. And I also have a repait kit with me when I fit the replacement tube- only to find that I didn't repair the last puncture I had 6 months ago.
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Old 08-13-10, 05:25 AM   #12
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+ 1 on a repair kit
I use a the Sunlite 700 x 18 -23 Thorn resistant tube presta valve

http://www.amazon.com/Sunlite-Thorn-...1698436&sr=8-8

Botanger hardcase tires 700 x 23. It's work getting the tire on with these tubes but put a lot of soap on the tire when mounting
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Old 08-13-10, 07:42 AM   #13
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Been running Continental Gatorskins for some time. Well worth the investment. Still carry a frame pump and patch kit though, because you just never know.
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Old 08-13-10, 07:57 AM   #14
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I agree with others that the tube is less important than the tires. Two additional suggestions. Take a cotton swab and gently go around the entire insides of your tires. If there is anything there the cotton is likely to catch on it. The other suggestion relates to checking the base of the stem (see photo below). You may have a small tear at the base of the stem in the tube. Some wheels tend to allow a fair amount of play in the stem and/or have sharp edges that can tear the rubber right where the stem enters the tire. (Mavic Open Pros are notorious for this). If this is the case you can improve the situation by cutting a small square from and old tube, putting a small "x" slit in the center and sliding it all the way down over the stem. This seems to provide just enough reinforcement or padding to reduce these kind of tears.
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Old 08-13-10, 09:33 AM   #15
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Here's a tip someone taught me: Always install your tube with the valve in the middle the label. When you find the hole in your tube you'll know how far it is from the valve. Then, when you're trying to find the cause of the flat, you can concentrate on the two sections of the tire that are the same distance from the center of the label.
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Old 08-13-10, 09:57 AM   #16
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Flats stink for sure but it just a part of riding you have to deal with.
I will agree with others as to carry a spare tube or two, I carry two, and a patch kits as well.

Agree with NOSS and DnvrFox in using a cotton ball or tissue to run inside the tube to find the cause of the flat if it is not apparent. I have found tiny wires that caused flats right after I fixed it because I didn't "feel" it with my fingers or see it with my eyes.
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Old 08-13-10, 10:21 AM   #17
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It's common knowledge that the tubes now made in China are junk, but we just have to live with it I guess.
I carry two tubes, a patch kit (WITH TWO BOOT PATCHES), three c02's, and a pump. And yes I have needed to use a boot patch to get home. I am mostly a solo ridder and do longer rides sometimes out in the desert, and in the summer, sometimes at dark thirty in the morning, so being prepared is a motto I try to share with the Boy Scouts.
Here is one of my regular routes.
http://connect.garmin.com/activity/44006644
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Old 08-13-10, 10:30 AM   #18
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Here is one of my regular routes.
http://connect.garmin.com/activity/44006644
Phil, you are going to have to show me the downhill stretch of that ride that gave you your max speed! :-)

Avg Speed:8.3 mphAvg Moving Speed:12.6 mphMax Speed:157.9 mph
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Old 08-13-10, 10:47 AM   #19
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I believe the thorn resistant tubes can make a difference. They did on my hybrid, anyway. When I accidentally switched to the regular tubes I had several flats on my commute - hardly ever with the thorn resistant tubes. I have the original nothing special tires on that bike - they look good after about 3K miles. They are 700-35 and I think they are Kenda? So if, being new to it, you are worried about flats, I'd go to both better tires AND the heavier tubes. You can always lighten up as you get more used to changing flats and carrying spares.

On the road bike I ride now, I was getting a lot of flats, particularly on the front. I went down once as the front blew on a curve (a few weeks after going down hard in a charity ride), and replaced the tire since it appeared even more damaged than I was, and I can't replace me. Switched from Conti Gatorskin 700x23 to Conti 4000 700x25, and things have been good since then (knock wood!). So now I have a 700x25 gatorskin on the back and a 700x25 4000 on the front. I have a 700x25 4000 for the back in the garage - will switch to that when the rear wears down a bit more, because I haven't found the 4000's to be any less flat resistant than the Gatorskins. And since they are "racing tires", they make me feel like I'm going faster. I'm a big guy (6'6" 230#) and I think the 700x25's work well for me. I didn't like having a 23 on the front and a 25 on the back. I seem to handle the bike better with the 25 up front. I say all this because the 25's add a bit of rubber thickness, which also helps avoid flats.

Of course the single most important thing is (over)inflating them every time you ride.
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Old 08-13-10, 11:30 AM   #20
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Thorn resistant tubes work very well 3X thicker , though there is a weight penalty,
there is also a longer air retention as a result , so PSI is maintained longer between top off pumpings.
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Old 08-13-10, 01:40 PM   #21
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...I carry two tubes + patch kit + boot....
This is the second thread where I've seen reference to "boot" in discussing bike tires - what's a boot?
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Old 08-13-10, 01:47 PM   #22
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Flats are a royal pain in the rear. but they are part of riding.

You could have done what I did one time. Two flats at the same time. Darn that glass.

patched the first and didn't connect the CO2 correctly. Reconnect, inflate tire.

Use my spare tube and forgot I only had 2 CO2's with me. Walk home, 10 miles.
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Old 08-13-10, 01:52 PM   #23
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This is the second thread where I've seen reference to "boot" in discussing bike tires - what's a boot?
A piece of material to place inside the tire between the tube and the tire if the tire blows out or rips - just to get you home. Some folks have used a $1.00 bill (or a $20 if that was all they had). A piece if Tyvex from a Tyvex envelope (like from the USPS or Fedex, etc.) works well, or you can buy a boot from your local LBS.
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Old 08-13-10, 02:02 PM   #24
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This is the second thread where I've seen reference to "boot" in discussing bike tires - what's a boot?
It's some material that would be sufficient to use if you got a large object through the tire or sidewall. Since the resulting hole is pretty substantial (read resulting in blowout if fully aired), you have to stick something in there that'll keep the guts in. Boots can be cut up old tube, dollar bills, energy bar wrappers...you get the idea.

And since we're talking about flats and tubes and stuff, one tube style I do prefer are the ones with a smooth section on the valve stem; makes it really easy to pop the chuck on and off when airing up the tires.


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Old 08-13-10, 02:05 PM   #25
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This is the second thread where I've seen reference to "boot" in discussing bike tires - what's a boot?
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