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jrenaut
03-28-2014, 12:32 PM
So I've been having a terrible time with my rear tire (23mm Gatorskin Hardshell). After about 3000 miles of no flats, I've been getting them right and left. At first I thought the tire was just wearing out, and that still may be it, but maybe not.

After flatting almost immediately after putting in a new tube, I pulled the whole tire off the rim and cleaned it. There was some debris in there, but I got it all out, as far as I can tell. I ran my fingers around the tire and didn't feel anything weird. I inspected the tire for glass or whatever stuck in there and found nothing.

So now my last two flats haven't been regular punctures. They've been slow leaks. The tire will hold air for a bit, but not for long. This happening once could be a bad tube or bad installation or any number of things, but twice suggests that there's something wrong. Any ideas?

americancyclo
03-28-2014, 12:39 PM
check the rim tape to be sure there are no exposed areas that could puncture the tube. Also check the inside edges of the rim for spurs that might puncture. have the flats been in the same place?

jrenaut
03-28-2014, 12:44 PM
That's the problem - I don't see any holes, and if I pump up the tube, it holds air for a while. I haven't tried submerging a pumped tube in water to see if I can find the leak that way.

Greenbelt
03-28-2014, 01:01 PM
So I've been having a terrible time with my rear tire (23mm Gatorskin Hardshell). After about 3000 miles of no flats, I've been getting them right and left. At first I thought the tire was just wearing out, and that still may be it, but maybe not.



Perhaps the Volpe itself is rejecting your tire size preference and is emitting bad vibes through the frame to the tubes? Maybe a long off-road ride on bigger tires would satisfy its longings for dirt and gravel, and it will then relent to road tires again for a time.

brendan
03-28-2014, 01:03 PM
Also, where is the air leaking out of? Is it near the valve base? Maybe the valve hole has a burr?

The primary reason to find the hole in the tube (fingers & ears, soap & water, etc.) isn't to patch the tube, but to find out what's causing the hole. :)

[Edit: oops, looks like you're on top of it already.]

B

jrenaut
03-28-2014, 01:08 PM
Perhaps the Volpe itself is rejecting your tire size preference and is emitting bad vibes through the frame to the tubes? Maybe a long off-road ride on bigger tires would satisfy its longings for dirt and gravel, and it will then relent to road tires again for a time.
Ha, that might be it. Maybe if it ever is spring I'll put the knobbies back on and find some gravel.

TwoWheelsDC
03-28-2014, 01:08 PM
I had the same problem (on my Volpe, no less). Turns out there was a tiny tear in the tire that was almost impossible to see, and it kept letting tiny amounts of debris in, which presumably was causing the flats. Eventually I found the tear in the tire and replaced it...problem went away. It happened during a period of wet weather, so I think the water was helping the debris get through the hole.

jrenaut
03-28-2014, 01:10 PM
I had the same problem (on my Volpe, no less). Turns out there was a minute tear in the tire that was almost impossible to see, and it kept letting tiny amounts of debris in, which presumably was causing the flats. Eventually I found the tear in the tire and replaced it...problem went away.
Hmm, that could be it. I'll check the tire when I get home and I'm in a clean, dry place. Checking for that sort of thing in the rain in front of Swings is probably not constructive.

Geoff
03-28-2014, 02:23 PM
I agree with americancyclo, check the rim tape. I had a similar maddening episode a year back. The leaks were coming on the part of the tube next to the rim tape and to my eyes the tape looked fine, but a mechanic who happened to look at the rim (I hadn't even told him about the flats, forget why he was looking at it) said the tape had stretched too far into the recess for the spoke and would cause problems. Also, a friend with a series of flats learned that his vinyl type rim tape was probably chafing the tube at the edges. His solution was to switch to cloth tape.

vvill
03-31-2014, 08:53 AM
The one time I had recurring flats on the same wheel was because of pre-installed poor quality rim tape. I switched to cloth tape (Velox, etc.) and it went away.

jrenaut
03-31-2014, 08:59 AM
I was gone most of the weekend and have just been ignoring the problem so far. There was still air in the tire when I rode to work this morning. It'll probably go flat again at happy hour on Thursday.

Dickie
03-31-2014, 10:05 AM
Much Like TwoWheels I had a recurring flat issue last year caused by a very small cut through the tire tread itself. I finally marked the tire orientation (valve) with chalk, removed the tube, inflated it and put it in water to find the micro-hole. I realigned it in the tire to locate the issue. Turns out as the tube inflated it expanded the tire, forcing just enough of the tube into the cut and thus creating a micro-pinch. The water test is also important as it will tell you if the puncture is on the tread or spoke side of the tube.

Vicegrip
04-01-2014, 12:33 AM
I did same as above. Mark the tube and tire then found the hole. Seems there was a short tiny wire stuck the the tire. Too short to feel with a finger but enough to get pressed into the tube whole riding. Had to turn the tire inside out and break out the reading glasses to find it. Would have been hard to find had I not known where to look via the hole in the tube and relation to the tire. Would present as a reoccurring slow leak.

vern
05-30-2014, 10:24 PM
I'm having this problem now. Had a flat last night on the front. Had a second flat in the same tire/tube this morning, but conveniently it happened right as I arrived at work. When I fixed it at lunchtime I found a fairly large shard of glass in the tire corresponding to the hole in the tube. I found other bits of glass in other spots on the tire and removed those. Then, on the way home tonight, I get to Gallows and the tire goes flat. I pump it back up and it holds sufficiently until Hunter Mill, where I have to pump it up one more time to get home (another 3.5 miles). It's now flat again. At lunch I inspected the rims and tape, ran my fingers along all of those edges and felt no burrs. The tires are worn, so I will replace them this weekend, and hopefully that does it. But the recurring flats is a bit maddening.

vernonhorn
05-31-2014, 01:46 AM
I think tires tend to loose some integrity as they age, even though they may look fine, (ie not dry rotted, or with obvious flaws). When I start having this problem I just spring for new tires and think to myself "well, new tires = about ten trips on the metro, and then I'm back to saving money..."

hozn
05-31-2014, 01:56 AM
I had this happen recently too -- last week, 2 flats right around Vienna. In my case I could find nothing in the tire either time, but there must have been some tiny piece of glass or sand and I was more thorough cleaning the tire the second time. Fingers crossed that it'll be another few thousand miles before I get another. Maybe there was broken glass on the trail out there (but certainly don't remember seeing anything) ...

vern
05-31-2014, 03:12 PM
I just bought gatorskins, so hopefully that solves the problem.

Howard L.
05-31-2014, 05:28 PM
I think tires tend to loose some integrity as they age, even though they may look fine, (ie not dry rotted, or with obvious flaws). When I start having this problem I just spring for new tires and think to myself "well, new tires = about ten trips on the metro, and then I'm back to saving money..."

I have to agree with you. I've had my tires go flat for seemingly no reason at all other than age. Just part of the deal, I guess.

vern
06-02-2014, 11:14 AM
I just took my first ride on the Gatorskins and had my first flat free ride since last Thursday morning (the 4 miler Saturday doesn't count). So I guess it was just worn, overly compromised tires. Lesson learned.

Emm
06-06-2014, 09:48 AM
I'm now dealing with a slow leak to. My hybrid tires are recommended to be filled to 60-80 PSI, and I generally fill them towards the top of that range since I only ride them on pavement. They usually drop about 5 PSI in 24 hrs, and have since the bike was brand new. My back one started dropping by 10-15 PSI per day about 2 days ago. 2 old cuts ~1mm in length on the tire are visible (although appear clean--aka nothing new is sitting in them), and a tiny new cut that doesn't appear to go all the way though (or have anything in it) is visible.

Tonight when I get home I'll replace the tube and hopefully find whatever is causing the leak. Hopefully that solves it :-/

I'm prone to flats, but only on my back wheel, and they never occur in the same spot. I'm starting to wonder if I should switch to a thorn resistant tube for the back tire. Switching tubes out every 6 weeks is getting annoying.

hozn
06-06-2014, 10:03 AM
You can also use tube patches on the inside of your tires where those cuts come all the way through. I do that to repair tires that I run tubeless (when the holes are too big for sealant or the small tire plugs).

Emm
06-06-2014, 10:06 AM
You can also use tube patches on the inside of your tires where those cuts come all the way through. I do that to repair tires that I run tubeless (when the holes are too big for sealant or the small tire plugs).

Good idea--I'll do that tonight. I have a few tube patches I can stick on the inside of my tire thanks to the kit Bike Arlington gave out at bike to work day :)

Geoff
06-06-2014, 10:29 AM
This won't help when there is no clear reason for a leak, but I regularly inspect my tires for glass and stones embedded in the tire that haven't worked in far enough to cause a flat. When I find something (and I have, several times) I pry it out (carefully!) with a safety pin. Then I seal the cut with Shoe Goo.

I have still gotten "mystery flats" but have saved myself several times, both with my lightweight road tires and the Gatorskins on my commuter.

Emm
06-06-2014, 03:50 PM
Found the offender, without even using the bathtub (although i still used the tub to confirm it was the only leak since I'm sick of changing my tubes...).

1mm piece of wire that was thinner than a strand of hair. It was sticking right out of the tube when I pulled it out. Explains why the leak was so slow...the hole was tiny.

Now to patch the old holes on my tire and put my bike back together.

n18
06-06-2014, 04:57 PM
I hate flats. My tires are 700x35, with 30 TPI, weighing around 500 Grams, and using Shrader valves, PSI range around 50 to 60 PSI. I first used Mr Tuffy tire liners, but had more frequent flats. I didn't cut it to size, it was longer than necessary, so I thought it wouldn't hurt, it turned out like some Amazon reviewers said that Mr Tuffy sticks to itself sometimes, or sticks to the tire, and when you go over a rock/broken pavement/uneven sidewalk, part of the tire wants to go one way, and the tire liner and tube want to go another way, so the tire liner makes an impression on the tube, and after a while this causes slow leaks. I guess that the same thing would happen with patches to a smaller extent, so I prefer to replace the tube if possible.

I then replaced the stock tube and Mr Tuffy with Forte puncture resistant tube on the back tire only, the new tube weighs 436 Grams, but I felt that someone replaced my wheel with a car wheel, or even an eighteen wheeler as a joke.

Finally, I realized that like others said, it's better to have the puncture resistance on the tire rather than the tube, so I upgraded both tires to Continental Grand Prix 4000S II 700cx25 Road Tires (http://www.performancebike.com/bikes/Product_10052_10551_1156582_-1_400235__400235), which have 330 TPI, divided into 3 layers, 110 TPI each. The difference in rolling resistance was substantial, I could accelerate faster, and even go uphill faster, but this could be due to me cleaning the hubs and re-grease the bearings. When going south on the W&OD from Hunter Mill RD to Vienna, which is slow steady uphill, I went from a steady speed of 8 MPH(original tires, wrong fit), to 10 MPH(original tires, proper fit, just lifting the seat one inch as all I did to gain 2 MPH), to 12 MPH(new lighter tires, 25mm wide instead of the stock 35mm, and cleaner hubs). All this speed increase was in the span of two months(March to May), so it's unlikely because I have become more fit, in fact during these two months I didn't push myself as hard as usual.

I have had two flats with the new tires, and they were my fault. I used two new regular Forte tubes. Flat#1 was slow, and was caused by me not paying attention when I was installing the tube. I dragged the tube around and it must have made contact with "invisible" sharp edges of my tools and the stuff I had laying around while replacing the tires. When I put the tube in water, I saw a string of shallow cuts along the side of the tube, like a series of pearls, but with no holes in them, except one which had a tiny hole.

Flat#2 has yet to be fixed, but I was getting very slow leaks and I think it's a pinch flat when I went over an edge of a sidewalk harder than I should.

If you are using Presta valves, I highly recommend watching this video despite the poor quality and what seems that the video is ending in the middle. It covers common mistakes when working with road tires, particularly high pressure tires.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mpk6hRAV--Q

In summary, from the video and other sources:


Throw away the nut that goes to the bottom of the valve, it causes flats at the stem.
Inflate a new tube first outside the tire, then deflate it and put it in.
Make sure that you keep the new tube at a clean place, without contact with any tools or components that may have sharp edges.
Inspect both sides of the rim, and make sure that they don't have sharp edges, otherwise they may cut the tube.
Inspect the rim tape to make sure that it's not damaged and that it covers all spokes.
After putting the tire in, don't inflate to the full PSI, only to a small number, like 30 PSI, and massage the tire so if part of the tube was not properly in place, it may cause flats later. See time index 6:15 in the video above for pictures that illustrate what happens. Wide tires, which usually use Shrader valves are more forgiving of these mistakes, because of the higher width and low PSI.
Inflate to the recommended PSI.
Checking the tire visually after inflation without spinning it is not enough, because it may not be obvious if the tube is properly seated. See time index 4:00 in the video above for details.

n18
06-06-2014, 05:00 PM
Found the offender, without even using the bathtub
I use a bucket I bought from a dollar store, much quicker to fill and easier to move around.:)

PotomacCyclist
06-06-2014, 05:16 PM
Found the offender, without even using the bathtub (although i still used the tub to confirm it was the only leak since I'm sick of changing my tubes...).

1mm piece of wire that was thinner than a strand of hair. It was sticking right out of the tube when I pulled it out. Explains why the leak was so slow...the hole was tiny.

Now to patch the old holes on my tire and put my bike back together.

On a different (non-bike) note, I saw a TV program about some teenager who nearly died from an unexplained cause. Doctors discovered that he had swallowed a small metal wire accidentally. His father had used a wire brush to clean the backyard grill, but didn't wipe it down afterward with a paper towel. Then one of the wires became embedded in a burger or hotdog, which the son ate. He began experiencing symptoms a day or two later, before becoming seriously ill. Fortunately he survived. The father threw out the wire brush and said he would never use one again to clean the grill.

Emm
06-06-2014, 05:22 PM
On a different (non-bike) note, I saw a TV program about some teenager who nearly died from an unexplained cause. Doctors discovered that he had swallowed a small metal wire accidentally. His father had used a wire brush to clean the backyard grill, but didn't wipe it down afterward with a paper towel. Then one of the wires became embedded in a burger or hotdog, which the son ate. He began experiencing symptoms a day or two later, before becoming seriously ill. Fortunately he survived. The father threw out the wire brush and said he would never use one again to clean the grill.

OMG thats probably where the wire was from! I use a brush like that on my grill, and store my bike back there next to the grill. Ill use the shop vac on the porch this weekend and get a new grill brush.

I also don't wipe the grill down after using the brush, eep...

PotomacCyclist
06-06-2014, 06:00 PM
Here's a Seattle Times article about the 2013 case:

http://seattletimes.com/html/localnews/2020948798_bristlebarbecuexml.html

Sounds like this is a more common problem than people think. Many cases are misdiagnosed. The article mentions that sometimes doctors will find the small wire through exploratory surgery, but they don't realize that it might have come from a wire brush used to clean a grill.

I think the TV program ended with a safety expert recommending that people use ceramic scouring pads instead of wire brushes. Or if they use a wire brush, wash off the grill with a hose afterward and wipe off the grill with a paper towel to remove any loose wire strands. But if there are loose wire pieces, those will still be lying around.

ShawnoftheDread
06-06-2014, 08:20 PM
TV announcer: Has this ever happened to you?!

Marge Simpson: No, but it's my biggest concern!

PotomacCyclist
06-07-2014, 04:38 AM
Well, it's your life and that of your family's. There could be many more cases of this happening than reported. It's interesting that on this thread with a limited number of replies, two people already report tiny wires embedded in their tires, possibly from wire brushes.

Plus avoiding the problem is so simple and inexpensive that it seems foolish to discount it. If I can avoid a problem easily and at little cost or attention (other than a one-time fix), then I'm open to the solution. Don't worry about the things you can't change, but work on (most of) the things that you can change. I usually try to live along those guidelines (but I'm not perfect about it).

DismalScientist
06-07-2014, 05:20 AM
I've had small wires embedded in my tires before. I always thought I picked them up from disintegrating bicycle electronics along the roads. People, use paper and binder clips, please.:rolleyes:

n18
06-11-2014, 07:00 AM
I managed to fix Flat#2, and it has the same string of shallow cuts as on Flat#1, and was on the opposite direction of the valve, where I used my tire levers, so the slow leaks for both flats were caused by tire levers. I used Schwinn Tire Levers (http://www.amazon.com/Schwinn-Deluxe-Bicycle-Tire-Repair/dp/B001QXBRSO), which didn't seem to have sharp edges. I watched YouTube videos on how to install tires without tools, but I couldn't do it. I bought Park Tool Tire Levers, and used these. They seemed to have more pointy edge than Schwinn Tire Levers, but the head profile is smaller, so not much goes inside the tire and puncture the tube.

5 minutes after fixing Flat#2, I got Flat#3 because of damaged rim tape. Bike shops were closed at the time, and I was hoping that I could manage to fix it without replacing the tape, which was of decent quality. The tape had a part of it folded on itself, and the flat was caused by the start of the fold. The hole on the tube had an impression of what the fold looked like. So it must have been the rim tape, which was probably damaged by the tire levers!

In all 3 cases I used new tubes. The good news is that the new tires are not at fault, but I haven't gone to thorn heavy areas lately, like the area north of Hunter Mill RD, or the town of Thornsville (https://maps.google.com/maps?q=39.139733,-77.611813&hl=en&sll=38.003385,-79.420925&sspn=6.672508,9.876709&t=m&z=17&lci=bike).

There is definitely a learning curve when going from Shrader/Wide tires(35mm+) to Presta High Pressure.

cyclingfool
06-11-2014, 09:22 AM
If you're having trouble getting the last bit of tire on despite trying other methods, but are weary of forcing it on with tire levers, there is always this option, the Kool Stop Tire Bead Jack (http://goo.gl/x5urdk).

Local LBS (redundancy much?) blog post on it here (http://www.bicyclespacedc.com/blog/2013/3/12/buntys-kool-stop-tire-bead-jack.html).

I just bought one because my rim and tire combination is one of the worst there is for tight squeezes on. Haven't actually used it yet, but I am about to replace a rear tire (probably tonight), so I'll get some experience with it then. I've read only good things about it.

Phatboing
06-11-2014, 09:30 AM
If you're having trouble getting the last bit of tire on despite trying other methods, but are weary of forcing it on with tire levers, there is always this option, the Kool Stop Tire Bead Jack (http://goo.gl/x5urdk).

Local LBS (redundancy much?) blog post on it here (http://www.bicyclespacedc.com/blog/2013/3/12/buntys-kool-stop-tire-bead-jack.html).

I just bought one because my rim and tire combination is one of the worst there is for tight squeezes on. Haven't actually used it yet, but I am about to replace a rear tire (probably tonight), so I'll get some experience with it then. I've read only good things about it.

I have one of these things, and it's ... overkill. With my devastatingly tight Conti Touring tires, I used this method to greater success: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-XUFVrl0UT4

The bead jack is now only in case of emergency.

Rootchopper
06-11-2014, 09:37 AM
I bought a bead jack and thought it was useless.

I use the method in this video.

During a bike ride I could not get my Marathon back on. Another rider popped it on just as this video shows. I've tried pushing the bead over the edge directly and succeeded in taking the skin off my thumbs. The better way is to use the heel of your hands and push on the tread of the tire so that the last part of the bead clears the rim.

mstone
06-11-2014, 10:15 AM
The last time I got a flat was almost immediately after riding through a "mud" puddle following one of the recent floods. I really didn't want to touch that tire, let alone massage it onto the rim. :(

cyclingfool
06-11-2014, 10:18 AM
I'll check out the video when I get a chance to see if it's any different from the countless other videos I have watched on the topic. On my old bike w/ 700c Velocity Dyad rims I could get what are generally considered to be tight tires, including Schwalbe Marathons, on with my bare hands with no problems using advice from a YouTube video. On my current bike and the wheels I built for it (using 26" Sun Rhyno Lite rims), nothing I do seems to make any difference, none of my prior knowledge seems to help, and the last little few inches of bead are always beyond a PITA to get onto the rim, and I've had this with four different makes of tire. That's why I went ahead and ordered a bead jack to see if it would help at all.

Besides the possible use of the bead jack, I also plan on trying to replace my rim tape w/ narrower rim tape or even high quality strapping tape to try to gain a little extra room inside the rim for tire installation and removal.

cyclingfool
06-12-2014, 10:10 AM
By way of an update and for future reference of those who may come across this thread through a search...

Phatboing, I watched the video you linked to. It's a really good one. It's actually the main one I referred to in the past, and I always try to use the method described as it generally works great. The straps seem like overkill, but I guess if you're having problems with the bead staying on as you go to work more of it onto the rim then they probably help. In my case, even the method from the video wasn't helping, which is why I went ahead and picked up a bead jack to try to make the process a little easier.

On to my tire replacement last night. Based on some online research I had done, I took off my beloved Velox tape and replaced it with two layers of good quality fiberglass strapping tape of the appropriate width while I had the tire and tube off. The difference was night and day when I went to put the new tire on. It went on more easily than I had ever imagined possible. I had the new tire on in less than three minutes, both beads, no bead jack usage, and only minimal need to employ the method from the video. I guess the physical bulk of the cloth tape was causing more bead clearance issues than I had realized previously.

I had been been starting to beat myself up over my choice of rim for my wheel builds thinking I had discounted the reported issues I'd seen online re: difficulty of mounting tires. But as long as the strapping tape option holds up, and from what I've read it should, I am a very happy man now... with a bead jack likely to see little to no use! :) I am a little bummed b/c I love the classic look of Velox, but not for the trouble it was giving me. Besides, that's a part of the bike I hope to have to look at VERY rarely.

PotomacCyclist
11-24-2014, 08:09 PM
TV announcer: Has this ever happened to you?!

Marge Simpson: No, but it's my biggest concern!

Well, it almost happened to me today, at a lunch place downtown. I was eating lunch when I looked at the container and thought a small item looked unusual. Not a green onion slice or parsley or other garnish. It turned out to be a small metal shaving, in the rice! I picked it out and confirmed that it was made out of metal. Good thing I didn't swallow that. The edges were moderately sharp, easily enough to cause damage to the intestines in certain situations.

I think the restaurant was using some sort of scraper to clean a grill or frying surface, and the metal piece chipped off or was sliced off. I called them soon after and told them what I found. I am not naming them because the manager was concerned about the news and said he would fix the problem right away. He sounded truthful. He also offered a free lunch the next time I'm there. I'm not so concerned about that as much as I am about helping to ensure that no one gets injured by something like this, either at a restaurant or at home.

People aren't grilling outdoors right now, but they will be next summer. So keep this in mind, that metal wire brushes, metal grinders and other abrasive cleaners can leave metal residue that can get into food. The solution is very simple and inexpensive, as mentioned above. There really is no reason not to take those basic safety measures, even if you think the odds of all this happening are slim. After all, you could ride on a bike for brief periods with your eyes closed without crashing or getting hit by a car driver, but that doesn't make it a safe habit, and the solution is pretty easy (i.e., not riding with your eyes closed).

Steve O
11-24-2014, 09:07 PM
and the solution is pretty easy (i.e., not riding with your eyes closed).

But then that doesn't solve this problem (http://bikearlingtonforum.com/showthread.php?6843-My-Evening-Commute&p=100398#post100398).

dkel
11-24-2014, 09:25 PM
It turned out to be a small metal shaving, in the rice! I picked it out and confirmed that it was made out of metal. Good thing I didn't swallow that.

Last year my family went to the bazaar at my parents' church, and my wife got a bowl of chili, only to find a big ol' bolt in it. Admittedly, that might actually be easier on the innards than a metal shaving. Still, those church ladies were mortified.

PotomacCyclist
05-27-2015, 03:16 PM
Another case of someone getting very sick after accidentally ingesting a metal bristle from a grill brush. The bristle was buried inside a hamburger.

The doctor recognized the symptoms because he had another patient the year before who nearly died from ingesting a metal bristle. In that case, the bristle caused an infection that led to a blood clot in his lungs.

http://abcnews.go.com/US/eating-grill-brush-bristle-lands-connecticut-woman-surgery/story?id=31338948