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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I had the pleasure of riding the Rainbow Rim trail in AZ on the north rim of the Grand Canyon last week. It is a great trail which winds in and out to 5 viewpoints along the rim. Excellent views! The trail is not very technical, mostly smooth with no climbs longer than 1/2 mile maybe with sweeping turns. The scenery between the points is also good with pines, aspens and wildlife everywhere. I saw 3 deer and panicked grouse who kept running up the trail instead of off of it for about 30 yards as I slowed to give it space.

My plan was to ride the whole trail, both directions after camping in Jacob Lake the night before. I got a late start and didn't arrive at the Locust point until 11:00. I hopped on my steel hardtail and headed west for the first half of the trail. This leg has the longest climbs near the west trailhead. When I started back, I noticed my back rim was bent and had a broken spoke. This was the 3rd broken spoke in the 4 yrs I've had this bike. I need a new wheelset! I limped back to my truck at Locust by releasing the rear brake on climbs and putting them back on for descents.

It was now about 2:00 p.m. and after eating some lunch, I decided to ride the eastern half towards Timp point and then camp at Locust which has a great site right on the rim. I also brought my full suspension Rocky Element on this trip on which I had ridden all over Gooseberry Mesa the day before with no problems. So I retired the steel hardtail and rode my Rocky on the second half. This end of the trail is faster with even less climbing. After about 2 miles, I noticed my rear tire was going flat. No problem! I'm a big guy and get about 2 pinch flats a year. I pulled out a spare tube and continued on my way enjoying this great trail. About 3 miles later, I heard a loud hissing sound. Finding no snakes nearby I turned my attention to my rear tire. Pinch flat #2! It was getting late and I wanted to get back to Locust for the sunset so I decided to head back and do the rest of the trail in the morning. I pulled out spare tube #2 (I carry 2 on remote rides and lots of CO2's) and started back to Locust. About 2 1/2 miles from Locust, I heard an even louder hiss of escaping air that was actually blowing dust off the trail! No more spares so I patched the tube with the smallest hole and finally made it back! I sat on a tree stump right on the rim and patched up my tubes and spent the evening watching the summer solstice sunset at the north rim! To top it all off, the next morining, I drove to North Timp to complete the trail. It was an easy ride but I got another pinch flat! Despite the aggravation, it was a great ride!

I'd like to get your theories as to why so many pinch flats so here's some info. New Sun Mach4 rim with 4 problem free rides prior to this including 25 miles at Gooseberry; Giant tubes just purchased for this trip from the LBS inflated to 48 lbs psi; I'm 6' 1" 215 lbs so pinch flats are not unusual but honest to God, I only get 1 or 2 a year. All of the flats on the rim were on the back tire. The trail is conducive to high speed cruising but has unseen, imbedded rocks in several places. I checked the inside of the rim and found no protruding spokes and the rim strip was in place. The rim remained true through the entire trip.

My guesses are either defective tubes or just a test of my patience by SATAN! The tube theory falls apart because these were the same tubes that got me through Gooseberry so as the Church Lady would put it; "Could it be.......SATAN????" Not even Satan could mess up this ride though. I had a great time in a beautiful place and now I have used up my quota of pinch flats for the next 4 years!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I forgot to mention the tires. WTB Velociraptors which I have been using for at least 4 yrs. I love 'em and the dear, departed Supergo always had them on sale so I stockpiled them. I still have 2 new fronts and rears. This tire is a new one that I put on about a month ago when I got the new rims. It doesn't show any defects which might cause pinchers. It is hard to put on the new rims however but I always checked to make sure the tire was seated properly.
It was a great trip. I did Bearclaw Poppy in St. George as well even though it was 108. I soaked my headwrap in the ice chest water and did fine.
 

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Brass Nipples!
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The Ponderosa pine cones have thorn like protrusions on them and have given me my share of flats on that trail. Make sure you don't have any of those thorns embedded in your tire.

Typically you hear ka-crunch ka-crunch all day as your tires run over the cones scattered over the trail. The Rainbow Rim is a fun ride with neat scenery as you come to each viewpoint. If I can find the ambition tomorrow, I'll try to post some pics.

Glad you survived the Bearclaw Poppy trail in our recent heat wave. The locals ride early or head to the mountains in the summer.
 

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Tear it all out!
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LOL! Sounds like our ride there at the begining of May.

Between my wife and I we had 8 flats (1 torn sidewall) and the rest from Locust thorns.
After using our 2 spare tubes, we ended up using up almost all of a new patch kit.
Next time we head down to the desert, I'm chaing to Slime tubes.

Are you sure you were pinch flatting rather than flats due to locust thorns?

 

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Those locust thorns are wicked and look to be a creation from hell indeed. However, riding in the desert you must have thorn resistant, heavy thick tubes for the trails. I would recommend riding on these tires, I assume your talking about Giant the name brand on the tubes?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I did hit some cones but there were no thorns in the tire. Also the front tire never got a flat despite hitting many cones as well. I just had to do Bearclaw Poppy this time. I was in St. George in April and couldn't ride it due to rain and mud. The ice water soaked head wrap stayed cool almost the whole climb up the pavement which turned out to be pretty easy. There was one local on the trail. He dropped his daughter off at the resort for a tennis lesson. That kid is dedicated! We rode together for about 1/2 the trail when he had to turn back to pick her up. Thanks for posting the Rainbow pics. The views are great!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Wow! Those thorns are wicked! I didn't see any of those. I'm positive mine were pinch flats. They all went flat quickly (I could hear 2 of them) and the holes were on the inside of the tube. Sounds like we all got pretty good at fixing flats on that trail.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I live and do most of my riding in the SoCal high desert and have never used or had the need to use thorn resistant tubes. I guess our thorns aren't that tough out here! Giant was the name on the box and while checking the tubes out yesterday I noticed they have Kenda stamped on the tube.
I don't think thorns were the cause. The holes (large ones compared to thorn holes) were on the inside of the tubes and all went flat quickly. I also didn't get any flats on my hardtail which I rode on the Locust to Paraswimps section. I just got a bent rim and broken spoke on that part! I definately think the prince of darkness tried to mess up my mojo on that ride but he failed! I still had a great ride!
 

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Tear it all out!
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Other than the torn side wall (rock slice), we got all of our flats between Locust Pt. & North Timp Pt., probably in the last kilometer or two before N. Timp.



We did the ride really early in the season, before the highway was open so there was a lot of pine cone and tree debris on the trail.

If the holes in the tube are on the inside of the rim, check to see if the spokes are projecting from the top of the nipples, and the condition of your rim tape.
 
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