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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just picked up my first mountainbike ('04 Giant Rainier) a couple of months ago and I got my first flat yesterday. At least I think it was a flat because it deflated after I got home. In the morning the other tire was also deflated. Both tires could have used a little air before I went out so maybe they just need to be pumped up. I went to my local bike shop and the guy sold me a couple tubes. Both by Giant, one the heavy duty version.

I get home and start working on it and I notice that the original tires (WTB Weirwolf Comp) have a different air valve. It's smaller and has this screw in thing. Is one type of tube more prefferable? Are the heavy duty tires worth the extra couple of bucks?
Should I return them for the kind with the screw valve thingy? How do I pump it back up?

I think I popped the tires on some uneven pavement or maybe they just lost too much air.
Do I need a special pump or tip to inflate them?

Pretty pathetic questions... Today would have been a nice day to ride.

Thanks,

-Gh
 

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uofabill
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Don't sweat it!

As the saying goes, " The only dumb questions are the ones that don't get asked."
As far as the different type of valve stems, the bigger one is a Schrader, the same as on cars and most other non-bike tires. The skinny one with the screw in lock on the valve core, is called Presta. As far as which on is preferrable I think it's pretty much just a matter of personal choice. Most downhillers and freeriders use the Schrader type. Regardless of which one you choose, out of convenience you probably should have two of the same kind.
There is one line of thought that the Presta uses a smaller hole in the rim thus making the rim stronger. On the contrary some people drill the holes in their rims out so they can use either in case they get out on the trail and have to borrow a tube. That is pretty much a matter of personal preferrence.
As far as the heavy duty tube goes, one of the best places to save weight and thus make pedalling easier is cutting down on the rotating mass; wheelset, tires, and tubes. What most cross country riders do is use a lighter weight tube with sealant, e.g. Slime, to seal small punctures. The light weight tube approach can be overdone for everyday riding though, (riding other than racing). Some light weight tubes are so thin that you will constantly be having flat problems . Pinch flats are caused by hitting a rock, ledge, step or just hitting the surface too hard and the tire compresses, pinching the tube against the rim cutting it in two spots on either side of the tube. It sounds like you didn't start out with enough tire pressure and that can lead to pinch flats.
What makes me doubt that you had two pinch flats is that your tires didn't go flat immediately. Usually when you pinch flat they go flat immediately.
So you probably picked up a thorn.
If you have tubes with sealant in them that will seal most small thorn punctures.
You need to get a tire pump, preferrable two, a mini pump or CO2 to carry with you and a floor pump. You're going to have to pump up tires regularly, it just goes with the territory so get a decent pump.
Start carrying a spare tube with you along with your pump or CO2 cartridges. It's much less of a hassle and quicker to replace a tube on the trail than it is to patch a tube. YOu can patch tubes at home.
The last thing I will say is that many riders are going to a tubeless set up, myself included. With this set up you will pretty much eliminate pinch flats and thorn flats as well if you use the Stan's system. You can read on these boards about the Stan's Notubes set up and educate yourself about that set up. It's not cheap, (I guess?) the whole set up including rim strips, sealant, and rim tape costs approximately $55 which is a lot more than a couple of tubes with sealant in them. I am having very good results with that system. You can make that choice at some point.
You need to get your tire situation figured out because constantly having flats will ruin your riding experience.
Good luck
Bill
 

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Grasshopper said:
I just picked up my first mountainbike ('04 Giant Rainier) a couple of months ago and I got my first flat yesterday. At least I think it was a flat because it deflated after I got home. In the morning the other tire was also deflated. Both tires could have used a little air before I went out so maybe they just need to be pumped up. I went to my local bike shop and the guy sold me a couple tubes. Both by Giant, one the heavy duty version.

I get home and start working on it and I notice that the original tires (WTB Weirwolf Comp) have a different air valve. It's smaller and has this screw in thing. Is one type of tube more prefferable? Are the heavy duty tires worth the extra couple of bucks?
Should I return them for the kind with the screw valve thingy? How do I pump it back up?

I think I popped the tires on some uneven pavement or maybe they just lost too much air.
Do I need a special pump or tip to inflate them?

Pretty pathetic questions... Today would have been a nice day to ride.

Thanks,

-Gh
Everything uofabill said was right on. Some other things.
No problem using the presta tubes. If your pump doesn't work with both, you can get an adapter for $3 so you can use a shrader pump on a presta tube. Almost all decent pumps will work with both though.

As far a light weight/heavy duty tubes, it really depends on the area you ride in, type of riding, and personal preference. People in areas with lots of thorns typically like heavy duty tubes or tubeless systems. You'll go through quite a bit till you find the ones you like. Tell us what kind of riding you do and you'll get some good advice.

Personally I like the ultra lite tubes from Performance Bike. Relatively lite but not too lite. Rarely get flats riding in rocky rooty terrain. Have used the lunar lites from Performance Bike. But they're so thin they get holes just looking at them.

Typically I always ride with new tubes, or ones which had only a tiny hole in them. If I get a flat I always use a spare tube, and wait till I get home to patch the one that flatted. I then use the patched ones as spares.
 

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carpe diem
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277 Posts
A couple more things

that may not have been covered by others:

If you have Presta stem tubes mounted on your rims originally, chances are the rims you have may not fit a Schrader stem tube. Check to see if the diameter of the hole in the rim is just big enough for the Presta stem or has room to spare for the Schrader stem. There may be a larger nut that's threaded onto the outer presta stem to keep it from getting pushed into the rim when the tube has no air. Unscrew it if you have one to check the hole diameter.

If the rim is for Presta stems only, you will need to return the tube you bought for a Presta tube.

If you can use a Schrader tube, you can use just about any pump to fill it. If you can only use Presta tubes, you will either need an adapter to Schrader fitting as others have mentioned or get a pump that fits Presta valves.

I would suggest you pick up the following items as your first bike tools:

Small Pump - the ones that mount on your bike or fit in you water pack. Comes in handy if your out in the middle of nowhere and get a flat. Nowadays many pumps are set up for both stems.

Patch Kit - Also handy just in case.

Extra tube - Also see above.

Tire Levers - You may not need these if you can take off and put on the tire by hand. If you can not do so, a set of these will be necessary.

Remember that on the Presta valve there is a very tiny nut that needs to be unscrewed before the valve can be depressed to let air in or out. After filling, tighten the nut back down, put the cap back on and go ride.

Good Luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for all the advice. This is by far one of the better forums I've been to.

I will probably pick up a bike pump and move to Schrader stem tubes if it will fit on the Sun Rhyno Lite rims. I ordered a patch kit and some stuff online yesterday.

I have a question about the Slime sealant. Can I fill the tires up with air and shoot some of that stuff into it to fix it? I don't mind replacing the tubes but if I can use the a while longer... What is the best way to check for thorns? I imagine you take the tire off and look inside.

I still have to get a tool kit and some other things I probably don't know about yet.
Any suggestions on a kit? So far it's been just the bike, shoes and a helmet. I've been advised to add a tool kit, spare tire, patch kit, pump, extra links, gloves and some padded shorts :) . Anything else?

Thanks again,

-Gh
 

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(enter witty phrase here)
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Grasshopper said:
I will probably pick up a bike pump
Make that a definitelyand not probably. Even if you're only riding a few miles, eventually you will get a flat right when you're farthest from home/your vehicle. Pushing your bike 2 miles sucks. Even a cheap pump will only cost you $12

and move to Schrader stem tubes if it will fit on the Sun Rhyno Lite rims.
If you have presta (the smaller valves) the schraders will not fit into your rims. But you can drill the hole bigger in your rim to accept both. Some will argue against that, but many (me included) have done it successfully with no problems.

I have a question about the Slime sealant. Can I fill the tires up with air and shoot some of that stuff into it to fix it? I don't mind replacing the tubes but if I can use the a while longer...
I'd imagine you could. Not real familiar with the slime stuff. I always fix my flats with patches. Re-use your tubes. No reason to throw them out just from a small thorn hole or pinch flat. I've had tubes with 5-6 patches on them.

What is the best way to check for thorns? I imagine you take the tire off and look inside.
Everytime you change your tube, run your hand around the inside of the tire and feel for anything sharp like a thorn or pebble. For tubes, fill your kitchen sink, inflate the tube, and submerse it in the water and look for air bubbles. After patching the tube, do it again and make sure the patch holds.

I still have to get a tool kit and some other things I probably don't know about yet.
Any suggestions on a kit? So far it's been just the bike, shoes and a helmet. I've been advised to add a tool kit, spare tire, patch kit, pump, extra links, gloves and some padded shorts :) . Anything else?
Check here, this was just covered pretty well (untill it got into wepons)
http://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.php?t=35499

Don't forget bandages. Carry a few bandaids or gauze. I carry a roll of gauze and some duct tape. Can make a bandage out of that, and use duct tape for other repairs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Ah, duct tape. Light and Dark and holds the universe together. Do they come in small rolls now? Medical kit on list now.

I will definitely be picking up a pump and maybe a standing one for the house. I have an air compressor that I usually use for stuff like that around the house.

Time to read the link.

Thanks,

-Gh
 

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uofabill
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Oh yeah, a few more things,

A couple of critical things that I thought about then had a 'senior moment" and forgot to include.
You mentioned one of them and that is thorn detection. That's one of the most important steps in flat repair. When you have a flat, you need to break the bead loose on both sides of the tire then remove one side of the tire from you rim exposing your tube. Remove the tube, then carefully run your fingers around the entire inside of your tire casing feeling for thorns. I say carefully cause you can hurt yourself on a big thorn. When you locate a thorn remove it, either with you fingers if possible, a pair of needle nose pliers or scrape it off with a knife blade. Make sure to check all the way around the tire including the sidewalls. If you don't do this you will ruin your new tube the minute you air it up.
As far as sealant to put in tubes goes there are several brands. Slime being the most common and IMHO the best aftermarket brand available. I have tried others with little success. Slime can be bought at many places including LBS (local bike shops), Walmart, auto parts stores, and some grocery stores. It comes in various size squeeze bottles and includes a hose to attach to the valve stem and the bottle and a valve core extracting device. Since you are new to all of this it is infinitely easier to put Slime through a Schrader valve than a Presta valve. Some Prestas have removeable valve cores and some don't. So sounds like you're going with Schrader and at this point that's a wise choice.
An alternative to installing sealant into your existing tubes are tubes with sealant already in them. Slime makes those in Schrader and Presta versions and Specialized makes their own brand called Air Locks and they work very well. Those kinds of tubes sell for between $7 and $10 each.
If you decide to go with a sealant that you have to install yourself, the instructions are included. But you asked about it. All the air has to be let out of the tire and the valve core removed to allow you to squirt the sealant into the tube. It's easy and as I said, all brands come with the attachments you'll need and instructions.
As far as a mini-pump I have had excellent experience with Blackburn Mammoth Mtn. They pump a high volume of air, have a handle that swivels making pumping easier, and they can be rebuilt.
For a mini-tool there are many variations out there and most of them will do the job. They range from minimalist versions that are very small and light to the Topeak McGiver that is a mutation of a Swiss army knife and has all kinds of tools and gadgets on it and of course it is pretty big and heavy. I used a Topeak 21 for a long time, it is small and had everything I needed and it was light. One of the newer models out there is made by Crank Bros and I have gone to that one. It has everything I need and is compact and pretty light for all that it has and it is easy on your hands when you have to really torque on a crank bolt or something.
You'll also need a set of tire levers particularly with Rhynolite rims. Those are great rims, I use them myself, but the spoke valley in them is shallow making tire mounting and removal difficult. Tire levers are cheap and light but you'll need some.
Good luck
Bill
 

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Grasshopper said:
Ah, duct tape. Light and Dark and holds the universe together. Do they come in small rolls now?
I wish. No what I did was take a thick piece of plastic (or an old credit card) and wrap a few feet of duct tape onto that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
You guys are really great about this stuff. If other forums were half as good, some of my projects would already be finished. Anyone want to recommend what 10" sub/amp combo would work well in my truck? :p

All the advice has and/or will come in handy. I was hoping to install new speakers in my truck and do some riding this weekend. Instead I'll be doing a little more shopping... and preping the bike and hopefully even some riding. When I get a chance I'll post my shopping list and see what you guys think of my choices.

-Gh
 

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Tire School

Wow, after reading all the above posts, I had all my tire questions answered! Thanks! :D
 

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tlg said:
I wish. No what I did was take a thick piece of plastic (or an old credit card) and wrap a few feet of duct tape onto that.
I do something similar ...I used to (before acquiring a multi-tool) wrap a few feet of ducttape 'round the handle of my adjustable wrench.....I now have several feet wrapped 'round a "cut down" empty cheapie disposable Bic ballpoint pen housing - you could also use a short piece of dowel, pencil, whatever....never leave home without it (duct tape...gotta love it)
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks for the help, it's all fixed now. 2 punctures in the front tube and 1 in the back. 3 big ugly thorns. Both tubes were patched and seem to be holding air. I picked up most of the stuff yesterday and the bike is good to go. I still have to get/find some slime.

I picked up the following:
-Zefal Elegante Floor Pump
-Inn Ultraflate + / Carts
-Topeak Alien 2
-Saddle pack
-Tubes

The floor pump and Alien have both worked out nicely. I'll have to see about hte Ultraflate.

-Gh
 
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