Did you recently pump up your tire, only to try to ride it the next day and see that it was already flat? Or worse, were you riding your bike and it popped right in the middle of your ride?
Don’t worry, you’re not alone, bike tire popping is a relatively common experience, but can become a real hassle when you’re trying to figure out why it keeps happening.
Nothing is more frustrating than changing your inner tube or tire only for it to pop the next day. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of the causes of bike tire popping so you can get back to cruising on your bike as soon as possible.
What We Will Cover
Why Does My Bike Tire Keep Popping?
Below are some possible reasons why your bike tire keeps popping:
Incorrect Tire Pressure
Your tires need to be inflated to just the right PSI before you go out on a ride. If they’re under-inflated, you’re at the risk of getting a pinch flat.
A pinch flat occurs when your tire tube gets pinched between the rim. As you ride, the road presses the tube against the rim, and with enough pressure, will pop it.
Overinflated tires are even more dangerous. Just like an overinflated balloon will burst, too much tire pressure could blow the tube out, knocking the rider off the bike.
This is more likely to happen when you don’t install your tire properly on the rim and if your tire takes hard impacts during rides like landing jumps, riding on rough terrain, or riding off curbs.
The recommended pressure for most road tires is 80-130 PSI (pounds per square inch). Mountain tires, 25 to 30 PSI, and 40 to 70 PSI for hybrid tires. To get your exact tire pressure, check your bike owner’s manual or ask a professional.
The more air pressure you put in your tire, the heavier it gets so if you want a light ride, you’d be better off with average tire pressure.
Worn Out Tires
If your tires are worn out from too many punctures, or they’re just plain old, that may be the reason your tires are popping. Worn-out tires offer less damage protection and although you can still use them after being repaired from a puncture, you have to know when to change them.
Look at the tread of your tire to start. The wearing down of treads is a good sign that it’s ready to be replaced. Also, check if there are any flat spots along the center of the tire, if the rubber is cracked, or if there are any cuts and holes.
Worn Out Rim Strip or Tape
Under your bike tube, there’s a tape lining the rim, preventing your spokes from passing through. Sometimes, that tape can have a hole in it causing your spoke to pass through the rim and pop the inner tube.
That tape usually has one hole, where the valve passes through. The valve hole can also be sharp enough that it pops your tube. If this is the problem, you can file the hole.
Lastly, you can check the joint between your bike valve and tube rubber. On most bikes, it’ll be okay, but some inner tubes can come off from the valve making the air in the tube escape.
If you bought a $5 tire from Walmart, there’s no way you should expect it to last very long. Cheap tires are made with low-quality materials so they may pop if you hit a road bump. Expensive tires pop too, just not as fast.
Also, pay attention to the type of tire you’re using. There are road tires, commuter tires, gravel tires, and mountain tires. These tires perform best on the terrain they were made for. If you’re riding a road tire in the mountains, it’s going to pop because it’s not strong enough.
Tires Exposed to UV Light
If you’re fond of leaving your bike outside, you may be damaging your tires. Increased exposure to ultraviolet rays can cause the air in them to expand and also break down the rubber over time. This increases the internal pressure in your tires and can make them pop.
How Do I Stop Bike Tires From Popping?
Here are some ways to prevent your bike tires from popping.
Get Sturdier Tires
If the reason your bike tire pops is that the tire is cheap, invest in quality tires fit for the terrain you’re riding on. If your terrain is rough, you’ll need a durable tire with thick sidewalls.
Although this comes at a cost of speed and weight, you’ll save money because your tire won’t pop as often.
Watch Your PSI
Proper tire pressure helps your tire roll quickly, making your bike ride smooth and making it easier to avoid flats or pops. Remember that the ideal psi for a road tire is 80-130, while mountain bike tires use 22-35.
To find your ideal tire pressure, use the average of these ranges then check your body weight. The more you weigh, the more pressure you need. But don’t go above or below the recommended tire pressure range on the sidewall.
Most times it’s not the tire that’s popping, it’s the tube inside. If your bike tires pop all the time, you should consider tubeless tires. Then you won’t need to replace any tube and there won’t be any pops.
If your tubeless tire gets punctured, the liquid sealant inside the tire would cover it up and you can continue to enjoy your bike. Tubeless tires also use a lower pressure so you don’t have to worry about your tire exploding.
Add Extra Protection
Adding extra protection like tire liners can prevent your tire from popping. A tire liner is a thin plastic strip you can install between your tire and the tube.
The liner provides an extra layer that prevents sharp objects from popping your tube. Liners are known to work well, but they add 6 oz. or more to your bike’s weight. It may not seem like much, but it significantly adds to your tire’s rolling resistance. If you live in areas with a lot of thorns and debris that can puncture your tire, the weight is worth it.
Replace Your Tires Regularly
Before your tires wear out completely, you should replace them to save you the trouble. But when should you replace your tires? Amazingly, good tires can last up to 2000-3000 miles, but when your tires start showing signs of wear, or if you’ve fixed punctures a few too many times, you should take the time to replace them.
What Should You Do When Your Bike Tire Pops?
If you can figure out the cause of the pop yourself through a physical inspection of your tire, go for it. If you can’t, head over to a bike shop and have a professional check it for you. After finding out the cause, you can then take corrective measures.
Can You Ride a Bike With a Popped Tire?
You should only ride a bike with a popped tire if you don’t have a choice. You risk doing damage to yourself and your bike when you ride with a flat tire. You can fall off the bike due to how unstable it’ll be, and you’ll also strain your muscles because you’ll have to ride with more effort. With under-inflated tires, your rim and other parts are exposed to the road so your bike can bend and break in various places.
Your bike tire can pop for several reasons: your tire may be overinflated or under-inflated, worn-out, cheap, or overexposed to UV light. After finding out the cause of the pop, take corrective measures and remember not to ride a bike with a popped tire.