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Tandem Cycling A bicycle built for two. Want to find out more about this wonderful world of tandems? Check out this forum to talk with other tandem enthusiasts. Captains and stokers welcome!

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Old 06-18-07, 08:39 AM   #1
EricD
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High Speed Front Blowout

Well it finally happened to me. My wife and I were on our burley Tandem http://velospace.org/node/3616 going 34 mph and I hit a golf ball sized rock. Instant Flat Tire. I am lucky I was not turning. I was able to maintain full control and bring it to a stop.

This was my fault because I did not air up before the ride. The tires dont stay at 120 for me over night. They drop to about 90-100 and that is just not enough. I wont forget to air up ever again.
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Old 06-18-07, 08:04 PM   #2
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Have blown tandem front tire at 30+ mph . . . don't touch the brakes, sit up up to slow down. Felt like we were riding a bronco!
A real test of your reflexes!
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Old 06-18-07, 08:26 PM   #3
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I'd think a tire failure on a tandem at those speeds would beat the living snot out of your rim. How did the rims hold up?

Sheldon
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Old 06-18-07, 08:36 PM   #4
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Sheldon:
Our front tire blowout was NOT due to hitting a rock . . . don't know the exact cause.
Had a Mavic (MA-4?) rim; held up A-OK.
Pedal on TWOgether!
Rudy and Kay/zonatandem
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Old 06-18-07, 10:19 PM   #5
EricD
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My rim was undamaged as well. I think the underinflated tire may have soaked up some of the impact.
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Old 06-18-07, 10:51 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EricD
Well it finally happened to me. My wife and I were on our burley Tandem http://velospace.org/node/3616 going 34 mph and I hit a golf ball sized rock. Instant Flat Tire. I am lucky I was not turning. I was able to maintain full control and bring it to a stop.

This was my fault because I did not air up before the ride. The tires dont stay at 120 for me over night. They drop to about 90-100 and that is just not enough. I wont forget to air up ever again.
As a professional wimp that would've scared the you-know-what outta me, and I don't carry extra clothing with me. Glad no one was embarrassed or hurt. And way to own up to your negligence. Talk about a lesson learned.
:: arm hairs on end just reading your post::
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Old 06-19-07, 04:30 AM   #7
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I am glad everone made out ok.

Our very first ride on our newest off-road tandem. We had a front tire blow out. We were on a VERY steep downhill.... and hit a piece of shale. It was a little bit of a handful. I tried getting back down behind the seat... but the stoker H.bars were kind of in the way.

glenn
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Old 06-19-07, 10:19 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Fenlason
I am glad everone made out ok.

Our very first ride on our newest off-road tandem. We had a front tire blow out. We were on a VERY steep downhill.... and hit a piece of shale. It was a little bit of a handful. I tried getting back down behind the seat... but the stoker H.bars were kind of in the way.

glenn
We had a front tire blow out on the triple while going between 20-25MPH. I almost pulled out but I had two inexperienced stokers that panicked and the tire came off the rim... The riders, bike and rim made it out OK.
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Old 06-19-07, 11:26 AM   #9
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Thankfully never had a front blow-out, only a rear. Our club 10 course went up and down a mile long approx.5%/1 in 20 grade, hard enough going up on a tandem but coming down, in 64 x 12 and spinning out, I often wondered just what would happen if we did have a blow-out!
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Old 06-19-07, 03:19 PM   #10
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I've never had a blow-out on either a single or the tandem. I get the slowly deflating, "you're going to sit and fix me" and "I'm riding in wet sand" feeling sort of flats.

Sheldon
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Old 06-19-07, 09:30 PM   #11
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As with anything that happens unexpectedly on a tandem/single, usually my reflexes/instinct are pretty good, so far . . . heck I'm only 74 . . . got a ways to go!
Blowing a rear tire is nowhere near as exciting as blowing the front . . . with one exception.
We were testing some new tires for a company on our tandem. Had a single bike drafting . . . tire did not just blow, it exploded off the rim! Tube wrapped into the freewheel causing an instant stop and showering the drafter with pieces of rubber; fortunately no crash.
We can never foresee what'll happen . . . so pedal on!
Rudy and Kay/zonatandem
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Old 06-20-07, 12:11 AM   #12
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This is an interesting topic. I've not had front blowouts, but I have had the front tire deflate quickly on a fast descent, and it wasn't a problem to control. Applying smooth braking had no adverse effect. (The key is to be smooth but quick, just like driving a race car.) I think what may be counterintuitive is that the longer wheelbase of a tandem actually makes a front blowout easier to deal with than on a shorter single bike, where a loose front end leads to unpredictable behavior. Same as riding on loose gravel. I find the front breaks a lot easier on a single bike on loose gravel than on a tandem. A tandem rides over loose gravel much like a boat cuts thru waves. Turns might be a problem; I can see the front wheel sliding sideways as you try to make the turn, either on gravel or on a flat front.

PS to OP: If the tire is going from 120 psi to 95 psi overnight, and it's a butyl tube, you've got a slow leak that needs fixing. I find standard air leakage from 120 to be about 5 lbs per day. A real natural rubber innertube will lose lots more pressure, though.

- L.
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