good things about bikes. and some less good.

First things first: Bikerowave = awesome.

A huge thanks to all of the volunteers working Saturday afternoon and into the evening. If you (faceless readers) haven’t yet been by to check out their space, please make an effort to do so. It’s open, well-lit, welcoming, and all of the volunteers who were helping out on Saturday afternoon were in good spirits (in spite of constantly being called to and fro).

Less awesome: The bike I was working on. I brought in an absolute clunker of a bike – an old Motobecane that had been sitting outside under the porch in Colorado for far too long and had then made the trip to California and spent most of its time sitting in our hallway. Less than awesome. There’s progress on the beast, and it was almost (briefly) rideable. But when I brought it home and inflated the tire a little more, I realized there was a slight issue. If the tire was inflated to the recommended psi (say, about 80), it bulged out seriously on the sidewall, so much so that it wouldn’t spin through the brakes. So I deflated the tire, tried to reseat the bead in the rim, then inflated the tire again. Same problem. Repeat, except this time I removed the tire and spread a little chalk on the inside between the tube and the tire, thinking that the tube might be getting bunched up when inflated. When I inflated the tire again (again, to about 80 psi, though the tire says it takes 90 psi), it seemed fine. I was psyched. Deflate the tire, slipped it back into the bike, tightened down the wheel a little, then pumped up the tire again. Everything seemed gravy, but within about a minute, the tire/tube was bulging back over the rim. I went to deflate the tire again to look at it when the tube (predictably?) popped.

So, as I see it, there are potentially three possible issues:

  1. My pump’s pressure gauge is off and what reads as 80 psi is not actually. Except I don’t this is really the case.
  2. The tire wasn’t properly seated at all and that’s why the tube pushed out on the side. This is maybe more possible, but I don’t think so, because I tried several times to reseat the bead and it seemed to be a consistent issue in the same place.
  3. Something’s fishy with the rim, so that it’s too shallow or something and can’t take the pressure (meaning that even though the new tires recommend 90 psi, the bike itself shouldn’t actually have that pressure.

Anyways, where things are is less than awesome, but I’ll be back by Bikerowave next time I have the opportunity. In the meantime, does anyone have any better advice? Are there things I haven’t tried yet that I should? Should I just get another tube and try to reseat the whole thing without taking the bike back in?

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4 responses to “good things about bikes. and some less good.

  1. My first thought is you’ve got a bad tire. If the sidewall is good, the tube should never be able to bulge; a weak sidewall or loose bead could result in exactly what you describe. Look for any tears in the tire or anywhere the strip that goes inside the rim has come loose. Also, tires should always be hard to put on the rim; if it goes on too easily, it’s time to replace.

    Second possibility is a little flare in the wheel rim. The rim should be perfectly smooth and even all the way around. Try tightening your brakes as far as you can and still be able to turn the wheel. Then look for any place the rim may catch on the brakes. If you find a bulge, take it to a good bike mechanic. Sometimes the wheel can be saved; most times, you’ll need a new wheel.

    Good luck — and good to see you posting again!

  2. @bikinginla: Thanks! Re: the tire – I might have suspected that, except for the fact that the tire is brand spanking new off the wall. So I don’t think it’s that. A flare in the wheel rim sounds a lot more likely, as the bike in question is kind of old rickety little thing that I’m trying to coax back into almost rideable shape. I think I’m going to take it back into the Bikerowave this weekend and see if they have any good ideas. It may well be that I need to just replace the whole back wheel… As for posting again, let’s not put the cart before the horse, but life is a little more under control at the moment.

  3. Pingback: party for a good cause: FRIDAY! « los angeles rides

  4. good 4 uuuuu ok i dont care:)

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