Tire Repair Revisted

So back in early Spring Snake was asking me about tires, he wanted advice on a fast tire that would resist flats.  Without hesitation I recommended the Continental Grand Prix, either 4000, or the cheaper plain ol GP like I run.  When I mount new GPs on my wheels and the winter snow cinders have been washed away I’ve gone months without flats, and in my opinion the tires performance leaves nothing to be desired.

My stitches over the cut

My stitches over the cut

IMG_2533 IMG_2534 IMG_2677Snake took my advice and bought some, he went ahead and installed Mr. Tuffy flat liners, which I greatly dislike, but hey its his bike.  So about a month ago I step up on my porch and find a brand new Continental GP 4000 tire hanging on the doorknob.  There’s a little sticker that says Snake.  I’m thinking, man he must have liked those tires so much that he bought me one was well.

On closer inspection I found that the sticker marked the location of a long sidewall cut.  Snake later told me he left the tire for two reasons, though he didn’t say it in so many words he wanted me to see how bad my advice had been, he got 3 rides out of a 65 dollar tire before it failed causing him to walk 3 miles back home; two, he thought I might be able to fix the tire or get some use out of it.

In my defense Snake has decided to only ride one road, Route 13, because of it’s lack of hills and smooth wide shoulder.  The road is heavily traveled and the far side of the shoulder is littered with broken glass, truck parts, and all manner of garbage that will destroy a tire.  He also admitted he ran over a large piece of “something” so I don’t really think he can blame me.

So this tire gave me the perfect opportunity to try a little tire repair.  My attempts to sew large cuts in mountain bike tires had all failed, the tube would never hemorrhage from the tire, but would eventually flat on every ride.  The problem being the cut would stretch and  allow rocks and stuff to poke through and damage the tube.  I had used light gauge monofilament line to sew those cuts, but the rough nature of mountain bike trails would always tear off the outside patch.

I decided to use regular thread on this tire which allowed me to both sew it much tighter and use many more stitches.  Then I placed a large patch on the inside and a small patch on the outside.  The patches are more to protect the stitches then keep the tube in.   I used Adam as my first test rider when he borrowed my bike for a 50 mile ride several weeks ago and the tire held up fine.

The second test ride wasn’t quite as successful, I was about half a mile from my house when the tube exploded with a deafening BOOM and white tire sealant sprayed everywhere.  I assumed the tube had hemorrhaged out of the cut and popped but on closer inspection the repair was fine.  The problem was the tire sealant.  I had experimented with using tire sealant in this old tube.  The tire sealant sort of worked, but it wouldn’t really seal up holes and it would eventually leak into the tire.  The sealant had made the tire hook and bead interface so slick that the tire had popped off the bead.

Now a few hundred miles later the tire is holding up great.  I may have to replace the outside patch every few hundred miles, but it looks like I’ll get a long life from this tire.

About Matt Gholson

Cycling, school teaching, husband.
This entry was posted in Barn Door Cycling and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Tire Repair Revisted

  1. Steve says:

    Very clever! Let me just say that I am the King of Flat Tires and after switching to Conti GPs last year, I saw a dramatic improvement. I now go several thousand miles between flats and when they occur it is almost always do to hitting something significant, like a rock, large shard of glass, or a big pothole. I love my Contis.

  2. jrezz71 says:

    Sounds like an excellent experiment, be curious to see how long it’ll hold up.

    I’ve been using Schwalbe Marathon Plus on my old Schwinn and my Nashbar Touring bike. So far the only flats I’ve experience have been a pinch flat on the Schwinn when I first installed the Marathons and then a tube failure on the same bike, the tube let go on the seam where it was molded. I’ve got about 3k miles on the set on the Schwinn and about 1700 miles on the Nashbar. Both sets of tires have seen their share of debris and broken glass.

    I just swapped out the Boroughs CX tires on my Tricross for Marathon Mondials, so far I’m liking those, they are a lot lighter than the Plus. The Boroughs CX are supposed to be flat resistant, but on my 2nd ride on the new bike I picked up the tiniest piece of glass, I wasn’t terribly impressed.

  3. rlhoover says:

    Quite talented! I’m impressed. I also have Schwalbe Marathons on my street bike. No problems at all after close to 2,800 miles.

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