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Why Bike Tires Are Always Going Flat

If you have repeated flat tires on your bike, you need high quality rim tape.

Background

I do a lot of biking around Atlanta – and have for 10+ years. I usually have ~2 flats per year since we don’t yet have a lot of high quality bike lanes like we should.

But I’ve had 12 flats in the past 4 months.

It’s been maddening and quite annoying. It all started happening after I got a new wheel for my bike. It was a performance wheel installed by my favorite local bike shop.

The first two flats I blamed on bad luck.

The next two I took to the bike shop…they blamed them all on bad luck and shrugged off any other concerns.

Then I just got a slime-filled tube that filled the punctures as they happened.

The wheel was brand new. The rim tape that it came with was high quality (though rubber). The tires were new and the tubes were new. I changed the flats and a bike shop changed the flats.

I read & followed every piece of advice on the Internet for standard Google searches. Nothing came up – even on Reddit.

But then I came across a mention in a tire product description that said 70psi was the limit for rubber rim stop.

I was running at 90psi.

And yep, once I knew that small fact, I got some high performance cloth rim tape for $5 and haven’t had a flat since.

In hindsight, I should have narrowed the possibilities in my troubleshooting sooner. But sometimes there just things that you don’t know that you don’t know…and not even the collective intelligence of the Internet and professionals can problem solve for you.

So if you are constantly having flats after getting a new tire and new tube…try better rim tape.

By Nate

I'm Nate Shivar - I live in Atlanta and love exploring the city, outdoors, books & Internet. Read about me, my Now page, or my work.

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