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Puncture Problems

Old 01-13-21, 07:04 AM
  #26  
Johno59
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I tend to build my own wheels (unfortunately very slowly). I had just finished a set, went to put on new tire and tube and realized I didn't have enough rim tape. No worries had a pair of old campag record single walled light weight racing wheels hanging up so got the tape off them. Banged everything together and good to go.
After 150 miles sitting having a quiet beer in the evening when phzzzzztttt went the tire right beside me. Pulled out the tube and amazed to see what I thought a pinch flat (on a 100 psi tire!) on the inside circumference of the tube. Proceeded to patch when I noticed a dozen or so bubbles exactly the same as depicted above, albeit a dozen or so rather than one or two. All neatly spaced out and mirroring the corresponding spoke well.
In the gloom I checked the tape and it felt/appeared sound except for a noticeable circular marks as depicted in the fotos above. Since then I have noticed tubes with one or two bubbles so make a point of changing tape more often. Rather than the tape itself it could be very old tape can become brittle and fails over the occasional spoke well. The stuff I reused was 15 years old.
Just my two cents worth.
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Old 01-13-21, 07:18 AM
  #27  
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More of the story of post 5 is that when the first flat happened, I found two layers of rim tape. I removed them and put a fresh rim tape in. Then I tried a different rim tape. I believe my tubes were Conti as well.

I made two changes.
1. Different brand tube.
2. bought the plugs for the spoke holes - Velocity Veloplugs.
The Veloplugs
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Old 01-13-21, 12:48 PM
  #28  
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Originally Posted by SJX426 View Post
More of the story of post 5 is that when the first flat happened, I found two layers of rim tape. I removed them and put a fresh rim tape in. Then I tried a different rim tape. I believe my tubes were Conti as well.

I made two changes.
1. Different brand tube.
2. bought the plugs for the spoke holes - Velocity Veloplugs.
The Veloplugs
Wow ! What a fantastic idea. Many thanks for that. I will use both together,
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Old 01-13-21, 01:06 PM
  #29  
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Originally Posted by Johno59 View Post
Wow ! What a fantastic idea. Many thanks for that. I will use both together,
Note that there are two sizes. I purchased the red ones and found that I needed the yellow. They go in hard and I made sure all edges were in contact with the rim. Didn't want an edge sticking up and causing a puncture. The pressure of the tire will push them all the way in but you need clearance for the bead when mounting the tire.
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Old 01-13-21, 01:17 PM
  #30  
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Duly noted - many thanks again! I have some old racing clincher wheels that take an 18mm wide tire. They are a ridiculous attempt to match tubular rims for weight but they are amazing to look at. I don't have near the necessary skill to build them but they were built by a master wheel-builder many moons ago who is long since dead. I'm hoping your Veloplugs will save the day regards tires blowing off.
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Old 01-13-21, 05:01 PM
  #31  
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Sorry to say I also vote for rim tape issue, not defective tubes.

I've had the same problem with a similar/same rim with similar/same spoke wells---Mavic MA in my case. The tape sits too deep in that particular well, and the tube deforms there. It may not look like the recess is any deeper than any other, but the tube knows. It's happened with multiple different-brand tubes, always failed at the same spot, over the same spoke well.

Velo Plugs plus tape, or a thicker plastic rim strip, should take care of it. The other option to try would be a thicker/heavier tube, hoping the thicker walls won't deform as much.

I went with a thicker plastic rim strip, which made it even harder to mount tires, but so it goes.
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Old 01-13-21, 05:10 PM
  #32  
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I tried a couple of different rim strips and gave up. Each "pocketed" in the spoke hole.
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Old 01-13-21, 05:54 PM
  #33  
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would plastic rim strip be advisable for older single walls?
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Old 01-13-21, 06:10 PM
  #34  
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Originally Posted by pcb View Post
Sorry to say I also vote for rim tape issue, not defective tubes.

I've had the same problem with a similar/same rim with similar/same spoke wells---Mavic MA in my case. The tape sits too deep in that particular well, and the tube deforms there. It may not look like the recess is any deeper than any other, but the tube knows. It's happened with multiple different-brand tubes, always failed at the same spot, over the same spoke well.

Velo Plugs plus tape, or a thicker plastic rim strip, should take care of it. The other option to try would be a thicker/heavier tube, hoping the thicker walls won't deform as much.

I went with a thicker plastic rim strip, which made it even harder to mount tires, but so it goes.
Interesting theory. But. This is not happening with my other wheels with exactly the same setup (Mavic rims, Velox rim tape and .87mm tubes). There are no other deformations; if the problem lay with the rim strip, wouldn't I expect to see this issue at every spoke hole? The slight indentation at the subject hole is no different than all the others. Again, I'm leaning to a manufacture defect as others have suggested. It's just possible the thickness at this particular spot on the tube is not consistent.

BITD I tried Pedro's plastic rim strips and the edges cut the tubes from the inside - that was a nightmare few months trying to figure out what was causing my blowouts. Never again.

DD
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Old 01-13-21, 06:45 PM
  #35  
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Well, I gotta start out by saying you can't win for losing! Dump the tubes and go tubeless. Then get leaking sidewalls and burping, and goo spraying all over your frame when it punctures. Solid Rubber Tires is the correct answer!

On this particular wheel, I had the problem with three different tubes, three different mfrs, three different vintages, three different tube weights. Same failure mode, same exact spot. Applying my pretzel logic, I have to ask whether the chances were higher that three different random tubes were defective in exactly the same way, at exactly the same spot, or whether the chances were higher that the problem was the spot on the rim where the tubes failed. I go with the rim, not the tubes.

Like I said, the recess over the offending spoke well didn't look much different from the other wells, but that's where the tubes failed, so that's gotta be the problem. A couple/few tenths of a mm must matter at pressure.

Why did it take me 3 tubes? is a valid question. Besides me being Dumb. Steve Martin/Navin R. Johnson: "These cans are defective!"

I suspected the problem was the tape/well, but tires are stupid tight on these rims, so I didn't want to use a thicker rim strip. The first leak was a Kenda ultralight butyl tube, so I figured a std-weight tube would be better, tried a vintage Conti maybe? Same damn thing. Then it was, Oh, I know----Tubolito! Much more puncture reisistant. The Tubolito wound up deforming the same way, but it didn't develop a hole and leak. But now it's bulged and stretched thinner at the bulges, so I patched it.

I've had good luck in terms of preventing rim-bed flats with Stan's tubeless tape, which is thin and seems to stick nice. But they don't do 14-16mm widths for vintage rims, and I've sometimes seen the tape migrate a little, causing protruding creases with sharp edges. I've used thin nylon strips, that also have bunched up causing sharp edges. What I used on the Weigle wheel this time was Schwalbe High Pressure Rim Tape, which is a rubbery plastic strip:
https://www.schwalbetires.com/access...ape_twin_packs

I had a pair on the shelf is why it got used, but it's a little thicker than Velox/other tape, it definitely doesn't deform as much into the spoke wells, and the pair on the shelf completely covered the rim bed from edge to edge, so it won't be able to move, and there's no edge to catch the tube. They also make it in some fairly narrow widths, good for vintage rims.

My main problem now with those wheels is the tires being even harder to mount, but I prefer that to worrying about a tube suddenly losing air.



Originally Posted by Drillium Dude View Post
Interesting theory. But. This is not happening with my other wheels with exactly the same setup (Mavic rims, Velox rim tape and .87mm tubes). There are no other deformations; if the problem lay with the rim strip, wouldn't I expect to see this issue at every spoke hole? The slight indentation at the subject hole is no different than all the others. Again, I'm leaning to a manufacture defect as others have suggested. It's just possible the thickness at this particular spot on the tube is not consistent.

BITD I tried Pedro's plastic rim strips and the edges cut the tubes from the inside - that was a nightmare few months trying to figure out what was causing my blowouts. Never again.

DD
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Old 01-13-21, 06:51 PM
  #36  
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Here's a question: why would a slightly-deeper tape depression over a spoke hole - which has no protruding spoke head - actually cause a puncture? I mean, what's the mechanism for failure? Serious question.

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Old 01-13-21, 07:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Drillium Dude View Post
Here's a question: why would a slightly-deeper tape depression over a spoke hole - which has no protruding spoke head - actually cause a puncture? I mean, what's the mechanism for failure? Serious question.

DD
I don't see why a cloth rim tape would make a puncture in that situation. In one case I was having flats on the rim side of tubes on the front and rear wheels of one particular bike. A close look showed that the plastic rim tapes (about 20 years old at that point) had hardened and developed small cracks where it had settled into the spoke holes of the non-eyeletted double-walled rims. Apparently, as the wheels rolled, the cracks in the rim tapes would open and close, nibbling tiny slots in the tubes. Replaced both rim tapes, and no more problems. I don't imagine a cloth tape would have a tendency to nibble the tube.
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Old 01-13-21, 08:09 PM
  #38  
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You could try patching the tube, flipping it around, and installing to see if it ruptures equidistant from the valve as the other failure.

Failure mode wouldn't be a puncture, but a rupture due to expansion, say if the tape at that hole deforms into the hole just that much too much.
Whether or not that is the case, I can't say.
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Old 01-13-21, 09:55 PM
  #39  
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@Drillium Dude the data that leads me to believe it is the tube manufacturing/quality defect, is the holes were equal distance from the valve on both the front and rear wheel. If it was a rim-tape/spoke nipple issue, the odds of it being the same spoke hole/nipple location on both rims would be 16-18:1 (~6%) assuming 32-36 spokes and also including it could be the spoke hole on the opposite side of the valve (equipment-distance). This assumes you didn't see other locations with the same signature.

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Old 01-13-21, 10:47 PM
  #40  
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In my experience when using old tape I had the 'advantage' of a dozen bubbles/blisters showing in nice neat row , each one slightly offset as you'd expect if the spoke well was the issue, on a brand new tube/tire/rim - Conti tire and tube.
The puncture on the blister was a wear rather than a tear so I guess the tube moves slightly east-west as well as north-south (looking from the side) during normal rotation and thus the protruding nipple comes under stress. All the blisters showed wear more or less. As I said before the tape looked OK - there was no obvious hole/s.
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Old 01-14-21, 11:07 AM
  #41  
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That's a pertinent question, and I don't know the answer. It'd be a good question for a tube/tire/rim designer/mfr. How does pressurized rubber elastically deform locally over a depression when otherwise constrained along its entire circumference? Or some kind of engineering-speak like that.

I don't know if it's simply related to the depth of the depression, with the tube remaining static, or if there's some movement in the tube, as postulated by Johno59. I tend to think tube movement isn't required, as at least one of my tube failures happened with the bike hanging on a hook, within 24hrs of tube installation, no road time whatsoever. I think one of yours also failed without being ridden, right?

The way to test it on your end would be to install another tube from a different mfr and see if it happens again, in the same spot.

I've already done that at my end, and all the different tube failures were localized over that same spoke well. And Johno59 had his "lucky" example of a dozen double-bubbles located precisely over spoke wells. So even though I don't understand the failure mode, it seems pretty clear to me that double-bubbles appearing over spoke wells are a rim-tape/spoke-well issue, not a defective tube issue.

Originally Posted by Drillium Dude View Post
Here's a question: why would a slightly-deeper tape depression over a spoke hole - which has no protruding spoke head - actually cause a puncture? I mean, what's the mechanism for failure? Serious question.

DD
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Old 01-14-21, 11:07 PM
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Okay, I went and picked up 4 rolls of Zefal cloth rim tape. Before I install it, I'm going to do a controlled experiment using the tire taken from the rear wheel. It's deformed, but not yet punctured. Basically I'm going to follow the advice of BFisher only I'll bypass the patching and just use the still-intact tube. I figure it's already "damaged" if you will, so if it goes, well, I guess it's expected.

Btw, I will try to patch these, but I wonder if they will still be failure-prone after the re-tape? Ah, time will tell.

Thanks again to those of you offering up other ideas. My questions are honest and real - trying to get to the bottom of this. I did notice something special about each of these tubes when inspecting them closely again today: at the deformation point, the tube feels like it's actually thicker - like there's a small rubber ring inside the tube. That's the best way I can describe it; think tracheal ring.

Anyway, I'll hope to have an update tomorrow.

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Old 01-15-21, 01:15 AM
  #43  
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Some brands/types of tubes have a quite-perceptible joint, usually at the same distance from the valve. It's a common place for odd ruptures to develop, and the ones I've patched often failed because the rubber surface local to the joint was ribbed. I've also had such tubes pull apart at the joint, so it's a definite weak spot there.
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