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  1. #1
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    Help With Forté Gotham (Tire Pressures)

    I realize that this is a bit of a stretch for the mtbr fora, but I'm running these tires on my Specialized Rockhopper 2012 during the week, and I've discovered that the tire walls are splitting under the recommended tire pressure (85psi, according to the sidewall). Am I somehow abusing these tires? I've put about 200 miles on them since I got them in mid-May, and I'm afraid they're going to blow out on me when I corner hard on the tarmac sometime.

    This was after 3 weeks of use:


    I took these today, about 7 weeks after these were purchased:




    So the question is: should I be running these at a lower pressure? Isn't there a danger of some serious snakebite action if I go much lower than say 70psi and run them all spongy? I am on the fence about returning them, but I guess that's the most likely outcome at this stage - the people at Performance claim they'll cover shipping and sale price if I'm not satisfied, and I think I'm dissatisfied at this stage. Any suggestions before I go to all that trouble? I suspect I got exactly what I paid for - some really cheap tires.

  2. #2
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    Ummm...yeah send em back. That's bad rubber not anything that you're doing to them. At least not in the short time you've had them. Checking and cracking like that is usually something that is attributable to age, excessive exposure to UV, or ozone etc. A tire rated at a given max pressure should be able to withstand that pressure indefinitely with no ill effects to the tire. What you likely got were some very cheap tires, and/or tires that have been stored for an extended period in less than ideal conditions. I would highly suggest replacing them as quickly as possible. They may hold up for a while, they may not. Not a good risk though.

    As far as lower pressure goes, that's you're call. They'd probably be fine at 65 to 80 psi. Depends on your weight, the road conditions, how your ride, etc.

    Good Dirt
    "I do whatever my Rice Cripsies tell me to!"

  3. #3
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    Upset You are not alone

    I bought my original set back at the beginning of February for my 92 Stumpjumper and the sidewalls cracked and had bulges and returned them after only 300 miles on them. They were good replacing them but after less than 400 miles the sidewalls are cracked and starting to bulge again.

    Was in the Greensboro store buying a bike lock about 15 minutes before closing on July 4 and the attitude of the salesperson was don't expect much from the Gothams or the Metros and with his attitude I am not sure they will swap them again. Get that attitude again I don't know how much I will shop there anymore. I noticed the current Gothams had totally different graphics and a lower pressure (70 vs 75 psi) in the 26 inch size. Myself and whoever ridestowork is gave them the recent very negative reviews on their website.

    In short time period they look like car tires do untreated 6-8 years old. My guess is poor storage conditions over the winter with UV sun and/or ozone exposure leading to rapid disintegration once put into use.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Help With Forté Gotham (Tire Pressures)-sidewall-cracks-2.jpg  


  4. #4
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    It does look bad... but I bet both of those tires could be ridden until the tread wears out.

  5. #5
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    Doubt it

    Plenty of tread left with rear tire having just worn off the center ridge from the mold and the sidewalls on the rear tire are starting to bulge. I would bet the sidewall blows well before the tread wears out. On the first set it was amazing in just the last 100 miles before I replaced them it went from me noticing the cracks to the sidewalls becoming increasingly lumpy. When the sidewalls break down like that I would not expect the tire to last much longer before the sidewall blows out and takes the tube with it.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by One Pivot View Post
    It does look bad... but I bet both of those tires could be ridden until the tread wears out.
    What would you do, if you were in our (my) position? I expect the treads would last me for several years, at this rate, so would you just keep riding the tires as is?

  7. #7
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    The sidewall has a thin rubber coating over the casing. The rubber isnt really structural or anything.. the woven casing under it is. If you get any bulging at all, the tire is done. As it sits, those look ok to ride.

    There was a very recent thread with a guy with a super light mud tire and the sidewall just looked like hell. The general consensus was that the tire is fine, and its normal for that model. These 2 tires look 1/2 as bad, if that.

    Its certainly not ideal, but its not a dead tire until you see fibers or bulges.

  8. #8
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    So you'd just keep them and ride them the way they are? I'm still leaning toward returning them - they're certainly willing to take them back and give me a refund - but it's a major inconvenience for me, since I'd have to mail them in some huge box or drive them up to the nearest location myself. I probably have to ride them for at least the next two weeks, in any case.

  9. #9
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    New question here. Tough call

    From what I have read the surface cracking is not a big concern. I remember on my old Schwinn Speedster 3-speed from the '70s riding tires for a long time with surface cracks. The biggest thing to look for is bulging. If it starts to look like the tire is starting to blow a bubble out of the sidewall the structural theads that run bead to bead are failing and the tire's days are likely numbered. Note that you can also get a sidewall bulge if the bead is not properly seated on the rim.

    My tires are starting to have small bulges in the middle of the sidewall, right now I can feel more than see and is the point at which I returned the first set. Right now I was going to ride this pair longer to see how fast the bulges grow but if the sidewall starts cracking all the way through showing broken threads in the sidewall time to retire. Either that or the bubble sticks out like a sore thumb on the sidewall. I will check them often because I use my old bike urban riding and the last thing I need is a blowout going 20-30 mph in close proximity to car traffic.

    I was mentioning before that the last time I was in the Greensboro store and I noticed new Gothams with totally different graphics and since I looked at the 26 inch size I noticed they had lowered the pressure by 5 psi. This indicates they recently got a fresh shipment of updated tires from Panaracer. The Gothams are private label versions of the Panaracer Crosstown. One of my replacements I got back in April has Panasonic molded into the sidewall.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Help With Forté Gotham (Tire Pressures)-stumpy.jpg  


  10. #10
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    Performance replaced the tires (not without some eyebrow raising) when I stopped by the store yesterday, but one of the replacements has what the sales associate described as the "old" label on it - not sure this bodes well for my "new" Gothams, but I'm hoping they'll last forever!

  11. #11
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    I hope it works out for you

    From all the positive reviews for that tire its hard to believe the problem is widespread. Bad batch or maybe a group of them got stored in a bad part of a warehouse this past fall or winter.

  12. #12
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    I fear the saga continues. I got the replacement tires about 5 weeks ago, mounted them with no problem, and have ridden them a bit (not as much as I'd like, but enough). Today as I was riding home from work, I got the wump-wump feeling, as if I was riding on a sidewalk and hitting those lines every 4 or 5 feet. I slowed down enough to see that the rear tire is now bulging near the valve stem. I rode (quite gingerly) the rest of the way home, praying all the while that I hadn't somehow managed to bend my rim (the spokes looked fine, as did the rim, but I didn't have any useful tools for measuring things just then). When I got home, I measured the wheel/tire thickness with my calipers, and the area that seems to bulge is nearly 0.5 cm thicker than the rest of the tire. This is only for about 10 cm of the tire length, so it's as if a snake swallowed a bulging thing. I haven't had a chance yet to see if this is due to some unexpected tube malfunction, or if it's something wonky going on with the tire, but either way, it's another Forté failure after very little use. I'm looking to upgrade ASAP, saw some reasonable options on performance (Michelin City, e.g.) that I could get for just a bit more cash, but does anyone have any other 700 x 35 +/- suggestions?

  13. #13
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    Just picked up a pair of Michelin City on sale at REI

    After a rough railroad crossing in Greensboro (Mill St) I have had wierd feeling dynamics in my rear wheel. Bearings not noticably worse than they were, can't find obvious play like I have had before I began to wonder if it was the tire. At times the bike would feel as if the rear tire was going flat. Have the bike apart to clean chain and make some adjustments (much of the bike is only 20 years old) and will have to post how the Michelins are compared to the Gothams when I get it back together in a couple days.

    In your situation if the tire bead had not slipped off the rim (may not have been fully seated on rim when mounted) and is clearly the sidewall giving way time for a new tire. Seems like the main brands to look at are Michelin, Continental, and Vittoria. REI had Michelins for 25% off as part of their Labor Day weekend sale (22.49 ea plus tax for 26x1.85). From perusing reviews the City does well and tends to be long lasting but may slip some in wet as they wear. Sound like my last experience with Michelin car tires.

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