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  1. #1
    Senior Member robow's Avatar
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    I may have to rethink this



    Years ago I used to always carry a spare tire with me but over time and after having never experienced anything that couldn't be adequately repaired to get me back on the road, I quit carrying one. Then on yesterday's shake down ride for an upcoming tour, this happens, a kevlar bead separates from the sidewall. Almost new Continental Gatorskin, only a couple of rides with just a touch over 100 miles on it. 100 PSI with a 175lb rider and no gear. Never saw it coming. I may have to rethink carrying a spare with me because had this happened on tour, I'm screwed and even MacGyver's not getting me back on the road. Then it's a matter of looking for someone nice to take me to the nearest town in hopes I can find a 700c tire. So have you ever had this happen on a tour? just the facts please!

  2. #2
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    I always carry a spare tyre on tours. On one of my recent tours, I discovered the front tyre had separated along the tread patterns and showed canvas around the entire tyre. The spare came in handy. I think the brand of tyre has a problem with this separation when the tyre ages. It was OK when I left on tour but I think the stresses of cycling cause the problem to become evident. Anyway, I have carried a spare tyre for many years now.
    Last edited by Steve0000; 09-11-12 at 08:41 PM.

  3. #3
    Senior Member cyclist2000's Avatar
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    I have never seen that happen anywhere.
    I don't do vintage, I bought them new, rode them, kept them. Now they are just old bikes
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  4. #4
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    Same weight, same pressure, same tire, slightly higher mileage (~500-700), same problem! Not on tour, luckily. Had to hike a mile before a guy with a pick-up truck stopped and gave the bike and me a ride back into cell phone range. Had to weight about 45 minutes for my rescue to arrive. Had I been on tour in the middle of nowhere, it would have been a bigger problem. It's one of the reasons I feel justified in carrying a spare tire (700x25, the smallest that will fit my rims) on tour.

    I've wondered if you could MacGyver it, though: use a dollar bill lengthwise to boot the area around the hole, wrap duct tape all the way around the tire and rim, inflate tube as little as you can get away with (80psi loaded?), and enjoy a slow, bumpy ride to the next down?

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    I have never had a tire failure on tour. (Now, in the hills between my house and the coast...) Since I tour on either 25 or 28 mm tires when I'm on pavement, but I'm not always on pavement, I nearly always bring a set of off-road tires for extended dirt/gravel adventures. Thus, I generally have something to roll along on.

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    Senior Member mdilthey's Avatar
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    I paid out $80 a tire to get Schwalbe Marathon Supremes for my 2011 tour. I did not carry a spare. The more expensive tire has a high level of quality, which means catastrophic failure as you depicted is low enough.

    My friends carried one spare between the two of them for their bikes. Our wheels were different sizes.
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    30 years ago I had that happen - twice. At the time, I wasn't "duct tape knowledgeable" but I used to carry a roll of black electrical tape - same idea/same use. I probably used 1/8 of the roll putting it back together and rode 20 miles home with no problems.

    Carrying a spare tire, especially a folder, on tour just seems smart to me.
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  8. #8
    Quirky Grifter LesterOfPuppets's Avatar
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    I've never had a tire death that resulted in much walking but I even carry a spare folding tire when I do certain solo centuries.
    1980ish Free Spirit Sunbird fixed * 1996 Mongoose IBOC Zero-G * 1997 KHS Comp * 1990-ish Scapin * Lemond Buenos Aires Triple

  9. #9
    Senior Member robow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sstorkel View Post
    I've wondered if you could MacGyver it, though: use a dollar bill lengthwise to boot the area around the hole, wrap duct tape all the way around the tire and rim, inflate tube as little as you can get away with (80psi loaded?), and enjoy a slow, bumpy ride to the next down?
    I almost tried that just to see if I could make it rideable but didn't want to have clean all that adhesive gunk off my rim. I'm not sure I normally bring that much duct tape with me. Ha

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    I had a Schwalbe tire split the casing and the tire became severely misaligned. It was possible to ride on, but at the limit of what was safe or comfortable. I carry a back-up tire now. I carry a 32, while I ride 37. So it is not all that heavy a tire. I run tires with wire beads, but the spare is a folding tire. I feel that when something goes wrong one should consider fixing it so it never happens again. None of us know what the risk is of a tire failing, but I know it isn't so large that it never happens. That said, one can just as reasonably take the "lightning never strikes twice approach". To some extent it is a game. I can afford to customize my bike to make it bulletproof as possible, so I am not trying to avoid these issues and the act of dealing with these problems is a way I personalize my bike/gear. Of course one has to be reasonable as far as weight, and other matters go.

  11. #11
    Senior Member neilfein's Avatar
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    After a touring buddy had a tire die on tour, I'll be carrying a spare on longer tours in the future. (He was running 700x23 tires, and I have 700x32 marathons; but still.)


    Last edited by neilfein; 09-11-12 at 10:09 PM. Reason: Added picture
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  12. #12
    Senior Member saddlesores's Avatar
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    IMG_0655.jpgPicture 342.jpg


    happens often enough that i always zip-tie a spare to the front rack.

  13. #13
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    I must admit I have never carried a spare tyre with me. I've ridden in the some relatively isolated areas and on some rough roads with road touring tyres, too.

    But then I don't run the maximum recommended pressures in any of my tyres. In fact, sometimes, they are under the minimum. I'll read of people running their tyres at, for example, 100psi, and I will run at 90-95psi. If a wider tyre, someone might run at 80spi, and I will be running at 60-65psi.

    However, there seems to be a trend here in the model of tyre and the damage being caused. I know that we had a batch of Conti Ultra Sports that produced bulges on the sidewall-tread interface spontaneously. Previous to that, we hadn't had a single issue with Ultra Sports. Perhaps running the lower pressures saved our bacon on each of those occasions, too.
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  14. #14
    <riding now> BigAura's Avatar
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    It appears in the the photo that there is some fraying and discoloration of the Kevlar strands in the middle of the exposed section. I'm wondering if the bead was not fully seated when initially mounted. A high mounting of brake pads may have touched only when applied. This could have worn through the fibers that affix the sidewall to the bead.

    This brings up two obvious questions. Did you notice any braking issues? Was the bead on the inside or outside of the rim when you removed it from the wheel?

  15. #15
    Senior Member robow's Avatar
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    Big Aura, no user issue here, the tire was seated properly or had it not been, that tire could not have been inflated to 100 PSI without tube seeping thru and popping then or I would have noticed riding the day earlier. Oh and it didn't blow while braking, it blew while climbing, thank God.

    Rowan, the tire is rated for max. PSI of 120 so I wasn't pressing the limit at 100 nor the load, or so I thought.
    Last edited by robow; 09-12-12 at 07:12 AM.

  16. #16
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    Wow, never except with very old tires. Did the tire look flawed?

  17. #17
    Senior Member robow's Avatar
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    BigA, no the kevlar bead was still seated within the rim after blowing.

    Lee, the tire looked fine, as I said, never saw it coming.

  18. #18
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    Same for me: tire looked flawless until it failed, bead was inside the rim, etc. I rode it for a 5-6 weeks before having a problem with it. When it happened to me I thought it was just a fluke, but seeing the exact same failure from the exact same tire I'm wondering if Continental might have had a manufacturing problem with an entire batch of tires!

  19. #19
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by neilfein View Post
    After a touring buddy had a tire die on tour, I'll be carrying a spare on longer tours in the future. (He was running 700x23 tires, and I have 700x32 marathons; but still.)
    Why "on longer tours"? It seems like on longer tours the setback of hitchhiking to the next bike shop or having a tire sent by UPS or FedEx would be more acceptable. A day or even a couple days is just not a huge deal on a multi-month tour or even on a multi-week tour for that matter. This assumes that you are somewhere that is possible, but for those of us touring in the US or Europe it likely is not a huge deal.

    I have had to hitch a ride once (not a tire problem) and it wasn't a huge deal and the delay was less than a half day. The thing is that it really wasn't a delay at all because the ride put me where I probably would have stopped for the day anyway.

    I have been with travelling companions who needed to hitch rides to deal with mechanical problems a number of times. In all cases it was no big deal to hitch a ride to the next town, I don't think they were ever much more than 30 minutes before someone gave them a lift. They generally had to wait for me to catch up. In one case it did take to days to get a needed part, but a tire would have been available with no wait in that town.

    Personally I don't find it worthwhile to carry a spare tire. Maybe I would in Mongolia or Central America, but in the continental US I don't find it worth the extra weight for the amount of risk of going without a spare.

    Just me though... Everyone gets to make their own choices. I figure there are other failures that are more likely than a unrepairable tire that I don't carry spares for either.

  20. #20
    djb
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    Quote Originally Posted by robow View Post
    BigA, no the kevlar bead was still seated within the rim after blowing.

    Lee, the tire looked fine, as I said, never saw it coming.
    I just put a new ultra gatorskin on one of my bikes, so will keep an eye on it.
    As for your question, never had anything like that happen, but am now repeatedly touching wood ;-)

    I would expect the bike store where you got it would take it back and exchange it.
    Is there any possibility the tire was hamfistedly folded for a long time after purchase , you know, the figure eight twist that usually is ok. Could you have been rough on it when putting it ,forcing it a lot with tire irons at the end? When I put my new gator on recently, I did at the end have to push the tire a few times up against the rim to get enough slack so not to overly force the last bit over the rim with too much pressure and or overforcing with the tire irons.

    No matter what, I would expect Conti to give you a replacement. Let us know.

    Oh, and I've never taken a spare tire with me , touch wood, but have tended to have rather new tires on (although I realize this example shows new or not, weird stuff can happen...the mystery here is why)
    Last edited by djb; 09-12-12 at 10:52 AM.

  21. #21
    Quirky Grifter LesterOfPuppets's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
    Personally I don't find it worthwhile to carry a spare tire. Maybe I would in Mongolia or Central America, but in the continental US I don't find it worth the extra weight for the amount of risk of going without a spare.

    Just me though... Everyone gets to make their own choices. I figure there are other failures that are more likely than a unrepairable tire that I don't carry spares for either.
    It's the bulk that bothers me more than the weight. Half to 3/4 pound is no big deal to me.

    On one occasion when I flatted I just replaced my tire and tube at the same time instead of bothering to inspect tire for foreign object. I waited 'til I stopped riding for the day to see what got into my tire.

    I carry spare tubes for similar reasons. Sometimes I just don't wanna patch on the side of the road.
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  22. #22
    Senior Member simplygib's Avatar
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    This tire was on the LHT of a guy I met on the Pacific Coast. He started in Vancouver B.C. (new bike, new tires), and this was in northern California, about 600 miles into the trip. He had no spare so borrowed one from a fellow rider until he could find a bike shop.

    ca_tire_explosion.jpg



    This one was on my girlfriend's bike. Again, new bike (Novara Buzz), new tire at the start of the tour. This is about 200 miles into it. She had no spare, and the little town we were in (Burney, Calif.) had no 700c tires at all. After a lot of running around and calling around, we finally got a bike shop in a town 60 miles away to send one on a local commuter bus.

    Blowout_2.jpg



    On the same Pacific Coast trip referenced in the first example, I had a defective bead on one of my tires which would not stay completely seated. It had about 250 miles on it. I was able to make it home with that one.

    And in 2009 a Schwalbe Marathon with about a thousand miles on it got cut across the tread (glass) in Nicaragua, but I was able to continue on with a spare. Later I booted it, but it was iffy so ended up replacing it after returning home.

    I usually carry a folding spare. I have gotten by without one, but don't like the potential inconvenience of not having one. The extra weight doesn't concern me.
    Last edited by simplygib; 09-12-12 at 10:52 AM.

  23. #23
    Senior Member alan s's Avatar
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    Carry a lightweight foldable spare tire, not unlike those small spare wheels that come with lots of cars nowadays. Just make sure you have a tube that fits. An old tire costs nothing, and as long as it has a little wear left in it, you'll at least get rolling again. Easier to change an old pre-stretched tire on the road vs. a new one. If you don't have a worn tire, your LBS could probably give you one for free. Looks like the tire was defective. Conti should be offered the tire in exchange for a new one.

  24. #24
    Senior Member neilfein's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
    Why "on longer tours"? It seems like on longer tours the setback of hitchhiking to the next bike shop or having a tire sent by UPS or FedEx would be more acceptable. A day or even a couple days is just not a huge deal on a multi-month tour or even on a multi-week tour for that matter.
    staehpj1 - A good question, and my reasoning isn't simple. I suspect my definition of a longer tour is different than yours - for me, it's a week or two. A weekender or a tour of a few days? I'm probably fairly close to home, and it'd be less of a bid deal if the shorter tour got sunk.

    I also tend to plan more day-to-day stuff, using Warm Showers and making reservations at campgrounds. I'm a planning kind o' guy, and more comfortable when I have a known plan ahead of me. So re-planning a day or two isn't as big a deal as re-planning an entire week would be.

    I would see carrying a spare tire on a shorter tour as paranoia. Particularly when I'm running schwalbe marathons. But I'm on a longer tour, there's more at stake if things get scuttled, and I think I'll be happier knowing I have that spare folding tire packed away.
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  25. #25
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Had #3 tire on hand , so when rear sidewall tore open , I left it in some farmer's
    tractor shed, in Ayrshire Scotland.

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