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Latex tubes and spontaneous blowouts
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I have had Vittoria latex tubes in my Flo 60s, with velo plugs covered with two layers of electrical tape and gp 4000s tires all season. The first tube lasted several months with no issues until a cut sidewall. The second tube, spontaneously exploded about ten minutes after I installed it. The third tube lasted about a month and spontaneously exploded about two minutes after topping it off. Both tubes where completely shredded on the rim side for most of the way around. A careful inspection of the rim and tire and I can find absolutely nothing that could possible cause a tube failure. I now have had a butyl tube in there for about a month with no issues. Front wheel has had a butyl tube all season with no issues.

My normal inflation routine is to inflate the tires to about 120 psi, then bleed them down to 105 with my gauge. 120 is the max recommend on the gp4000s, are they this sensitive to high pressure? What gives, this is getting expensive and a PITA. Not to mention if it happened in the middle of a ride it could be potentially very dangerous.
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Re: Latex tubes and spontaneous blowouts [Anachronism] [ In reply to ]
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I've had two rapid punctures during competition, using latex tubes..
Two resulted in a very dangerous situation, and one directly caused a crash, as the puncture was VERY sudden during a 45km/h right hand turn.

The first time, it luckily happen on a straight downhill section, and I was able to do a controlled breakdown from 55km/h, before a 45degree turn

I have taken the decision NOT to use latex tubes anymore, as I have only experienced sudden punctures and blowouts, which just do not happend with normal butyl tubes.
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Re: Latex tubes and spontaneous blowouts [Auchenberg] [ In reply to ]
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After completing my first full last year, this spring/summer I dedicated myself to getting faster, hired a coach, got a power meter/wheel set, and used latex tubes. I had 2 races schedule one this past weekend as a tune up, and IM Austin 70.3 next month.

I was 2nd out of the water, fastest t1.... flatted 3 miles from transition and my cO2 (was only carrying one like a dumbass) was a dud, probably because it was old. I had to wait for someone to pass me a cartridge and after changing this cost me about 10/15 mins. I lost the podium by 10 mins, and actually would probably have won my AG without the flat.

This is the 2nd time I have flatted on latex tubes, once on a training ride and now in a race. I'm done with them forever.
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Re: Latex tubes and spontaneous blowouts [Anachronism] [ In reply to ]
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To counter other experiences above. I've flatted about 10 times in the last 3 years - never on latex, only on regular tubes. My rear training tire currently has a latex tube in it (because I'm lazy) and has been there all summer. Front is a regular tube and I've had a flat there. I have no concerns with latex tubes.
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Re: Latex tubes and spontaneous blowouts [Anachronism] [ In reply to ]
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I have flatted a latex tube once: I ran over a 3inch shard of metal. I don't think a standard butyl tube would have survived.

I have installed latex tubes onto rims with Veloplugs, electrical tape, Stan's tape, standard plastic rim tape.... All were successful. I do not see the huge fear people have with latex tubes.

Make sure rim is clean all the way around.
Make sure tire is clean all the way around.
Throw latex tube in ziplock bag with some baby powder to give it a good coating.
Add baby powder to the inside of the tire when it is half installed, if you want to get super OCD with the install.
Insert coated tube, close off tire, inflate to 30ish psi and check that the tire is seated correctly and no tube peaks out.
Pump up to desired psi and enjoy!

Alex Arman

Strava
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Re: Latex tubes and spontaneous blowouts [Anachronism] [ In reply to ]
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I ride tubulars (race wheels), so it's a slightly different experience, but between two sets of race wheels, have never had a blow out.

My wife's clincher training wheels have latex tubes, and she's never had a blow out, only a pinch flat when I first installed them.

My training wheels have butyl tubes, and I've never had a blow out.

In fact since I started seriously in the sport in 2004, I have never experienced a blowout that wasn't caused by user error, or encountering a very large pothole or rock.


I suspect user error on installation.
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Re: Latex tubes and spontaneous blowouts [Anachronism] [ In reply to ]
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They are very sensitive to installation error. How carefully do you check that you have not pinched any tube between the tire bead and rim before inflating fully?

You really have to go around the whole perimeter inch by inch, add a little air, do it again.



Kat Hunter reports on the San Dimas Stage Race from inside the GC winning team
Aeroweenie.com -Compendium of Aero Data and Knowledge
Freelance sports & outdoors writer Kathryn Hunter
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Re: Latex tubes and spontaneous blowouts [jackmott] [ In reply to ]
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+1

User error here, I've been using them for years now only had one issue when I let a tyre go flat and then when I pumped it up again some of the tube was trapped between the tyre and rim. went bang after about 2min on the road.

The fact that they're failing on the side means some of the tube was trapped.
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Re: Latex tubes and spontaneous blowouts [jackmott] [ In reply to ]
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jackmott wrote:
They are very sensitive to installation error. How carefully do you check that you have not pinched any tube between the tire bead and rim before inflating fully?

You really have to go around the whole perimeter inch by inch, add a little air, do it again.

I'll second the above. Actually, with any tube. I'll inspect for seeing the tube below the bead before inflation. Then, I inflate to 20, let the air out, inflate to 40-60 let the air out, inflate to desired pressure, let the air out, then inflate again to desired pressure - ride.

this process lets the tube wiggle around away from the bead. YOU WON'T PINCH with that process.

I saw this on a white board in a window box at my daughters middle school...
List of what life owes you:
1. __________
2. __________
3. __________
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Re: Latex tubes and spontaneous blowouts [JTNero] [ In reply to ]
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It is such a common error I don't even recommend them to people unless I know them really well and trust them to be meticulous.

I've had domestic pro mechanics make this mistake. Pretty much you have to blow up a couple tubes before you realize OK yes I have to check the whole perimeter really carefully. Once you learn it, no problems.

That and exposed spoke holes are the culprit 99% of the time. Sounds like you have the spoke hole situation well covered though.


JTNero wrote:
+1

User error here, I've been using them for years now only had one issue when I let a tyre go flat and then when I pumped it up again some of the tube was trapped between the tyre and rim. went bang after about 2min on the road.

The fact that they're failing on the side means some of the tube was trapped.



Kat Hunter reports on the San Dimas Stage Race from inside the GC winning team
Aeroweenie.com -Compendium of Aero Data and Knowledge
Freelance sports & outdoors writer Kathryn Hunter
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Re: Latex tubes and spontaneous blowouts [Anachronism] [ In reply to ]
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The second tube, spontaneously exploded about ten minutes after I installed it. The third tube lasted about a month and spontaneously exploded about two minutes after topping it off. Both tubes where completely shredded on the rim side for most of the way around. A careful inspection of the rim and tire and I can find absolutely nothing that could possible cause a tube failure.

Poor installation.

I've got ~40k miles riding nothing but latex tubes (Challenge, Michelin, Vredestein, Vittoria), and I've never experienced this.

A tube has very little stress on it when properly installed. It will not explode unless the *container* (tire bead or rim strip) gives way.

Yes, you can get away with poor technique when installing butyl tubes... not so with latex.

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Re: Latex tubes and spontaneous blowouts [jackmott] [ In reply to ]
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jackmott wrote:
It is such a common error I don't even recommend them to people unless I know them really well and trust them to be meticulous.

I've had domestic pro mechanics make this mistake. Pretty much you have to blow up a couple tubes before you realize OK yes I have to check the whole perimeter really carefully. Once you learn it, no problems.

That and exposed spoke holes are the culprit 99% of the time. Sounds like you have the spoke hole situation well covered though.


JTNero wrote:
+1

User error here, I've been using them for years now only had one issue when I let a tyre go flat and then when I pumped it up again some of the tube was trapped between the tyre and rim. went bang after about 2min on the road.

The fact that they're failing on the side means some of the tube was trapped.

I agree with this completely. It takes me an hour to do one set of wheels. However, I can go entire years without a flat. If you're not a detail guy/girl, and you're not patient, forget it.

I went through around 4 tubes before I got the process down (5 years ago there wasn't as much advice on this topic yet on the interwebs). If you're concerned about the expense, you can patch latex just like butyl. I'm running patched latex on my training wheels. Have a few thousand k at least. Ride great.
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Re: Latex tubes and spontaneous blowouts [jackmott] [ In reply to ]
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Pretty much you have to blow up a couple tubes before you realize OK yes I have to check the whole perimeter really carefully.

Even better is to install them so the tube never gets under the bead. With powder on the tire and tube both, enough air to hold shape, and making sure the tube is happily situated before putting that last bead on, I never have that issue.

It's also worth mentioning that once a tire has blown off, the kevlar bead will often be torn, making more likely to happen again with that tire.

Last edited by: rruff: Sep 10, 14 7:10
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Re: Latex tubes and spontaneous blowouts [jackmott] [ In reply to ]
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jackmott wrote:
You really have to go around the whole perimeter inch by inch, add a little air, do it again.

While I have had a variety of alarming blowouts with latex tubes over the past 3-years, in almost all cases prior to switching to Zipp Firecrest wheels, the cause of such blowouts was a result of improper installation and/or lack of diligence in checking for pinched tubes after the wheels had sat idle for a few days and lost pressure. It has been my experience that when rims with narrower internal width (Reynolds DV-46 and SDV-66 in my case), coupled with high performance clinchers/tires with supple casings/high TPI, then such checks should become a normal ritual prior to re-inflating after a period of non-use. The reason I think is that as such tires age, the casing at the bead gets looser on the rim and as the tube leaches air and gets closer to ambient pressure, the tire bead has a tendency to pull back from the rim leaving a gap which allows the latex tube to migrate into void which in turn gets pinched the next time it is inflated.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Last edited by: ms6073: Sep 10, 14 7:11
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Re: Latex tubes and spontaneous blowouts [Anachronism] [ In reply to ]
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the only spontaneous blowout I've ever had was on butyl.. been racing on latex for five years, no problems yet..
(that blowout was a pump problem, turns out the gauge on the pump was under-reading by about 30psi, so had 130psi in an old tire rated for 120 max, on a hot day. near the end of the ride heard the tube come out and start rubbing on something, next was the 'spontaneous' blowout. but it was my fault in fact.)
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Re: Latex tubes and spontaneous blowouts [jackmott] [ In reply to ]
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jackmott wrote:
They are very sensitive to installation error. How carefully do you check that you have not pinched any tube between the tire bead and rim before inflating fully?

You really have to go around the whole perimeter inch by inch, add a little air, do it again.

This and use baby powder.
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Re: Latex tubes and spontaneous blowouts [Auchenberg] [ In reply to ]
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Auchenberg wrote:
I've had two rapid punctures during competition, using latex tubes..
Two resulted in a very dangerous situation, and one directly caused a crash, as the puncture was VERY sudden during a 45km/h right hand turn.

The first time, it luckily happen on a straight downhill section, and I was able to do a controlled breakdown from 55km/h, before a 45degree turn

I have taken the decision NOT to use latex tubes anymore, as I have only experienced sudden punctures and blowouts, which just do not happend with normal butyl tubes.

When you say "sudden puncture", are you saying that there was a loud "bang"? If so, then those were actually installation error as described above. The tube won't make a loud sound like that unless it is already outside the tire.

IME, a puncture with a latex tube actually results in a slower deflation of the tire (with nearly no sound) as compared to with a butyl tube...and in some cases, if the hole is small, once the pressure gets low enough the tube tends to "self seal" and hold a bit of air for quite a long time.

http://bikeblather.blogspot.com/
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Re: Latex tubes and spontaneous blowouts [jackmott] [ In reply to ]
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jackmott wrote:
Pretty much you have to blow up a couple tubes before you realize OK yes I have to check the whole perimeter really carefully. Once you learn it, no problems.

Only took me once, 5 bucks is a lot of money when you are 10 and have no job. Screwed up installing a tube dad said tough crap you screwed up walk until you can buy another one.. My dad wasn't even one of those mean ones it was just a common sense check your work kind of thing, that and at the time 5 bucks was probably a lot even to them.

Never had an issue with latex on the bike, whether it was when I used them on my mountain bike in the mid 90s or now on my road bikes. Latex in the bedroom though seem to have issues with blow outs..
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Re: Latex tubes and spontaneous blowouts [Anachronism] [ In reply to ]
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Been racing on the same latex tubes all year (3 half, 3 Olympics) and no flats. I've had 2 butyl flats in the last year while training.

I'd agree with above, careful installation is the key. Mount 1 bead of tire, mount tube, inflate to 5psi, finish mounting tire, check to make sure tube isn't pinched under the bead along the entire circumference for both sides, inflate to 20-30psi, check again, finish inflating. May seem onerous, but that process does the trick for me, and sure beats dealing with a blowout.
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Re: Latex tubes and spontaneous blowouts [doublea334] [ In reply to ]
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I always check the bead carefully and inflate once, release all the air and inflate again. I can easily see I possibly made an error on the one that blew out after ten minutes but the one that I rode around on for a month before it spontaneously blew doesn't seem like it could be installation error. I should add that the sealant also makes a huge mess with a blowout, I am still undecided if I want to try latex again next season.

If a minor installation error means I am riding on a time bomb then this seems like a very high price to save a few watts.
Last edited by: Anachronism: Sep 10, 14 9:06
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Re: Latex tubes and spontaneous blowouts [Anachronism] [ In reply to ]
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I have the exact same latex tubes this season as last season. I leave my race wheels on all summer long for training and racing. I do not use any kind of sealant. I have not flattened at any time during the past 2 years. The problem isn't the latex.






Take a short break from ST and read my blog:
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Re: Latex tubes and spontaneous blowouts [Anachronism] [ In reply to ]
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Anachronism wrote:
I have had Vittoria latex tubes in my Flo 60s, with velo plugs covered with two layers of electrical tape and gp 4000s tires all season. The first tube lasted several months with no issues until a cut sidewall. The second tube, spontaneously exploded about ten minutes after I installed it. The third tube lasted about a month and spontaneously exploded about two minutes after topping it off. Both tubes where completely shredded on the rim side for most of the way around.

A shredded hole is formed when the tube expands without limit: it escaped from inside the tube and blew. No spontaneity involved. Sounds like the tube was pinched under the bead when installed.

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Re: Latex tubes and spontaneous blowouts [Anachronism] [ In reply to ]
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Anachronism wrote:
I am still undecided if I want to try latex again next season.

It's not that bad. Just be sure it's nice & smooth, and don't stick it in dry. It might fit, but could cause some bruising later on.


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Re: Latex tubes and spontaneous blowouts [Anachronism] [ In reply to ]
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I'll take 'Cycling Superstitions and Myths' for $2,000, Alex.


float , hammer , and jog

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Re: Latex tubes and spontaneous blowouts [Anachronism] [ In reply to ]
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Crap, I thought you were going to point us to a really good sale on latex tubes. A real "blowout".
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