Forum home Road cycling forum Workshop

Blown tubes

I walked into a local bike shop yesterday to, yet again, be approached by a young kid with minimal experience (apparently this is the direction shops are going now), so I'm going to post my questions here. If you can help me out with advice or knowledge, thanks.

I've had my current bike 3 years. Bought it used and after I fixed it up and changed the rims on it, it began blowing tubes on me. For at least a solid year I spent at least $200 buying tube replacements at Wallyworld (Bell tubes). I assumed the problem was the spoke heads as the rims were used and some of the nipple heads were broken or rough. Also, the set of rims on the bike had a weird curvature/shape inside. The tubes would blow when I parked it in the sun and most commonly they seemed to pop near the air valve. It got to the point where I would let some air escape from the valves when it had to sit in the sun, and then add air before taking off.

About a year later I replaced both rims with another set of used rims simply because I was sick of the expense and time in changing out blown tubes. I thought the problem would be solved, but it happened another time or two. Then a guy who lives on his bike told me the problem was that the tubes weren't able to move and talcom/baby powder would resolve the problem. (We also agreed that the Bell tubes must be weaker/inferior and I stopped buying them.) I did exactly as he suggested and the blows subsided... for a few months. But then they started up again, tho not as often. It's now almost 1.5 years later and this problem persists - blown tubes when the tires are left in direct sunlight, but never while in motion. The front rim was replaced again 3 months ago by an experienced mechanic. Replaced rim is brand new. Blown tube the other day.

One other thing to know...at some point, at least a year ago, I began making tire liners out of wasted tubes. Because their thickness is about double of a bike shop liner, I usually have 2 liners in - either the shop liner + homemade, or 2 homemade (in which case I decrease the air pressure a bit). This has helped a lot as well. However, if there's only one liner in (now that I think about it), it blows.

Why am I having this problem?? I've owned other bikes and never had this occur. I've had 2 blown tubes in the last month (one in each rim, at least one was a Continental tube) and I'm now back to letting air out when the bike has to sit in the sun (I don't over inflate the tires.) I truly believe my bike is possessed!

Posts

  • imposter2.0imposter2.0 Posts: 11,258
    What tyre pressures are you using? And on what bike/type of bike?
  • Charlie_CrokerCharlie_Croker Posts: 1,277
    Interesting problem, you say you have a few bicycles but it only happens to this one.
    In order to get a better understanding of the situation:

    As above and
    You say the blow-outs always appear to be near the valve, are they on the inside or outside or side of the inner tube?
    Do both wheels have this problem or just one?
    What sizes of wheel/tyre/tube are you using?
    Where in the world are you?
    What’s the ambient temperature? (shade and full sun)
    What are the humidity levels?
    What do you inflate your tyres with (air/CO2/gas) pump/compressor?
    That’ll do to be going on with, thanks
  • MattFalleMattFalle Posts: 4,290

    I walked into a local bike shop yesterday to, yet again, be approached by a young kid with minimal experience (apparently this is the direction shops are going now),

    is employing young apprentices on a learning curve a bad thing?


  • travelinhobotravelinhobo Posts: 10
    Matt-absolutely not. However, when all employees in a shop have so little experience that the shop isn't about the bike, but rather cranking out work slips, there's something wrong. I'm in the states, so maybe there's a difference on this. Or it could just be my ideology on bike shops. Or the several conversations I've had with other cyclists who agree that the bike shop experience is going down hill.
  • flasherflasher Posts: 1,729
    Do you check the tyres properly making sure there's no debris poking through the rubber?
  • First.AspectFirst.Aspect Posts: 6,248
    I'm confused how you mention the spoke nipple heads being rough. They should be inside the rim well away from contact with the inner tube.

    I take it you are using rim tape?
  • travelinhobotravelinhobo Posts: 10
    Charlie /Imposter- My new set of tires and the one before it are Michelin Cross Teks (so since Nov. 2019). The set before that were knobbies, Kenda, I believe. With the Kendas, I went to 60 or 65, don't remember. I then started using a set of thin liners for flats and decreased the pressure by 5 lbs. On the Michelins I go with what's advised on the pressure guide that came with the tires. I have a loaded bike because I live on my bike. My weight plus load shows I should be pumping up to 70psi. However, minus 5 for the flat liners, minus a few for the extra rim liner inserted, and minus a bit more because I now have a complex about getting flats. So I pump up to 60psi (sorry, I don't have the Europe conversion with me). As I've said, both wheels have the problem and when it's a blown flat it's on the inside. Tire size is 26x1.85 (Kenda's were 2.1?) And tubes are sized for those tire sizes. Again, I've been maintaining my bikes for 25 years, so I know about tube and tire sizing. I'm in the desert of southern California and Arizona, so the heat here can be intense in the winter (I go up to elevation in the summers) and the sun is the Mexican sun. But why does this matter-other cyclists don't have this problem. Sigh. Inflate with air hand pump, usually. Thanks.
  • david37david37 Posts: 1,313
    how annoying. it could be so many things :(

    re the children in bike shops, I know exactly what you mean. the only qualification seems to be their Dad knows the owner or tattoos or both.

    if LBS want to compete with internet product sales their service will increasingly need to be value add or what's the point.

    get some competent people employed, put up the prices (though the service costs seem exorbitant sometimes anyway) and build a reputation.

  • thebigmanthebigman Posts: 33
    I used to blow a lot of tubes on road bikes in my hire shop in greece and it turned out that the original plastic rim tape was affected by the heat and it was piercing the tubes.. does your problem only occur when its hot?
  • itboffinitboffin Posts: 19,934
    The liner will be your problem ditch those and use a good cloth rim tape that is wide enough to cover the full rim width
    Rule #5 // Harden The censored Up.
    Rule #9 // If you are out riding in bad weather, it means you are a badass. Period.
    Rule #12 // The correct number of bikes to own is n+1.
    Rule #42 // A bike race shall never be preceded with a swim and/or followed by a run.
  • travelinhobotravelinhobo Posts: 10
    edited 9 March
    I'm confused how you mention the spoke nipple heads being rough. They should be inside the rim well away from contact with the inner tube.

    Yes, I know. But if they're rough or sharp and the rim tape is too thin, then obviously after some time they'll be the cause for a tube blowing due to rough rubbing against it. In addition, every blown tube has the ripped portion right where the indentation of a pair of nipple heads were. Hope that makes sense.
  • travelinhobotravelinhobo Posts: 10
    edited 9 March
    Bigman/Itboffin- I'll check out cloth rim tapes. I've only been using the rubber ones they sell me or I make from the dead tubes. As for the tube liner, the desert is full of goatheads. These are thorns that love bike tires. I'm apt to get more flats from goatheads if I remove it. I'm not seeing how that would be the problem.
  • itboffinitboffin Posts: 19,934
    yeah cloth rim tape for the win, those liners move and also cause punctures trust me i've been there and have the hat, years ago i even had a thread on here to record the number of punctures each year, i lost the will to live at 50
    Rule #5 // Harden The censored Up.
    Rule #9 // If you are out riding in bad weather, it means you are a badass. Period.
    Rule #12 // The correct number of bikes to own is n+1.
    Rule #42 // A bike race shall never be preceded with a swim and/or followed by a run.
  • Lol. Gee, I'm half a century this year, as well. My lost will has come compliments to the NWO and the quantity of sheep following along. :(
  • MattFalleMattFalle Posts: 4,290
    NWO and sheep following along?

    can you explain please for those of us on this side of the pond.

    Thank you
  • Charlie_CrokerCharlie_Croker Posts: 1,277
    To summarize then:

    What tyre pressures are you using? - 60psi
    what bike/type of bike? - MTB/Touring style
    In/out side of the inner tube punctured? - Inside
    Do both wheels have this problem or just one? - Both
    What sizes of wheel/tyre/tube are you using? - 26" x 1.85"
    Where in the world are you? southern california and arizona
    What’s the ambient temperature? (shade and full sun) 20C (68F) - 30C (86F)
    What are the humidity levels? 35% - 75%
    Tyre inflation method (air/CO2/gas) pump/compressor? - air/handpump
    Rim tape material - unknown
    Tyre liner material - unknown
    is that about right?

    From what I can gleam of your situation @travelinhobo I would be taking a close look at your rims, both exposed metal and rim tape quality, colour and material, anything that can stretch is not good in your environment. If you do have any spoke nipple burs or sharp edges I’d remove those just to be on the safe side, an inner tube under pressure will find its way into any available space.

    Perhaps consider a lower tyre pressure until you have identified the culprit, especially in the front as it carries less load therefore doesn’t need to be at the same level as the rear.

    If you have/can borrow a tyre pressure gauge, it may well be worthwhile actually measuring the pressures reached after being left in the full sun for a period of time

    I certainly envy you travelinhobo having this type of a problem, as it sounds heat related. I know there are a lot colder places than the UK but it’s cold and wet enough for me right now and I’d love a heat problem ;)
  • MattFalle said:

    NWO and sheep following along?

    can you explain please for those of us on this side of the pond.

    Thank you

    Don't want to get censored on here. Look up NWO - it's not the wrestling choice. The sheep are the all those who lack the the intelligence and common sense to question what's really going on.
  • Charlie- sorry about complaining about heat-related tire problems when you all are cold and wet. Didn't even think about it. Good news is, it's March - better weather is soon to be. :) Hadn't thought to check the pressure when it's in the sun (and before it blows). You guys are hung up on what I said about the sharp/rough nipple heads. Those were on a previous set - haven't had that set for 1.5 years.

    Thanks for all the input! Be safe.
  • MattFalleMattFalle Posts: 4,290

    MattFalle said:

    NWO and sheep following along?

    can you explain please for those of us on this side of the pond.

    Thank you

    Don't want to get censored on here. Look up NWO - it's not the wrestling choice. The sheep are the all those who lack the the intelligence and common sense to question what's really going on.
    Its just that its quite interesting to hear a different view point, tbh.

    no one is going to get censored, its all interesting discussion to be fair.

    Whats NWO and whats really going on?

  • david37david37 Posts: 1,313
    MattFalle said:

    MattFalle said:

    NWO and sheep following along?

    can you explain please for those of us on this side of the pond.

    Thank you

    Don't want to get censored on here. Look up NWO - it's not the wrestling choice. The sheep are the all those who lack the the intelligence and common sense to question what's really going on.
    Its just that its quite interesting to hear a different view point, tbh.

    no one is going to get censored, its all interesting discussion to be fair.

    Whats NWO and whats really going on?

    they wear black and overturn the wrestling tradition, taking a more aggressive gang like demeanour. I believe the giant was in NWO and some others. Goldberg sorted the lot of them out with the spear.

    The leaders were Hulk Hogan, himself a comedy turn but who used Voodoo Chile as his entrance music whilst in the NWO, Kevin heart was the other top dude.Rick Rude and Randy Savage were in it and some others. It was probs twenty years ago now
  • Charlie_CrokerCharlie_Croker Posts: 1,277
    @MattFalle
    Who knows what's really going on? :* It'll be alright come the revolution ;)



    New World Order
  • First.AspectFirst.Aspect Posts: 6,248

    I'm confused how you mention the spoke nipple heads being rough. They should be inside the rim well away from contact with the inner tube.

    Yes, I know. But if they're rough or sharp and the rim tape is too thin, then obviously after some time they'll be the cause for a tube blowing due to rough rubbing against it. In addition, every blown tube has the ripped portion right where the indentation of a pair of nipple heads were. Hope that makes sense.

    Yup, I think we have an answer. Plastic rim tape.

    Good to know for if I am ever allowed to take my bike somewhere hot - plastic rim tape extrudes in the (extreme) heat.

    "Goat heads" - aka "tackweed".

    I once cycled over a tiny branch blown across a road in central Washington. Instantaneous multiple puncture of both front and rear tyres.
  • Never heard of tackweed. Here, we call it goathead. Either way, the West was not won on bicycle. Haha
Sign In or Register to comment.