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I hate flat tires...

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I hate flat tires...

Old 07-15-16, 01:02 PM
  #276  
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A month or so ago Top506 came by the house to pick up a bike destined for another BF member and I happened to have one of my tubular-shod commuter bikes in the living room. So he asked "How are those tubies working out for you?" I said fine, but after the flat this past week on a clincher front wheel sitting in my living room I got to thinkin' (yeah, I know, bad idea) about the differences between clincher and tubular flat experiences. I've had good luck with my tubulars, sometimes marginal luck with the clinchers.

While riding to/from work this week I came up with five different kinds of flats which can occur on a clincher but cannot (or rarely) occur on a tubular:

The tire can blow off the rim due to over-pressure or poor fit.
The tube can get pinched between tire and rim during installation but not necessarily leak immediately.
Hitting a bump hard enough with insufficient pressure can cause a pinch "snake-bite" flat.
Grit or wire shards can work their way into the valve hole or from the spoke nipples or through the bead/rim contact, and eventually puncture the tube without there being an obvious penetration point on the tire.
The rim strip can migrate causing the tube to blow out into the spoke well, or contact the spoke end.

After fixing this latest flat today I remembered there is yet another type. The valve can tear away from the tube.

I've experienced all of these, some many times, f'example the valve tearing away from the tube. Of course a pinch during installation is my own fault, but it causes a flat nevertheless. Grit causing a flat on the rim side of a tube has been my most common flat.

If glass or a metal shard penetrates the tread it will cause a flat on a clincher or a tubular. Sure, a flat tubular takes more time to fix, or could be expensive instead. But over my past five years of commuting I'd feel like (with no data to back it up) that I've spent more money on patch kits and tubes than I have on replacement tubulars (not counting just wearing out the tread area).

YMMV.
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Old 07-15-16, 03:54 PM
  #277  
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I never really thought of it that way, @jimmuller. I'm going to think about that some more. Yes, the failure modes are fewer, but are failures fewer? And cheaper in the long run?
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Old 07-15-16, 06:02 PM
  #278  
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Not having data, I'll accept Jim's and stipulate that clinchers can flat in more ways than tubulars, and I'll even go so far as to say they flat more frequently. Okay, so what? I can ride 200+ miles on clinchers, carrying a spare tube or two, maybe a spare tire, and a patch kit, and have complete confidence I can fix any number of punctures. With tubular tires, I probably won't carry more than one or two spare tires. The odds of a puncture may be lower, but the cost of a puncture is much higher. You take your pick, I won't criticise! But I'll have the clinchers, please, thanks.
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Old 07-15-16, 06:03 PM
  #279  
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My two contributions:
1. Worst flat ever: 2 miles into the first ride on my NewTorelli. Bump, Hissssss, Click, Click, click! Look down and see the head of a 1/4" sheet metal screw passing before my eyes. It was dead center in my (brand New) front tire! How quickly New wears off.

2. Only time I ever called my wife for a pick-up was after managing to lock myself out of our new van by using the powered rear hatch, loading in my bike, laying the push button key fob down next to the bike, then manually closing the (still locked) hatch.

Her cheery greeting upon arrival: What have we learned from this? Me: You're getting chocolate tomorrow? Don
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Old 07-16-16, 05:59 PM
  #280  
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Originally Posted by rhm View Post
The odds of a puncture may be lower, but the cost of a puncture is much higher. You take your pick, I won't criticise! But I'll have the clinchers, please, thanks.
I hear you and won't argue with your choice. My data set is too small to be meaningful but it does feel like I've had more flats per mile on the clinchers, and certainly more flats in circumstances not involving a puncture while riding.

When I go out for a longer ride on tubulars I do take two spare tires. I typically carry only one while commuting, and the one time I did have a flat while commuting I did worry about getting another.

I am perfectly happy self-deluding myself about my tire choices.
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Old 07-17-16, 05:31 AM
  #281  
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In 2011-12 ... after the great crisis settled down a bit here in Northern Japan — and because both my house and bicycle garage were still solid, I built up a lovely Dawes Atlantis for a friend.

He is and has been a runner/ jogger for decades. Cross-training on a classic machine was his choice — with a little nudging from me. (I ran through the steel vs carbon / aluminum thing.)

Seemingly endless challenges slowed my build process, even though the frame was "blue-printed" by a local frame builder. We upgraded the clincher wheel-set with some really sweet kit a year ago. And then ...

... now my good friend wants to quit! Why? It seems that every five times he goes out he gets a flat! He says it kills the joy of riding, and he wants to sell the machine! This has included his former wheel-set and the beauties that have since replaced it.

I am stunned!

OK ... as for myself, have had a couple of long walks home. My own stupidity. These days I carry a spare tubular, three light 'spoons' and a very nice compact pump in a bum-bag. So I told Mr friend —'Do the same'. A spare clincher tube takes even less space.

My blah blah was to no avail. He says he is "jinxed".

I started fixing flats when I was 11 years old. I guess some people just can't handle it. SIGH!

The sad fact is that a good friend who has been athletic for all his life is abandoning cycling because of flats. This must be a a landmark in the history of cycling — or is it!?

One habit I have not forgotten: when you mount the machine before and after a ride — assuming you wear cycling gloves — spin both wheels with your eyes peeled. Lightly scuff the tire with your glove. If some tiny bit of shrapnel is going imbed itself later, you might just get lucky! No magic there, but better than chance.
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Old 07-17-16, 07:43 AM
  #282  
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
And cheaper in the long run?
There is nothing cheaper about tubulars in the long run.

But I get tired of the complete fallacy that they are a "hassle". There is no doubt it is easier and faster to swap a flat tubular on the road than it is to unseat a clincher, check the interior casing and replace the tube.

Jim forgot another clincher flat mode. Tire irons can hole the tube. Especially with tight rims. Unfortunately I have experienced this with the only set of wheels I have that are clinchers. And those tight rims make a road repair even more of a pita.
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Old 07-17-16, 09:46 AM
  #283  
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There must be some kind of corollary to the maxim, "if your only tool is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail" that applies to this issue.

I'm good at patching tubes. I get lots of practice. I'm not especially good at seating clinchers on the rim, but I get to practice that skill regularly as well. I manage.

I'm not good at gluing tubular tires to rims, and I've never repaired a tubular puncture with complete success. It's not a question of is it difficult; it's just a skill I haven't practiced, like speaking French. With practice I would get better, gain confidence and speed, but... eh.
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Old 07-17-16, 10:28 AM
  #284  
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Hang on, @rhm, didn't you recently tell a story of walking home because of some sort of failure you couldn't fix on the road? Maybe I'm imagining it. I don't think it was a ripped sidewall. Valve ripped from the tube? Something?

These things can happen to tubulars, but it seems they don't. Or maybe my sample size is too small to say. And I am not advocating for tubulars, just musing.
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Old 07-17-16, 10:29 AM
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I never mastered that x-like stitch on tubulars, so I always used an overhand stitch which resulted in a slightly twisted tire. It's not ideal, but I survived. Is the x-stitch easy to describe and learn?
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Old 07-17-16, 10:37 AM
  #286  
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I always used a blanket stitch because that's how I was taught. It's easy to do and very effective. I've repaired many dozens of tubulars and never had a problem with it. IMO an X stitch is unnecessary.

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Old 07-17-16, 11:23 AM
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
Hang on, @rhm, didn't you recently tell a story of walking home because of some sort of failure you couldn't fix on the road? ....
Three things come to mind.

1. On a solo century last spring I had rim strip trouble, used up most of my patches, broke my pump, had to hitch a ride to the next town where a friend lives. That was bad. Bought electricians tape and fixed the rim strip. Called my friend, borrowed a pump and a tube, rode home. Embarrassing.

2. Last summer also on a solo century I hit some fresh glass and shredded a tire, then broke the valve on my replacement tube. Rode 25 miles with three fresh patches on my original tube, two one dollar bills and a cliff bar wrapper holding my tire together before I found an open bike shop, bought a new tire and rode home with a bit more confidence.

3. Rode to the doctor's office a couple years ago, locked my bike, came out later and realized I hadn't brought my keys. Walked home carrying the bike. Doh!

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Old 07-17-16, 11:58 AM
  #288  
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Number 1 wouldn't have happened with tubulars. (I'm still not arguing, just thinking about the comparison.)

Number 2 could have had an analogous thing with tubulars.

Number 3, You used a lock that doesn't require a key to lock? I lock a car door with the key even if it doesn't require it.
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Old 07-17-16, 02:13 PM
  #289  
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Originally Posted by iab View Post
Jim forgot another clincher flat mode. Tire irons can hole the tube. Especially with tight rims.
Ah, yes. I learned to avoid this one by carrying a tire jack on the bikes with especially tight rims/tire combinations. I've three of those wondrous devices just in case one or even two break.
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Old 07-17-16, 02:15 PM
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Schwalbe Durano plus (clinchers in 25 wide) .... yet to get a puncture (touch wood) .... I ride over 200 miles a week
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Old 07-17-16, 02:25 PM
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Originally Posted by dim View Post
Schwalbe Durano plus (clinchers in 25 wide) .... yet to get a puncture (touch wood) .... I ride over 200 miles a week
How long you been ridin', son?
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Old 07-17-16, 02:35 PM
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Originally Posted by jimmuller View Post
How long you been ridin', son?
about 11 000 km using Schwalbe Durano plus (they last approx 3000 km then I buy a new pair)
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Old 07-17-16, 02:42 PM
  #293  
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Originally Posted by Salamandrine View Post
I always used a blanket stitch because that's how I was taught. It's easy to do and very effective. I've repaired many dozens of tubulars and never had a problem with it. IMO an X stitch is unnecessary.

That's how I've done the tubulars I've had to patch up. It seems to work.
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Old 07-18-16, 06:36 AM
  #294  
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Originally Posted by iab View Post
There is nothing cheaper about tubulars in the long run.
Probably not, but I don't even think of the cost factor, given that the lower-end tubulars are not very expensive. I am on a very tight budget. I notice these things. I buy cheap tubs, and I still like them over and above more expensive clinchers I have ridden. OK — just my taste, I will admit.

But, and moreover, now that I have got used to gluing these cheaper SOB's — like Vittoria Rallys — on straight, I am completely satisfied. Yep — you CAN do it even with these these sewn-up tires that are turned out like so many sausages! A pro showed me how to. No explanation ... just watched what he did!

Originally Posted by iab View Post
But I get tired of the complete fallacy that they are a "hassle". There is no doubt it is easier and faster to swap a flat tubular on the road than it is to unseat a clincher, check the interior casing and replace the tube.
Yes! The difference between applying tubs as opposed to cinchers can be likened to an old fashioned toaster as opposed to the automatic 'pop-up'. If you cannot handle that divide, don't ride tubulars. Personally speaking, I miss the old flip-type toaster.

Originally Posted by iab View Post
Jim forgot another clincher flat mode. Tire irons can hole the tube. Especially with tight rims. Unfortunately I have experienced this with the only set of wheels I have that are clinchers. And those tight rims make a road repair even more of a pita.
You can get around this risk with clinchers exclusively very time, but only if you master the same amount of finess as it takes to peel off a tubular and creep home on the corners.

Currently, I have just three bikes in my rotation. All are for different conditions and terrain (still I can do my usual work-out on all three). ALL are on tubulars. It is by choice, not by legacy components!

Tubular users: speak up and keep up! Keep the makers on their toes! If such a day comes as we are going to be left with only $100+ track tires, we will be screwed out of what we love to ride on.
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Old 07-24-16, 05:41 PM
  #295  
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I had a marvelous ride on the Masi yesterday, 53 miles in pretty hot weather. Had to play music this morning, left the house early. Left the bike in the living room, didn't notice any problem. Got back home at 2:30 and noticed the rear tire flat. Spent the afternoon fixing it.

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Old 07-24-16, 05:55 PM
  #296  
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I feel like this conversation is ignoring tubeless tires and rims, plus slimed and sealants, which have really solved a lot of the problems with clinchers.
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Old 07-24-16, 06:03 PM
  #297  
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I have had 3 flats in the last couple of weeks...so I decided that it was time to replace my well worn (flatted) tires.
I ordered some new Continental Grand Prix 4000 s II's...first ride on the new set today....NICE!!!
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Old 07-24-16, 06:29 PM
  #298  
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On Friday I was busy rebuilding a jogging stroller (dumpster dive find) into a trailer so I could tow my ca 1972 Sea Snark sailboat to the bay behind my (dumpster dive find) Huffy beach cruiser and when I got ready to ride it to Home Depot for parts I noticed that the Presta valve on the front wheel if my Lambert fixie was missing it's little turny head. WTF? it still held air, but when I went to pump it up the valve core disappeared into the tube and it wouldn't hold sure any more. I replaced the tube. Does that count as a flat tire? Eh.

Anyway, back to working on the stroller/boat trailer.... The original equipment being trashed, I had replaced the stroller wheels with 12½" plastic "mag wheels" from a (dumpster dive find) Kent scooter; and both of the scooter tires were flat. Indeed, both tubes were both shot, and though I found and patched a hole in each, neither held air. Not having and 12½" tubes in my stash, I used 16 x 1 3/8" tubes left over from when I had a Moulton. I had to fold them over a couple times as a result of which the tires wouldn't seat very well but they held air. Do those count as flat tires? Eh.

Anyway, today my wife and I rode down to Narrow Bay (the body of water that separates the Great South Bay from Moriches Bay, me towing the boat behind my beach cruiser... and then we went sailing, wading, and raking for clams. Not a whole lot of bicycling, but we had fun. We did not have any more flat tires. Which is good, because I hate flat tires....

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Old 07-24-16, 07:02 PM
  #299  
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Beside the flat discussed in post 237ish, I had two more this last week. One on the way to work and one on the way home.

When I pumped my tires up in the morning, I noticed that the stem was bent (Presta). I bent to straight, as far as I could tell, Pumped it up to 115, recommended min, and took off. About half way to work, I got that floaty feeling on the rear. Flat. I assumed, yeah I know, that it was the stem and replaced the tube. The bike is equipped with both a Silca pump and a new unused CO2 kit. I used the Silca because I was not sure the stem was the problem. No I didn't do a thorough check. It was 93 with humidity near 90% and the sweat was nearly a waterfall. I put weight on the front tire the rest of the way in and slowed down. I thought it would be an epic ride of the year to work before the flat.

At work, the tire and tube were removed and I turned the tire inside out to check. Nothing. I ran a paper towl around the circumference hoping it would snag on anything that might be sticking into the tub volume. Nothing. I checked the rim and rim tape the same way. Nothing. Reassembled and used the CO2. Impressive. Looked good, held air. Good to go.

Got ready to go home and pinched the tire. It was a it soft, well I can make it home. NOT. Halfway it was like the morning. Had my wife pick me up.

So did you miss what I was missing? Patches. Didn't have any with me. As it turned out, It probably didn't matter.

When I was home, I did another very serious inspection. Found this from the inside, just a tiny hole compared to the cut.
[IMG]P1040285, on Flickr[/IMG]

During the initial probing to the tiny hole a small blue particle popped out. Here is what else I found embedded in the tire. The blue one is the one that fell out through the inside of the tire.
[IMG]P1040278, on Flickr[/IMG]

I hate to throw this tire out but it may go. I am gambling tomorrow.
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Last edited by SJX426; 07-24-16 at 07:11 PM. Reason: Continued after pictures uploaded.
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Old 07-27-16, 05:44 AM
  #300  
rhm
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When I got my folding bike out from behind my seat on the train yesterday afternoon I noticed the rear tire was flat. So after getting off the train I found a spot in the shade at the station where I could pump up the tire and inspect the tread. The tire seemed to hold air pretty well, but I found a staple stuck through the tread. When I pulled the staple out, I could hear air escaping. But it was so hot at the station I figured I'd ride to a cooler spot before fixing it. I got a couple hundred yards to a decent patch of grass in the shade.

Since I'd already found the staple, I knew exactly where the puncture was, so I just lay the bike down on its side, pulled a foot long section of tube out of the tire, inflated until I could see the hole; scuffed it thoroughly, applied glue, and put away all my tools. By now the glue was dry, I stuck a patch to it, finished up, and I was on my way. Whole process took less than ten minutes.
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