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Old 09-03-12, 12:50 PM   #1
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Why do bike tires suck?

"Through years of bicycle riding, Iíve never been able to pinpoint the exact reason why bicycle tires suck so badly. One fills a car tire with air maybe once or twice a year (really just checking the overall pressure), but a bike tire, it seems, has to be topped off over and over. Why are bike tires so lousy at their intended job of holding air under pressure?"


http://grist.org/living/ask-umbra-wh...-tires-suck-2/
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Old 09-03-12, 01:35 PM   #2
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Remember when your car had inner tubes? Remember the old red rubber inner tubes that made such great sling shots, and such lousy inner tubes?
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Old 09-03-12, 01:49 PM   #3
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Several reasons. A few that come to mind:
You inflate car tires to 30-35 psi, bike tires to maybe 75-100. The air tries harder to get out.
The volume of bike tires is much smaller, so a loss of air that would be imperceptible in a car is easily noticed in a bike.
The rubber in a bike tire and tube is a fraction of the thickness of that in a car. The air has an easier path to escape.
And you should be checking your car tire pressure at least once a month, not once a year. I used to work for a car magazine, and for a story one time we went out to our parking lot and checked 100 tires at random. Seventy of them were underinflated.
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Old 09-03-12, 04:14 PM   #4
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I think the response in the link glossed over the answer. I think the problem is that bike inner tubes are made from a material that is gas permeable while car tires are made from a material that is not. Why bike inner tubes are not or can not be made of a better material I don't know.

An example is latex versus Mylar party balloons. The latex balloons deflate in days while the Mylar balloons will stay inflated for years. The latex material passes gas. (Yes, I said pass gas.)

Last edited by JPMacG; 09-03-12 at 04:31 PM.
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Old 09-03-12, 04:45 PM   #5
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When you take your car in for routine service, the shop usually will check tire pressure and top off.

Bike tires don't hold air at all, but the tube that does. You can't compare the two as the demands on a car tire are 1000x more then a bike.

Last edited by CbadRider; 09-04-12 at 01:31 PM. Reason: Removed rude remark
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Old 09-03-12, 05:57 PM   #6
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I thought the OP's thread would be about tire wear, flats, cost, etc. The last thing I worry about with bike tires is having to inflate them every time I ride - takes 30 seconds max.

One of my manure carts has foam-filled tires - never have to inflate, no flats, hard as a rock.
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Old 09-03-12, 06:16 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Velo Dog View Post
Several reasons. A few that come to mind:
You inflate car tires to 30-35 psi, bike tires to maybe 75-100. The air tries harder to get out.
The volume of bike tires is much smaller, so a loss of air that would be imperceptible in a car is easily noticed in a bike.
The rubber in a bike tire and tube is a fraction of the thickness of that in a car. The air has an easier path to escape.
And you should be checking your car tire pressure at least once a month, not once a year. I used to work for a car magazine, and for a story one time we went out to our parking lot and checked 100 tires at random. Seventy of them were underinflated.
Much truth. Buy a good floor pump with a gauge and use it at least once a week.
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Old 09-03-12, 06:45 PM   #8
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Well first of all I check my car tires WAY more than 1 or twice a year. They drop pressure not unlike a bike tire, only they are at a much lower pressure and dramtically greater volume.

So....

I can't answer the question as posed.
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Old 09-03-12, 07:20 PM   #9
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Troll.
Dude, the OP rides trikes (and not the recumbent type), and feels it necessary to declare, in every single post, how he thinks clipless pedals and aluminum bikes are unsafe. I'm pretty certain he believes the craziness he types, and is not trolling.
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Old 09-03-12, 07:34 PM   #10
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I'm pretty certain he believes the craziness he types, and is not trolling.
Has anybody else bothered to check the link he provided? His question is lifted directly from it; it's not his own. He either 1) just saw something of interest someplace else and is repeating it here because he thinks we'd also find it interesting and might want to participate in a conversation about the topic in general, or 2) trolling.
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Old 09-03-12, 07:42 PM   #11
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Now that I have a car that has built-in tire pressure monitors I find that I have to top off the pressure a lot more often than I used to have to. But now I have my own compressor so it is no big deal.
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Old 09-03-12, 08:07 PM   #12
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Dumb post.

A single car wheel (with the tire) weighs 20-30 pounds. (And the pressure is 30 PSI rather than 60-120.)
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Old 09-03-12, 08:22 PM   #13
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?.. bike inner tubes are made from a material that is gas permeable while car tires are made from a material that is not.. latex balloons deflate in days while the Mylar balloons will stay inflated for years
Not entirely true. Car tires will lose two or three pounds a month, which is why you should check them regularly and why so many people are running around on underinflated tires. And Mylar balloons hold air better than rubber (or whatever they use these days), but certainly not for years. I got a bunch of them in the hospital last year, and by the time I got out 10 days later, they'd deflated and were hovering about knee high.
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Old 09-03-12, 08:22 PM   #14
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Dumb post.

A single car wheel (with the tire) weighs 20-30 pounds. (And the pressure is 30 PSI rather than 60-120.)
A single car tire, 15-17 inch, is typically 20-30 pounds. There is a much greater variance in wheel weights due to different manufacturing techniques like stamped steel, or forged vs cast aluminum alloy. At 17" wheel can be anywhere from 15 to 30 pounds depending on design an manufacturing method.
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Old 09-03-12, 08:28 PM   #15
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Not entirely true. Car tires will lose two or three pounds a month, which is why you should check them regularly and why so many people are running around on underinflated tires. And Mylar balloons hold air better than rubber (or whatever they use these days), but certainly not for years. I got a bunch of them in the hospital last year, and by the time I got out 10 days later, they'd deflated and were hovering about knee high.
I check my car tires every month or two, and I have not seen them lose anywhere close to 2 or 3 PSI per month. My car has had 36 PSI for the last 6 months. Steel wheels w/ hub caps and Yokohama tires (installed in mid-2009) if it means anything.
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Old 09-03-12, 08:28 PM   #16
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Bike tires don't suck.
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Old 09-03-12, 08:41 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Nightshade View Post
"Through years of bicycle riding, I’ve never been able to pinpoint the exact reason why bicycle tires suck so badly. One fills a car tire with air maybe once or twice a year (really just checking the overall pressure), but a bike tire, it seems, has to be topped off over and over. Why are bike tires so lousy at their intended job of holding air under pressure?"


http://grist.org/living/ask-umbra-wh...-tires-suck-2/
Ok, I am going to try to break it to you as gently as I can. The reason you are having so much trouble with you tires is that the gods don’t like you. When you are asleep at night they send someone to let a little air out of your bike tires each night.

The rest of us loose air pressure in our bikes more than in our cars because the tubes in our bikes are thin and it is easier for the air to go through thin tubes than thick tubeless tires on our cars. However, in your case it’s the gods, they just don’t like you.
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Old 09-03-12, 09:31 PM   #18
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when the pressure inside the tube is = to the atmosphere , pressure loss stops.
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Old 09-03-12, 10:03 PM   #19
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It's just your bicycle's way of getting a little attention from you after giving you such great service. Your chain you can neglect and it will keep working, sort of. You never notice a spoke until it snaps. Your bike frame may go completely neglected for years at a time. But your bike tubes want to get their kink on and quietly whisper for a little blow every once in a while.
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Old 09-03-12, 10:32 PM   #20
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If bike tires were constructed like car tires, they'd be thick and heavy -- no one would want to ride them.

And anyone thinking Nightshade is having tire problems needs to have their reading comprehension checked.
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Old 09-03-12, 10:42 PM   #21
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If bike tires were constructed like car tires, they'd be thick and heavy -- no one would want to ride them.

And anyone thinking Nightshade is having tire problems needs to have their reading comprehension checked.
I just read his link and you are right, he is not asking a question, he is just posting someone else’s question that he already has the answer to. Why would someone do that?
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Old 09-04-12, 06:28 AM   #22
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I just read his link and you are right, he is not asking a question, he is just posting someone else’s question that he already has the answer to. Why would someone do that?
I guess for the same reason as going on an endless rant about how clipless pedals are unsafe.
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Old 09-04-12, 09:10 AM   #23
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And anyone thinking Nightshade is having tire problems needs to have their reading comprehension checked.
My point back in post #10.
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Old 09-04-12, 10:13 AM   #24
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Yep, it's his wont.
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Old 09-04-12, 12:05 PM   #25
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Just curious, do the tubeless setups loose much air compared to inner tubes?
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