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Foreign object inside inner tube

Old 07-23-22, 01:40 PM
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Foreign object inside inner tube

I flatted today and put a spare tube into the front tire in a roadside repair. After putting the reinflated wheel back into the frame, I gave it a spin to make sure it was clearing the rim brakes and that there was no other issue. I could hear an odd sound, new to me, as the wheel rotated, but I could see no obstruction or contact with brakes or frame, so I road it home.

Back at the ranch with the bike in a stand, I listened again, and there was definitely something rattling around in the wheel at low RPM, but it was silent at high RPM. I took off the tire and tube, and checked the wheel to see if there was something in the rim, but no. Turned out there was something in the tube itself!

Here's what it looks like in the deflated tube:


By feel, it seems to be a slightly-curved piece of hard wire, 1.5 inches long with a slight hook on one end. I had wondered if it were a valve core that dropped through the valve stem, but it's too long and too curved to be that.

This is a Schwalbe tube, model SV14A, made in Indonesia (so it's a true foreign object). I bought four of these tubes in 2019 when I went to 650b wheels, and it's got lotsa miles on it, along with 5 Remo patches. I'm pulling out of duty for now, but may put it back into rotation as a spare, because whatever is in there hasn't affected its performance.

Another new cycling experience!
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Old 07-23-22, 01:49 PM
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Was this tube in the 584 wheels/tires? Just wondering as it's labeled as a 559. Not that the possible size miss match seems to have been a problem.

But for the cost of a tube I'd rather not get a preventable flat so I would replace it. Andy
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Old 07-23-22, 02:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Andrew R Stewart View Post
Was this tube in the 584 wheels/tires? Just wondering as it's labeled as a 559. Not that the possible size miss match seems to have been a problem.
Andy,

Yes, it's a 559 in a 584, good spot. The tire vendor, Rene Herse, (Compass when I bought the tires) recommends this size for 650b x 37-55, they seem to like the smallest tube that will fit. Haven't had a problem in use, but will try a 584 on next tube buy. You're right about not chancing a flat by reusing.
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Old 07-23-22, 02:19 PM
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I have done this same tube size miss match. But usually, it's a second choice. A get the rider going again choice. Unfortunately, the last couple of years a this has been the "go to" more times than over the previous 40 years as tube availability became problematic. Andy
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Old 07-23-22, 04:37 PM
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I have once or twice heard stuff that seem to be rolling inside the tubes when I turned the wheels slowly. I just ignored it and I don't recall that I had any issues or shorter life out of the tube or tire.

Maybe one of the employees and the factory thinks it's a funny joke and puts some little scraps of rubber in there before the tube is joined.
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Old 07-23-22, 04:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Iride01 View Post
Maybe one of the employees and the factory thinks it's a funny joke and puts some little scraps of rubber in there before the tube is joined.
Hard to know. I don't imagine much humor in a factory that manufactures inner tubes. And the thang inside the tube is definitely not a rubber scrap. It's a metal scrap.

Reminds me of the Seinfeld episode with the Junior Mint. Obscure reference.
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Old 07-23-22, 05:33 PM
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Originally Posted by BCDrums View Post
Hard to know. I don't imagine much humor in a factory that manufactures inner tubes. And the thang inside the tube is definitely not a rubber scrap. It's a metal scrap.

Reminds me of the Seinfeld episode with the Junior Mint. Obscure reference.
If it's metal or anything that seems hard, my curiosity would have me cut the tube open no matter what just to see what it is. Maybe they put a prize inside like the old Cracker Jack candied popcorn had <grin>
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Old 07-23-22, 06:12 PM
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Can you remove the valve stem then work that object to the valve and out? I'd try just to satisfy my curiosity.
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Old 07-23-22, 07:04 PM
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Originally Posted by 79pmooney View Post
Can you remove the valve stem then work that object to the valve and out? I'd try just to satisfy my curiosity.
I don't think so, the object is curved/radiused enough so that it wouldn't pass the valve stem. Eventually I'll just cut the tube and see what it is. Photo will follow.
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Old 07-23-22, 07:57 PM
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I am so curious as to that foreign object that were I closer, I would send you a new tube just to find out.
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Old 07-24-22, 08:34 AM
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I would take that to my friendly dentist and ask them to make a radiograph of it. This is what *I* would do because I'm a dentist!
But realistically, even using non-destructive technology to identify the object, it it's metal you're not going to use the tube. You might be able to send it back to the source (or Schwalbe) for a replacement.
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Old 07-24-22, 08:57 AM
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I was doing a teleportation experiment with hundreds of pieces of wire. The wires did not re-materialize in the target location...

In fact, I lost all of them
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Old 07-24-22, 09:09 AM
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For no more than a tube costs, I wouldn't want it inside possibly cutting away and damaging the tube from the inside out so I would cut it open. That and I'd be pretty curious as to what it is.
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Old 07-24-22, 01:29 PM
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I would just push it out the tube and throw a patch on the tube, if only out of curiosity.
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Old 07-24-22, 01:41 PM
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So, are we extracting the object from the tube to have a look
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Old 07-24-22, 02:44 PM
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How do I start a petition?
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Old 07-24-22, 03:55 PM
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That’s a pretty good idea!

sorry, didn’t quote, to push it out and patch.

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Old 07-25-22, 08:17 AM
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The Big Reveal!

Originally Posted by wheelreason View Post
I would just push it out the tube and throw a patch on the tube, if only out of curiosity.
Today I made a tiny incision in the tube (already patched!) and here's what i found:

Foreign object inside a Scwalbe inner tube

It's a rusty metal piece, about an inch-and-a-half long, a sixteenth in thickness. Both ends pointed but not very sharp. As I said in the first post, this thing has been in there for hundreds of miles of riding. The tube has five patches (now six), maybe it caused some of the punctures, can't recall.

I'll send the photos to Schwalbe North America for their amusement. Maybe they'll send a replacement, I wouldn't decline.

Originally Posted by Andrew R Stewart View Post
Was this tube in the 584 wheels/tires? Just wondering as it's labeled as a 559. Not that the possible size miss match seems to have been a problem.

But for the cost of a tube I'd rather not get a preventable flat so I would replace it. Andy
Andy, as I said, Rene Herse recommends this 559 tube for the 38x584 tire. I went looking online for a replacement 584 tube, and they are hard to find in a narrow size. There are plenty in the 1.75 and up range, but I only found the Schwalbe with a 1.50 (38mm) tube. Schwalbe even has a tube model SV12 that it specifies for a range of 30x559 up to 47x584. The tubes I have been using, the SV14A, is specified for for 40-60x559.
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Old 07-25-22, 08:46 AM
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Are you sure there is no possibility that the metal piece didn't enter the tube from one of the 5 previous flats?
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Old 07-25-22, 08:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Crankycrank View Post
Are you sure there is no possibility that the metal piece didn't enter the tube from one of the 5 flats?
Yes. This thing would have to puncture the tire and go completely into the tube. Given its size and hooked end, that seems implausible.

Pretty good question, though!

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Old 07-25-22, 11:19 AM
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Thanks for letting us know.
That object looks too unsubtle to have have sneaked through the tire and tube unnoticed.
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