Pardon the double-post here: I posted in the General forum first, not realizing that the tube geeks probably hang out in the Wheels and Tires forum instead, but all the answers I got there relate to trying different tube solutions--and right now I am specifically trying to address the Kenda QTube failure issue before I call them about it. Original thread here: Thorn Resistant QTubes breaking, but here was my question:
With nine of us all mountain biking and racing (yes, I have a wife and seven mountain-biking children), I am tired of changing blackberry-thorn- and goathead-induced flats on my regular Kenda QTubes and thought back to the time a few years back when I put in a super-thick tube that lasted about three years until the stem finally broke off (although I cannot recall the manufacturer now).
I understand many of you will recommend that I simply go tubeless, and that may happen some day, but I just don't have the time to convert all 12 or 13 of our mountain bikes--everyone has one, plus two shared single-speeds and a loaner or two. That would be somewhere around 25 rims to replace or adapt for tubeless, to say nothing of changing the fluid periodically.
Despite tubeless being a great idea for a solo, pair, or even a trio, the thought of all that work is more than a bit daunting for me, so I resume the real story, where I happily trotted off to my favorite bicycle supply shop and purchased a pair of QTubes thorn resistant tubes for each of us--for just about twice the prices of a regular tube.
Double the price for five times the life seemed like a good idea at the time. In reality, though, in the last six weeks, two 29er tubes have split down the inside seam, and my 85-pound 13-year-old-son has had the valve stems break out of two 26" tubes. None of these failures was associated with a jump, hard turn, any particularly intense braking, or other tube trauma.
The bike shop is perfectly willing to warranty these for us; however, I do not know if I want to continue replacing these if they continue to fail. My 13-year-old is afraid to have these tubes in his tires for his 100-mile MTB race in two weeks. He would rather risk the pinprick of a thorn hole than a catastrophically broken tube. Of course, we can pre-slime the tubes or use thorn-blocking strips, and probably will, but it still leaves this question:
Is it just us, or has anyone else had issues with these particular Kenda QTubes? It seems to me that four catastrophic failures within six weeks indicates either a bad batch (not likely, given that there are both 26 & 29 involved here), poor design, poor quality control, something we are doing incorrectly (other than riding every day), or maybe just bad weight/pressure combinations. The QTubes on my bicycle have not yet failed, but then I weight about 185, so I could surmise that they a problem only with lighter riders. Possible? Ideas?
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