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Silly question...perhaps!

Old 02-25-19, 12:38 PM
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Silly question...perhaps!

So, before my possible silly question, I want to give a shout out to my wonderful wife. (She is wonderful even if this particular event never happened). Due to a tight budget right now I have been working on building up a used bike I bought so I can get into this world of touring. A few weeks ago I had to be out of town and found myself in a performance bike shop. I jokingly (honestly, it was a joke) sent my wife a picture of the 1/2 off price tag on a Fuji Touring bicycle, which I have been looking at for a while. Well, to my surprise she said get it...so I did!!! I'm really excited and hope things in my schedule clear up later in the spring so I can get out for my first fully supported tour, which will likely be an over night trip to the local state park.

Anyway, this leads to my question. Last week I was finally able to take my new bike out for a spin around town. From a bike ride standpoint, it was nothing to right home about. But I keep reminding myself that I'm a lot heavier than before Christmas, this bike is heavier than my road bike, it has wider tires, and I wasn't trying to set any records anyway. However, halfway through the ride a car pulled out in front of my and I had to hit my brakes hard to keep from crashing into them or getting hit. (This may be the closest I've ever come to getting tangled up with a car!) Two things followed...first, I came away with now scratches or anything, just a bit of temporary road rage towards that particular driver. Second, it now feels like I'm riding on a sidewalk...my rear wheel has this steady bump. When I hit my brakes hard to keep from getting hit or smashing into that car, my rear wheel locked up...I supposing that has created a little flat spot. Is that possible? Is there anything to do to make it better/smoother, short of purchasing a new tire.

- Pastor Joe
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Old 02-25-19, 12:42 PM
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Why are you supposing there is a flat spot in the tire?
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Old 02-25-19, 12:49 PM
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Maybe have a mechanic take a look? Performance might support their product.

This is not normal, and shouldn't be happening.

You could try holding the wheel off the ground and spinning it, and listening from various close-up points to isolate the source. Or put the bike upside down. You sometimes have to get very close to the source.
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Old 02-25-19, 03:59 PM
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If you actually skidded, then there could be a flat spot on the tire, and you would see it with the bike turned upside down. I'd start there
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Old 02-25-19, 04:40 PM
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Congratulations on the bike! Make sure you get her some flowers or make her a nice dinner or something if you haven't already.

If there is a flat spot on your tire, or whatever is going on with the wheel, you should be able to Feel it even if you don't notice it right away by looking. As said, turn the bike over and spin the wheel. Watch closely. If you don't see the problem, run your hands over the tire. You should feel it if it's a flat spot on your tire.
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Old 02-25-19, 07:54 PM
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one good skill to develop for touring is to be able to deal with mechanical issues, so learning the basics of bike mechanics and adjustments is a big plus. Combined with that is also developing the problem solving for things that can happen with your bike, so try some simple observations of your rear wheel and rim to see what it could be.
As said, turning your bike upside down and spinning the rear wheel will allow you to look at teh tire closely, in good light, to see if there is an obvious issue with the tire. Its unlikely a flat spot could be that apparent, you arent a F1 car locking up at 300kph, and the times I have locked up the rears, there was never an actual flat spot created that could be felt riding, certainly not how you described it (the sidewalk description was a good one btw)--but do check any way.

next, using your thumb as a guide, holding your thumb against the chainstay, see if the actual rim has a "hop" in it. It will show up easily if there is one, and at the same time, look to see if the tire itself has a clearly visible "hop"--if so, perhaps the tire shifted a bit due to insufficient pressure, this will be clear by eye.
If it is the rim, it will be significant, as I have a bike rim that has a hop in it, and has for years, but no "sidewalk feel" for me.
If it is the tire, deflate the tube completely, make sure the tire is seated properly and evenly, reinflate and it would cure the improperly seated issue, and take away the "hop".

use common sense, and you should at least be able to whittle down the possibilities, and at the same time, get to know your bike and practice some problem solving skills.

good luck, it should be fairly evident to find what it is.

oh, feel the spokes, squeezing two towards each other, going around the wheel, to see if one is obviously loose or broken. Again, you dont have to know spoke tensions or wheel building, but at least you'll know how the spoke tensions feel and if they are all more or less the same.
ps, driveside spokes are tensioned higher than non ds. this is normal and you'll feel the difference.

ps, not a silly question, just an opportunity to learn some new things. Such is life.
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Old 02-25-19, 08:50 PM
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I appreciate all the responses and suggestions. Hopefully life and work will have no surprises tomorrow and I can find time to put the bike on the stand/turn it upside down to get a good like at tire and rim.

Over the years I have done pretty well taking care of my own bike maintenance...except wheels! Still trying to lesrn and improve those skills.
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Old 02-26-19, 12:59 AM
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I would second looking to see if the tire partially unseated the bead along the rim. I've inflated a tire like that and it had a distinct bulge that caused a wobble.Just deflate, reseat and inflate as suggested if it is.
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Old 02-26-19, 08:25 AM
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Having skidded many rear tires on bikes, and never once flat spotted, I'd have a hard time believing that is the case. Not impossible, but it take s a lot to flat spot a tire. Looking at it, it should be quite evident if you did. I'd be inclined to follow what @djb stated to start off with.

That said, if you did indeed flat spot it, you have two choices: deal with it or buy a new tire.
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Old 02-26-19, 08:35 AM
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Originally Posted by jefnvk
Having skidded many rear tires on bikes, and never once flat spotted, I'd have a hard time believing that is the case.
IKR. I have a hard time imagining how you could wear off enough rubber in one small spot to be able to feel it while riding yet not have the casing showing.
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Old 02-26-19, 11:04 AM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz
IKR. I have a hard time imagining how you could wear off enough rubber in one small spot to be able to feel it while riding yet not have the casing showing.
50 years ago, my pals and I found out that if you hammered it as fast as you could, and then jam on the rear brake at the exact moment your back wheel went over a small stick, you could make the coolest, longest sounding tire screeching sound as the stick jammed under the skidding tire and you slid a long way......until your tire would explode as it wore down through the casing.

funny how I remember this rather clearly, the screeching sound and the explosion----oops!
Oh dad, my rear tire blew up, I have no idea why.....
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Old 02-26-19, 02:09 PM
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Well...maybe it shouldn't have happened or not, it seems my little skid to avoid tangling with a car created a flat spot. I didn't think it was long or bad, but seems it was enough to do damage. Below is a picture...once I flipped the bike over and got at tire level, you could see it and definitely feel it.

Besides getting this bike, I've been fixing up a bike for my wife who hasn't ridden since a school girl...but she is interested/willing to try and get into this touring thing with me. So, guess I'll suck it up a bit and get used to the "riding on a sidewalk" feel until I can afford to get another tire...probably a new set and increase the width.

Thanks for the help...if there is anything to do with this tire to help I'm open to suggestions.
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Old 02-26-19, 02:29 PM
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Replace it.
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Old 02-26-19, 03:56 PM
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holy bananas thats a first!
Now I guess this is because of my motorcycle experience and whatnot, but on lockup, my instincts are always to back off and not stay locked up--purely from a control point of view. Ive locked up fronts on motorcycles on track and gotten away with it, and locked rears too, but the instinct is always to immediately back off and not keep the rear locked.
You apparently kept this locked up for a heck of a long time, to create a flatspot like this, and I strongly suspect not using the front brake properly--that flatspot is rather significant--and again, Ive never seen this before, well apart from back in the late 60s on my one speed bike.

without knowing your two wheeled experience, in an emergency stop, your front brake does something like 80% of the stopping, and at full on front braking, your rear will be unweighted a lot, even with body language to put as much weight towards the back to reduce the back lightening too much, and allowing more front brake application.

do watch this and practice if not comfortable with it, so that you'll get used to it. The more you do it, the better as it becomes instinctual--just what you need in an emergency.


getting this down will dramatically reduce your emergency braking distances, we're talking amounts that could save you a lot of grief, and you simply have no need to have prolonged rear lockup, it just isnt helping you slow down faster.
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Old 02-26-19, 04:16 PM
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I've been road cycling for 15 years...and my main motorized transportation for past 10 years has been a Yamaha V-Star. While I was definitely trying to avoid tangling with that car, I remember being surprised that my rear wheel locked up because I didn't think I pulled it that hard. Maybe this was adrenaline or due to my first time on that bike. And I don't think it was that long of a skid...it was a gentle/rather slow ride that day.

But...it happened! Guess a flat spot on tire is still better than slamming into a car!
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Old 02-26-19, 05:42 PM
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Either that was a really lousy tire, or you didn't brake hard enough with the front. You should be able to come to a stop quite quickly, therefore not needing to slide the rear tire long enough to cause that sort of rubber loss. The last time I did something like that, I was messing around and intentionally seeing how far I could slide the rear tire(ended up blowing out the tire ). As recommended above, I also vote for practicing hard stops just for fun to get the distance down. It could save you and your tires. Maybe check the front brake to make sure it's working up to it's potential?
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Old 02-26-19, 05:47 PM
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Yep, that sure is flat spotted!

Before you replace it, go back out and practice some more hard stops, and modulating pressure when you lock up to release the tire from locking. As others have stated, you probably didn't have much (if any) pressure on the front. Back wheels are poor at braking, due to weight transfer forward when you decelerate. That unloads the wheel, allowing you to just skid instead of actually having any stopping force.
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Old 02-26-19, 05:49 PM
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apologies, you have a lot of two wheeled experience then.
I think we have all had an emergency situation where we end up locking up the rear unintended, bicycle or motorcycle, I know I have.
My old instincts tend not to use the rear that much and concentrate on the front to use it to the max, goes back to my track days on a two stroke Yamaha a long time ago. Ive mentioned here before, but my old motorcycle instincts are so ingrained, I've switched nearly all my bicycles to a "right lever=front brake" setup, to match a motorcycle, just because in a complete emergency where I dont have time to think, my motorcycle hand instincts kick in, 35+ years later.

but back to your bicycle tire. Who knows, maybe cuz Im a lightweight Ive never had a flatspot like this, but I suspect the skid was longer than you thought, as it really does look in the photo like that sucker is squared off pretty bad.

and yes, as you say, better that than hitting a hard metal heavy object.

going back to motorcycles, just as when I was young on bicycles, when I started getting motorcycles, we used to do our own "shortest braking tests", from diff speeds, to try to get the shortest distances. Guess that helped learning to really haul on the front and get a feel for traction and bringing the tire as close as I could to locking, but not quite, and reacting quickly to lockups front or back, and modulating when lockups did occur-especially with the rear while still concentrating on keeping the front full on , and steering into a slide if the back end started to step out a bit (especially fun on dirt when I had an enduro, great practice and didnt ruin tires.....)

safe riding,
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