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  1. #1
    Da Big Kahuna
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    Tires increasing chances of flats?

    It seems that after going through a heck of a lot of tires (I've ridden over 26,000 miles) that, on average, the tires become much more prone to flats.

    Now, I know they wear down some so maybe that small change in thickness could be a factor, but I wonder if other things are in play. Mainly, I wonder if, once you get a flat, that whatever the puncture was caused by has also damaged the tire in some way so that the next tube get a flat from rubbing on these less than perfect places in the tire.

    Likewise, maybe those little cuts you accumulate in a tire does the same thing in some cases.

    Those are the only reasons I can think of for increasing flats over time.

  2. #2
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    If you've ridden over 26,000 miles on ONE set of tires, you are doing remarkably well!!!!!!!!!

    Yes, tires wear down ... and in fact the 700x25 road tires I use wear down after about 5000 kms (3000 miles) so that I can start to see the threads through. As tires wear, they become more prone to flats because there isn't as much material between the sharp item on the road and the tube. And once you get down to the threads, there is practically no material between the sharp item on the road and the tube!!

    As soon as my tires have a couple flats in fairly quick succession (i.e. within a couple weeks of each other), I change them because that's when I figure they are pretty much worn out.

  3. #3
    Da Big Kahuna
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka
    If you've ridden over 26,000 miles on ONE set of tires, you are doing remarkably well!!!!!!!!!

    Yes, tires wear down ... and in fact the 700x25 road tires I use wear down after about 5000 kms (3000 miles) so that I can start to see the threads through. As tires wear, they become more prone to flats because there isn't as much material between the sharp item on the road and the tube. And once you get down to the threads, there is practically no material between the sharp item on the road and the tube!!

    As soon as my tires have a couple flats in fairly quick succession (i.e. within a couple weeks of each other), I change them because that's when I figure they are pretty much worn out.
    Well, like I said, I've gone through many tires. I've never gotten them so worn that they needed to be thrown out, but it sure seems like the more flats I get, the more likely I am to get flats. I've seen this on both light tires and things like Armadillos which are probably thicker and tougher after a couple thousand miles than a lightweight tire is new!

  4. #4
    Senior Member DannoXYZ's Avatar
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    Tyre savers... best flat-protection available!

  5. #5
    Lets Ride Trekke's Avatar
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    The RFC, I general, with any tire, the more you ride the more apt the tire is to pick up small bits of flat causing debris. Unless you look and pick those out after every ride they will likely dig in deeper and eventually cause a flat. Also once punctured the wound on the inside of the tire will cause tube wear. I think you have the right answers.
    Phil

  6. #6
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    I run slime in my mountain bikes, nothing on my road bike. Anyway, i have a theory. I believe that as the rubber wears and ages, it becomes more prone to puncture. Not just because of the fact that is thinner but also because i firmly believe that in some cases it becomes more "paper like." New tires feel different, than old ones.

    I have observed from my riding that newer tires seem to flat less frequently. In fact I replaced my road bike tires last fall and haven't flatted since. I replaced my MTB tires a couple months ago and haven't flatted. I was getting fairly frequent flats with the older tires.

    So in summary, my theory: newer tires = less flats. This is a generalized statement and their are variables of course. Flats seem to come in waves. I went several months without a flat last year and then on one ride early last fall I had no less than two flats on one ride. Then i had another one about 3 days later. Never could explain it because they were different tires, and they weren't repunctures.

  7. #7
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    in the arcana of bike tire history, tires that are 'aged' some are considered to be more roadworthy then fresh from the layup. This may have something to do with open tire layups and may not reflect modern, pressure laid tires.

    26,000 miles is very impressive. Tires are pretty cheap. Why not upgrade? There has been a trickle down of puncture resistant kevlar belting into even midpriced tires from several manufacturers. Edited to add, i see you have gone thru tires, plural. How many miles per tire are you getting, on average?
    Last edited by Bekologist; 04-13-06 at 09:23 AM.
    "Evidence, anecdote and methodology all support planning for roadway bike traffic."

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheRCF
    It seems that after going through a heck of a lot of tires (I've ridden over 26,000 miles) that, on average, the tires become much more prone to flats.

    Now, I know they wear down some so maybe that small change in thickness could be a factor, but I wonder if other things are in play. Mainly, I wonder if, once you get a flat, that whatever the puncture was caused by has also damaged the tire in some way so that the next tube get a flat from rubbing on these less than perfect places in the tire.

    Likewise, maybe those little cuts you accumulate in a tire does the same thing in some cases.

    Those are the only reasons I can think of for increasing flats over time.

    WOW, twenty six grand riding around Oahu!
    "Oh Yeah?"

  9. #9
    Da Big Kahuna
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bekologist
    Edited to add, i see you have gone thru tires, plural. How many miles per tire are you getting, on average?
    Not sure exactly. I do know if I get less than 2000 miles, I'm not happy and that was the case when using the Hutchinson Carbon Comps. Once those started to flat, it quickly became a big problem. I think those were lucky to get over 1000. Probably most others (Armadillos, ultra gatorskin, 4-season, Conti 3000) have gotten 2000 or more, but I've never thrown out a tire because it was worn down too much. Rather it was always because the flats were occurring pretty often.

    My present tires (the new Armadillo Elite which isn't so blasted heavy) have over 2500 miles and they have worked pretty well. The front tire only got one flat from a thin nail or part of a heavy-duty staple at about 1600 miles.

    The rear tire when about 2200 miles before the first flat, but since then at 46, 112, and 148 miles after that first one. I'm pretty sure the last two at least were from the same thing - I eventully found a sharp object hidden in the tread about where the last to tube punctures were. It is possible one of the others was from the same cause too, but I'm not sure. I haven't ridden many miles since the last flat so I don't know if it is okay now. So, thiese tires rash of flats may be for some other reason, but that doesn't relate to the many other tires I've seen inclease in flats rapidly after the first one or two.

  10. #10
    Da Big Kahuna
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    Quote Originally Posted by beatle bailey
    WOW, twenty six grand riding around Oahu!
    Well, yeah, but it has good and bad things. For one thing, there are only so many places to ride - and a lot of them are up darn steep hills - some averaging 8 or even 11% which means some parts are far steeper. If I just keep following the main roads, they aren't so bad though, but that just means you are even more limited in where you ride.

  11. #11
    cab horn
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    He means that he's ridden 26k miles on a bunch of different tires. Re-read his first sentence. Unless he's intentionally trying to deceive people with that sentence.

    Unless you're riding on solid steel tires, you aren't going to get 26k miles on any one set of tires.

  12. #12
    Da Big Kahuna
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    Quote Originally Posted by operator
    He means that he's ridden 26k miles on a bunch of different tires. Re-read his first sentence. Unless he's intentionally trying to deceive people with that sentence.

    Unless you're riding on solid steel tires, you aren't going to get 26k miles on any one set of tires.
    Hmmm, I can see the possible confusion. What I was trying to say is that I have used a bunch of different tires on the way to accumulating a total of 26,000 miles. It would be hard to figure out just how many. I know I used at least two sets - maybe three - on my first bike (4200 miles total on a comfort bike). The first tires on it had slime and a darn thick protective strip. The rest of my tires were either 23x2700 or 25x2700.

    I know I have used the following on my last two bikes:

    1 set of Armadillo Elites
    1 set of conti 3000
    1 set of ultra gatorskins

    In addition I have used at least three sets of the Hutchinson Carbon Comps and at least three sets of conti four seasons. So that is 11 sets minimum and probably 12-14.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Old_Fart's Avatar
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    I would have to say that using tires does indeed increase your chance of getting a flat.

  14. #14
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Incidentally .... when you get a flat and change your tire, do you check the outside and inside of the the tire for the object which caused a flat, and for any additional bits of grit or sharp things?

    If you leave the object which caused the flat in there, it'll cause another one.

    And one of the things I have to be careful of when I'm changing my tire is the tendency to set it down on the gravel by the side of the road ... and then when I pick it up again, a bit of the gravel gets in there. I have to remember to shake it out before I start installing the tire.

  15. #15
    Da Big Kahuna
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka
    Incidentally .... when you get a flat and change your tire, do you check the outside and inside of the the tire for the object which caused a flat, and for any additional bits of grit or sharp things?
    Yeah, I check for that and certainly there have been a couple of streaks of flats where the object was hidden inside the rubber - only poking out under stress. I had one situation where I got 5 flats in the same area (about a 1.5 inch stretch - can tubes fluctuate their position that much?) and no matter how much I tried flexing the tire, etc, to find a hidden object, I had no luck. However, apparently it must have fallen out the last time I did the check because it didn't get a flat again. Up until then I was averaging 20 miles between flats!

  16. #16
    Senior Member DannoXYZ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Old_Fart
    I would have to say that using tires does indeed increase your chance of getting a flat.
    Exactly! Just leave your tires hanging on the wall and you'd never get any flats, ever!

  17. #17
    Touring senior
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    If you have a rash of flats and can never find the cause - they may be caused by pinching the tube against the rim --- I know this is simplistic, but while I was on a long tour (and I'm very heavy) I suddently started having 2 or 3 or even 4 flats in a day. Went to a bike shop and he couldn't find any problem. Then spokes started breaking, so a few days later I found another shop to rebuild the wheel. He noticed that there were at least a dozen spoke holes that had horizontal hairline cracks, and I replaced the rim. After that: no tire problems. I theorize that the weakened rim would spread with weight on it, stretching the width of the tire and thinning it and thus exposing it to pinch flats. By the way, this is a touring bike with 25+mm (1 1/8") tires and 80 lbs of pressure.

  18. #18
    Da Big Kahuna
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigGuy
    If you have a rash of flats and can never find the cause - they may be caused by pinching the tube against the rim --- I know this is simplistic, but while I was on a long tour (and I'm very heavy) I suddently started having 2 or 3 or even 4 flats in a day. Went to a bike shop and he couldn't find any problem. Then spokes started breaking, so a few days later I found another shop to rebuild the wheel. He noticed that there were at least a dozen spoke holes that had horizontal hairline cracks, and I replaced the rim. After that: no tire problems. I theorize that the weakened rim would spread with weight on it, stretching the width of the tire and thinning it and thus exposing it to pinch flats. By the way, this is a touring bike with 25+mm (1 1/8") tires and 80 lbs of pressure.
    I don't think that is it. For one thing, it happens with many tires but only after they have been ridden for awhile. Also, I weight under 160.

    In fact, I apparently just got my 5th flat on my Armadillo Elite in the rear (at least it feels softer than it should so I'm pretty sure it is a slow leak). Once the flats started, I have never gotten more than 148 between flats

    Later, once I've confirmed it is going flat, I'll try to find where it is. I had hoped that a sharp object I found last time had caused at least two and maybe three of the flats, but either this is a bad coincidence or something else is going on.

    I suspect I'll probably end up putting my new tires on though, just to be sure (I'm going to tryout the conti 4000s).

  19. #19
    Senior Member DannoXYZ's Avatar
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    Where are the holes situated? Do you line up the tube with the tyre after finding the hole? And on the rim? Are they snakebites?

  20. #20
    Da Big Kahuna
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    Quote Originally Posted by DannoXYZ
    Where are the holes situated? Do you line up the tube with the tyre after finding the hole? And on the rim? Are they snakebites?
    Okay, first I checked the tubes from my prior two flats - holed in the same place. Nothnig real obvious with the tire there, but I think that is where I found a sharp object the last time so I assume I couldn't find it the first time.

    The hole this time was a different place, but I'm pretty sure it is was the same place as at least one other recent flat. It was at a place where there was a cut in the tire and you could feel that there could be some roughness that came through to the inside. I had tried the last time to cover it with a piece of tape, but the tape had cracked through at that spot - either because the edge of the cut managed to cut through that as well or because there is enough flexing in the tire to cause it to split.

    But, anyway, this is the kind of problem I've been talking about. The tire gets a puncture or cut that gets at least a little to the inside of the tire and that seems to just keep causing flats. The more punctures or flats you get in different spots, the more flaws the tire has to create its own flats!

    It seems a waste to have an otherwise good tire and have to chuck it because of a single puncture or small cut. Any solutions?

    Meanwhile, I've put a new tire on. Wanted to try the Conti 4000s anyway. Front tire is fine, but I'll change that too and save it for emergency replacement.

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