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Bikes go flat suddenly, Texas, U.S.

Old 04-23-23, 03:22 PM
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Bikes go flat suddenly, Texas, U.S.

Hello,

I have a strange flats happening rather regularly. I've been living in Texas (Houston area) for the last three years, and every 6-9 months flats happen suddenly when bikes are idle (at rest). Both mine and my spouse's bikes are affected.
Few details:
- We live in an apartment complex, bicycles are stored outside. I stored them in two places: in the shadow under the stairs and on the balcony where they were exposed to sun in the afternoon. In both places these flats continued to happen.
- After replacing tubes every time I inspect tires and tubes and see no signs of vandalism or animals.
- The damage is often located on the side of tires (neither at the inner circle, nor at the outer circle, just on the side), and sometimes I see a thread of very small holes on the side (again, can't post the image because of the forum rules )
- I don't see anything special on the tires, except that they are quide aged (mine are 10 years old, and my spouse tires are 5 years old)
- The flats never happen immediately after we ride. Usually, a descent amount of time passes after the last ride, at least few weeks. So I don't think this is a delayed result of a direct damage to a tube.
- We ride bicycles about one time per quarter (infrequently).
- This never happened to me before moving to Texas so I am puzzled.


I have two pictures I took today, a week ago after both tubes on my bike went flat both at the same time (!), but the forum rules don't allow me to post pictures.

At this point, I have two hypotheses:
1. The fact that I store the bicycles outside makes them exposed to some extreme Texas conditions that just lead to the rubber deteriorating with time. It is about ~40 degC here during summer, and in spring the temperature fluctuates sometimes from 0 degC to 30 degC.
2. When we do ride, even though it is infrequent, the tube gets into contact with something inside, like a tire or a rim, and gets some excessive rubbing so that it creates an area which later deteriorates further with time (maybe this is catalyzed by Texas climate) and eventually ruptures.

At this point I am pretty tired of replacing tires before almost every our infrequent ride.
Did anyone experience something similar? Any idea how this can be be prevented without moving the bicycles indoors? (I don't have space )


Front wheel

Rear wheel

Last edited by PavelSpesivtsev; 04-26-23 at 08:02 PM.
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Old 04-23-23, 03:38 PM
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If you mean that the tire is found flat after a long period of non use, then I suspect you're seeing the effects of thorns.

These cause tiny pinhole leaks, so slow that they don't affect rides, so you don't notice until much later.

The thin tread of worn tires compounds the problem, but it's more about your move to the Southwest.

Consider using a liquid sealant and/or replacing the worn tire.
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Old 04-23-23, 03:57 PM
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Originally Posted by FBinNY
If you mean that the tire is found flat after a long period of non use, then I suspect you're seeing the effects of thorns.

These cause tiny pinhole leaks, so slow that they don't affect rides, so you don't notice until much later.

The thin tread of worn tires compounds the problem, but it's more about your move to the Southwest.

Consider using a liquid sealant and/or replacing the worn tire.
Thank you for your input!

Unfortunately, I can not paste the pictures. In the pictures I took today the damage points are located on the side of tube (neither outer which is in contact with the road, neither inner) and is surrounded by a large number of small holes/imperfections of the tube as if the material was aged or as if there was an excessive rubbing of some sort. I does not look like a single point of damage. I wish I could attach the pictures. Eight more posts to go before I can do this.
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Old 04-23-23, 04:25 PM
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Based on the newer post, it might simply be age and chafing of dried out material. This might be compounded by inadequate pressure which causes excess tire wall flex.

If you're not ready to replace both tires and tubes, try riding at or near the maximum pressure marked on the tire walls. However, long term, you might have to accept that your tires are well beyond their prime of life.
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Old 04-23-23, 04:34 PM
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is this the picture you wanted us to see?


https://www.bikeforums.net/g/picture/28779982

Till you get ten posts and maybe a day later, just let us know you put them in the Gallery here on BF and someone will post it for you or at least know to go look at it.


As for your flats, might be just a coincidence that you moved. Perhaps it's some other person that thinks it's funny to let the air out of your tires.

Can't tell much about the abrasion you have circled. Do you see bubbles coming out of it when you inflate the tube and wipe a soap solution over it or dip in water?

Last edited by Iride01; 04-23-23 at 04:38 PM.
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Old 04-23-23, 04:41 PM
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I live in Houston and store my bikes at ambient temperature in a garage. I have not experienced anything like what you described.

It is not real clear from your post if the holes you find are only on the inner tubes or both the tube and the tire.

Thoughts:

1. With a long time between rides, itís probably necessary to pump them up before each ride. Iím adding air every 2-4 weeks. Low tire pressure can give pinch flats somewhat like your description.

2. If the tires are old, they may have developed flaws that could rub holes in the inner tube. If this is the cause you would expect your patches to be in about the same place or the equivalent if the tube was flipped on re-installation.

So there may be chupacabras in the area but no indication they target bike tires or tubes.
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Old 04-23-23, 04:49 PM
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It sounds like itís time for new tires on both bikes.

Also, be aware that bike tires/tubes donít hold air indefinitely. Butyl rubber used for most inner tubes will leak air over time.

Last edited by Eric F; 04-23-23 at 11:54 PM.
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Old 04-23-23, 06:36 PM
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I toured through there some years back.

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Old 04-23-23, 09:28 PM
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I always do my best to choose tubes that don't need to stretch out to the tire.

For example, if the tire is 26x1.50, using a 26x1.25-1.50 tube means that skinny tube has to balloon all the way out to 1.5.

Instead, choose a 26x1.50-1.95 tube, it won't stretch.
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Old 04-23-23, 10:14 PM
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Tubes are not what they used to be. It appears you are showing some manufacturing defects in a butyl tube. There is really no telling how long those little bubbles have been there and the area around the tube stem is particularly undesirable.

Sure sounds like a good excuse ta get your bikes new tubes and maybe tires.
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Old 04-24-23, 06:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Iride01
is this the picture you wanted us to see?


https://www.bikeforums.net/g/picture/28779982

Till you get ten posts and maybe a day later, just let us know you put them in the Gallery here on BF and someone will post it for you or at least know to go look at it.


As for your flats, might be just a coincidence that you moved. Perhaps it's some other person that thinks it's funny to let the air out of your tires.

Can't tell much about the abrasion you have circled. Do you see bubbles coming out of it when you inflate the tube and wipe a soap solution over it or dip in water?
PavelSpesivtsev , how long have you had these spare tubes. Looking at that photo, those holes look like cracks due to age.
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Old 04-24-23, 12:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Iride01
is this the picture you wanted us to see?

Till you get ten posts and maybe a day later, just let us know you put them in the Gallery here on BF and someone will post it for you or at least know to go look at it.

As for your flats, might be just a coincidence that you moved. Perhaps it's some other person that thinks it's funny to let the air out of your tires.

Can't tell much about the abrasion you have circled. Do you see bubbles coming out of it when you inflate the tube and wipe a soap solution over it or dip in water?
Yes! this is one of my two pictures

I could also locate the link to the second picture of my rear wheel referenced as 28779933 (still can't paste the full link)

About "other person" - that's what I thought when it started happening two and a half years ago, but I inspected the tires after each flat and I could find no cuts or distinct holes pointing at the human/animal intervention.

And yes, the red circles are around the areas where bubbles appeared from inflated tube under water.

Thanks for your inputs!
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Old 04-24-23, 12:28 PM
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cheap tubes plus Houston Sunshine equals flat tires.

and months is not "suddenly".

the tubes show signs of literally MOLDING themselves to the tire... note the serrations... that's from the tires.

Bike Tires lose air over time...
Hot sun does REALLY bad things to Cheap bike tires and Tubes.
Where the stem is bonded to the tube is even coming apart.
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Old 04-24-23, 01:01 PM
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Originally Posted by flangehead
I live in Houston and store my bikes at ambient temperature in a garage. I have not experienced anything like what you described.

It is not real clear from your post if the holes you find are only on the inner tubes or both the tube and the tire.

Thoughts:

1. With a long time between rides, itís probably necessary to pump them up before each ride. Iím adding air every 2-4 weeks. Low tire pressure can give pinch flats somewhat like your description.

2. If the tires are old, they may have developed flaws that could rub holes in the inner tube. If this is the cause you would expect your patches to be in about the same place or the equivalent if the tube was flipped on re-installation.

So there may be chupacabras in the area but no indication they target bike tires or tubes.
Thank you for your input! At this point the old tires are my main suspect. I just ordered two "Goodyear 26" x 1.9"-2.3" Heavy Duty Bike Tube" and I will be looking for tire replacement as well.

I guess in your case garage damps a bit Texas temperature hikes, I don't have such opportunity unfortunately.
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Old 04-24-23, 01:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Eric F
It sounds like itís time for new tires on both bikes.

Also, be aware that bike tires/tubes donít hold air indefinitely. Butyl rubber used for most inner tubes will leak air over time.
Yes sir, will replace tires and rim tape most likely as well as it has couple of folds in few places. Thank you!
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Old 04-24-23, 01:19 PM
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Originally Posted by PavelSpesivtsev
Thank you for your input! At this point the old tires are my main suspect. I just ordered two "Goodyear 26" x 1.9"-2.3" Heavy Duty Bike Tube" and I will be looking for tire replacement as well.

I guess in your case garage damps a bit Texas temperature hikes, I don't have such opportunity unfortunately.
A sheet of plywood between the bikes and the sun will work wonders...
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Old 04-24-23, 01:27 PM
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Originally Posted by maddog34
A sheet of plywood between the bikes and the sun will work wonders...
This. Keeping the rubber and plastic protected from direct sunlight will help preserve those components. My garage has a window which Iíve covered with cardboard to keep out direct sunlight.
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Old 04-24-23, 04:39 PM
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I would replace the tubes and check that the new tubes are not leaking out the valves. The lighter "race" tubes wil be thinner and there will be more permeation with air leaving through the material. I would check that the valves on your tires are tight and use a valve core tool to tighten them. The Park Tool valve tool is cheap and works on both Schrader and Presta valves.
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Old 04-25-23, 12:26 PM
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Originally Posted by maddog34
cheap tubes plus Houston Sunshine equals flat tires.

and months is not "suddenly".

the tubes show signs of literally MOLDING themselves to the tire... note the serrations... that's from the tires.

Bike Tires lose air over time...
Hot sun does REALLY bad things to Cheap bike tires and Tubes.
Where the stem is bonded to the tube is even coming apart.
Agree, old tires seem to be the main suspect. Will replace them on one or both bikes.
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Old 04-25-23, 12:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Calsun
I would replace the tubes and check that the new tubes are not leaking out the valves. The lighter "race" tubes wil be thinner and there will be more permeation with air leaving through the material. I would check that the valves on your tires are tight and use a valve core tool to tighten them. The Park Tool valve tool is cheap and works on both Schrader and Presta valves.
Thanks for your input! I am checking after each flat under water, valves are always fine. This seems to come from tires maybe accelerated by the Texas weather. Will replace tires.
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Old 04-25-23, 12:30 PM
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Thanks everyone for the inputs!

The next logical question is there a recommendation of not very expensive but descent tires for 26" tires? This is mostly for dirt rides in parks, and some occasional rides in a city, something like city/MTB profile for hardtail.

And similarly inexpensive but good rim type?

Cheers,
Pavel.
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Old 04-25-23, 12:55 PM
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Originally Posted by PavelSpesivtsev
Agree, old tires seem to be the main suspect. Will replace them on one or both bikes.
the SERRATIONS showing on the TUBES came from the sidewall of the tires... This DOES NOT mean that the TIRES caused the loss of air... theTUBES got hot/Soft, then conformed to the tire's inner surface!

Are the Tires showing Weather Cracking? Are the tires Significantly Worn?

If you answer "no' to both questions, you DO NOT NEED New tires. THE TUBES should be replaced with a better brand, NOT THE TIRES.
not sure if it was you or someone else,but Goodyear HEAVY Duty tubes (enphasis on HEAVY!) were mentioned...they will make your bike ride more roughly and sluggishly.
i use Kenda, Specialized and Michelin tubes,mostly. Regular tubes... and then i Check the pressure Every riding day, then top up as needed.

to review.. Bike Tubes Lose pressure over time..especially over three or more months.. it's a FACT. Slimy Sealants are a mess, Heavy, and Will Plug The Valve occasionally, which is just another problem.

Good quality tubes, No Sealants, and Frequent Pressure monitoring.. then shield those bikes From That Brutal Houston Sun.
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Old 04-25-23, 01:01 PM
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hybrid/crossover tires for a decent price... https://www.ebay.com/itm/29230661493...3ABFBM1pLInPdh

you should spend your savings on a Sheet of Plywood... 3/8" ACX will work.
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Old 04-25-23, 01:19 PM
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Originally Posted by PavelSpesivtsev
The next logical question is there a recommendation of not very expensive but descent tires for 26" tires? This is mostly for dirt rides in parks, and some occasional rides in a city, something like city/MTB profile for hardtail.
Schwalbe Land Cruiser is a basic mixed-use tyre, or their Black Jack is more dirt oriented, both available cheap on Amazon/eBay or at many stores. You may also find Continental Cross King at a good price, or some Michelin models - none of the big name brands makes junk, but you do get what you pay for regarding speed/weight and puncture protection. Be careful not to get anything too wide for your frame, or too narrow for your rims.
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Old 04-25-23, 06:03 PM
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Originally Posted by PavelSpesivtsev
Thanks everyone for the inputs!

The next logical question is there a recommendation of not very expensive but descent tires for 26" tires? This is mostly for dirt rides in parks, and some occasional rides in a city, something like city/MTB profile for hardtail.

And similarly inexpensive but good rim type?

Cheers,
Pavel.
For tires, check out biketiresdirect.com . Or go to WTB's website as I'm pretty sure they still carry some inexpensive 26" tires.
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