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  1. #1
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    new cyclist - constant flat issue

    I'm partially disabled and can't/don't drive so I have to have a bike to get around in order to have any kind of independence so I can go out to do local shopping if I need to without having to arrange for a ride.

    I have a Schwinn three wheeler like this
    http://www.walmart.com/ip/Schwinn-Me...icycle/5679542

    which I got from WalMart, had to walk up there to get it after they assembled it.

    At first it was very good and I was able to go and get groceries and it holds about five or six bags of groceries.

    However, I soon got a flat. I don't know much about bikes and didn't know how come the tire went flat when I tried pumping air into it. I got one hand (my other hand is almost totally disabled) and so it was hard to use the bike pump I bought from WalMart

    http://www.walmart.com/ip/Schwinn-Te...-Pump/17247743

    I later found that the pump caused the tire's original tube's valve to snap because I wasn't able to hold the pump while pumping air into the tire so I probably pushed the valve too much.

    I had a friend give me a lift to the local bike shoppe and they replaced the tube on the tire for me. I went to a local restaurant that evening on my bike and then when I went to use the bike again a few days later the tire was completely flat. I took it to the bike shoppe again and they again replaced the tube. Before I even put the tire back onto the bike the tube burst and went totally flat again.

    I'm very poor and can't afford to be constantly replacing tubes, not to mention the frustrating hassle of being left without transportation when the tubes burst. The bike shoppe uses Kenda tubes and the man at the shoppe had inflated the tube within the range posted on the sidewall of the tire. I think that brand is just crappy.

    Could anyone recommend which brand is a good brand or maybe if there are tires that don't need tubes and if that would be better? I could understand getting a flat from running over glass or a nail but this is ridiculous getting a flat while the bike is just sitting there!

  2. #2
    Senior Member badmother's Avatar
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    When having a flat you (or somebody else) should always find out why you are getting a flat. Find out where on the tube is the hole. If it looks like something on the road punctured your tyre look carefully for a piece of glas, wire or a thorn stuck in your tyre. This is then going to put a hole in your new tube, and the next, and the next..

    If the hole is on the innside it could be from a spoke sticking out innside the rim. It then has to be filed down. Your shop should look into this also when replacing the tube.

    Third is the "snake bite" hole. Two small holes on the side of the tube. This is from riding over something like a sharpish edge of a sidewalk or similar with not enough air in the tube. The rim is then going to hit the edge and pinch two small holes in the tube.

    Sounds strange with the valve breaking fom you trying to pump it. I always use the tubes with car type valves as I find them strong and easy to deal with.

    Getting a flat when the bike is parking indicates that it is a small leak of som type and therefor not rare really.

    The tube is not the problem as such, it is the tyres that are "letting the glas or metal into the tube", The tyres should protect the tube.

    You can get "tire liners", long thin strips made of some tough material like Kevlar to put between your present tyre and tube to help shut the nasty stuff out.

    You can buy new almost puncture resistant tyres that are not cheap but still cheaper than buying tube after tube and paying friends for fuel to pick you up.

    You could keep costs down by learning to patch the tubes and search the tyres for glass and stuff but that is not an option for you. Also you still need to keep pumping more air into your bikes wheels every week or so and you can not really do that without help.

    I suggest you go for "safe over fast" and get some puncture proof tyres for your bike. That is tyres made totally from some sort of hard foam, often used on wheelchairs and walkers but also on bikes. Ask your bikeshop or search this forum. They are being discussed from time to time. Most peopel who try them (comuters and peopel who ride quite fast and far) say they are less fast and not as comfortable as pneumatic tyres, but I think that is a small price to pay for someone in your situation.

    I made a search: http://www.bikeforums.net/search.php?searchid=3314903

    Edit: http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...puncture+proof
    Last edited by badmother; 09-07-11 at 05:46 PM. Reason: more
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  3. #3
    Senior Member Gareth's Avatar
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    You sometimes get a bad tube that has been made from porous rubber, or the valve stem might not have been vulcanised in place correctly: it happens.

    Maybe the valve O ring was faulty or the valve core had not been tightened correctly.

    One of the best methods of puncture protection is keep the tyre pressures correct, and a lot of cyclist including me tend to keep the tyre pressure at the high end of that recommended on the tyre.

    Check your tyre pressures on a regular basis .... use the inflator at the filling/gas station, and to help keep you up and running you could add either slime or OKO puncture preventive to your inner tubes ..... these are only to temporarily get you home before fixing the punture properly..... OKO is the better of the two. For re-inflating at the road side, you could carry a CO2 tyre inflator. http://www.tyreinflators.co.uk/cls-t...FUVTfAodSzBmwA
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  4. #4
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    pump

    if you are only able to use one hand whilst pumping you are inevitably going to cause damage using a frame pump. a foot-pump or floor pump would be a much better option which can be used with one hand and not put pressure on the valve.

    http://http://www.walmart.com/ip/Floor-Pump/11065181?findingMethod=rr

    another method would be to use a gas pump (but make sure that you always carry spare containers) although more expensive to use.

    also you really need to try to become self sufficient by repairing your own punctures, i know this is more difficult for you due to being less able, but because of this you rely on your trike more than fully able bodied people!

  5. #5
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    When the shop replaced your tube they should have checked for the cause of the punctures. The second and subsequent tubes should have been free. Kenda is a reputable brand.You do need a floor pump to pump one handed. There are many portable floor pumps that are suitable for carrying with you.

  6. #6
    You gonna eat that? Doohickie's Avatar
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    Yeah... you need to find out if all these flats have the same cause. The bike shop, or whoever changes the tube, needs to figure out where the leak is, and do something to prevent repeats. If it is due to running over glass or debris, an investment in flatproof tires is warranted. A less expensive (and slightly less effective) option is to get tire liners. It could be a problem with the rim itself though. There is a rim strip that covers the ends of the spokes to keep them from poking the tube. If the tape has a hole in it, it could be causing the flats. Or, if there is a sharp piece on the rim, it could be cutting the tube and as stated above it needs to be filed down.

    To really get to the bottom of it, you're either going to have to have a bike shop thoroughly examine the rim and tire, or if you have a friend that knows anything about bikes, have them do it.
    I stop for people / whose right of way I honor / but not for no one.



    Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."

  7. #7
    Frugal cyclist
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    Got to agree with what every one else has said, especially about keeping your tyres inflated to the high end of their pressure limit. Also, don't if if you have but might be worth having a look on youtube and other places to see if people with similar disabilities have posted any thing that includes hints and tips about cycling.

  8. #8
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    Bike tires are an area that is an excellent illustration for the principle that you can save money and frustration by going expensive. You should use tubes with threaded valves and retaining nuts, such as from Schwalbe or Continental, tires with a kevlar layer, again from Schwalbe or Continental, and a decent floor pump with a hose, such as from Topeak or SKS. A good pump will last a lifetime and, in your situation, those tires will last a decade+. These advices are from practical experience including unfortunate flat situations such as yours.

  9. #9
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    http://www.airfreetires.com/

    I have read some good things about these tires. Will cost a bit to do three wheels but since you have the disability i would go with them just for the security of knowing you will not go flat miles from home.

    Good luck.

  10. #10
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    I think I should just get some tires that don't ned tubes. I really don't have the money to be constantly paying the man at the bike shoppe to replace the tubes and I can't do it myself with a disabled hand. it's too complicated and frustrating a hassle. could I just buy tubeless tires or would I have to get new rims too or what? I saw these tires on Amazon which had good ratings as being nearly puncture-proof but I don't know if i could use those on my type of bike

    http://www.amazon.com/Continental-Ga...d=FA5ED3XGBMJ8

  11. #11
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    I'd suggest touring/city type of tires by Continental: Travel Contact, Top Contact or Touring. Their vectran is like kevlar. Alternatively you can consider Schwalbe touring/city: Marathon Plus or Marathon XR. You need 26" diameter and you can read the width off your current tires. The tires I mention require tubes, but do not go flat. I have no experience with tubeless or airfree. The last technology has been tried many times and has not taken off in any of the preceding attempts.

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    I was getting too many flats on my old Schwinn World Tourist. It was very frustrating as they kept on coming even after switching to Kevlar-ply tires. I then went to plan "B" which was to eliminate all rough areas on the inside of the wheel rim (via dremel tool), replace the plastic rim tape with cloth rim tape, and add a liner between the tube and tire. I only have had 1 flat in roughly a year after going to plan B.

    If you or the bike shop didn't find an object in your tire the caused the flat, thenI recommend replacing the rim tape first before going with the high dollar tires.

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    I'm disappointed in your bike shop. I'm pretty sure my LBS would charge for the tube ($7) but wouldn't charge their usual $10 to install it for someone in your situation. (They don't charge me and my only excuse is that I'm lazy.) It's such a simple job for someone experienced with all of the tools ready at hand. And if you went in twice with flats they would definitely would get to the bottom of the problem.

    In my city there is a bike co-op that has a policy of not charging and some locally run shops that I know would be charitable. Cycling enthusiasts tend to be thrilled when a bi/tricycle has enabled someone to be self sufficient in a way that wouldn't be possible otherwise. Perhaps you can find a more sympathetic bike shop.

  14. #14
    Senior Member badmother's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NJC9452 View Post
    I think I should just get some tires that don't ned tubes. I really don't have the money to be constantly paying the man at the bike shoppe to replace the tubes and I can't do it myself with a disabled hand. it's too complicated and frustrating a hassle. could I just buy tubeless tires or would I have to get new rims too or what? I saw these tires on Amazon which had good ratings as being nearly puncture-proof but I don't know if i could use those on my type of bike

    http://www.amazon.com/Continental-Ga...d=FA5ED3XGBMJ8
    I agree, This is what I think is the best for you. danlikes posted this link. Look at the video http://www.airfreetires.com/ . No more flats. no more pumping.
    °Empty drums make a lot of noice... (Old Hungarian proverb).

  15. #15
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    I suggest that you go with an established technology that is proven to work and do not run to test out products from a company that can fold in 2 years after it exhausted its start-up money or because the material was long enough on the market to start falling apart. Replacing plastic with cloth rim tape is a good idea. The cloth is inexpensive and will last the lifetime of a wheel while the plastic can break and/or shift.

  16. #16
    Senior Member badmother's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2_i View Post
    I suggest that you go with an established technology that is proven to work and do not run to test out products from a company that can fold in 2 years after it exhausted its start-up money or because the material was long enough on the market to start falling apart. Replacing plastic with cloth rim tape is a good idea. The cloth is inexpensive and will last the lifetime of a wheel while the plastic can break and/or shift.
    Who said it is not established technology? Maybe you do not use it dayly but others do! Pneumatic tyres as a tecnology is actually younger than compact tyres if you think back! Such tyres is used in big quantitys all over the world every day, like in wheel chairs, walkers and strollers.

    The punctures is not the OP`s only problem, also pumping a tyre is and that should be done approx once a week under normal conditions. If this company spend all its lunch money and go out of buisness, what is the problem? Buy from a different company next time, there is plenty of them out there.

    This tecnology are about to take the whole marked for wheelbarrow wheels here becouse peopel can not be bothered to pump and repair them. As a result a huge amount of perfectly good ones go in the dumpster every week. Shops has started selling replacement wheels w compact tyres. Maby most of us utility cyclists are just being conservative?
    Conservative is not always the same as smart.

    Edit for more: There is a discussion in the folding bike forums just now http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...for-a-Brompton , somebody is struggeling w plenty flats on a Brompton.

    Here member "jur" says; "You might also consider solid tubes/tyres - while not as good as air tubes, they have improved very much over the years and will give you peace of mind." In the folder forum we listen to jur, he knows his buisness and only speak when he has something useful to say.
    Last edited by badmother; 09-13-11 at 03:28 AM. Reason: zPelLinG
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    Quote Originally Posted by badmother View Post
    Who said it is not established technology? Maybe you do not use it dayly but others do! Pneumatic tyres as a tecnology is actually younger than compact tyres if you think back! Such tyres is used in big quantitys all over the world every day, like in wheel chairs, walkers and strollers.
    Yes, and wooden and iron wheels have been used even earlier!

    Quote Originally Posted by badmother View Post
    The punctures is not the OP`s only problem, also pumping a tyre is and that should be done approx once a week under normal conditions.
    I live fine adding air once every 3 weeks.

    Quote Originally Posted by badmother View Post
    If this company spend all its lunch money and go out of buisness, what is the problem? Buy from a different company next time, there is plenty of them out there.
    If you have time and money to test out new technologies, I wholeheartedly recommend that you go for it. Don't push though onto it a person who is not looking for new problems.

    Quote Originally Posted by badmother View Post
    This tecnology are about to take the whole marked for wheelbarrow wheels here becouse peopel can not be bothered to pump and repair them. As a result a huge amount of perfectly good ones go in the dumpster every week. Shops has started selling replacement wheels w compact tyres.
    Indeed, the flat possibility is a serious liability for wheelbarrows, given how they are used. However, then there are wheelbarrows with iron wheels as well, because of that.

    Quote Originally Posted by badmother View Post
    Maby most of us utility cyclists are just being conservative?
    Conservative is not always the same as smart.
    So what about cars, are shops stocking airless tires for them? Since they require less pressure than bikes, it should be easier to go with foam for them.

  18. #18
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    thank you to everyone who has replied to my post My bike is fairly new and I have hardly ridden it more than a few miles. It has the original rims and everything like came with it. I pried out the burst tube and found it has a little hole close to the valve but there is nothing inside of the tire that could have caused it, nothing sharp or anything. I have no problem with the other two tires that still have the original tubes that came with the bike. Only this one rear tire is having issues because the original tube had it valve snapped open while I was trying to fill it with some more air because it was low on air. I had to have the tube replaced and the bike shoppe replaced it with a Kenda tube that promptly went flat all by itself while the bike was sitting on my back porch. I was mystified how the tire could have gone completely flat in three days while the bike was just sitting there parked. The man at the bike shoppe had filled it with air himself after replacing my tube and had filled it within the recommended pressure stated on the side of the tire. I tried pumping it back up but it wouldn't hold any air so I had to take it back to the bike shoppe and a different salesman replaced it with yet another Kenda tube. It was late at night and raining so I gently leaned the tire against the wall in my hallway and planned to put it back on my bike the next morning. Shortly after I woke the next day I heard a loud air noise very similar to tractor trailer air brakes. I went to investigate and found the tire completely flat! Somehow the tube had burst. Luckily it happened then and not after I'd ridden several miles from home. The man who'd replaced the tube had filled it within the recommended pressure stated on the side of the tire and had showed me while demonstrating a guage that he sold me so I'm sure it was not over-filled. I think that brand of tubes are just rubbish I tried buying a different brand of tube at WalMart but the boxes didn't state the sizes like are written on the side of the tire. I got 26 inch but think that the other numbers are wrong. I had such a hassle trying to even get the tube into the tire and it didn't seem to fit as if the tube was much larger around than the rim/tire. Ugh. I couldn't get the tube in, much less filled I think maybe I should try those airless tires that were mentioned, though I'd have to replace my tires one at a time due to my budget. Thanks!

  19. #19
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    Is there not a bike club, or CO-OP in your area that you could join? then you would have people with the knowledge close to you that would pass it on, and you'd be amazed at the info you would pick up with out knowing it.

  20. #20
    Senior Member badmother's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2_i View Post
    Yes, and wooden and iron wheels have been used even earlier!



    I live fine adding air once every 3 weeks.



    If you have time and money to test out new technologies, I wholeheartedly recommend that you go for it. Don't push though onto it a person who is not looking for new problems.



    Indeed, the flat possibility is a serious liability for wheelbarrows, given how they are used. However, then there are wheelbarrows with iron wheels as well, because of that.



    So what about cars, are shops stocking airless tires for them? Since they require less pressure than bikes, it should be easier to go with foam for them.
    I think your posting speaks for its self. I trust the OP and other members to see that you must have far bigger problems than flat tyres! Best wishes.
    °Empty drums make a lot of noice... (Old Hungarian proverb).

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by NJC9452 View Post
    Only this one rear tire is having issues because the original tube had it valve snapped open while I was trying to fill it with some more air because it was low on air. I had to have the tube replaced and the bike shoppe replaced it with a Kenda tube that promptly went flat all by itself while the bike was sitting on my back porch. I was mystified how the tire could have gone completely flat in three days while the bike was just sitting there parked. The man at the bike shoppe had filled it with air himself after replacing my tube and had filled it within the recommended pressure stated on the side of the tire. I tried pumping it back up but it wouldn't hold any air so I had to take it back to the bike shoppe and a different salesman replaced it with yet another Kenda tube. It was late at night and raining so I gently leaned the tire against the wall in my hallway and planned to put it back on my bike the next morning. Shortly after I woke the next day I heard a loud air noise very similar to tractor trailer air brakes. I went to investigate and found the tire completely flat! Somehow the tube had burst. I think that brand of tubes are just rubbish I tried buying a different brand of tube at WalMart but the boxes didn't state the sizes like are written on the side of the tire.
    The quality of the tubes on its own cannot explain all those happenings. (Though presumably the quality of the tube-rim-tire combination can.) There is something wrong there that has not been corrected. As Doohickie said, one needs to carry out an investigation to identify a cause, after each flat. Maybe the hole in the rim is not properly deburred, maybe the protective plastic sleeve is too narrow somewhere and the tube can touch the end area of a spoke. Maybe there is a piece of glass stuck in the tire. Without an identification of the cause and its correction, you will not move forward. Besides there being something systematic, causing the flats, you might have also been unlucky snapping the valve. Combinations of issues are not uncommon.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by NJC9452 View Post
    thank you to everyone who has replied to my post My bike is fairly new and I have hardly ridden it more than a few miles. It has the original rims and everything like came with it. I pried out the burst tube and found it has a little hole close to the valve but there is nothing inside of the tire that could have caused it, nothing sharp or anything. I have no problem with the other two tires that still have the original tubes that came with the bike. Only this one rear tire is having issues because the original tube had it valve snapped open while I was trying to fill it with some more air because it was low on air. I had to have the tube replaced and the bike shoppe replaced it with a Kenda tube that promptly went flat all by itself while the bike was sitting on my back porch. I was mystified how the tire could have gone completely flat in three days while the bike was just sitting there parked. The man at the bike shoppe had filled it with air himself after replacing my tube and had filled it within the recommended pressure stated on the side of the tire. I tried pumping it back up but it wouldn't hold any air so I had to take it back to the bike shoppe and a different salesman replaced it with yet another Kenda tube. It was late at night and raining so I gently leaned the tire against the wall in my hallway and planned to put it back on my bike the next morning. Shortly after I woke the next day I heard a loud air noise very similar to tractor trailer air brakes. I went to investigate and found the tire completely flat! Somehow the tube had burst. Luckily it happened then and not after I'd ridden several miles from home. The man who'd replaced the tube had filled it within the recommended pressure stated on the side of the tire and had showed me while demonstrating a guage that he sold me so I'm sure it was not over-filled. I think that brand of tubes are just rubbish I tried buying a different brand of tube at WalMart but the boxes didn't state the sizes like are written on the side of the tire. I got 26 inch but think that the other numbers are wrong. I had such a hassle trying to even get the tube into the tire and it didn't seem to fit as if the tube was much larger around than the rim/tire. Ugh. I couldn't get the tube in, much less filled I think maybe I should try those airless tires that were mentioned, though I'd have to replace my tires one at a time due to my budget. Thanks!
    Don't give up on your tires. The first flat was a broken valve, the second unknown--maybe a defective tube, it's hard to say.

    You need to see the third tube when it's removed from the tire.
    Where is the hole in the tube, and how big is the hole? How far is the hole from the valve--that will narrow down where to look on the tire and the rim.
    If the hole is on the inside, toward the metal rim, maybe the rim strip that covers the spoke holes isn't covering every hole completely.
    If the hole is a long split instead of a small hole, it wasn't installed correctly by the bike shop--the tire came off the rim and the tube popped.

    Post more details about the tube and it's hole.

    Post the numbers molded into the side of the tire. That will tell us the tire size.

  23. #23
    Senior Member badmother's Avatar
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    Of course there is a reason (or several) to the problems the OP has. Something is blowing the tubes, and the problem can be solved. The OP is describing that both buying a new tube, installing it and pumping it up is impossible to do without help, becouse of disability and lack of knowledge. The OP can not afford to keep buying new tubes and paying a bikeshop that can not find the problem. There is no mention of friends or family that can solve the problem.

    The BIG problem is that it is going to take a long time for the OP to trust this bike, and sooner or later a flat is going to happen again. For this bike to be a good solution for the OP`s need of reliable transport some changes should be made. The best solution for me is not the best solution for the OP.
    °Empty drums make a lot of noice... (Old Hungarian proverb).

  24. #24
    Senior Member badmother's Avatar
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    http://www.walmart.com/ip/Schwinn-Me...Q%26A+Exchange

    Been reading about the bike. One costumer had it delivered w a flat but nothing about repeated flats. Tyres should be 26x2,0"
    °Empty drums make a lot of noice... (Old Hungarian proverb).

  25. #25
    Senior Member Cheshire's Avatar
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    You said you didn't find anything that would be causing flats inside the rim. I know it sounds kinda silly, but did you look with just your eyes or did you look with your fingertips as well? Many, many sharp spots that are invisible to the eye can be readily found by touch.
    Just be careful you don't cut your hand. Another option is to get a soft, smooth piece of leather or cloth and run it over the tube-side of the rim. If you feel it catching, snagging, or getting tugged on anything, that'll give you some feedback. Do the same thing with the inside of the tire.

    Having the last hole near the valve makes me suspect a metal bur or the like at the valve hole. Every time I've had repeated flats, there's been something (however small) that I've eventually found to cause them.

    Good luck!
    Zombie biker!!! O_o
    Eyes open, watch your six, enjoy the ride: motorcycles, scooters, bicycles all.

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