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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Central Missouri
    Posts
    626

    Flats galore! Could it be something other than bad luck?

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    So I got this bike a week and a half ago (my cross check) but within the past week, I have now put in three new tubes. I had one flat due to glass in the tire and the other two are a mystery (no apparent slice of the tire, no hole in the tubes!). I will ride the day before tough mileage, come home to a firm tire that looks normal, and then go to bed and wake up to a dead tire with no obvious issue.

    One of the ladies in the bike group in town said she rec's I keep the PSI down around 65. I've found that 65 is LOW for these tires on streets that can be dicey, so I'm at 70-75, which the LBS says is fine. I still got a flat this AM though. So, no biking to work for me. The cost of tubes is adding up because patching when you are in a time crunch is a big gamble and often just not possible.

    Should I be checking for something else? I've checked my tube and tire repeatedly on these and found nothing suspicious. I am going to bring it back by the shop to explain it and hope they have answers but I was wondering if I should ask about something specific. I've never replaced 3 tubes on one bike EVER in the past 4 years so this seems especially odd.
    ***graduate student and avid cyclist***

    Owned by:
    Le Monstre Vert - 2013 Surly Cross-check
    Willis, my chiX

    "Carl" - 2010 Kia Soul (when necessary!)

    Elle on Wheels - my cycling blog!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Oslo, Norway
    Posts
    4,083
    It sounds like you may have a burr or sharp spot on the rim somewhere. Have you pumped the tubes up well and checked for holes in a bucket of water or the bathtub? If they literally have no holes, the only thing left is a faulty valve, and that's weird to have three in a row!
    Winter riding is much less about badassery and much more about bundle-uppery. - malkin

    1995 Kona Cinder Cone commuterFrankenbike/Selle Italia SLR Lady Gel Flow
    2008 white Nakamura Summit Custom mtb/Terry Falcon X
    2000 Schwinn Fastback Comp road bike/Specialized Jett

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Central Missouri
    Posts
    626
    Quote Originally Posted by lph View Post
    It sounds like you may have a burr or sharp spot on the rim somewhere. Have you pumped the tubes up well and checked for holes in a bucket of water or the bathtub? If they literally have no holes, the only thing left is a faulty valve, and that's weird to have three in a row!
    I have not but I will do that with the other old tube. It's weird that both the front and back have the same problem. I am wondering if it is a rim issue after all. Either way, that would be a problem for the bike geeks I guess!
    ***graduate student and avid cyclist***

    Owned by:
    Le Monstre Vert - 2013 Surly Cross-check
    Willis, my chiX

    "Carl" - 2010 Kia Soul (when necessary!)

    Elle on Wheels - my cycling blog!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Posts
    6,449
    have you checked the rims to see if any of the spokes are poking through the rim tape? Do the rims have rim tape? But... you said there are no holes? Did you fill the tubes with air and check? Confusing.

    I've had problems with valves before. And my old pump was so poorly made that it damaged valves. Barring that. Are all the pieces of your bicycle pump screwed together properly? They can loosen and cause valve issues.
    So long as the wheels are still turning, life is good.

    Battswebb

    Pinarello Quattro~CAADX~ Zurich Lemond
    Specialized Romin Saddles

    Surly Krampus!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Between the Blue Ridge and the Chesapeake Bay
    Posts
    5,226
    Quote Originally Posted by Muirenn View Post
    have you checked the rims to see if any of the spokes are poking through the rim tape? Do the rims have rim tape? But... you said there are no holes? Did you fill the tubes with air and check? Confusing.

    I've had problems with valves before. And my old pump was so poorly made that it damaged valves. Barring that. Are all the pieces of your bicycle pump screwed together properly? They can loosen and cause valve issues.
    +1 for spokes and rim tape. If that's the case, the shop needs to fix the wheel and rim tape and reimburse you for tubes you have gone through. Are the wheels true? What is the max PSI?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    2,559
    If you can find a hole in the tube (using a bucket of water), then you'll know if it might be a rim or spoke issue based on where the hole is. But sometimes slow leaks (which you have since they only go flat over night) are impossible to find. Maybe check the inside of the tire again very carefully with your hand, tissue paper, or a balloon in case something is barely sticking through.
    Oil is good, grease is better.

    2007 Peter Mooney w/S&S couplers/Terry Butterfly
    1993 Bridgestone MB-3/Avocet O2 Air 40W
    1980 Columbus Frame with 1970 Campy parts
    1954 Raleigh 3-speed/Brooks B72

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Memphis, TN
    Posts
    1,935
    What about the tires? Lot of Flats for me are a sign that I need to buy new tires

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Uncanny Valley
    Posts
    14,645
    ^ That's my experience too, I just couldn't remember whether you bought the bike new or used. Nowadays I track tire mileage, but before that, basically my rule was unless I knew I'd run over something crazy, if I had two flats in short succession I replaced the tire.
    Speed comes from what you put behind you. - Judi Ketteler

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Vienna, Austria
    Posts
    12
    I've had a faulty valve on my bike once. I only noticed what it was after all the new tubes didn't have any holes. To check, I turned the wheel so the valve wouldn't be on the bottom or the top but somewhere sideways. Hold a hair or two in front of the valve and if it moves, air is coming out. Don't do it outside though or anywhere you'd expect a draft.
    The guy in the bike shop did the same thing to check, only he used his lighter and checked if the flame would move away from the valve.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Uncanny Valley
    Posts
    14,645
    Here's another thing that occurred to me: if you inflated the tire with CO2, it will go flat overnight because the molecules are much smaller than the N2 molecules that make up most of room air, and especially in a high pressure tire, they will filter out through the tube material itself. So if that was the case, there could be no hole and your tube could still be good! Some people make a habit of completely emptying a tube that was inflated with CO2 and re-pumping it with air after then get home. Me, I just plan on putting extra air into it before the next one or two rides.

    You can also check valve integrity the same way you check for holes in the tube wall, either by dunking in a pail or sink of water, or by smearing soapy water or spit on it.
    Last edited by OakLeaf; 04-26-2014 at 08:03 AM.
    Speed comes from what you put behind you. - Judi Ketteler

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Central Missouri
    Posts
    626
    Hmm thought I replied here. Guess not! They found the source of the flat. It was a tiny (smaller than a pen) few CM long piece of metal wedged under the rim, so now it's taker care of. No more fiats despite 44mi yesterday! Rims are taped and all that. The bike and tires) oe brand new as well. It wasn't a valve either although we've had issues with that before. It's the reason I won't go to one shop in town. They sold me a faulty tube w) valve issues refused to replace it an hour later.
    ***graduate student and avid cyclist***

    Owned by:
    Le Monstre Vert - 2013 Surly Cross-check
    Willis, my chiX

    "Carl" - 2010 Kia Soul (when necessary!)

    Elle on Wheels - my cycling blog!

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Croatia
    Posts
    115
    You don't have to buy a new tube each time you get a flat, you can patch it several times if the flats were caused by small punctures. When you do, you have to check the rim and tyre to see what caused the flat, especially if the flats keep happening like this. There could be a thorn stuck in the tyre, rim tape not in its place, protruding spoke, metal residue... all these things will give you grief when the tube is under high pressure.
    It is also important to make sure that the tyre is seated properly and that the tube is not pinched between the tyre and the rim. The former would cause a wobbly tyre, and the latter would result in a pinch flat/snakebite soon after.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Toronto
    Posts
    95
    I just recovered (I hope) from a rash of flats -- turns out the rim tape was a notch too narrow for the rims, so little bits of metal were exposed and that wore through the tube. Found it because the holes in the tube were on the inside rather than the outside.

    And then the LBS suggested I buy 29" rim tape for 700 mm tires (they didn't have the right width in stock). That one doesn't make any sense at all to me -- 29" is a good 3cm longer than 700mm, according to Google.

 

 

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