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multiple flat newbie questions

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multiple flat newbie questions

Old 12-16-02, 07:45 PM
  #1  
kindbud
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multiple flat newbie questions

hello everyone. nyc newbie here. got the trek 7300 as my joyriding on the streets/possible commuter bike. took it out for a test spin that night (i had lights) in the pouring rain. did 25 miles all over manhattan.

the next day, on my way to the bike shop to buy a bag attachment, i get a flat. no big deal. was just glad i didn't get it the night before. owner of the LBS changed the tube. no big deal. since then, i've patched up 3 flats on the same tube, and gave up when i got my fourth.

i have no skin left on my hands, my knuckles are sore, i'm worried that i destroyed the rim and tire trying to get that thing on and off. my front brakes are slightly off too. one clamps down slightly lower than the one on the other side. this is probably because i didn't bother releasing the brake to take off the wheel, opting instead to just deflate and squeeze the tire.

anyway, did i just get a bad tube? all the flats are on the outside of the tube in different places. everything i read says it probably isn't a spoke for this reason. i checked the inside of the tire a bunch of times, starting with a cotton ball. it's at the point now where i'm rubbing my fingers through the inside actually hoping to get cut on something. i have the zinn mountain bike book, i've seen sites on the web including sheldon brown's. can anybody post a link for "changing a flat for BIG dummies" or something like that? the LBS was closed today, i'm hoping all i have to do is get a new tube. but i'm also dying to take the bike out for a spin RIGHT NOW. sorry again for momentarily dumbing down the board
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Old 12-16-02, 07:46 PM
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oh, btw, everytime i got another flat on the same tube, i checked the patches from the other flats. no leaks detected there. every time i was able to identify another hole.
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Old 12-16-02, 08:36 PM
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Flats happen. If you can eleminate spokeholes and a burr on the rim then its punctures or snake bites(aka pinch flats).Snakebites are ususlly in close spaced pairs and are caused when the tire is too low inflation and hits something causing the tube to get pinched between the tire and rim.Never had a bad tube.Inspecct the tire closely in and out for something imbedded in it.I once had a puncture that ccaused a roughness on the inside of the tire that wore through the tube and caused another flat. You can line up the tube valve with the logo on the tire so when you find the hole in the tube you can go back and find the same spot on the tire.Helps to sort things out.And, don't forget flats happen.
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Old 12-16-02, 09:48 PM
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did 25 miles all over manhattan
I sure hope you get a set of some puncture-proof tyre, such as a Specialized Armadillo, Nimbus, or something like a Panaracer Pasela. Riding around NYC, you really need something heavy-duty. Chances are, the tyres that come with that model just aren't designed for garbage-strewn environments like you'd find in NYC. Oh, BTW, riding in the rain-that increases your chance for punctures by a factor of about 10.
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Old 12-16-02, 10:03 PM
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Originally posted by D*Alex

IOh, BTW, riding in the rain-that increases your chance for punctures by a factor of about 10.
????:confused: :confused:
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Old 12-17-02, 04:12 AM
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just looking at the trek, the bike i used to do 25 night miles in the pouring rain was starting to aggravate me. did the only thing i could. took my girlfriend's bike, called up a neighbor who has also recently got into cycling and decided to do the east river bridge tour. we did local routes to the williamsburg bridge, up manhattan crossing over the 59th st bridge into queens, through astoria over the triboro bridge back into manhattan. the triboro bridge defeinitely wigged me out a bit. it's a narrow walkway, the bike map says you should be walking your bike and i saw why. about 6 feet wide, and for a good stretch the side rail was only a few inches above my saddle. this took us to harlem, went straight down 5th ave, through central park and back home to brooklyn heights over the brooklyn bridge. night biking in 25 degree weather. worth every pedal stroke!!!!! left my apt at 10:30 pm, got back at 4am. just too late to hit the local bar for a celebratory brew. just turned 32 yesterday. g*d*mm*t, why didn't i have a bike sooner.

now if i can only stop getting flats on my new trek... ::sigh::

Last edited by kindbud; 12-17-02 at 03:36 PM.
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Old 12-17-02, 06:05 AM
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The fit between a tyre and rim can vary a lot with different brands. There is no advantage to a really tight fit, and looser ones are easier to fix. Tyres are the one place where you should fit the best you can afford. They affect performance more than any other component. Fit a tough slick or slightly treaded tyre with a kevlar belt (not bead), such a armadillo, continental top-touring. I use the Panarcer Pasela, and they are OK, but can have weaker sidewalls. I would suggest a 32mm width in 700c size, or a 1.5" for MTB wheels.

One way to make your tyres even more puncture resistant is to fit something like Mr Tuffy tape between the inner and tyre.

On a note of urban paranoia, before you slide your finger around the inside, just check that the punture was not caused by a discarded hyperdermic needle.
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Old 12-17-02, 07:12 AM
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Also check that what's causing the punctures is not still loose in the tyre. e.g a piece of grit, which rolls to the bottom of the tyre when you take it off.
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Old 12-17-02, 08:59 AM
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The first thing I do with a new bike or wheels is put new cloth rim tape on. Seems wheels on most new bikes today have crap rubber strips or thin vinyl for rim tape.
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Old 12-17-02, 11:08 AM
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Originally posted by pokey
????:confused: :confused:
Possibly because the water acts as a lube, making it easier for glass to slice rubber?
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Old 12-17-02, 12:14 PM
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Originally posted by roadbuzz

Possibly because the water acts as a lube, making it easier for glass to slice rubber?
I'll add that to my list of things I'm not gonna waste time worrying or even thinking about.
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Old 12-17-02, 12:57 PM
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Originally posted by pokey
????:confused: :confused:
I don't know about a factor of 10, but it does seem that wet streets increase the likelihood of flats. It seems to be because little pieces of broken glass, etc., will cling to the wet tire offering another chance for a sharp edge to penetrate. A dry tire will just roll over such little bits without their clinging.

Bud,
It would behoove you to follow the advice of aligning the stem on the tube with the logo on the tire which facilitates finding the location of the hole in the tube relative to the tire. You may have a little piece of something still in the tire that is causing the flats. If you can find it and remove it your immediate problem may be solved.

I commute 22+ miles every day on trashy urban streets and used to get a lot of flats. I finally resorted to heavy Performance thorn resistant 23-26 mm tubes, Mr. Tuffy tire liners and sturdy 25 mm tires. I have had very few flats since going to that extreme combination. I actually use inexpensive tires that I get on sale because, although I don't get flats, the tires get cut up in about 1000 miles.
FWIW,
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Old 12-17-02, 03:31 PM
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rolled the trek 7300 into the LBS today with three patches on the front tire. the mechanic said that i actually only got one flat. and the three others were probably the result of my not putting the tube in correctly, which makes total sense to me. he had to adjust the front brake a little too because i didn't release the brake when i took off/put on the wheel all three times, opting instead to deflate and squeeze the tire through. anyway, i'm signing up for a bike repair class ASAP. thanks for everyone's help. if i get another flat really soon, i'm going to upgrade tires to the best ones he has in the store.
the ones the bike came with are Bontrager Select Invert 700x38c and Alex TA19 double wall rims with stainless steel eyelets; Shimano C201, 32h rear, alloy quick release front hub; 14G stainless spokes.

i noticed my status is also junior member now. i think i should be demoted to extreme newbie again, 100 city miles in a week notwithstanding.

Last edited by kindbud; 12-17-02 at 03:43 PM.
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Old 12-18-02, 04:20 AM
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went over the bridge and back. nice easy ride. smiling a little more thinking my front flat troubles are behind me. i go to take the bike out later and the same tire is flat again. ARGGGGGG@#$%^&*(*&^%$#@#$%^&*()(*&^%$#$%^&*()(*&^%$!!!!!!!!

today he blamed me for the the multiple flats. and my ineptitude in making the repair. gonna be interesting to see what he says tomorrrow. damn, i used to like going to the bike shop.

if this situation isn't resolved soon i'm dumping my bike off the brooklyn bridge and buying a PHAT hummer or a landrover defender. nobody is this unlucky, it's a sign from above.

<<----pouting

Last edited by kindbud; 12-18-02 at 04:37 AM.
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Old 12-18-02, 07:17 AM
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I assume by now you have followed the other advice on this thread and you have eliminated any problems with the rim. I do not recommend the use of a gloved or un-gloved hand to check for sharp stuff you should always have a rag with you anyway wipe the rim with a rag instead. I log in around 5500 miles a year and 95% of that is urban riding of course you will notice when riding in the city you get ride where the cars throw out there bottles and trash so there maybe a lot of glass and what not so you want to gently wipe down your tires with a rag after your ride and check for anything that maybe stuck in your tire and remove it. I carry a leatheman in my tool kit they have nice needle nose pliers perfect for removing glass and debris that is logged in you tire. I read in a bike magazine once that you can take a leather thong (boot strap) and tie it to your frame so it just rests on your tire and it works to keep stuff from sticking to your tires I have never tried it though. As far as tires and tubes go you can go out and buy the expensive stuff mentioned above but I have been running on Continental 2000 for commuting and the are around $30 but if you look at performance or nashbar they seem to have either the 2000 or the 3000 on sale going for around $20 these tire usually last about 2 years (11,000 miles) not bad for the money. And I buy whatever tube is on sale then I add a tire liner (they range from $5 to $30) I use Mr tuffy's can't tell you how much they cost I don't remember it has been 10 years since I bought a set. That was the best piece of advice I got since installing those on my bike I have never had a puncture flat a couple of broken stems and a side wall flat that was totally my fault. Some of the Forum folks will tell you that these will knock your tires out of true and adds extra weight (around 2 grams each) never had problems with my tire balance and how much time are you saving if you have flats all the time? As for changing the tire you should always carry with you

an air pump, they have minis now with built in pressure gages never used one but if they work that is one less item you have to haul
pressure gauge
if you have presta valves you might want to carry a schraders adapter in you patch kit
Patch kit Don't get gluless ones I have never found those to be very good you can peel the suckers off with you fingers
Spare tube I carry mine in a zip lock bag and I dust it with talc (prevents the tube from sticking to the tire)
Tire levers I use the composite plastic ones over the metal ones I popped tubes with the metal ones

I think that about covers it, now if you get a flat swap the bad tube for your spare tube and patching the hole at your leisure and it becomes your spare tube. Do this by using the tire levers to remove one side of the tire don't remove the whole tire to much work. when installing the tube pump a little air in it to give some body it is easier to install it start with the stem first if it is a presta I don't screw it down until I have the tube in the tire but before I put the tire back on the rim completely. when putting the tire back on watch for those snake bites (trapping the tube between the rim and the tire) Inflate it fully once then deflate it checking for pinched tube then inflate to pressure cap it put everything away saving the tube repair for when you get to work, or home or an a rest stop. I had so many flats when I first started ridding I got this process down so I could swap out the tube and be back on the fly in less then 5 minutes. you can check out for these directions and all sorts of cool little tips on biking.
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Old 12-18-02, 07:44 AM
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Originally posted by roadbuzz

Possibly because the water acts as a lube, making it easier for glass to slice rubber?
thats true, try cutting a piece rubber dry & it sticks & grabs, wet it & it slices quite easily
fold up tyres are easy to fit with just your hands .
when i run over glass i "brush" the tyres with my fingers, i`d rather suffer cut fingers than ruined tyres !
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Old 12-18-02, 08:10 AM
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Originally posted by greywolf

thats true, try cutting a piece rubber dry & it sticks & grabs, wet it & it slices quite easily
A machete is quite different than a needle.Try sticking an icepick in a tire wet or dry and see how much difference it makes.
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Old 12-18-02, 08:23 AM
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Just get rid of those thin tyres and get a set of Armadillos!
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Old 12-21-02, 06:58 AM
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Originally posted by pokey
A machete is quite different than a needle.Try sticking an icepick in a tire wet or dry and see how much difference it makes.
try it with a piece of broken glass bottle, same as a knife !!+ glass is a lot harder to see when the road is wet, i find clear & green glass is a lot easyer to spot than the brown variety, who the F*** throws all the bottles on the road anyway.
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Old 12-21-02, 08:22 AM
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after three patches on the same tube, I just throw that away, I may sound a rich guy, but I don't want to have a flat because of the patches, that's has been place in that tube, when I am on a long ride
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Old 12-27-02, 01:39 PM
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just to sort of close out this thread. . . i did notice on microinspection that there was a small indentation on the inside of the tire. it looked like possibly the imprint of a big chunk of glass from the outside. but this couldn't have been it because the punctures in the tube were in lots of different places. after removing/putting on tires about 7 times, i'm beginning to get quicker. i'm placing my bet on the hypothesis that the tubes made it through the ordeals no better off than the skin on my palms and knuckles. . . definitely not unscathed. the tubes were probably compromised when i was jamming 2 plastic tire levers and a screwdriver over the rim trying to get those last few inches back on. anyway, hasn't been a problem for a few days which feels great considering i was getting totally flat tires within hours of of the last patch before.

another newbie lesson learned. the hard way.
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