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Flats, Flats, and More Flats

Old 06-17-07, 12:06 AM
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dortonwildcat5
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Flats, Flats, and More Flats

I bought a Trek 1000 just over a year ago. After about 1 month I started getting flats on the back tire. In all, I have probably put 25 tubes on the back tire, but only one on the front tire (1st flat occurred yesterday). I was coming down a hill at a high rate of speed when I had a huge flat. In trying to stop the bike, the back rim became warped pretty badly. I took the rim to the dealer whom I bought it from and explained what had happened. They said they'd replace the rim for free since it must be defective. Anyway, after 5 months (during the winter when I can't ride here anyway) I finally got the rim and it was the same one. They had just fixed it. To make a long story short, the most I have been able to ride on this bike in the past few months without getting a flat is 15 miles. I usually like to ride 30-40 miles at a time, but I just can't do it without getting a flat. I am so frustrated and I have no idea how to fix this problem. I am thinking about getting another type of tire (for example: Specialized All Condition Armadillos) and tubes (slime tubes). Any suggestions?
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Old 06-17-07, 12:25 AM
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Sorry to hear that! (my record is 3 flats on one ride, so I can sympathize).

Without knowing any specifics about you or your equipment:

1. Watch where you ride. (Yeah "duh" ... but it does help! I'm talking debris or holes/cracks in the road)
2. Try a heavier tire (watch how many grams the tires weigh) or maybe a wider tire (19/23/25/28mm).
3. Inflate to the proper pressure (do you have a guage on your pump?).

Hang in there and keep experimenting, eventually you'll figure out what works for you. I ride only on Michelin tires while other's will never ride them. Everyone's needs are different.
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Old 06-17-07, 12:50 AM
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Continental tires have always provided me with flat-free riding; it just took me awhile to discover them:

mtb/city:
Contact Security


I know you're not into road, but...
road:
Ultra Gatorskin
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Old 06-17-07, 01:00 AM
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I know you're not into road, but...
road:
Ultra Gatorskin[/QUOTE]

Sorry, but I probably need to clarify. I only road bike.

Thanks for the suggestions, and the links.
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Old 06-17-07, 01:03 AM
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Do you know what is causing the flats?

1. Punctures from external objects (glass, thorns, debris)

2. Punctures form internal sources (spokes too long, burr on rim, debris remaining in tire). Is the tube damaged in the same place each time? Use the valve stem as an index.

3. Operational (too little air pressure causes pinch flats)

Some remedies for the above:

1. Try a different tire or a tire liner to stop objects from reaching the tube; steer clear of debris.
2. Find the offender and eliminate it.
3. Use a pump with a pressure guage.


Personally, I don't like "Slime", since it's a cure after an object punctured the tube. I prefer to prevent the puncture from occuring in the first place.
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Old 06-17-07, 01:18 AM
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When I went back to get the rim after having it worked on, they said it was a spoke poking through. They put another liner in place of the factory one, but I am still getting flats. They are not always in the same place. Also, sometimes they are pinch flats, and other times just pinhole size. The area I ride has some debris, but I ride with 3 other guys in the same place and they hardly ever have flats. The one flat I got on the front tire was just bad luck. I had just put a new tube on and went 2.2 miles and a guy in a SUV in front of me hit a glass bottle beside the road and busted it. I saw what was about to happen, but by the time I stopped it was too late.

Should I place a liner between the tube and tire as well?
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Old 06-17-07, 06:07 AM
  #7  
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A LOT of flats are caused by underinflation.

What do you weigh and what are you pumping your tires up to? Are you checking your pressure and topping off before each ride? When you ride do you "unload" the weight of the bike before you hit bumps in the road? To reduce the number of flats it's important to look ahead at the road and, when you see a bump or a hazard, get out of the saddle and attempt to steer around it. If you can't steer around it then use your arms and legs as shock absorbers to lighten the impact. If you just stay in the saddle and ride over everything you're going to have a lot more flats. Riding style does play a very big role in how many you get.

I would second the recommendation for Continental GatorSkins. If you're not racing, these are excellent, light weight, and very tough. But, they will not compensate for underinflation or poor riding habits. The Armadillos are also fine, but heavier.

I apologize if the following proceedure is what you are already doing to diagnose your problem. It does appear to me that your approach is not as rigorous as the following, but I could be wrong about that. I hope this helps you find your problem:

You need to start relating - exactly - between the rim, the tire, and the tube to diagnose your problems. If you are not already doing so, start installing the tire so that the tire label is centered - as close as you can get it - on the valve stem (and, resultingly, on the rim's valve hole). When you flat and remove the tube, make sure you keep the tube lined up with where it came out of the rim. Now take the flatted tube and pump it up until it leaks. Once it starts leaking lay it over the rim and tire and begin inspecting very carefully. Using a magnifying glass and a bright light is not a bad idea. The causes of your punctures should start identifying themselves clearly by doing this in a meticulous manner. Take the guess work out of your flats and start diagnosing them properly.
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Old 06-17-07, 08:12 AM
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Originally Posted by dortonwildcat5
Should I place a liner between the tube and tire as well?
Tire liners would be a good way to prevent debris puncture flats, but won't help prevent pinch or spoke puncture flats. However, the previously mentioned tires might give you enough armor to prevent debris punture - you'd have to try them in your environment.

Given a choice between Slime compound in an inner tube or tire liners, I'd choose the tire liners.
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Old 06-17-07, 08:49 AM
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I run Continental Ultra GatorSkins on my Trek 1000. I use the 25mm size and run 95-105 PSI in the front and 100-110 PSI in the rear. I check the pressure daily and generally have to top them off every other day.

My 1000's an older model than yours, BTW, and has different wheels. With adequate inflation and these tires, flats are a rarity. In fact, the only flats I've gotten on it (so far) were due to tube failure around the valve stem.

My other bike is a hybrid I use for commuting through the 'hood. You don't want to stop for red lights where I ride that bike, let alone spend ten minutes stopped while you fix a flat.

That bike came with Slime in the tubes. It works, sort of. It depends on the type of flats you get. It almost never seals glass cuts (even says so on their web site), which is my biggest threat.

The problem with Slime is that it's really, really messy. Slime sprays out of the hole until it coagulates and scabs over. Since the wheel must be kept spinning while it seals, you get green sticky stuff all over the bike, you and everything else within spraying distance. Second, if you don't reinflate fully, you'll get pinch flats or reopen the scabbed hole right away.

After the second flat with Slime, I went to regular tubes, Mr. Tuffy tire liners, and Specialized Infinity Armadillo tires. No flats in thousands of miles since. Of course, this combo is heavy and fairly rough riding. However, I delight in picking glass shards out of those tires once a week.

For my more normal road riding on the Trek, the Ultra GatorSkins seem to be just fine.
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Old 06-17-07, 10:11 AM
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Originally Posted by stevesurf
Continental tires have always provided me with flat-free riding; it just took me awhile to discover them:
I have a Trek 1000. The stock Bontrager tires are made of paper as near as I can tell. I used to flat all of the time until i switched to Continental tires. The rubber compound is much harder and more puncture proof. I haven't flatted in almost two years on my 1000.

You might have a different issue but you haven't adequately described the type of flats you are getting. If they are in the tread portion of the tire, than i suggest ditching the crap bonty tires.
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Old 06-17-07, 11:01 AM
  #11  
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Originally Posted by dortonwildcat5
When I went back to get the rim after having it worked on, they said it was a spoke poking through. They put another liner in place of the factory one, but I am still getting flats. They are not always in the same place. Also, sometimes they are pinch flats, and other times just pinhole size. The area I ride has some debris, but I ride with 3 other guys in the same place and they hardly ever have flats. The one flat I got on the front tire was just bad luck. I had just put a new tube on and went 2.2 miles and a guy in a SUV in front of me hit a glass bottle beside the road and busted it. I saw what was about to happen, but by the time I stopped it was too late.

Should I place a liner between the tube and tire as well?
Part of your problem is equipment and part operator error. First the equipment:

Spokes shouldn't be far enough through the nipple to cause a flat...especially if the bike has a double wall rim. If a spoke comes through far enough to cause a puncture, take a Dremel to the end of the spoke and carefully grind it off flush with the nipple. Then get two rolls of Velox rim tape and put one in each wheel. Velox is a thousand times better than any of the rubber or plastic strips that manufactures put in their wheels.

Another trick is to take a Sharpie marker and mark the tube. Put an arrow showing direction and mark the tube "left" or "right" or "drive side", etc. Then always put the tube in the same way. That way you can always find out if the puncture happens in the same spot. This is one of the reasons that I always patch my tubes...so I can find out if there is a systemic problems. The other is because I'm cheap

Now the operator errors:

Keep your tires inflated to the proper inflation! If you are running thinner tires, the pressure needs to be higher to keep the tires from pinching. Even wide tires need the proper inflation to keep them from pinch flats. One pinch flat is okay. More then one says you aren't paying attention.

Watch where you are riding! These are "tires"! Thin strips of cloth impregnated with rubber and meant to hold a delicate balloon inside. They are not tank treads! Watch the road and don't run over road debris.

Once you do get a flat, find out if there is still something in the tire before you put the tire back on. That's one of the reasons that you mark the tube (and patch it ) It makes it easier to find the debris. Be careful while looking for it. Run you finger around on the inside of the tire but carefully. Glass can cut you just as easily as the tube.

Finally, tire liners work but aren't perfect. Ride more carefully or get some tank treads
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Old 06-17-07, 01:18 PM
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I went to bikeman.com and found Continental Ultra Gatorskins. What is the difference between 700 x 25 and 700 x 25C? The difference in price is around 9 dollars.
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Old 06-17-07, 02:55 PM
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Originally Posted by dortonwildcat5
I went to bikeman.com and found Continental Ultra Gatorskins. What is the difference between 700 x 25 and 700 x 25C? The difference in price is around 9 dollars.
The price difference is for folding vs nonfolding. Otherwise the tires are the same.
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Old 06-17-07, 08:49 PM
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I was having a lot of flats this spring on my road bike with Continental ultra 3000 rear (700x25c) even with Mr. Tuffy strips at 120 psi. Some were snake bites, some were not. In reading through the Clydesdale forum, I came to the conclusion that my weight at that time (225) was too much for 700x25 tires so I switched to some cheap, but recommended Serfas Seca 700x28c tires ($18 at REI). I also removed the Mr. Tuffy strips at the same time.

In the last 1200 miles, I've had one flat (caused by a 1/2 inch piece of wire). Both front and rear still look great!

Running the Serfas tires at 100 psi gives a much more comfortable ride plus the rolling resistance is noticeably lower than the old tires with Mr. Tuffy. Just for reference, on my rims, this 700x28 tire only measures 26 mm.
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Old 06-17-07, 10:02 PM
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Besides the obvious, what is the difference between folding and non-folding?
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Old 06-17-07, 10:13 PM
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Originally Posted by dortonwildcat5
Besides the obvious, what is the difference between folding and non-folding?
Folding tires are lighter and have Kevlar beads that allow the tire to be put in your back pocket as a spare. I highly doubt you are getting puncture flats. I had a bike with multiple flats simply because the rim tape was loose in a spot. Repeat flats on one wheel are almost certainly due to internal problems, and not the tire.

1. Make sure your tube is the right size.
2. If you have two holes in the tube rather than one, you need bigger tires or to run them at a higher pressure.
3. You should check your rim tape.
4. Check for spokes.
5. Check for slivers of metal.

Best of all, spend the $10 to have a bike store look at it.
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Old 07-25-07, 07:44 AM
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Originally Posted by dortonwildcat5 View Post
I bought a Trek 1000 just over a year ago. After about 1 month I started getting flats on the back tire. In all, I have probably put 25 tubes on the back tire, but only one on the front tire (1st flat occurred yesterday). I was coming down a hill at a high rate of speed when I had a huge flat. In trying to stop the bike, the back rim became warped pretty badly. I took the rim to the dealer whom I bought it from and explained what had happened. They said they'd replace the rim for free since it must be defective. Anyway, after 5 months (during the winter when I can't ride here anyway) I finally got the rim and it was the same one. They had just fixed it. To make a long story short, the most I have been able to ride on this bike in the past few months without getting a flat is 15 miles. I usually like to ride 30-40 miles at a time, but I just can't do it without getting a flat. I am so frustrated and I have no idea how to fix this problem. I am thinking about getting another type of tire (for example: Specialized All Condition Armadillos) and tubes (slime tubes). Any suggestions?
I got 6 flats in all last weekend; i can sympathize too.
My problem was the tire liner, that came OEM, was not wide enough and was pinching the tire.
I removed the tire liner, put in electrical tape (because i'm paranoid now) and the appropriate tire liner.
Problem solved.
Damn that was a frustrating weekend.
This one certainly wont be. Yeee-hawwww!
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Old 07-25-07, 07:55 AM
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1. Ensure rim tape is seated correctly and is of sufficient quality.
2. Get Continental Gatorskin tires (or if you ride thru real bad debris, get Armadilo).
3. When changing tubes, ensure there is nothing on the inside of the tire (run your finger inside and out and pick out any small object embedded in there).
4. Inflate to recommended tire pressure (for tube and tire, whichever is lower). On Trek 1000, if I remember correctly, in the UK atleast, it was 100psi.
5. Try and stay further away from the side of the road where most of the debris is collected after rain (obviously, your safety comes first so mind the cars passing you).
6. Ensure those nipples are not over tightened and protruding into the wheel (unlikely).
7. Infalte your tires every few days (or even daily if you ride lots) as rubber allows air to escape.
8. Ensure the tires you have bought are new (most probably they are).
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Old 07-25-07, 09:17 AM
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I had the same problem with flats... We have "goathead" thorns everywhere around here.. I couldn't get more then 10- miles without a flat... I guess walking is good excersice too though ;-)... I tried slime.. Foget it. It messed up the tube valves and backed up into my air pump messing it up... I ended up putting Specialized Armadillo's on with a liner and thorn proof tubes... That was the end of my flats... Don't even bother bringing the air pump with me anymore...These tires seem bullet proof...
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Old 07-25-07, 01:00 PM
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Originally Posted by xfimpg View Post
My problem was the tire liner, that came OEM, was not wide enough and was pinching the tire.
I removed the tire liner, put in electrical tape (because i'm paranoid now) and the appropriate tire liner.

Actually that's not a "tire liner". What you are talking about is a "rim strip" or "rim tape".
Velox rim tape would be a better choice.

Al
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Old 07-25-07, 01:51 PM
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i'll echo everyone elses thoughts and say that you should always make sure to check your pressure and make sure you have tough tires at the right width. I was getting flats 3-4 times a week with cheapo performance brand 700x25(ran small, fit more like 23's) running at 90 PSI. picked up some Vittoria's and started running them at 120 PSI and have gone over worse bumps and rougher terrain on them and haven't had a flat since. also try to unload your weight when you hit a bump, and allow it to travel through your arms more, stay fluid.
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Old 07-25-07, 10:48 PM
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Dumb question maybe, but is your rear tire is worn out?
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Old 07-25-07, 10:56 PM
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A couple years ago, I was getting about two flats a week. But, this year, zero (knock on wood). The solution:

1. Velox rim tape.

2. Continental tubes

And, let a "pro" change your tires if your flats are occuring within a day or two or changing a tube. A flat just after changing a tube usually means the tube was damaged while mounting the tire, or the tube was improperly installed.
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Old 07-25-07, 11:46 PM
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Originally Posted by alanbikehouston View Post
A couple years ago, I was getting about two flats a week. But, this year, zero (knock on wood). The solution:

1. Velox rim tape.

2. Continental tubes

And, let a "pro" change your tires if your flats are occuring within a day or two or changing a tube. A flat just after changing a tube usually means the tube was damaged while mounting the tire, or the tube was improperly installed.
Better yet, learn how to change a tube and a tire. Relying on an LBS to fix flats is ridiculous.
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Old 07-26-07, 07:09 AM
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You might not be getting "real" pinch flats. A slowly deflating tire can cause damage that appears to be pinch flat.

dortonwildcat5, you haven't said one word about your inflation pressure or practice. Or whether you've checked the tire for debris.
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