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Old 11-02-08, 07:07 PM   #1
linuxelf
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4 flats in 5 rides...

So, my road bike has 2500 miles on it, and I finally got my first flat. Looking at the tire (a Vittoria Zaffiro), it was showing signs of wear, so I just had the tire and tube both replaced. The new tire is a Kenda Kwest (the only tire the bike shop had.) I didn't think anything of it. Took the bike out for a ride, and 6 miles in, the tire was flat. Took it back and they replaced the tube for free. 25 miles later, flat. Took it back and they took the wheel strip off, checking it for anything that could be poking the tire. They said the hole was in the outside of the tube, so they checked the tire for anything that could have poked through, and found nothing. They replaced the tube.

It was then that I noticed that this tire is only rated for 85PSI and I've been running it at 110, just like my old Vittoria. So, I figure that must be the problem. I took it out for another ride yesterday at 85PSI. Hated the ride. It just felt sluggish, but I got my 30 miles in without getting a flat.

I go to look at the bike this afternoon, and the tire is flat again. I have to believe it's something with this cheap tire, so I'm headed to a different bike shop tomorrow to find a better tire.

My old Vittoria ran 2500 miles, and was probably still ok (not perfect, but probably better than this Kenda piece of junk.) I'm currently riding on 700x28c tires, and was thinking of moving to 700x23c. I'm assuming that a 700x23c tire will fit a wheel that was formerly running a 700x28c, correct? Anything else I need to keep in mind when changing to this tire? Any tire recommendations? Any problem running a 700x23c on the back and a 700x28c on the front? (I'd rather not change the front tire until it needs changing)

Currently, I'm leaning towards the Vittoria just because I was very pleased with the last one I had, but I'm fairly new to cycling. I've only been at it about a year.

*edited for readability*

Last edited by linuxelf; 11-02-08 at 07:28 PM.
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Old 11-02-08, 07:15 PM   #2
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Paragraph breaks make long commentaries much easier to read.
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Old 11-02-08, 07:46 PM   #3
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My guess is you were given a standard tire, and the old one was puncture resistant. Most Vittoria tires are puncture resistant, while the Kenda tires I've used have not. I'll always pay a few extra $$$ for puncture resistance. Check the side walls to see what you HAD (if you still have the old tire), and what you now HAVE.

I've got Vittoria Randonneur tires on my current daily ride and have had no problems with them. Only difference from you (probably) is I like to use larger size tires (700 x 32). They're definately a little 'sloppier' that narrower, higher pressure road tires, but I like the softer ride that comes with that slop. (whatever gets you out there, right? ).
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Old 11-02-08, 07:59 PM   #4
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could be a spoke poking through.
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Old 11-02-08, 08:35 PM   #5
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My guess is you were given a standard tire, and the old one was puncture resistant. Most Vittoria tires are puncture resistant, while the Kenda tires I've used have not. I'll always pay a few extra $$$ for puncture resistance. Check the side walls to see what you HAD (if you still have the old tire), and what you now HAVE.

I've got Vittoria Randonneur tires on my current daily ride and have had no problems with them. Only difference from you (probably) is I like to use larger size tires (700 x 32). They're definately a little 'sloppier' that narrower, higher pressure road tires, but I like the softer ride that comes with that slop. (whatever gets you out there, right? ).
The Randonneur and the Zaffiro are somewhat different animals, but nevertheless, Vittoria's are good tyres in my experience with the Randonneur (longevity) and the Rubino (handling and to a degree longevity).

The Kenda should not be a significant issue, even at the higher pressure. Had the OP complained of a split in the sidewall, that would be a different matter.

There seems to be an issue within the wheel itself, rather than the tyre. I would check again to see if there are any protrusions from the rim or spokes that are causing the issue. Even the rim tape needs to be checked.

There is not an issue in going from 28C to 23C on the same rim, provided it is not an extra-wide hybrid rim.

There is not a significant issue in using a 23C rim on the rear and a 28C rim on the front. Some people subscribe to the theory/practice that using a slightly wider tyre on the front at a lower pressure will result in a smoother ride that doesn't bash up the hands so much.
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Old 11-02-08, 08:55 PM   #6
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I don't think you have a tire problem.
Switch the front tire with the rear tire.
See what happens next. Let us know.
I had 10 flats with Vittoria.
Will never use them again.
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Old 11-02-08, 10:05 PM   #7
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Thanks for the responses everyone. Y'all got me thinking, so I pulled the tire tonight to check it out for myself. First I put a little mark on the tire to show me where the tube stem lined up. Then I pulled the tube out and put some air in it, and immediately found the leak. A small pinhole leak on the outside of the tire. I laid my new tire up next to the tube and lined up the stem and the mark, then felt inside the tire at the point where the leak in the tube was, and sure enough, there's a spur there. It's like a steel thread sticking through the tire on the inside. I'm pretty confident that the new tire is the issue.
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Old 11-03-08, 01:23 AM   #8
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Oooh, Kenda's. The name just gives me nightmares.

My recumbent shipped with them and I was always getting flats. If I made it through a week without having to sit on the side of the road and rip my wheel apart to patch, I counted myself lucky. The flats tended to look like slices in the tube, but no indication of a corresponding slice in the tire or anything in the tire itself to do the slicing.

I've since replaced them with Marathon Slicks and I haven't had a flat in over a year. Other than the tire, I haven't changed a thing. Maybe unfair to Kenda, but that's my experience at least.
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Old 11-03-08, 11:42 AM   #9
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...so they checked the tire for anything that could have poked through, and found nothing.
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...and sure enough, there's a spur there. It's like a steel thread sticking through the tire on the inside.
Time to find a new LBS, methinks. I shop online and do the work myself, that way I make sure it's done right, and it's cheaper.
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Old 11-03-08, 11:51 AM   #10
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I'm right there with you, rbrian. That was the last time I let them do the work. I had never worked on a bike (well, not in 20 years, and bikes are very different now), so I was a little hesitant to do it, but given this experience, I'll be handling all the simple stuff.

Having the back wheel off also gave me a good opportunity to really dig in and clean the crud from the sprocket.

I just got a set of Vredestein Fortezza SE's 700x23c. I can't wait to give them a test ride tomorrow.
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Old 11-03-08, 11:53 AM   #11
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Thanks for the responses everyone. Y'all got me thinking, so I pulled the tire tonight to check it out for myself. First I put a little mark on the tire to show me where the tube stem lined up. Then I pulled the tube out and put some air in it, and immediately found the leak. A small pinhole leak on the outside of the tire. I laid my new tire up next to the tube and lined up the stem and the mark, then felt inside the tire at the point where the leak in the tube was, and sure enough, there's a spur there. It's like a steel thread sticking through the tire on the inside. I'm pretty confident that the new tire is the issue.
It sounds like you got a small metal wire that caused the puncture. I understand those are the metal wires that make the cords in steel belted radial auto tires. They are really thin and they are hard to find if you get a flat. Good work.

As you probably have already figured out, it is a good idea to find what caused the flat, before you put in a new tube.
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Old 11-03-08, 11:58 AM   #12
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It sounds like you got a small metal wire that caused the puncture. I understand those are the metal wires that make the cords in steel belted radial auto tires. They are really thin and they are hard to find if you get a flat. Good work.

As you probably have already figured out, it is a good idea to find what caused the flat, before you put in a new tube.
Dave has had five flats in the passed two months from these:


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Old 11-03-08, 12:46 PM   #13
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Yes! That's *exactly* the little wire that nailed me! Little invisible b*st*rds! But now I've got 2 new tires (and they're blue!) and two new tubes, and I'm keeping my old ones as spares. I can easily patch that tube and I'm sure it'll be fine.
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Old 11-03-08, 12:50 PM   #14
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Thanks for the responses everyone. Y'all got me thinking, so I pulled the tire tonight to check it out for myself. First I put a little mark on the tire to show me where the tube stem lined up. Then I pulled the tube out and put some air in it, and immediately found the leak. A small pinhole leak on the outside of the tire. I laid my new tire up next to the tube and lined up the stem and the mark, then felt inside the tire at the point where the leak in the tube was, and sure enough, there's a spur there. It's like a steel thread sticking through the tire on the inside. I'm pretty confident that the new tire is the issue.
I've had that happen. It helps to turn the tire inside out to find the offending object.
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Old 11-03-08, 12:56 PM   #15
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Yes! That's *exactly* the little wire that nailed me! Little invisible b*st*rds! But now I've got 2 new tires (and they're blue!) and two new tubes, and I'm keeping my old ones as spares. I can easily patch that tube and I'm sure it'll be fine.
I have been on a Flat Free Trip.
3200 miles before my first flat.
Then 10 flats. Screw, Nail, Glass
Now 4500 miles No Flats. F tire $6 Hutchinson Flash, R tire $10 Forta Kevlar Belt.
I stay Out Of The Debris areas. Now riding just right of the While Shoulder Line. and dodge the junk piles at intersections.
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Old 11-03-08, 08:49 PM   #16
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"Michelin wires". From truck tyre blowouts. 10 Wheels' advice about riding outside the rubbish zone is very sound.
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Old 11-03-08, 11:45 PM   #17
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Sometimes the flats are from defective tubes, right at the valve stem. Had three defective tubes last week. Have seen it with just about every brand.
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Old 11-04-08, 07:16 AM   #18
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Look at it this way aside from a learning experience about tires and such you also got an opportunity to improve your tire changing skills. I went through one of those multiple flat situations over one summer and now I change a flat quicker than anyone I know.
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Old 11-04-08, 08:04 AM   #19
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I see the way they have the bike tire's packaged in the department stores these days and I can't help but think it breaks the steel belts in them.

Maybe that is the way the Kenda's come in to the LBS now.

The last tire I put on my motorcycle was/is a Kenda brand, it has been a pretty good tire, it will make it till spring.
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Old 11-04-08, 10:14 AM   #20
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Sometimes the flats are from defective tubes, right at the valve stem. Had three defective tubes last week. Have seen it with just about every brand.
What are you using to inflate your tires with?
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Old 11-04-08, 10:41 AM   #21
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A few comments...

Kenda makes some very good tires and some lower end ones. Some of their road tires are great.

Kenda touring tires... We used Kenda Eurotreks that were original equipment on out bikes for a coast to coast tour. They flatted more often than belted tires, but wore pretty well. The heaviest rider (me) replaced them after 2500 miles, but the lighter riders did better. One set was still used for a good bit of riding after the 4200 mile tour. The in between rider had one of the Kendas still on at the end but worn out. Bear in mind that this was loaded touring and we carried all our gear including camping and cooking stuff.

In 50 years of riding and maintaining my bikes and those of my family I have not had a problem with bad tubes. In that time I have bought and installed scores of them. If you have problems with them failing right at the stem I am betting that there is a rough place in the valve hole on your rim, you are stressing it while pumping it up, or doing something that stresses it during installation.

I am also guessing that 95% of the time that folks complain about faulty tubes they are either not getting the sharp object out of the tire after a puncture, pinching the tube, or not seating the tire correctly.
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Old 11-04-08, 11:39 AM   #22
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What are you using to inflate your tires with?
Air!?

Sorry - I couldn't resist.
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Old 11-04-08, 12:38 PM   #23
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My experience with Kenda tires has not been good. I was getting an average of 2 flats every 3 rides. I've switched them out and since then have used several other brands, all with much better results. In fact, my Michelen pro's that came with my new bike have 2 summers and a few thousand miles on them without a single flat. (Note to self: you have just jinxed yourself and your tires are flatting in the garage right now).
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Old 11-04-08, 01:40 PM   #24
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My experience with Kenda tires has not been good. I was getting an average of 2 flats every 3 rides. I've switched them out and since then have used several other brands, all with much better results. In fact, my Michelen pro's that came with my new bike have 2 summers and a few thousand miles on them without a single flat. (Note to self: you have just jinxed yourself and your tires are flatting in the garage right now).
Two flats every three rides is not typical and I don't care who made the tire. My bet is you caught a piece of wire or something in your tread and haven't been able to find it. That has happened to me. I searched and searched to no avail. I cut the valve stem out of an old inner tube and used that as a tire liner with good results. Eventually I decided it was crazy to continue fooling around with the tire so I permanently solved the problem by installing a different one.
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