The last thing you want is a tire to pop when you are out on your road bike. Is there a way to prevent this by knowing its possible causes? Read further to find out more about bursting bike tires.
Are Road Bike Tires Easy to Pop?
Road bike tires can pop in certain conditions, such as repeated breaking and incorrect tire pressure. If the bike and tires are properly and regularly maintained, it would reduce the risk of tires popping.
A tire does not necessarily burst when you are riding the bike. It can happen even when the bike is parked, and when you are pumping it with air.
How Often Do Road Bike Tires Pop?
This depends on how you handle your bike tires in various different conditions. If you keep the pressure at the correct levels, especially in hot weather conditions, your road bike tires will not burst.
Tires lose pressure even if the bike has not been ridden for a few days.
If your tires burst frequently, you may be inflating them too much. If you keep parking in the sun, this could be another reason why you get frequent tire bursts. Tires can also burst if you carry excessive loads on your bike.
The Culprits Behind Tire Popping!
Let’s see the different reasons why your road bike tires keep popping:
1- Excess Pressure
This is caused by overinflating the tube.
With overinflated tires, you will also feel every bump and the ride will be very uncomfortable. Your speed will also decrease.
Overinflating the tires can be dangerous as they can burst while you are riding, and you can lose control of the bike, especially if you are speeding.
It is good to check the tire pressure using a gauge, or by pinching and feeling the tire. Always fill the tire to the recommended psi. For a road bike, the recommended pressure range is 80 to 130 psi.
The psi that is recommended is usually indicated on the side of the tires. The recommended psi depends on the type of bike it is, the tire width, and the terrain. The weight of the rider and the weather also play a role in how much air to fill in the tire.
2- Excessive Braking
The brake pads heat up the rims, which in turn can heat the tube within. Excessive braking, especially when you are going downhill, can cause the rims and tube to heat up. If the tube within heats up too much, it will burst.
3- High Temperatures
The tires will overheat if the bike is left in the sun for too long. The friction from riding will generate more heat, causing air to expand within the tube, thus increasing the tire pressure. Excess pressure will cause the tire to burst.
To prevent this, slightly lower the pressure in the tires. Keep the bike in a cool location.
4- Using Road Bikes on Gravel
Yes, road bike tires can pop on gravel. Compared to gravel bike tires, road bike tires are narrower. Road bike tires are also slicker and smoother, compared to knobby gravel tires.
A road bike can be ridden on gravel, but not for long stretches, and not often. Road bikes are not designed to be ridden on such terrain.
You are more likely to get a puncture than a tire burst when you ride your road bike on gravel. This is because of the thinner tires and the rough terrain. The rim and wheel can also get damaged on gravel surfaces.
If you cannot buy a gravel bike, you can replace your road bike wheels and tires and put in gravel wheels and tires.
Ways To Prevent Bike Tire Popping
There are certain measures you can take to prevent your road bike tire from popping frequently:
1- Correct Tire Pressure
Depending on your bike type, you must ensure you inflate the tire as per the recommended psi.
The ideal psi for a road bike tire is between 80 – 130 psi. Your body weight must also be taken into account. The tire pressure should be higher if you weigh more. Narrower tires require more pressure than wider tires.
In cold weather, the pressure is slightly lower. Do not overinflate in hot weather as this will result in the tire bursting.
Tubeless tires function better with lower pressure, increasing traction, and the rider’s comfort level.
Higher pressure will cause the tire to become rigid and will bounce off every bump, resulting in a very uncomfortable ride. Low pressure can cause punctures. You will also have to use more energy to cycle.
You can find your ideal psi through trial and error and eventually learn if pressure is too high or low just by pinching the tire.
2- Replace Old Tires
Replace old and worn-out tires. Repeated punctures are an indication that you need to replace your tires.
There are tread wear indicators on a few tires that help in judging the condition of your tires and wheter you should replace them. Getting tire flats (punctures) again and again also points towards the possibility of a worn out tread.
3- Damaged Tire Rim
If your rim is damaged, the sharp edge can burst your tube. Inspect your rims, especially after a puncture.
4- Inspect Your Tire
Regularly check your tires for any glass or sharp stones embedded within them. These can eventually reach the tube and damage it. Also, check the inside of the tire for debris especially after changing a flat tire.
Checking the tire pressure before riding is a good habit as it can prevent tire bursts.
Road bike tires can burst due to over-inflating the tires. Breaking excessively and hot weather conditions can also cause tires to burst. If you ride your road bike on gravel frequently, change the tires to gravel tires. This will prevent the road tires from being punctured and also popping.