Friday, June 15, 2007


That's it. The Trek 1200 is getting shelved until I can buy a new wheel. It's done. Not using it anymore. I'm furious. I'm talking about the "drank my last beer" kind of anger.

Last night, I put the finishing touches on the bike to prepare it for a long commute this morning. I took the headlight off and mounted it on my helmet. I put my LED headlight on the handlebars so I have something blinky in front. I got both my rear LED lights charged up. I aired the tires up to 100 PSI. I re-lubed the chain. I packed the extra stuff I'd want for a long haul. I got my gear put in the panniers, and the panniers strapped down to the rack. Life is good, right?

About 20 minutes after I'm done working on it, I'm all the way on the other side of the house. For no reason whatsoever, the tire pops. It sounded like a gun-shot, not like a PFFFFFFFFfffffffffffffffsssssshhhhh like usual. I knew it was my tire, though.

I go out there, unencumber the bike of all its stuff, invert it, and take the wheel off. Upon examination, I have a hole in the inner-tube facing the rim. The hole looks like someone shot a BB through my tire. It's a hole at least 1/8" around and with jagged edges. I replace it with a patched tube, air it up to 100 again, and put it back on my bike. This was a little after midnight.

I went to bed. About 3 something, my wife interrupts my slumber to tell me that my tire popped again. Keep in mind that my bike is still upside-down in the front hallway. This morning, I grabbed my bike computer off of it, gave it a scowl, made a kicking motion at it, and went out the door with my mountain bike.

I'm probably just going to let it rot in the kitchen until after we move. I'm done dealing with it. I officially no longer like my Trek. It's going to take a long time for me to regain trust in my road bike.

The only good things about this morning are that I still carried my coffee press on my way to work and my mountain bike made it to the bus in about 12 or 13 minutes via my usual route, which isn't a lot slower than my Trek carries me, although it was a hammer-fest and my MTB has platforms. I had to work a lot harder to make good time on my Sorrento. I also had to revert to the sweaty backpack again.

I would have taken my hybrid but it hasn't been used but maybe once in the last six weeks. It needs a once-over and a shakedown run before it's ready for duty. I might work on tuning it up tonight.

I am NOT riding my mountain bike all the way to the new apartments. My wife won't let me, and I don't want to do it. She'll come downtown to pick me up.


Anonymous said...

Hmm. I KNOW the feeling!

Apertome said...

OUCH! That really sucks, man. I hope you get this resolved soon. Try to remember that it's just a bad wheel and the rest of the bike is fine. Your feelings are understandable, though.

Do you know how the wheel got messed up? Would it be covered under some kind of warranty?

Chuong said...

Probably need to replace your rim tape. It covers up the spoke holes that like to puncture tubes. You can just use black electrical tape, or buy some cloth rim tape from the bike shop. Masking tape works too.

Noah said...

I know it's the rim. It's bent from me running over a storm drain. I was boxed in by a motorist and couldn't avoid it. It was a bad, bad drain, I'm lucky I bunny-hopped enough to keep from doing an endo.

Chuong, the rims are double-walled. I've checked them time and time again though. The spoke nipples are recessed several mm away from the tube. The rim has no rough spots, the rim tape is intact, and the tire has nothing that would cause it.

I'm almost wondering if my floor pump's gauge isn't correct and I'm over-inflating the tires at this point.

Fritz said...

How badly is the rim bent? Are you talking about just a little wobble or is there a dent in it?

Noah said...

It's bad.

Click here if you don't believe me

Fritz said...

I can't tell from the photo if your tire is damaged, but you might consider that. If you're getting gunshot blowouts then you're not getting a good set with the bead in the rim. I've had dented rims like you show and rode without problem, thought it's hard to tell in the photo.

You might consider getting wider tires and running lower pressure -- I think your 1200 probably has enough clearance for 28mm and maybe even 32mm.

Ed W said...

I have to agree with Fritz on this one. There's a chance the impact that damaged the rim also broke part of the bead in the tire. It will go on just fine and hold air for awhile, but eventually the pressure forces the bead up over the rim edge and BANG it goes. One way to check would be to inflate it, then ride CAREFULLY while watching the tire. If it starts to develop a noticeable high spot, you've found the problem. Replace both the tire and the rim.

Mark said...

I had some similar problems on my commuter bike and found that the rim tape was allowing the spokes to poke holes in my tubes. Replaced the rim tape and solved the problem.
Don't give up!

Noah said...

Okay, let me clarify how this all went down. First off, This is a double-wall wheel. The spokes won't hit the inner-tube. I can't feel anything that could cause the failure.

A few days after I got my bike, I storm-drained it. I got an instant double pinch flat.

My bike shop looked at the wheel and told me I'd eventually want a replacement. They de-flanged the rim so that brake engagement was smooth. From here on out, I proceeded to ride 500 miles, while only dealing with a "thump" every wheel rotation. Those 500 miles produced no flats.

Last Monday, I suffered 3 flats in 2 miles on a group ride. These were of the hissing variety.

Tuesday after work on my way to the bus, I got another flat.

Tuesday night, The LBS looked at it. Their explanation was that the brake pad was eating a hole in the tire itself, then nicking the inner tube, causing a puncture. They showed me where there were holes in the sidewall, and the holes being made were right there where the flatspot is. That's about 180* from the valve stem.

They gave me a NEW TIRE and new tube, and adjusted the brakes (kind of hackish) so that they don't nick the tire. The tire's brand new. The bead is set. In fact, the first blowout happened after I aired it up, but prior to that, the bike shop was the last to touch it. All I did is inflate it to 100 PSI.

A Post-mortem on the second tire blowout shows the same failure in the same spot. But it's nowhere near the flatspot. It's happening exactly 6 spokes over from the valve stem. Both times. There's nothing poking in that area. The only thing I can think is perhaps the rim tape (which actually juts IN because of the double wall tires) has too much give and is allowing a blister to form. Maybe I just need new, sturdier rim tape.

Anyhow, I'm buying my new wheel tomorrow but I want the shop to figure this out tomorrow too, so I have a spare wheel just in case. 500 miles without a problem is hard to ignore. I don't mind the "thump thump thump" of a slightly out-of-round wheel.

I'll let them sort this out in the morning.

martinoffroad said...

"I was boxed in by a motorist and couldn't avoid it."

Try not to allow this to happen by taking the right tire path line which allows for more room from the curb, it also makes the motorist's to move out and around you more which is more of a safety move allowing the car behind the first car to be alert on his movement that someone is on the right side that forced that move.

Replace your vinyl rim strip tape with cloth.

Noah said...

Martin, this grate sticks out almost to the left tire rut in the road, and had I been behind a car, I would have had even less warning for the impending doom, and would have likely endoed, then run over by the car behind me. Now that I know it's there, I just ride the left half of the lane, and "F you" to anyone behind me that has a problem with it.

Also, my rim tape is cloth, but if you read a few newer posts, you'll see I determined the problem wasn't the rim at all. And I replaced my tweaked rim with a nice, fresh one :)

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