Drive My Bike

Darn Flat Tires!
June 18, 2008, 8:53 am
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I have experienced two flat tires within my last five rides.  I hope that ratio doesn’t continue!  The worst part is that the holes in the tube were in similar places both times… on the rim side of the tube!  This means they weren’t caused by road hazards, they were caused by something on the rim.  The first time I visually inspected the rim, and ran my fingers around the area, I couldn’t feel anything that would cause a flat.  This time, I actually removed the rubber strip that covers the spoke holes, and inspected everything again, but I still didn’t see or feel anything obvious.  I did take a file and smoothed over ever spot I could find that looked that least bit suspicious, so I hope that will make some kind of difference.

One of the frustrating parts was that when I put everything back together and pumped up the tire… I heard air leaking again… and realized that my patch was not holding.  Argh!  So I took everything apart again, and just replaced the tube completely.  I now have two leaky tubes that need patching… but I don’t trust those “stick on” patches that I was using.  I’m going to buy an old school glue on patch kit, and then I’ll fix those tubes, and keep one with me as a spare.

Both of these flats were on my rear wheel.  I weigh around 200 lbs, and I carry a pannier that is loaded with about 15-20 lbs of gear, which means my rear wheel is carrying most of that weight.  I’ve been very careful to make sure that my tires are at the correct pressure, and I’ve even tried to keep that rear one filled about 5 lbs over spec since I’ve noticed the rear tire seems to compress down a lot while I’m riding, especially up hills.  I really don’t think these were pinch flats, because they both were a single distinct hole, and both on the rim side.  If this keeps up I’m going to try one of those heavy duty tubes to see if that will make a difference.

Do any of you out there have any flat tire wisdom to share?  Have flats been much of an issue with your rides?  Do you carry an extra tube all the time?  Have you had success with those “stick on” patches, or do you use the old school glue on kind?  I’d love to hear your thoughts.

UPDATE: I think I fixed my tire issues. Go here to see the solutions I ended up with.

6 Comments so far
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You might try replacing the rubber rim strip with Velox tape. Throughout my time as a bike shop Service Manager, I saw many wheels where the rubber strip would slip to one side, allowing the tube to expand into the nipple well of the rim and pop (like bubblegum).

This typically leaves a slit about 1/8″ long on the rim side of the tube, which are harder to patch since they aren’t clean, round, punctures. Heavy duty tubes won’t really help, since the heavy part is on the tire side of the tube.

Good luck with it. Unexplained, repetitive flats can be maddening to a commuter.

Jon Grinder

Comment by Jon

Jon, thanks for the tip. I actually already bought a heavy duty tube this morning, but I haven’t installed it yet. I see what you mean about the thick part being on the outside. I may go ahead and put that tube in for good measure, but I like your tape idea. It’s nice to hear from someone with your experience, so thanks again for the advice. Hopefully I can get by a while without any more flats.

Comment by Scott


How much air pressure is needed on both tires ? Can somebody tell me.


Comment by Bijoy

You can find the recommended pressure on the side of the tires. Without looking I believe it is 64 psi, but you should double check that.

Comment by Scott

The PSI for these specific tires is 40min 65max psi. I’m struggling with flats on my back tire too, Scott (Same Bike, Same City :).) Thanks for doing this website, it’s been helpful!

Comment by Kelli

Kelli, thanks for those correct psi numbers, and thanks for your comments about the site. I’m working on a post about tire issues, so stay tuned.

Comment by Scott

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