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tube leaking or not to worry

Old 06-22-10, 07:36 AM
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aL1
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tube leaking or not to worry

When I put air in the tires (about every month or so), I notice that the rear tire pressure is almost always much lower than the front...& I even noticed this last year with different tubes and tires-

Today for example, I checked the pressure before inflating and got:

Front= 50 psi
Rear= 38 psi

Note: (not too long ago the front was around 40 psi, and the rear 20 psi)

-I always put 60-65 psi in front and rear when I inflate them
-I ride almost every day, or at least x3 a week, for a minimum of 10-20miles/week
-the bike is ridden in south florida
-the bike is kept indoors, with the air conditioning on once-in-awhile mostly at night
-tires 26x1.9 Geax Evolutions (and samo-samo with Kenda Kozmic Lites X2)

So, does this sound like a leaky tube, a bad rim, or normal, & nothing to worry about?? -thanks-

Last edited by aL1; 06-22-10 at 07:48 AM.
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Old 06-22-10, 08:01 AM
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It's normal for them to lose some air. You might want to check them every couple of weeks rather than once a month but they don't seem to be leaking overly fast.

There's more weight on the rear wheel which could explain the difference. You could switch tubes and see if you notice the same phenomenon.

I add air to my road bike every week for what its worth. I could probably do it every couple of days if I was concerned about maintaining optimum pressure.
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Old 06-22-10, 08:07 AM
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Ignoring for the moment that it happened previously with different tubes, it sounds to me like a valve issue. It seems to be leaking too slowly for any kind of puncture. One possibility is that you have presta valves with removable cores, and the cores need to be secured better. If you look closely at the valve and there are flats on the core, you can use a small wrench (or pliers) to tighten this. If the valves are Schraeder or presta without removable cores, then it might be a defective valve and the only thing you can do is replace the tube.

But you have replaced the tube, and the problem persists, so this may all be hot air.
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Old 06-22-10, 08:44 AM
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@tjspiel

I expected some loss of air (like car tires), but my concern was the amount....thanks!
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Old 06-22-10, 09:16 AM
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Not to worry.

I fill my tires every 2 weeks to 65 PSI also. I'll find the front at 50 and the rear at 45 PSI after 2 weeks and about 300 miles. I think the rear loses air a little faster because it sees higher pressure spikes while I'm riding and leaks out just a little faster as a result. I don't notice a huge difference in performance between 65 and 45 PSI.
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Old 06-22-10, 09:21 AM
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Originally Posted by tjspiel View Post
It's normal for them to lose some air. You might want to check them every couple of weeks rather than once a month but they don't seem to be leaking overly fast.

There's more weight on the rear wheel which could explain the difference. You could switch tubes and see if you notice the same phenomenon.

I add air to my road bike every week for what its worth. I could probably do it every couple of days if I was concerned about maintaining optimum pressure.
+1 - tjspiel speaks truth.
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Old 06-22-10, 10:00 AM
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aL1
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Great feedback !

+1 bikeforums.net
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Old 06-22-10, 10:16 AM
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colleen c
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Originally Posted by aL1 View Post
When I put air in the tires (about every month or so),
I'll be very lucky if I only have to put air in my tire only once a month. My 700x23 can lose 15-20 psi from 120 psi to 100 psi in one week. My 26x1.5 on my MTB drops from 75 PSI to 50 PSI in less than three weeks.

What tjspiel quoted is correct. Losing some air on bicycle is normal if it is over a period of a week or two. Unlike car tires that has large volume of air at low psi, a bicycle is just the opposite very similar to how those compact spare tire in your car trunk loses air. It become a concern if it goes flat overnight.
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Old 06-22-10, 10:31 AM
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Originally Posted by colleen c View Post
I'll be very lucky if I only have to put air in my tire only once a month. My 700x23 can lose 15-20 psi from 120 psi to 100 psi in one week. My 26x1.5 on my MTB drops from 75 PSI to 50 PSI in less than three weeks.
Yeah, I run 700x35s. I put air in them weekly, pumping them up to their max (100 psi) By the next week, they're usually down to 80 psi or so.

Just this past weekend, I went downstairs to get my bike for a Saturday AM ride, and the rear tire was flat. Took off the tube, inflated it to listen for leaks - nothing. Nothing in the tire either, and the rim tape still looked good. I carry a spare, so I just remounted the old tire as an experiment. After an hour riding, it was way down on air, so I just put on a new tube. I'm guessing it was a bad valve as someone above suggested is a possibility in these cases. New tube = no more problems.
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Old 06-22-10, 10:32 AM
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Although they all leak air I find that tire/tube combos with presta valves leak more readily than schraders of the same size.
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Old 06-22-10, 10:45 AM
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I'm the same, I find myself topping off my 70x25c tires every week or so. Nothing to do with bad tubes, it appears. It seems to accelerate if you ever decide to take a few days off, too. Dunno why.
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Old 06-22-10, 12:32 PM
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I used to worry if my rear tube was leaking. Then I pulled the tube, put the tube in water, and confirmed that there were no leaks. No more worrying!
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Old 06-23-10, 05:18 AM
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I agree with the above posts with two very minor exceptions:
1) Shraeder valves have removable cores and can get loose and leak. There is a simple tool to tighten but needle nose pliers will work.
2) Shraeder valves can have a damaged valve stem where the leak only appears at full (tire mounted) pressure but not in the low pressure tube in water test. To check this air up the tire and find a way to lean the wheel over in some water.
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Old 06-23-10, 06:08 AM
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Originally Posted by Tobias Greenich View Post
I'm the same, I find myself topping off my 70x25c tires every week or so. Nothing to do with bad tubes, it appears. It seems to accelerate if you ever decide to take a few days off, too. Dunno why.
Rotating centrifugal force helps keep the air in.
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Old 06-23-10, 06:11 AM
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Originally Posted by Mauriceloridans View Post
I agree with the above posts with two very minor exceptions:
1) Shraeder valves have removable cores and can get loose and leak. There is a simple tool to tighten but needle nose pliers will work.
2) Shraeder valves can have a damaged valve stem where the leak only appears at full (tire mounted) pressure but not in the low pressure tube in water test. To check this air up the tire and find a way to lean the wheel over in some water.
Valid points, one of which I find to be a pro and the other a very minor con. The fact that a schrader valve can be removed and cleaned or even replaced with a known good one is a bonus to me. It's a valve that can be serviced to save an otherwise good tire whereas if a presta valve breaks, in a lot of cases as a result of 'layman's torque'*, the entire tire is rendered useless. I've never had a schrader valve loosen as long as the proper tool to remove and install it is used.

As for the stem... the only time I've seen them get damaged is through negligence such as allowing the valve to sit in the rim hole at an angle. Remove burrs or sharp edges on the rim hole (emery paper does a nice job) and keep the stem straight. If a leak at the valve stem is suspected, remove the tube, fill it with air, put it under water and gently pull at the stem in all directions. A leak will be detected if it exists.

*layman's torque - an excessive amount of torque applied to one particular threaded fastener with the notion that it's going to keep the entire bike, car, appliance etc. from falling apart.
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Old 06-23-10, 07:23 AM
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I must be OCD, I check tire pressure before each ride, unless it is the ride home from work, cause I just checked it on the way in.
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Old 06-23-10, 07:38 AM
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[QUOTE=BassNotBass;11005652]The fact that a schrader valve can be removed and cleaned or even replaced with a known good one is a bonus to me. It's a valve that can be serviced.../QUOTE]

I'm willing to put a couple patches on a tube to get some extra life out of it or to have it as an emergency backup. But I don't really feel the urge to service valves, though, to get more life out of something I can get a new one of for $4 at my bike co-op... but to each his own.

Oh, and I like my presta valves!
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Old 06-23-10, 10:26 AM
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Originally Posted by sseaman View Post
I must be OCD, I check tire pressure before each ride, unless it is the ride home from work, cause I just checked it on the way in.
I used to do that too. Then I decided it was OCD. I overcame it with a simple rule: put the pump on it once a week. Any more than that is obsession, any less frequent means a softer but slower ride.

That being said... when I went to do my weekly pump-up this morning my rear tire, normally inflated to about 90 LBs, was only at 20. I definitely have a leak. I went ahead and pumped it up and am hoping it will have enough air for the ride home. The tire is pretty worn out, so I'll just drop it at the LBS and ask for a new tube and tire. I can change flats just fine, but I just about kill myself every time I try to put a brand new tire on a rim. I've finally decided it's not worth the cursing and the blisters, so I let the LBS do that.

Last edited by pharasz; 06-23-10 at 10:40 AM.
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Old 06-23-10, 11:23 AM
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Not all tubes are created equal. Our presta tubes have a replaceable core, and all of our tubes retain pressure longer than most tubes on the market. They are not cheap (retail for around $7.75), but then you get what you pay for.

https://www.schwalbetires.com/bike_tires/tubes
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Old 06-23-10, 11:25 AM
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I pump up every day before I ride, then I dont have to remember when I last pumped the tires. That is how things go when you get old.
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Old 06-23-10, 11:59 AM
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Originally Posted by AndrewP View Post
I pump up every day before I ride, then I dont have to remember when I last pumped the tires. That is how things go when you get old.
I don't have trouble remembering b/c I check and pump every Monday AM before I leave from home. Even if I've pumped the tires before a ride over the weekend, I sometimes grab the pump automatically on Monday AM anyway. Then again, I'm not "old" yet.
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