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Old 08-28-14, 08:48 PM   #1
Megalith
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Blow outs

Currently, my number one fear with cycling is an unexpected blowout due to diminishing tire integrity from potholes and cracks. What is the possibility of this actually happening? Is it more likely that a bad tire will simply leak air rather than pop violently?

And if a blow out does occur at high speeds, am I pretty much screwed (as in, flying over the handle bars)? Or will I still have some degree of control if I'm lucky?
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Old 08-28-14, 09:55 PM   #2
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It happens. A front blowout is harder to control than one in the rear, and if it happens, you might go over the bars. Most of us have probably done it at one time or another. You can reduce the chances if you keep your tires inflated to a reasonable pressure and check them often for frayed sidewalls, broken threads in the casing, any bulges anywhere and places where the bead (the part that tucks down inside the rim) looks like it might be slipping out. It's not common enough to worry about, I don't think. I've been riding since college in the '70s, and I think I've had two real blowouts. Maybe 100 flats, but only two BANGS. If it happens, resist the temptation to grab the brakes. Steer as gently as you can, so the tire might stay on the rim, and coast to a stop.
In my opinion, this is one of the very few instances where it's permissible to call for help.
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Old 08-28-14, 10:02 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Megalith View Post
Currently, my number one fear with cycling is an unexpected blowout due to diminishing tire integrity from potholes and cracks. What is the possibility of this actually happening? Is it more likely that a bad tire will simply leak air rather than pop violently?

And if a blow out does occur at high speeds, am I pretty much screwed (as in, flying over the handle bars)? Or will I still have some degree of control if I'm lucky?
I have cycled many tens of thousands of kilometres over the past 24 years ... and I've had 2 blowouts of the loud popping kind.

One occurred while I was riding the bicycle along a street. All of a sudden there was a loud bang behind me which scared me half to death, the bicycle got a little tiny bit wobbly, I slowed to a stop and realised my rear tire was flat. If I'm not mistaken, I just walked home and changed it.

The second time, I had just come in from a sub-freezing ride, turned the heat in my apartment up to about 30C, showered, changed, and went into the kitchen to make something to eat when BANG! Me and my three cats where glued to the ceiling for a moment.


Most of my flats have come from running over glass, running over teensy-tiny bits of wire, or pinch flats from potholes or uneven surfaces. In those situations, I've been riding along nicely and then I notice something change in the handling of the bicycle ... it goes a little bit swimmy. And sure enough there's a flat.
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Old 08-28-14, 10:08 PM   #4
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17 MPH Front tire blow out...No cause found..The 700 X 35 tire was OK.

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Old 08-28-14, 10:11 PM   #5
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The tire lasted 6,000 miles

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Old 08-29-14, 11:26 AM   #6
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I have been riding on and off my 52 years, morw "on" the last nine (or "moron" depending on whom you ask). I have had a few nail and debris innertube blowouts, and none have led to immediate loss of control. There has always been a few seconds to brake and stop. However, one time a few years ago, I was on my MTB/commuter with 26x1.75s going 43mph (I had just looked at my speedo) downhill on a paved MUP and Ka-BLAMMMM! The rear jerked to the right as if someone had kicked it, but I was able to brake and slow, albeit with lots of wobble, and avoid falling. The left sidewall on the rear tire had blown open with a split about a quarter of the circumference. Now, every situation is different, and that was a rear tire, but still I didn't fall. FWIW, the tire, a knobby with a smooth centerline was almost 7-8 years old. BTW, I found that knobby with smooth centerline to be a poor compromise between trail riding and street riding. The side knobs made turning dicey. Since I mostly ride on pavement I have sported true road tires ever since.
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Old 08-29-14, 11:30 AM   #7
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It's been a long time since I had a blowout on any tire, beyond the occasional flat here and there.

Given the ramifications of a true blowout, IMO it is worth keeping tabs on your tire quality and durability. I've never kept a tire beyond its practical life, tread-wise, and I've never kept a tire that had questionable sidewalls or any visibility of the casing beneath the outer tread rubber. Not worth it for me, given the risks. I figure this is one of those things in life where an ounce of prevention is indeed worth a pound of cure.
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Old 08-29-14, 04:19 PM   #8
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I've had one blow out in 10 years and it was due to pumping up the tire to it's limits in the morning and it getting really hot by the time I got to the ride start which caused the pressure in the tire to go high enough to pop the tube. Luckily I was 20 yards from the car at the time and barely moving. I don't think it's much to worry about.
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