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High speed blowout

Old 12-08-20, 12:07 PM
  #1  
BHays
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High speed blowout

While looking over my bike to try and locate a barely audible intermittent noise I discovered a bulge and small slit on the side of my rear tire. I'm glad I found it, have ordered a new tire and plan a closer inspection before I ride in the future. I weigh about 200lbs and ride a heavy steel touring bike, a Salsa Marrakesh, on what I consider a hilly route. I enjoy the downhills and usually just let gravity take over, top speed according to my Cyclemeter app around 30mph. I don't have the gears to go faster if I wanted to. I ride pretty much the same route all the time, which includes a bridge on the steepest downhill with sharp bumps at each end. I unweight the bars and saddle in anticipation of the bumps but still experience considerable jarring. I plan to ease off on the speed in the future. Here's my question: how would you handle or attempt to handle your bike if you had a high speed blowout?
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Old 12-08-20, 12:29 PM
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If your tire stays on and the road only sees rubber, not the rim CF or aluminum. it is just a matter of slowing to a stop, (Do not use that wheel for your braking if on clinchers.) If the rim contacts the road, you are effectively riding on ice and those skills will be needed to stay upright. If the tire comes off the rim, things are going to h*** and a hand basket very fast. That tire will not make it through the stays or fork, locking up that wheel.

I hare had a clincher come off the rim. Rear, First I was riding on the rim. Did my best to gently steer the bike around the slight bend and stay away from the curb. Managed to slow a few MPH to probably low 20s. I had my weight forward and a gentle grip on the bars. (Remember - riding on ice and trying to stay off a curb.) Suddenly rear wheel locked up and I was tossed over the bars. Hard helmet hit, broken collarbone and ribs and an acre of bruises and road rash on both sides.

I've stopped riding old clinchers to save money and utilize the tread miles. When my current rims wear out I am going to replace them with tubular rims and go that route. (Well glued tubulars do not come off, even if you shoot them to shreds with a 50 mm machine gun. I rode tubulars 25 years. I've done routine stops from over 40 MPH after full blowouts.)

You don't hear this said, but I am certain one of the reasons that so many pro teams still ride tubulars is because the riders would rather be on them when they flat on mountain descents. A wheel change vs perhaps an ambulance ride and maybe a shortened career.
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Old 12-08-20, 01:08 PM
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Thanks 79p. Just the kind of information I was looking for. I have fewer worries a flat on the front but my guess is that everything gets more problematic. Bill
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Old 12-08-20, 01:12 PM
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I've had a front tire instantly depressurize while doing maybe 30 mph when I rolled the sidewall over a rock. Bike instantly got squirrelly. Like said above pretend you are on ice, don't try to steer and gently brake to a stop. Just no sudden movements or maneuvers.

If it happens in a turn it would be bad.
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Old 12-08-20, 01:17 PM
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What size tires are you using?
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Old 12-08-20, 01:36 PM
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Panaracer Pasela Protite foldable 700 x 38
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Old 12-08-20, 01:40 PM
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79pmooney strange for a rear wheel lockup to send you over the bars, but sometimes those things happen so fast, we can’t really tell what the
exact was.

Anyway, the term “blowout” evokes a sudden,
total loss of pressure, and it rarely happens like that. I prefer to think of it as simply flatting, which mentally sets us up for a more manageable situation! Also, I’ve been riding
for around 35 years, and I cannot recall ever having a catastrophic flat experience or to have been riding with anyone who did. I’ve had or seen pedals snap off, cranks break, handlebars break, dropouts break, fork legs slip in the crown, wheels taco, spokes break, derailleurs jam in spokes and downtubes bend and break, but I’ve never seen a flat put anyone on the
floor, so just a little perspective on the threat level there.

Usually leaks are slow, and you can feel or hear them before they’re totally flat. In that scenario, as suggested by others, I unweight the bum tire, slow as gently and quickly as possible in a straight line. If you’re at high speed and flat, there really are no tricks to managing it, I don’t think, and you’ll just have to rely on your sense of balance and handling skills to manage whatever happens. Stay cool, stay relaxed...think good thoughts. Most
likely it’ll be non-traumatic.

If you’ve got a “doomsday prepper” mindset, ride tubeless for sure.
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Old 12-08-20, 01:58 PM
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I’ve had that happen while traveling downhill at over 30 mph… Not a big deal, as long as it is the rear tire. Hit your brakes, focus on your balance, and stop.
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Old 12-08-20, 02:19 PM
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I’ve had a steel bead break once. That caused - for the purpose - instant shredding and deflation of the tire. But it was a rear. And the other bead held the tire on the rim long enough for me to bring the bike to a halt.
Regarding tubulars staying on while deflated - maybe that’s a kinda-sorta argument for tubeless setups? They’re often a tight fit, which should improve chances of the tire staying on.
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Old 12-08-20, 02:23 PM
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Originally Posted by chaadster View Post
79pmooney strange for a rear wheel lockup to send you over the bars, but sometimes those things happen so fast, we can’t really tell what the
exact was.
If the tire comes off the rim, it can jam between the seatstays and rim and cause the rear to lock up - I've had this happen. But I agree, a rear locking up doesn't typically send one over the bars.
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Old 12-08-20, 02:38 PM
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So far, I've been lucky. The closest I've come to disaster was on a fast descent where I hit God's Own Pothole hiding in the dappled sunlight right before a turn. I hit the pothole (*WHAM!*), the bike stabilized and turned perfectly, THEN the front tire blew out. I braked with the rear brake to a stop without problems.

The worst part was that I was only 1 mile into a 4 mile descent and the casing was damaged, and this was before cell phones. I had to nurse the tire to the bottom of the hill and into town to find a phone booth for The Call Of Shame.
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Old 12-08-20, 02:56 PM
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Originally Posted by BHays View Post
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Those are good, reliable tires and well suited to a Marrakesh. Good work spotting the problem before it happened. It would be impossible to inspect tires too often.

I have witnessed a front blowout at 50mph. The rider kept the bike up. Everyone present was amazed. One in the group got on his knees and said a little prayer. So it it can happen and you could be fine. It was a tubular. Hope I am never tested that way and hope you aren’t either.
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Old 12-09-20, 02:34 AM
  #13  
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Originally Posted by BHays View Post
While looking over my bike to try and locate a barely audible intermittent noise I discovered a bulge and small slit on the side of my rear tire. I'm glad I found it, have ordered a new tire and plan a closer inspection before I ride in the future. I weigh about 200lbs and ride a heavy steel touring bike, a Salsa Marrakesh, on what I consider a hilly route. I enjoy the downhills and usually just let gravity take over, top speed according to my Cyclemeter app around 30mph. I don't have the gears to go faster if I wanted to. I ride pretty much the same route all the time, which includes a bridge on the steepest downhill with sharp bumps at each end. I unweight the bars and saddle in anticipation of the bumps but still experience considerable jarring. I plan to ease off on the speed in the future. Here's my question: how would you handle or attempt to handle your bike if you had a high speed blowout?
Holmes, i recently had the feared high speed front tire blow out as i was going down hill. did all i could not to fall and wipe out...scarey as ****. really had little control as tire stayed on and slid about. went maybe 50- 100 yards of pure fear...steep 40mph hill.
very scarey. tube blew tire toast....bad day. but never fell.
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Old 12-09-20, 06:45 AM
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A rear tubeless tire blew off the rim of my bicycle at 25 mph on level tarmac. Managed to stay in the bicycle lane and stopped ok. Destroyed the rim, but frankly, since I didn’t biff, I as ok with that.
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Old 12-09-20, 07:57 AM
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All my blowouts (so far) have been on level ground or gentle slopes. The worse, a couple months ago, was just after a good hill, so I was doing 25-30 mph when the front blew. I was able to keep it tracking straight until the rear brake could stop me. It's a bit disconcerting any time it blows, because if you lean the bike you'll hit (slick) aluminum rim and then you'll need good bike handling skills to stay up.

I've had advanced notice on less than half of the blowouts I've had -- tires with a bubble, or a cut, or a nasty large puncture once. I did have a batch of bad tires, where all three I'd bought at once delaminated after a couple hundred miles. Overall, having a blowout is unlikely, but it does happen.
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Old 12-09-20, 09:05 AM
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I had one massive blowout I recall. This last Spring I had just finished a large downhill and headed up a long hill. Going about 5 mph the front tube exploded blowing the tire off the rim. Definitely would have been catastrophic if it happened a minute before.

A few hours later at work the maintenance man came in. The rear exploded the same way.

A few days before I replaced 50c tires with 38c Marathon Supremes. I used the larger tubes in the smaller tires. Best I can tell, it was due to using the larger, and older, tubes. Or older plastic rim strips which were hardened. Replaced the rim strips with cloth and have had no problems since.
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Old 12-09-20, 10:23 AM
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Originally Posted by Pop N Wood View Post
I've had a front tire instantly depressurize while doing maybe 30 mph when I rolled the sidewall over a rock. Bike instantly got squirrelly. Like said above pretend you are on ice, don't try to steer and gently brake to a stop. Just no sudden movements or maneuvers.

If it happens in a turn it would be bad.
This. I have not had this happen on a bicycle but it has happened on a motorcycle. And, as a former MSF Instructor I can say that this is good advice.

Last edited by bruce19; 12-09-20 at 10:34 AM.
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Old 12-09-20, 02:54 PM
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Originally Posted by BHays View Post
While looking over my bike to try and locate a barely audible intermittent noise I discovered a bulge and small slit on the side of my rear tire. I'm glad I found it, have ordered a new tire and plan a closer inspection before I ride in the future. I weigh about 200lbs and ride a heavy steel touring bike, a Salsa Marrakesh, on what I consider a hilly route. I enjoy the downhills and usually just let gravity take over, top speed according to my Cyclemeter app around 30mph. I don't have the gears to go faster if I wanted to. I ride pretty much the same route all the time, which includes a bridge on the steepest downhill with sharp bumps at each end. I unweight the bars and saddle in anticipation of the bumps but still experience considerable jarring. I plan to ease off on the speed in the future. Here's my question: how would you handle or attempt to handle your bike if you had a high speed blowout?
If this is a fear you have and can't shake it the answer is to use glue-ons and training tubulars. If you do have a blowout the tire stays on the rim and you use the other wheel to brake to a stop. You have to be careful in turns but 30 mph isn't really scary fast. I have had clinchers blow on fast downhills and I have never had one come off of the rim though I use good tires. If you want good protection from blowouts on clinchers but good traction as well try Continental 4 Seasons. They are damned expensive for a reason. In general, wider tires at lower pressures with puncture protection bead to bead have small chances of a blowout though that doesn't protect you from flats that you don't notice until it is too late. A month ago I picked up a sheet metal screw and had a tubeless tire on. The tubeless would not seal because the sealant was too old (not that old) The spare tube I tried jst wouldn't work on a tubeless without puncturing. I will not ever use tubeless again. When it is a small puncture they work fine but when you get a large puncture you have to call home for a ride. I tried tubeless for 3 years before giving up on them. And tubeless rims are getting damn near impossible to get the newer tires on.
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Old 12-09-20, 03:11 PM
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Last September a man died while riding the Big Dam 100 ride in Little Rock AR. Had a flat on a down hill section and lost control. He was the president of a local cycling club.
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Old 12-09-20, 04:17 PM
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Thinking about this one some more. What to do?

Several in the thread have survived this. I saw it. So we know it can turn out OK. Remember that. Don’t panic. Also don’t try to accomplish much. Mostly you need to rely on the inherent stability of your bike. Let your bike find that stability.

Most of what you can do is preventative. You are already on top of good tires and good inspection. That Marrakesh is made for carrying a lot of load. If loaded keep it balanced and snug. Also if loaded your 30mph is quite fast, maybe use the brakes a lot, stop to let them cool off. If it is to be a long and challenging descent consider using the manual dropper post - get off and lower the saddle. If you are not likely to do that, learn the technique of hanging your butt out behind the saddle on the steep stuff. It is way more stable that way. However you go downhill ride within your capabilities. There are days for pushing the envelope and most days safety first. Only push the envelope when the bike is unladen, the weather is perfect, you feel fresh and fantastic. 30mph is not all that fast, a lot of us do that on the flat, or did when young. Most of us can do it on little tiny hills. Downhill crashes are always worse, the likely case is still only you break a collarbone. Which heals quick and is not that big a deal. Whatever you do avoid high speed crashes in traffic. If such a thought worries you, slow down.

When you slow down remember that prolonged heavy braking heats the rim and will contribute to the blowout you were hoping to prevent. Stop once in a while and enjoy the view while the rims cool. Feel the rim and get an idea what sort of braking does this. Discs? They overheat too.
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Old 12-09-20, 04:43 PM
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Originally Posted by RiceAWay View Post
If this is a fear you have and can't shake it the answer is to use glue-ons and training tubulars.
I'll remind everyone that the term "rolling a tire" comes from the tubular days. For flat security, tubeless is absolutely the best. If a tubeless doesn't seal, it'll slow the leak and it won't roll the tire.
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Old 12-09-20, 04:50 PM
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Originally Posted by stevel610 View Post

A few days before I replaced 50c tires with 38c Marathon Supremes. I used the larger tubes in the smaller tires. Best I can tell, it was due to using the larger, and older, tubes.

Tubes have - compared to tires - ”no” structural strength. They’ll expand until the tire stop them. Try inflating one outside the tire and see how big it goes at no discernible resistance at the pump. It’s not that a bigger tube allows more pressure on the tire.
Too big tubes can cause trouble though. Mainly through being more prone to getting trapped under the bead, but also by ending up in folds or creases that can lead to punctures. The typical failure mode of a tube getting trapped under the bead isn’t that the tube lifts the bead off the rim, but that the tube herniates out from under the bead and ruptures.
Once the pressure goes it may not take much to ride the tire off the rim.

Originally Posted by stevel610 View Post
. Or older plastic rim strips which were hardened. Replaced the rim strips with cloth and have had no problems since.
While bad rim strips can certainly cause issues, it seems unlikely that both would fail so nearly simultaneously. Maybe If both were technically already overdue, and the tire swap caused them to shift around enough to expose a spoke hole, spoke nipple.
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Old 12-09-20, 06:14 PM
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See the thread Top Speed on the road bike forum if you want to see some crazy speeds. A blowout or flat at those speeds would give you a lifetime of road rash if you survived.
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Old 12-10-20, 09:40 AM
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I'm 58, but the 12-year-old in me wants to grab a bunch of old tires and inner tubes, and some long-fuse firecrackers and practice recovering from front and rear blowouts at speed.
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Old 12-10-20, 11:04 AM
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Originally Posted by topflightpro View Post
If the tire comes off the rim, it can jam between the seatstays and rim and cause the rear to lock up - I've had this happen. But I agree, a rear locking up doesn't typically send one over the bars.
More than likely, these kinds of offs are what’s known in motos as ‘high-side’ crashes:
The ( most often) rear wheel goes flat, or otherwise looses traction and slides out from under the bike; if it never regains grip, the bike just slides out until it flops down on the ‘low side’
If the tire slides out to the side, but then suddenly regains traction, momentum will try to stand the bike up right, often violently, and can easily pitch the rider off the ‘high-side’.

It’s not exactly an over-the-bars ‘endo’ but you’re still gonna get flung.
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