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  1. #1
    vol
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    What caused your bike to go flat on the road?

    I keep reading people having a flat while riding. Was it a sudden big flat because of running over broken glasses, nails etc. on the road, or you had not pumped enough air and it slowly went flat?

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    wal mart tires......

  3. #3
    Senior Member Dean7's Avatar
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    I have dealt with a LOT of flats (for some reason my street has a ton of glass on it... don't know why!). When I was using more racing-oriented tires I had flats for things like thistles in the road and I had one experience where I hit a piece of glass and it was literally like I heard a big "POP!" and my tire was gone. I've since switched over to running race x lite hard case, gatorskins, etc. for commuting and I've hit some glass with them and had some flats but it seems like the failure mode on these tires (for me at least) has been more like I hit something (glass usually!) and then get a slow leak.

    I've yet to have a pinch flat (I check my air pressure with a sort of maniacal devotion though).

  4. #4
    Packfodding 3 caloso's Avatar
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    Glass, goathead thorns, wires, nails, potholes, random debris.
    Cyclists of the world, unite! You have nothing to lube but your chains!

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    Uber Goober StephenH's Avatar
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    Quite often, you won't see what did it, just have a hole in the tire and tube.

    Thumbtacks, screws, thorns have been the culprits that come to mind.
    "be careful this rando stuff is addictive and dan's the 'pusher'."

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    Packfodding 3 caloso's Avatar
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    Don't forget shifted rim tape. Three flats within 50 miles before I figured it out. That was maddening.
    Cyclists of the world, unite! You have nothing to lube but your chains!

  7. #7
    Senior Member Dean7's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by caloso View Post
    Don't forget shifted rim tape. Three flats within 50 miles before I figured it out. That was maddening.
    Suck!

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    Flats are a combination of road conditions, bad tires, and cheap tubes.

  9. #9
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vol View Post
    I keep reading people having a flat while riding. Was it a sudden big flat because of running over broken glasses, nails etc. on the road, or you had not pumped enough air and it slowly went flat?
    Have you actually purchased a bicycle and started riding yet?

  10. #10
    Senior Member Northwestrider's Avatar
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    I have presta valves, I believe I went through a period a long time ago, where I flatted IMHO because I kept the knurled ring around the valve tightened to snugly.

  11. #11
    "Per Ardua ad Surly" nelson249's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by caloso View Post
    Don't forget shifted rim tape. Three flats within 50 miles before I figured it out. That was maddening.
    +1
    1997 Mongoose Hilltopper, 1988 Bianchi Specialissima, 2006 Surly Cross-Check, 2010 Norco City Glide, 1947 CCM Single-speed.

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  12. #12
    On a Mission from God FunkyStickman's Avatar
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    Glass, bits of metal, wires, sometimes when I use cheap tubes they rupture for no apparent reason (split at the seams).

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    bumps which bottom out the tire against the rim can cause flats.

  14. #14
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    I haven't had a flat on the road in about 3000 miles. Ever since I started only running puncture resistant tires and regular tired with Mr Tuffy liners.

    Quote Originally Posted by garage sale GT View Post
    bumps which bottom out the tire against the rim can cause flats.
    Isn't that a sign you don't have enough air in your tire?

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    Shards of flint, sharp as a razor and will slice through anything.

  16. #16
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Flint-Glass- Thorns are my main cause. But I can stop a lot of flats by wiping the tyres with a damp cloth to clean the rubber and I can see the small bits embedded in the rubber that will- with use- work their way through to the tube. Prise them out with a small screwdriver and although there may be a hole- it will not cause a problem. And if the shard is deeper and in prising it out I flat- it is easier to fix at home with a cup of coffee than on the road.
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  17. #17
    Pat
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    Well, I have had all the usual suspects. I have had rim tape that has shifted which is maddening. I have had glass.

    Phantom glass can be especially vexing. That is a very small sliver of glass that you can not see on the flat tire. So you think when you change the tube, that the cause of the flat fell out. No, it is just hiding in the little fissure in the tire. When you pump up the tire and spread the tire some, then the piece of offending glass sticks out and very quickly tears a hole in your tube.

    I have had staples, wires, and nails cause flats. I have had pinch flats caused by hitting a bump with a slightly underinflated tire (this has not happened for years).

    I have heard of flats caused by thorns and goat heads but fortunately, not living in the "right" part of the country, I have missed out on that pleasure.

    Generally, once the tire gets worn, I start seeing flats and it is time to change tires.

    Now a friend of mine had a new one on me. He said he was doing this ride and the road had been flooded and then dried off. There were dead and decayed critters on the road. He had a flat caused by a fragment of bone. I thought that might be appropriate seeing as Halloween is coming up.

    Also, a good quality of tire may lower the chance of a flat, but if you ride enough, there is a piece of debris out there waiting to give you a flat. It is just going to happen. So never ever ride without the ability to fix at least 2 flats. Having a boot does not hurt either.

  18. #18
    Packfodding 3 caloso's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Northwestrider View Post
    I have presta valves, I believe I went through a period a long time ago, where I flatted IMHO because I kept the knurled ring around the valve tightened to snugly.
    I did that too when I first started riding. I just throw them away now.
    Cyclists of the world, unite! You have nothing to lube but your chains!

  19. #19
    Life is good RonH's Avatar
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    My last 3 flats (2 last summer, 1 last July) were from sidewall cuts/punctures.
    My bikes: 2001 Litespeed Tuscany---
    2013 Cannondale CAAD 10 2 "Racing Edition"--The bike shop owner said it's toast. R.I.P.

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  20. #20
    vol
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    Can going up (or down) a shallow curb, even slowly, add up the risk of flats? Maybe MTB is OK, but not others?

  21. #21
    Packfodding 3 caloso's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vol View Post
    Can going up (or down) a shallow curb, even slowly, add up the risk of flats? Maybe MTB is OK, but not others?
    It can be done on 23mm tires with a bunnyhop.
    Cyclists of the world, unite! You have nothing to lube but your chains!

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    treadless tires helps.

    Under inflated tires were my major causes

  23. #23
    Senior Member Northwestrider's Avatar
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    +1 on the rim tape comment. I had a new bike, that had none, I flatted within a couple of weeks. I always check for it now.

  24. #24
    vol
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    If the flat was due to broken glasses/metal wire etc., that means the tire has been damaged, so carrying a pump is not enough--you'll need to fix the tire (patch etc.), quite a job to do on the road, isn't it?

  25. #25
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vol View Post
    If the flat was due to broken glasses/metal wire etc., that means the tire has been damaged, so carrying a pump is not enough--you'll need to fix the tire (patch etc.), quite a job to do on the road, isn't it?
    I ask again ... have you actually purchased a bicycle and started riding yet? Your questions sound like you've never ridden a bicycle, and never encountered things as common as flats.

    No, unless there's a gaping hole in the tire, which does happen but only occasionally, your tire is usually all right if the flat is because of broken glass/metal wires. It's your tube that needs to be replaced or patched. Inside the tire there are tubes. These tubes cost about $2-5 so many of us carry a couple around with us, and maybe a patch kit, depending on how far we ride and what sort of conditions we ride in. When you've practiced changing the tire in the comfort of your own home several times, so that you are familiar with the process, you might be able to get the time of the changing process down to 10 minutes or less. For me, the time consuming part is determining where the teensy little shard of glass is.

    If it happens that you've gone over a sharp rock and there is a noticable hole in the tire, you will take your tire boot out of your bag, then boot the tire, change the tube, and be on your way. Booting the tire will take an extra minute ... the time it takes to get the boot out of the bag.

    And because I suspect you'll ask, boots can be anything from commercial boots you can buy from Park Tools to paper money to sections of old tubes, or other similar things.

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