1. The most important thing about buying a new bike is to make sure it fits. The only way you'll know if the bike is right for you is to size up the bike and make sure that the bike's geometry matches your body's geometry. Ask questions and do some research.
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2. If possible, try to find a shop that will let you demo the bike on real dirt. Five minutes in a parking lot won't cut it. You wouldn't buy a car without a real world test drive, and a bike should be no different.
3. Don't belive the hype. Just because your favorite rider or best friend rides a certain bike, that doesn't mean that's the best one for you. Have an open mind and be realistic about your needs and ability.
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  1. #1
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    Question About Flats

    So, yesterday I was just riding around the neighborhood, trying to get some spinning in where I didn't have to worry about tree gates and what not. I notice my front tire is getting very low.

    The thing is, the day before, digging my keys out of my underseat bag, I pulled out the tube and tossed it in the trunk. So I had no tube, but did have my co2 inflator.

    In hopes that it was a slow leak, I used one 12g cart, which is good for about 30 psi. Perfect. But it only lasted a half mile or so.

    So, I have a 3 mile walk home.

    Anyway, once I get home, I change the tube. Couldn't find anything in the inside of the tire. Rim tape all good. I havent changed a Schrader valve flat in 30 years, seemed like the valve was kind of tight in the rim. Anyway, got it all back together.

    Ran the tube through the soapy water, found one good bubbler in a tread region of the tube, basically tiny hole but leaking pretty good. Checked for pinch flat and no, hole was "central" and there was no companion twin hole. Should I patch it and hold it in reserve or just toss it?

    Also, given the hole and the lack of perceptible damage to the tire, it looks like maybe a thorn rather than a nail or screw or glass or other typical road debris. So apparently I picked it up on the trail and it went from a very slow leak to full on while road riding. I did not actually check the pressure of the tires, I had the day before. I'm also getting used to the notion of having squishy tires instead of the rock-hard road/hybrid tires I have been riding on for years. I probably misgaged the inflation level of the front tire. Clearly the leak either happened or got a lot worse on the road ride.

    Is there any point in analyzing flats like this or am I just being OCD?

  2. #2
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    OCD for now, revisit if it happens again. You can patch that tube.

  3. #3
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    Thanks. For patching "on the road" how does one find the hole? Or is a new tube just a uniformly better solution?

    In decades of riding around town, I have had just a handful of flats. I knew to expect more with mtb and picked up a handful of tubes at the LBS. All in all, I was quite dismayed (read pissed) to have a road flat AND to have taken my tube out the day before.

  4. #4
    Nouveau Retrogrouch SuperModerator
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    Re: Question About Flats

    Quote Originally Posted by TwiceHorn View Post
    Thanks. For patching "on the road" how does one find the hole? Or is a new tube just a uniformly better solution?

    In decades of riding around town, I have had just a handful of flats. I knew to expect more with mtb and picked up a handful of tubes at the LBS. All in all, I was quite dismayed (read pissed) to have a road flat AND to have taken my tube out the day before.
    Always have a spare tube for on-ride repairs. Need to check the tire for offending objects and remove them or you will quickly flat again.

    Patch the tube at home later.

    I do carry a patch kit but use it only if I run out of tubes. To find the hole inflate the tube with your pump. Carrying only CO2 inflators is not a good idea as you are stuck if you run out of cartridges.
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by TwiceHorn View Post
    Thanks. For patching "on the road" how does one find the hole? Or is a new tube just a uniformly better solution?
    I carry a spare tube and a patch kit, but the patch kit is only for the rare occasion where I might have more than 1 flat. The norm is to replace the tube (check tire very carefully first) and patch the old one at some later time in the comfort of your living room and use it for a spare later.

  6. #6
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    Sorry for the near duplicate post, I wish this site would let you know if someone else has posted before you hit submit, or maybe it does and I'm just not seeing it.

    Anyway, I also agree with Shiggy about the co2. Carry both a co2 & pump or just a mini-pump, but not just a co2.

  7. #7
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    get a slime tube, the juice will cover the needle size holes before u even know it

  8. #8
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    Thanks for the tips. What about putting slime in a tube?

    Also, a 29 tube is a really tight fit in my underseat bag. I have always put my car keys in a bag on the theory that they are more secure than pockets. Any suggestions for placing tube under seat or strapping it to seat tube or?

  9. #9
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    Slime works well for small punctures but not at all on cuts. If you do flat with a slime tube it is much harder to patch than a non-slimed one.

    You could get a slightly bigger bag, I usually carry my spare tube in a back jersey pocket. You can use 26 inch tubes in 29 tires to save a little room but IMO the size designed for the tire is slightly less prone to flatting and easier to install. Opinions vary.

  10. #10
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    I've had the dubious pleasure of a nail or screw in my tire every six months or so. I carry both a spare tube and a patch kit. I will patch the punctured tube at work, if needed, so I have a spare tube for the way home, just in case.

  11. #11
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    I think it's worth finding the source of a flat. I sometimes miss debris when I don't know where to look.

    The little wires from car tires can cause very small punctures too.

    I typically carry two tubes and a patch kit in my seat bag. Everything else goes in a jersey pocket.

    I usually patch six tubes at once. A lot of the time involved in patching tubes, for me, is just getting myself organized. And, the glue sometimes dries in the tube once I've used it once. So using up an entire kit all at once works well for me.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  12. #12
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    I'm running maxxis ranchero and they are getting to the end of their life what are a good set of replacements for around 30 a tyre ??

  13. #13
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    I keep a spare tube in a "tube sock" helps protect it from pokey/snag-y things, maybe a plastic bag would be better to keep the butyl fresh? idk. when you do get a flat I turn the sock inside-out then I wipe down the inside of the tire with it. If there are still offending thorns or wires embedded in your tire they will grab a thread of the cotton sock.

    I've labeled 3 of my socks with "26" "29" "700"

  14. #14
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    Ugh. I was hot and sweaty when I changed it last night. Pretty sure I was in possession of all my faculties, but now I am worried that there's some tiny piece of pointy trash in my tire going to poke this tube too.

  15. #15
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    For my 29s I use 26x2.1-2.5 tubes. Inflate it a little to install. This helps avoid pinch flats during the installation process.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by eb1888 View Post
    For my 29s I use 26x2.1-2.5 tubes. Inflate it a little to install. This helps avoid pinch flats during the installation process.
    would the tube have too much stretch?.. never heard of this, cool

  17. #17
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    Re: Question About Flats

    Quote Originally Posted by TwiceHorn View Post
    Ugh. I was hot and sweaty when I changed it last night. Pretty sure I was in possession of all my faculties, but now I am worried that there's some tiny piece of pointy trash in my tire going to poke this tube too.
    If it was there, you'd have found it by now.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  18. #18
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    Re: Question About Flats

    Quote Originally Posted by joel787 View Post
    would the tube have too much stretch?.. never heard of this, cool
    Works fine. Been doing it for years
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  19. #19
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    A small hole? Definitely patch and use as spare.
    Roads can have all sorts of debris that will puncture a MTB tyre.

    For finding a leak on trails, listening and feeling can work, unless it is very small. If I cannot feel the escaping air with my hand, I might combine listening and feeling by pumping up the tube and then moving it around near my ear and cheek.

    "it IS possible that you are faster or slower than anybody else who is having at least as much if not more or less fun"

  20. #20
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    In regards to finding a small pin hole in a tube when you dont have access to a bathtub or soapy water:

    Hold the tube in your hand and inflate it. Start at the valve and slowly rotate it very close to your cheek. You may not even be able to see the tube if you get it close enough but sometimes those holes are very difficult to see. The skin on your cheeks are very sensitive and they will feel the slight breeze easier then you looking for it. I've also been able to hear it when it was close enough to my face.

  21. #21
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    Some great tips in this thread. Thanks everyone. Well, its been sitting inflated for a day but I didn't ride yesterday. Wish me luck today!

  22. #22
    Birdman aka JMJ
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    Quote Originally Posted by TwiceHorn View Post
    For patching "on the road" how does one find the hole?
    I inflate the tube until just larger than the tire, then starting at the valve, rotate it under my nose. The skin on the bottom of your nose is very sensitive, so you'll feel the air jet as it goes by. You can also be listening for a "hiss" at the same time.

    I prefer this over the submersion method, as I don't have to dry the tube and reapply baby powder afterwards.

    JMJ

  23. #23
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    Sounds good. Well I rode today and all was well. BUT, I realized I wasn't paying attention to tread direction when I mounted the tire, so I had to do it all over again. Grrr.

    Also, as mentioned above, I haven't changed a Schrader valve tube since 20" more than probably 30 years ago. The valve is pretty tight in the hole in the rim. Is that normal?

  24. #24
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    That's normal.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  25. #25
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    If you have a small hole in the tube & are able to locate it you can patch it without having to breakdown the tire & remove the wheel. I save my tube for irreparable cuts or punctures.

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