Tires and tubes: When is enough enough?

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the beast
Participant
#

On my way home from work friday, about 2 miles into my 10 mile trip, I noticed that my back tire was slowly losing air. I pulled over and noticed a gash in the tire about 1/4 to 1/2 inch long and could hear the air escaping. Rather than patching the tube I decided to take the cowards way out and hop on a bus to get me home. (it was very cold and windy and I was unsure about the patch job I would be able to do)

So my question is this: I am assuming that my (almost new) tire is shot. Outside of obvious treadwear, are there other factors that alert you to the need for a new tire? How about with a tube? is a patch job meant only to get you to your desitnation? or last for much longer?

Also, if I would have decided to patch the tire, does anyone have any idea from experience it may have heald up for the rest of my ride with a gash in the tire?

Thanks!


brian j
Participant
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I am very lazy about buying tubes, so I tend to ride on patched tubes for a long time. Right now, my road bike has two patched tubes on it, and my mountain bike, one.

Seeing the casing is a good indication that a tire is shot. Many tires also have tread wear indicators, though they aren’t necessarily labeled as such.


erok
Keymaster
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i usually replace tires when i get a gash in them, but i feel your pain on the newness of it. i’ve never done it, but i’ve known plenty of people that have sewn up the tire with dental floss and had no problems


erok
Keymaster
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i usually replace tires when i get a gash in them, but i feel your pain on the newness of it. i’ve never done it, but i’ve known plenty of people that have sewn up the tire with dental floss and had no problems


Kordite
Participant
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I’ve had old tires, worn smooth and dry rotted, that just kept going and going. I’ve had brand new tires blow out after only a few days. (http://flickr.com/photos/kordite/1314291763/) There’s no way to know how much life is left in any given tire.

If you have a slash or cut in the tire, I have heard that if you line the tire with a dollar bill it will “patch” it. I didn’t know this when I blew out my tire on the C&O two years back. It might have saved me a 5 mile walk.


bd
Participant
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If the hole in the tire can be reasonable closed, I have ridden years on multiple tires where from the inside I put a piece of duct tape on the rubber, a piece of cereal box weight cardboard, and another piece of duct tape on top of that. I’ve heard similar stories with folded up mylar type wrappers like those used for PowerBars.

Usually the second flat caused by the same weak spot in the tire/tube in a short period of time is my trigger for buying a new one.


erok
Keymaster
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i have booted a tire for a long time using a piece of another tire, but wouldn’t recommend it on thin or high pressure tires cause there is a noticeable thump. also, the boot itself could wear a hole in the tube. on thicker lower pressure tires you won’t notice.


Mick
Participant
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Comments and questions.

Comment: particularly with the weather like it is, I don’t patch inner tubes, I just carry a spare tube.

Second- I had a couple of pairs of specialized infinities (I’m guessing the armadillos) at some point. IIRC, they were about $50 each.

I never got a flat with those. One I had for over a year and I had a badly adjusted brake, so I wore through the side, but it never went flat. (when I discovered it, it was night, I was far from home and I jsut slapped duct tape on it.)

I used those 2 pairs of tires for about three years/ 3000-4000 miles.

Now, I have some other brand that is “flat resistant” and I’ve been getting flats a lot. (I’m at work and my bike is at home because when I started to go out the door this morning my tire was flat. I do not knos the brand.)

I put a kevlar belt on the inside of the tire. Intuitively you would think those belt would work, but I’ve been getting flats every other week or so. Maybe every 100 miles on average. The belts are an added PIA when changing a tube.

Did I just get lucky with the Infinities?

They were expensive as hell, of course, but whenever someone ragged me about it, I asked how much they would have paid, last time they had a flat, to just make it not happen.

I’m thinking they may have helped me avoid about a dozen flats. Price per flat seems prety cheap, then.

Anyone else have tires that work really well for avoiding flats?

I don’t really care if my tires are a little heavier and a lot more expensive than other tires. I do not like being miles from home with a flat in the slush.

I’m also wondering if there is something about my rims that might make me get more flats.

Thanks

Mick


reddan
Keymaster
#

I’ve had good luck with three variations of Schwalbe Marathon: the standard Marathon and studded Marathon Winter (both of which weigh a ton, but roll okay), and the Marathon Racer (lighter and faster), which is my go-to tire for brevets and other long rides.

Marathons: ~3000 miles of commuting, zero flats, plenty of life left

Marathon Winters: ~750 miles of winter commuting, zero flats, barely worn

Marathon Racers: ~ 4000 miles of distance riding (99% on-road), zero flats, plenty of life left

I’m a fat guy (200-210 lbs) with a tendency to roll right through potholes and other road flaws, so I put my tires through a lot of abuse.

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