Why does your bicycle tire keep going flat? This is a question that my readers throws at me a lot.
So, I decided to write this guide to answer the query and share proven ways to prevent this from happening in the first place.
Unnoticeable holes, lodged in things, and worn-out tires are some causes. Tire liners, optimal air pressure, and managing road hurdles are some solutions.
Let’s discuss them in detail:
Let’s Know the 10 Top Reasons Why Your Bicycle Tire Keeps Going Flat and How to Fix
1. The Sharp Culprit
A sharp object lying around on the road is the most notorious culprit for your tire going flat. Thorns, pieces of glass, nails, pebbles, etc. are some such objects. They pierce through the tire, puncture the tube, and leave your bike with flat tires.
Sometimes, the sharp object stuck in your bike is obvious to spot and remove. Other times, it could be so tiny that it is difficult to spot it with naked eyes.
If left unchecked or undetected, the sharp object may cause punctures in the tube at many places.
The obvious fix here is to remove the sharp object and fix the tube for any puncture. Check the surface all around the tire & tube and remove any sharp object you spot.
However, sometimes the sharp object is difficult to spot with naked eyes. In such a case, I recommend you wear a pair of safety gloves and examine the tire with your hands.
2. The Aging Tire
If your bike tires keep going flat, it could be a clear sign that they have aged to retirement. Aged and worn-out tires are times more susceptible to punctures. This is high time for you to change them.
Other signs of your tires aging are the crowned rubber, exposed threads, and worn-out surface. All these signs call for a new set of tires.
The fix is simple. Ditch your current set of tires and replace it with a quality one. There is no way to restore a worn-out tire and rely on it. So, instead of cheapening out, adore your bike with new tires.
One hack I have used with great success is swapping my bike’s front and rear tires every six months. Whether you realize it or not, the rear tire of your bike wears out faster than the front tire.
If you swap your front and rear tires every so often, they will wear out evenly. Thus, you will change both tires at the same time when they are fully worn out.
3. Pinching Problem
Sometimes, your tire gets entangled between the rim and the brake system. It pinches the tube sharply, causes a cut in it, and flattens your tire.
Other times, especially while changing the tire, the lever may poke the tube and deflate it. This is what I call a pinching problem.
The solution to this problem lies in the way you change your tire.
Always inflate the tube a bit before installing it into the tire. This will make the tube rigid and prevent it from getting pinched or entangled.
Another trick is always using your hands and not any tools to change your bike tire. This will cut the possibility of sharp lever poking through the tube.
4. Deformed Rim
A deformed rim may not hold the tire snugly all the time. There will be a gap between the rim and the tire at places that leaves the inner tube exposed. The exposed inner tube is more susceptible to getting poked and going flat.
The fix here is to stay vigilant about the shape of your rim. A careful look is enough to detect any bends, dents, or cracks in the rim.
If you find deformities in the rim of your bike, take it to a bike-repair shop or replace it with a new one.
5. Less Than Optimal Pressure
If you starve your tire on air pressure, it becomes prone to going flat even with a gentle impact. When an under-inflated tire bumps into road obstacles such as pebbles or holes, it bottoms out against the rim quickly and goes flat.
The solution here is two-fold.
Either ensure optimal pressure in your bike tires or use broad tubeless tires. Wide tubeless tires need low pressure to operate well.
Generally, you will need to maintain 85 PSI pressure wide tires and 100 PSI pressure in narrow tires. For exact figures, read your manufacturer’s manual.
6. More Than Optimal Pressure
Overinflating your bike tires is as bad as underinflating them.
The higher air pressure bloats up the inner tube and stretches it beyond normal. This unnecessary stretching makes the tube walls thin. The thin tube walls become prone to punctures even with a small poke.
The fix is simple here. Read your manufacturer’s guidelines to know the optimal pressure for your bike tires, and maintain it within the range.
7. Compromised Valve System
The valve system of your bike is attached to the inner tube with glue from the inside. The strength of this bond is difficult to check from the surface.
Sometimes, the glue loses its strength, and the valve system slightly comes off. This causes a hidden air leak that makes your tire go flat so often.
If your valve system is the culprit for your bike tire going flat, you can repair it or replace it. You may use an adhesive to strengthen the bond or install a new valve altogether.
8. Exposed Spoke Holes
The spoke holes are slightly protruded on a rim. The onus of keeping them from poking through the inner tube goes on the rim tape.
Over time, the rim tape may get depressed into the spokes, creating sharp edges all around the rim. These sharp edges could easily deflate your inner tube.
The solution here is simple. Buy new rim tape rolls and cover the tire bed anew. There is no need to remove the old tape first. You can do the new tape on top of it.
9. The Invisible Leak
Sometimes, the leak in the inner tube is so tiny that it is difficult to spot it. The leak keeps letting the air leave the tire so slow that it takes days to go flat.
Such an invisible leak happens when dust particles rub against the tube for long, or the tube is worn out.
The only solution to overcome invisible leaks is to replace your bike’s inner tube.
10. The Air Woosh
This is the sudden blowout of the tire of your bike. There could be several reasons for this to happen.
You rammed into something hard or pointed that tore your bike tube apart. You overinflated your tire, and it popped with your weight. There were so many punctures in the tube already that it could not withstand the next poke.
Unfortunately, there is nothing much you can do in such a case. Changing the tire is the only option you are left with if your bike tire just exploded.
Preventative Measures You Can Take To Keep Your Tire From Going Flat
Use Tire Liners
This is always my first tip to my readers to prevent their bike tires from going flat. A tire liner creates a barrier between the tire and the inner tube that no sharp object can reach the tube. Here is my recommended tire liner.
Use a Quality Tire
This goes without saying. You get what you pay for. Do not cheapen out on tires and always buy quality products only. Here is my recommended set of bike tires.
Match Tire and Tube Size
This is an innocent mistake that many riders make when installing new parts in their bike. The size of both the tire and tube must match. Even a slight gap between the two will leave room for the dust and pebbles to lodge in. This is a sure recipe for getting flat tires so often.
Manage Road Hurdles
No, I am not suggesting you change your route to work but be mindful of the hurdles on the road. Try to avoid mud, pebbles, potholes as much as you can.
Keep Your Kit Handy
No matter how hard you try to avoid it, you may get into a situation on a bad day. So, it is always advisable to carry your air pump and tube repairing kit with you all the time.
Now you know all the possible reasons why your bike tire keeps going flat. Also, you know how you can prevent it from happening to your bike.
This is the time to put the knowledge into action. You might have to shell out some money to make your bike flat-proof, but it is worth every penny. Thanks!