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Repeated flats on the under side of the tube without being ridden on

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Repeated flats on the under side of the tube without being ridden on

Old 09-22-21, 09:31 PM
  #1  
nslckevin
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Repeated flats on the under side of the tube without being ridden on

Iíve got a set of Zipp Firecrest 404 clinchers from about 2015. Lately the rear has been giving me fits.

Iíve been getting flat tires where the tube has a small (~3/16Ē maybe) slit on the under side of the tube just past where the stem re-enforcement ends. I was still running the original rim strip. I had tried putting a piece of electrical tape over that section of the rim strip but that was no help. I stopped by a shop on a ride and got a new rim strip and had the same thing happen on two brand new Conti tubes. (The lighter weight butyl tubes with the 80mm stem). I thought perhaps I had a batch of bad tubes and put in a normal Conti tube with a valve extender and raced on the wheels Saturday and Sunday, but got a flat in my first crit on Sunday. But it was a normal flat from a piece of glass so I was okay with that. But then when I replaced the tube between races I got another flat just standing there with that same cut on the under side. My friend and I decided that I had guessed wrong on the width of the new rim strip so I ordered a wider one that fits perfect. And Iíve flatted two more tubes without even mounting the wheel on my bike. Both again, on the under side.

So, I ask. What the Actual F**k?! Iíve been riding and racing for over 30 years. I have changed thousands of tires over that time. What the hell is going on? I am wondering if perhaps it has something to do with the fact that I use a compressor to fill my tires, but on Sunday at the race I used a floor pump. But again, Iíve been using the compressor for a few years and donít have this problem with other wheels.

For clarification the slits are a good distance away from valve hole in the rim. I sanded that part of the rim to be sure, but like I said, the cuts are at least .5Ē away from the valve hole. Also, I generally mount the tires without using tire irons and if I do Iíd be using them on the opposite side of the wheel, so thatís not it. I donít use particularly high pressure, maybe 95 PSI.

FWIW, Iím using Schwalbe Pro One tube type tires. 25mm with the appropriate sized tube for that tire.

Any ideas? This is starting to get expensive with all the brand new tubes Iím throwing away.

Thanks,

Kevin
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Old 09-22-21, 09:41 PM
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I had a similar issue with a very different rim. The mechanic at the local shop identified that it was a narrow rim which made it difficult to get the tube and tire in place, so I'd been pushing the valve stem up into the tire to make sure the tire bead seated. This allowed the tube to fold over onto itself next to the valve, leading to a flat near the valve stem a few days after inflation. Now I'm careful to use the stem nut to hold the tube to the rim and I've had no flats since. May not be your issue, but worth looking at.
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Old 09-23-21, 07:49 AM
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I'd been riding and changing tires and tubes myself for way over 30 years when I started having a rash of flats and then one day realized I'd developed some bad habits and actually was damaging the tube during installation.

Some of my issues were tire levers, which I no longer use to install or remove a tire. And the bigger issue was that I was getting in too big a rush and letting the tube get pinched as I pushed the bead over the edge of the rim.
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Old 09-23-21, 08:04 AM
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Use some tire talc on the inside of the tire and on the tube to allow it to move and not stick on the tire or to itself during installation. Air up the tube so it holds shape while installing it and the tire, you should NOT need to use tire tools and if you have to, use some plastice steel cored ones and be sure to not pinch the tube (which is why you use talc and air to minimize that from happening).
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Old 09-23-21, 08:54 AM
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Yes, I think a little air in the tube during installation may help. Also, after setting the bead inside the rim air up to 15 or 20 psi then deflate completely before pumping full pressure to fully seat the bead. The idea is to allow the tube to relax and untwist or unfold if that has happened and it only takes a minute. Deep vee rims and long valve stems have created problems of their own. And now that it's not easily get tubes with stems less than 50mm they end up looking like crap on shallow traditional box rims (MA2 and CR18's).
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Old 09-23-21, 11:32 AM
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Originally Posted by canopus View Post
Use some tire talc on the inside of the tire and on the tube to allow it to move and not stick on the tire or to itself during installation. Air up the tube so it holds shape while installing it and the tire, you should NOT need to use tire tools and if you have to, use some plastice steel cored ones and be sure to not pinch the tube (which is why you use talc and air to minimize that from happening).
You might be on to something there. I addressed the issue of flats on the inner part of the tube torus here. But now that you mention it, Iíve gotten away from using talc because of fashion mostly. I didnít used to experience this kind of flat very often but lately itís been a higher proportion of flats for me than goatheads and thatís saying a lot for where I live. Talc may allow the tube to slide inside the tire rather than catch like I detailed above.

I just might have to go Ďsperimentiní.
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Old 09-23-21, 11:55 AM
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Originally Posted by Iride01 View Post
Some of my issues were tire levers, which I no longer use to install or remove a tire.
Tire levers are bad? I have never done without mine, which are plastic, rounded, and look fairly harmless.

Amazon.com : 50 Strong Bike Tire Lever - Set of 4 Easy Grip Bicycle Levers - Best Tire Changing Tool - Made in USA and Designed to Snap Together for Storage (Black) : Sports & Outdoors

The Mavic ones that came with my upgrade wheels, not so much, which is why I bought the above set.

Mavic Tyre Levers Ė Condor Cycles
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Old 09-23-21, 12:04 PM
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Originally Posted by tommymc View Post
Yes, I think a little air in the tube during installation may help. Also, after setting the bead inside the rim air up to 15 or 20 psi then deflate completely before pumping full pressure to fully seat the bead. The idea is to allow the tube to relax and untwist or unfold if that has happened and it only takes a minute. Deep vee rims and long valve stems have created problems of their own. And now that it's not easily get tubes with stems less than 50mm they end up looking like crap on shallow traditional box rims (MA2 and CR18's).
Yes to the techniques described above. 40 mm Presta stems here:

Amazon.com : MICHELIN A1 Airstop Smooth Presta Valve 700x18-25C 40mm Butyl Tube Bundle - 4 Pack - New in Box : Sports & Outdoors

Amazon.com: Michelin A2 Airstop Front or Rear Road Bike Tire Tube, 25/32 x 622/635, 40mm : Automotive
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Old 09-23-21, 12:29 PM
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Not a cure but often makes the cause obvious- patch those tubes. Reuse 'em. If the holes always appear in the same place you know exactly where to look for the cause. If the hole locations wander, the problem is probably the operator.
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Old 09-23-21, 12:33 PM
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Originally Posted by SoSmellyAir View Post
Tire levers are bad? I have never done without mine, which are plastic, rounded, and look fairly harmless.

Amazon.com : 50 Strong Bike Tire Lever - Set of 4 Easy Grip Bicycle Levers - Best Tire Changing Tool - Made in USA and Designed to Snap Together for Storage (Black) : Sports & Outdoors

The Mavic ones that came with my upgrade wheels, not so much, which is why I bought the above set.

Mavic Tyre Levers Ė Condor Cycles
Gosh, how do you extrapolate my words as saying that tire levers are bad?

I figured most know that sometimes you can improperly use a lever and damage a tube with it. But I guess that was a bad assumption on my part.
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Old 09-23-21, 05:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Iride01 View Post
Gosh, how do you extrapolate my words as saying that tire levers are bad?
Sorry, my above overstated response to your comment about no longer using tire levers stems from so many BF posts discussing tight rims, tight tires, and whether tires can be mounted by hand without tire levers, and the emphasis that skilled cyclists and mechanics can do so. Given my only so-so mechanical abilities and limited hand strength, tire levers have always been a necessity.

Originally Posted by Iride01 View Post
I figured most know that sometimes you can improperly use a lever and damage a tube with it. But I guess that was a bad assumption on my part.
I actually don't know this; I only know that a good tube can be damaged during installation if it is pinched between tire and rim, which is why I seconded tommymc 's advice of slightly inflating tubes before installation, which reduces the likelihood of pinching, but I don't know how the use of tire levers increases the likelihood of pinching or other mishaps. I would appreciate if you advise me on how not to use tire levers (in case I am doing something wrong). So far, I have only killed one tube (the very first time) during tire installation, so I am hopefully not doing too badly.
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Old 09-23-21, 06:53 PM
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Since I don't see it mentioned, is it possible you're overtightening the stem nut? That could put a tear right where you described.
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Old 09-24-21, 08:43 AM
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Originally Posted by SoSmellyAir View Post
mishaps. I would appreciate if you advise me on how not to use tire levers (in case I am doing something wrong). So far, I have only killed one tube (the very first time) during tire installation, so I am hopefully not doing too badly.
It'd be easier to tell you how to use them correctly than the many ways you shouldn't use them.

Essentially just watch where you are sticking them and be sure that you know the tube has no way to get between the end of the lever and the tire as you pry with it. Know that sometimes as you pry with them the bead and sidewall of the tire get in a bind in places away from the tire lever and that might involve the tube that might get damaged enough to leak immediately when inflated or several rides after.

As a kid, pre-teen, teen and adult that acted like a kid, I just used screwdrivers as levers. I learned quickly not to poke them in so far that they stuck into the tube and damaged it. When I finally did graduate to using levers, I still had to be careful not to stick them in so far.

Learning how to remove the tire without levers is more about just bragging. It can be a little slower. And there is still a chance that the tube can be damaged while pinching the sidewall of the tire to pull it over the rim.

Big thing is that if you flat a lot and it's not from road hazards or spokes and rim issues, then it will seem like installation errors are more likely than a bad tube from the factory.
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Old 09-24-21, 12:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Iride01 View Post
It'd be easier to tell you how to use them correctly than the many ways you shouldn't use them.

Essentially just watch where you are sticking them and be sure that you know the tube has no way to get between the end of the lever and the tire as you pry with it. Know that sometimes as you pry with them the bead and sidewall of the tire get in a bind in places away from the tire lever and that might involve the tube that might get damaged enough to leak immediately when inflated or several rides after.

As a kid, pre-teen, teen and adult that acted like a kid, I just used screwdrivers as levers. I learned quickly not to poke them in so far that they stuck into the tube and damaged it. When I finally did graduate to using levers, I still had to be careful not to stick them in so far.

Learning how to remove the tire without levers is more about just bragging. It can be a little slower. And there is still a chance that the tube can be damaged while pinching the sidewall of the tire to pull it over the rim.

Big thing is that if you flat a lot and it's not from road hazards or spokes and rim issues, then it will seem like installation errors are more likely than a bad tube from the factory.
Thanks. The tire levers I use (and linked to above) cannot go in that far because of their shape and how tightly tires fit over my wheels. I would never use a screwdriver; too many ways that could go wrong and damage tube, rim edge, or brake track.

Touch wood, so far I have only ever had two flats, both pinch flats, once (a few years ago) from riding into the back of a work truck parked in the bike lane, and last week when I rode over a medium size rock.
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