Cycling can be a lot of fun. The experience can be quickly ruined when you keep having bike problems that you must stop to fix. It could be a slipping chain, loose handlebars, or even a saddle that keeps slipping.
One of the most common issues cyclists encounter is when their bike tires keep popping. This not only means you get through inner tubes a lot quicker, but if you go at high speeds, it can be dangerous and cause you to lose control.
It’s surprising how many problems can cause your tire to pop. In this article, we will be telling you tire popping causes and how to fix them.
What Is A Tire Pop?
Although it might sound pretty obvious, understanding what a tire pop is can help you identify problems. A tire pop is when the inner tube inside is either getting a hole in it and puncturing or the tire is over pressurizing and exploding.
So really, it comes down to two things. Either the pressure or something is piercing the inner tube. Now we know this, we can start to understand what the causes are going to be.
Causes And Solutions
Now for the fun bit… Let’s speak about possible causes and solutions to tire popping. Here are our top causes!
Too Much Tire Pressure
The first cause you will find is having too much pressure in your tires. This is where you have exceeded the maximum pressure for either the tire or the inner tube, and it has caused the tire to pop.
The easiest way to fix this is to drop some pressure from the valve on the inner tube. If you are unsure of what pressure to put in, check the side of the tire for the minimum and maximum and go somewhere in between.
Too Little Tire Pressure (Pinch Flat)
Just like having too much tire pressure, you can also have too little tire pressure, and this can also cause the tire to pop. This is where the tire takes a knock; it decompresses too much, pinches the inner tube, and pops it.
To avoid a pinch flat, you must ensure enough air in the tire. We recommend taking the minimum and maximum off the tire, starting in between, and fine-tuning it as you get used to riding the tires properly.
Rim Tape Not Working
Another problem many cyclists find is that their tire keeps popping purely due to the rim tape not being on correctly or broken.
This exposes the spoke holes, and the sharp corners pop the inner tube under pressure. This can be difficult to diagnose and also incredibly annoying.
The easy fix for this is just to replace the rim tape. We highly recommend going for some tape that not only offers a good amount of thickness but is nice and wide and grips the rim super tight. Cheap rim tape doesn’t last very long. It’s wise to invest a little more if you can.
Cracked Or Damaged Rim
Another very common problem many cyclists find when their tires keep popping is a cracked or damaged rim. The cracks in a rim can leave sharp edges, which can cause punctures easily. It is actually very common to happen at the valve hole.
If you have a cracked rim, then it either needs replacing, or it might be worth getting a new wheel. As soon as a crack occurs, the strength of the wheels has been compromised, and there’s not a very easy fix, unfortunately.
A damaged or compromised tire is probably the most common cause of a tire popping. This could be a large split in the side that is exposing the inner tube, or it could be a small piece of flint or thorn that has become stuck in the tire.
If you have a large slit or damaged tire, it will need replacing. If you have a compromised tire, the best thing you can do is remove whatever is causing the issue inside the tire.
It can be quite challenging to find sometimes.
Dirt Between The Tire And Tube
It’s so common that when we get a puncture, we throw the tire on the floor while repairing the tube and then pop it back on the rim with dirt inside. This can cause tires to pop and go unseen for a very long time unless you know to check the inside of the tire.
The best way to solve this is to remove the tire, clean the inside and get rid of any dirt, then put it back on again. To prevent it from happening in the future, ensure to keep the inside of the tire as clean as possible when working on the bike.
Changing a tire isn’t always simple. Sometimes they can be an absolute pain to get on and off, and it’s very easy to nip the tire in the process.
If a tire hasn’t been installed correctly, it can cause the inner tube to pop, and if you keep making the same error, it will happen again and again.
We highly recommend when installing a new inner tube, pump it up so it has some shape before inserting it into the tire, which should be half on the rim. Rolling the tire left to right before pumping it up also helps ensure that the innertube doesn’t pinch and is seated correctly.
Terrible Riding Conditions
Another very big factor that can cause tire popping is poor road conditions. If you ride off-road on some really rough, sharp terrain, you can expect a lot of punctures.
To avoid punctures when riding off the road, the best thing you can do is get your tire pressure right and use good tires. Sometimes it comes down to just good and bad luck. You might find yourself getting a lot of punctures and, other times, very few.
A Final Thought
Having a tire pop is not an ideal experience and can be annoying when cycling. If it’s happening regularly, we highly recommend looking into why it’s happening and how you will be able to stop it.
Robbie Ferri has spent years working in a bike shop, has worked with industry leading brands on product creation, has been a semi pro athlete, and is a fully qualified strength and conditioning coach. He has broken World Records, bikepacked all over the World and raced ultra distance at a top-level.