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What's Up With These #%$@* Punctures?

#1 2013-05-06 7:41pm

ProThunder4
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What's Up With These #%$@* Punctures?

I'm running a 1.75 Tioga Powerblock S-Spec rear tire with an ITS Race Lite tube on a Mavic XIXIX wheel.  The rim has Velox rim tape. 

Lately I've been getting a small puncture in my inner tube almost every time I ride hard (in a race, during sprints, when I bunnyhop, etc.).  Each time I've found a single, small pinprick on one side of the tire.  Usually I don't even know what happened until the next morning, when I discover the tire is completely flat.

I'm light (about 127 lbs), old, risk averse, and not especially hard on equipment.  I could count on one hand the number of flats I had during 12 years of road biking.  Until this started happening, I never had a flat on a BMX bike.  I've only ridden this particular bike on the road or track, never on trails (although I have ridden it in the gravel parking lot of the track, come to think of it).

No spokes are poking through the rim tape.  The rims are in good shape.  I check my pressure at least twice a week and run 62 PSI in the back tire.  I'm careful installing the tire and tube so it's not pinched between the rim and the tire bead.  The tire is new, appears to be in good shape, and I always check to be sure it has no debris inside it.       

Has anyone had this problem with S-Specs or ITS Race Lite tubes?  Is this what I get for being a weight weenie and running these ultra light tubes?


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#2 2013-05-06 7:48pm

Scraplord
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Re: What's Up With These #%$@* Punctures?

Youre running a super thin tire with a super thin tube. That means any old thing will pop it. Do you have blackberries in VA? Thats what usually gets me here. Blackberry thorns. Small and deadly.
I just bought some Eclipse tubes and Velo plugs for my bike. That`s the lightest setup made and the tubes are supposedly more durable. You might want to try them:
http://www.eclipse.ch/new/Tubes.html
http://veloplug.com/
I run Microknobbies and everytime I get a flat it blows out the whole tire due to the high pressure. You might want to replace your tire.

Last edited by Scraplord (2013-05-07 12:10am)


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#3 2013-05-06 8:07pm

ProThunder4
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Re: What's Up With These #%$@* Punctures?

Thanks for the links, Scraplord.  Did you get your stuff from overseas, or were you able to find a domestic dealer? 

Yeah, I ride all over the neighborhood, often after dark, so who knows what I might be running over that I don't even notice.  Maybe I'm not as easy on stuff as I think, but I see all these guys at the track jumping huge doubles and triples on the their Powerblocks, so I figured I (who rarely gets more than 20 inches off the ground) would be go to go.


We few, we happy few, we band of brothers; / For he to-day that sheds his blood with me / Shall be my brother ... / gentlemen ... now-a-bed / Shall think themselves accurs’d they were not here / And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks / That fought with us

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#4 2013-05-07 8:38am

wired
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Re: What's Up With These #%$@* Punctures?

After repairing or replacing the tube have you run your fingers around the inside of the tire to make sure the same thorn or sharp object isn't re-puncturing the tube?

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#5 2013-05-07 9:17am

bmxplus54
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Re: What's Up With These #%$@* Punctures?

wired wrote:

After repairing or replacing the tube have you run your fingers around the inside of the tire to make sure the same thorn or sharp object isn't re-puncturing the tube?

I had this same issue with my sons bike, he went through some thorns or something and punctured both tubes.

When i fixed the tube i missed a thorn still stuck on the tire and he punctured them again in short time.

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#6 2013-05-07 9:19am

markanthony
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Re: What's Up With These #%$@* Punctures?

Thorns are what allways got me!!! I hate thorns,small strong and sharp.
We used to have to keep a tool bag on our bmx's just so we wouldn't get stuck somewhere .
Alot of times if your riding thru trails and your on hard pack dirt and weeds on both sides of the trail.your in tire danger.


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#7 2013-05-07 9:23am

SoGnarly
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Re: What's Up With These #%$@* Punctures?

Not related but....

Last year my kid kept getting rear flats.  It was almost daily I was buying tubes.  Got heavy duty tubes, puncture proof tubes, new high psi tire and tube, yadda yadda yadda.  I started to get pissed cuz I never got that many flats in all my years riding BMX as a kid.  I kept asking him WTF are doing?!!  The last tube I said we're getting a foam insert next.  So we fix the flat AGAIN, he goes out riding for LESS THAN 5 minutes and has a flat.

Kid is out clipping franking curbs with his back wheel!  yikes


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#8 2013-05-07 10:43am

Coco
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Re: What's Up With These #%$@* Punctures?

wired wrote:

After repairing or replacing the tube have you run your fingers around the inside of the tire to make sure the same thorn or sharp object isn't re-puncturing the tube?

Do this^^

Sometimes a thorn and the like that can not be seen, can be a repeat offender and keep popping tubes. Try a new tire if you have one. The odd thorn ect can never be removed so the tire may need replacing.

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#9 2013-05-07 11:10am

FRESH
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Re: What's Up With These #%$@* Punctures?

You can also use a cotton ball to run on the inside of the tire.. It's an easy way to find the thorn hiding as it will grab the cotton ball.. smile Just an idea..

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#10 2013-05-07 3:28pm

wired
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Re: What's Up With These #%$@* Punctures?

FRESH wrote:

You can also use a cotton ball to run on the inside of the tire.. It's an easy way to find the thorn hiding as it will grab the cotton ball.. smile Just an idea..

That's a great idea.  Going to raid the wife's cotton balls now...

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#11 2013-05-07 4:00pm

marty_dmb
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Re: What's Up With These #%$@* Punctures?

When I worked at my local shop years ago we use to take a piece of chalk and mark the tire where the valve stem lined up.

Took it apart and inflated the tube so it blew up like a balloon to find even the smallest hole.

Once the hole was found on the tube we then used the chalk mark to look at the tire for what punctured the tube.

Worked every time to make sure whatever popped it wasn't still in the tire.

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#12 2013-05-07 5:22pm

Stfflr510
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Re: What's Up With These #%$@* Punctures?

Ive been having the same issue. I dont ever remember having so many flats as a kid. It seems like every couple weeks im having to repair a flat on either my bike or one of my kids. I know my kids arent riding hard or through blackberry brambles. smile Im convinced its cheap tubes.

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#13 2013-05-07 7:28pm

ProThunder4
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Re: What's Up With These #%$@* Punctures?

Thanks for all the responses, guys.  Some very good ideas.  Marty, I'm going to try your shop's technique this time. 

In the meantime, I bought a regular old Schrader tube from the LBS.  Compared to what I've been running, the box felt like a gold brick in my hands.  Still, a little extra weight may be better than frantically pumping up my slowly-leaking tire right before my motos as I was doing at a race a couple weeks ago.


We few, we happy few, we band of brothers; / For he to-day that sheds his blood with me / Shall be my brother ... / gentlemen ... now-a-bed / Shall think themselves accurs’d they were not here / And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks / That fought with us

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#14 2013-05-07 7:59pm

Legendofjd3
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Re: What's Up With These #%$@* Punctures?

Scraplord wrote:

Youre running a super thin tire with a super thin tube. That means any old thing will pop it. Do you have blackberries in VA? Thats what usually gets me here. Blackberry thorns. Small and deadly.
I just bought some Eclipse tubes and Velo plugs for my bike. That`s the lightest setup made and the tubes are supposedly more durable. You might want to try them:
http://www.eclipse.ch/new/Tubes.html
http://veloplug.com/
I run Microknobbies and everytime I get a flat it blows out the whole tire due to the high pressure. You might want to replace your tire.

Someone stole my secrets. wink


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#15 2013-05-07 9:44pm

imroc
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Re: What's Up With These #%$@* Punctures?

Yeah, i moved to colorada and met the GoatsHead Thorn. Wicked lil @&$ing things!!
Kept killing tubes on mine & kids bikes. Bought thorn proofs and the worked better. You absolutely MUST do two things to avoid continual tube destruction:

1) as wired mentioned. Run your finger (or as somebody stated, something cotton! Wow, great idea!) inside the tire and pull out the needlenose pliers.

2) PRESSURE! Don't be shy on putting high air pressure on them tires/tubes. It's very important!


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#16 2013-05-07 9:50pm

preGTpowerlite
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Re: What's Up With These #%$@* Punctures?

marty_dmb wrote:

When I worked at my local shop years ago we use to take a piece of chalk and mark the tire where the valve stem lined up.

Took it apart and inflated the tube so it blew up like a balloon to find even the smallest hole.

Once the hole was found on the tube we then used the chalk mark to look at the tire for what punctured the tube.

Worked every time to make sure whatever popped it wasn't still in the tire.

That's a great idea!

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#17 2013-05-08 5:32am

wired
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Re: What's Up With These #%$@* Punctures?

Yep, I too have noticed that modern tires seem to be thinner (and way lighter) than what we probably ran back in the day and are part of the reason I get more flats now.  For my main riders I have switched to heavy duty tubes and it seems to have helped.

BTW, so many great replies to this thread that I added it to The Best of BMX Restoration sticky (link in my sig).  Thanks for [once again] teaching me some new tricks!

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#18 2013-05-08 8:48am

Coco
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Re: What's Up With These #%$@* Punctures?

I use Mr Tuffy tire liners on my riders now. No more walking home with a flat.

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#19 2013-05-08 6:08pm

ProThunder4
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Re: What's Up With These #%$@* Punctures?

Mystery solved, thanks to the MacGyver-like ingenuity of the folks in this thread.

So I took out the tube but left the tire on the rim.  I also noted the orientation of the tube by markings that were only on one side. 

Next, I performed the old trick of running the partially-inflated tube through a container of water to find any leaks.  As before, it was a single, tiny puncture.  Once I found the puncture, I marked the spot.

Next, I held the tube up against the rim in the same orientation in which it had been installed with the valve stem at the valve hole.  The marking on the tube then led me to the exact spot in the tire where the offending particle was embedded.  It was a tiny shard of glass not much bigger than a bread crumb that had worked its way through the rubber of the tire.  Had I not had the marked tube to guide me, I probably never would have found it.  I could have picked up the glass anywhere without knowing it.

Elementary, Watson. 

So the lessons, I guess, are that it pays to be thorough when chasing down the cause of a puncture and that these S-Specs are really, really thin and delicate to be that vulnerable to such a tiny fragment of glass. 

Anyway, thanks to all for your help.

Last edited by ProThunder4 (2013-05-08 6:09pm)


We few, we happy few, we band of brothers; / For he to-day that sheds his blood with me / Shall be my brother ... / gentlemen ... now-a-bed / Shall think themselves accurs’d they were not here / And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks / That fought with us

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#20 2013-05-08 6:16pm

duckman
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Re: What's Up With These #%$@* Punctures?

Good work glad you got it fixed . I have had the same problem before just takes time . smile


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#21 2017-08-23 8:37pm

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Re: What's Up With These #%$@* Punctures?

Old school trick,  take your old tube and slice it on the inside diameter,  cut out the stem.   Free tire liner.  Adds some weight, but we used to do it on our trail bikes,  it was a long way home if you had to walk.


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#22 2017-08-23 10:00pm

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Re: What's Up With These #%$@* Punctures?

Glad you found the problem and fixed it, I really like the cotton ball trick, not heard that one.

Another way to find a pesky emedded owie is to put talcum powder or baby powder inside the tyre before you put the tube in, when next it goes flat, take the tyre off and you will see a spot where the powder has been blown from the puncture cool


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#23 2017-08-23 10:22pm

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Re: What's Up With These #%$@* Punctures?

Be careful running your fingers inside the tire, I have been sliced open good by doing that yikes  I chalk the stem hole and then use a hunk of cheese cloth, pretty much the same as a cotton ball but bigger..


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#24 2017-08-24 6:49am

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Re: What's Up With These #%$@* Punctures?

Indyjps wrote:

Old school trick,  take your old tube and slice it on the inside diameter,  cut out the stem.   Free tire liner.  Adds some weight, but we used to do it on our trail bikes,  it was a long way home if you had to walk.

Yea, just bought a cruiser in CO on vacation. Tire was ultra f'd by thorns like I'd never seen before. Discovered it with fingers in tire check, also found a cut up tire as liner that just wasn't cutting it <-get it?

Great tricks to add to the kit in all the comments, I thought I knew them all!

Oh, and those Eclipse tubes are $60 EACH! Plus tax, duties, shipping, price subject to change after you commit...


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#25 2017-08-24 10:27am

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Re: What's Up With These #%$@* Punctures?

Coco wrote:

I use Mr Tuffy tire liners on my riders now. No more walking home with a flat.

These are what I uuse.Saved me numerous times from walking home on a long ride.Not cheap,but worth every penny.


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