Flat tyres are irritating – Part 1

The Breakaway

Godamit!!!!….I’ve got another <<insert expletive of choice>> flat. If you ride on the road its inevitable that you’ll have this happen, much taxes, death and Richmond not winning AFL premierships.

The Leadout

This is the first part of a two part blogfest on flat tyres. The first part focuses on the types of flats and the second explains what you might be able to do avoid them.

Slow Leaks

  • First symptom of this kind of problem, is that the tire will need to be pumped up more often than it should and its starting to drive you mad :-).
  • However It is normal for a tube to lose air over a period of weeks. Racing bike owners you should check the pressure at least once per week.
  • Slow leaks that take more than an hour to go down can be tough to find, its better to install a new tube.
  • This type of flat is not normally associated with severe tire or rim damage.


  • Typically caused by glass, thorns, nails, staples, screws. Basically anything sharp can cause a puncture.
  • Depending on how big the hole is, the tyre can deflate very quickly. Usually these are easily located and repaired with patch kit.
  • This type of flat is not normally associated with severe tire or rim damage.

Pinch Flats

  • This type of flat is caused by rapid compression of the tube between your rim and a hard surface.
  • Known as ‘snakebites,’ these are dramatic, audible flats that deflate quickly.
  • These are difficult to repair with patches quickly. You may have to replace tube or use oval patches.
  • There’s really good chance you also have rim damage as well.


  • Blowouts are sudden losses of air, usually accompanied by a loud BANG!
  • Since the inner tube is just a rubber balloon, and does take much pressure by itself, it needs to be held inside of a tire to get up to full pressure.
  • If the tire doesn’t hold the tube in all around, the tube will pop. If this happens you’ll need a new tube.

Tire Damage

  • Improperly adjusted brakes can rub through tire and cause tube to blow out of tire.
  • Maintaining proper tire pressure helps prevent flats and maximizes rolling efficiency.
  • Worn tires leave less rubber between the tube and the road, decreasing flat protection


  • Spokes and sharp spots on the inside wall of the rim can cause flats.
  • Recurring flats are usually caused by sharp metal on the rim or part of a spoke.
  • Use a file or sandpaper to buff off the sharp spot and remove any burrs.
  • Its also worth replacing the rim tape.

Valve Damage

  • Any part of the valve and stem can get damaged through abuse or overuse, through which air can leak.
  • Sealants don’t typically work well on damaged valves. It’s time for a new tube.

Sidewall Cuts

  • The sidewall of a tire is not designed to contact anything, and is not durable like the tread of a tire.
  • This type of damage usually happens when you load your bike onto a vehicle, or leans it against something, like a curb, bench, or wall.
  • Once this happens, you’ll need to buy a new tyre.

Leave a Reply