Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Four Years Between Flats...

Well, actually a month shy of four years. The other day, I had the opportunity to fix a flat on my mtb (the fully suspended Felt - I am sure there has been a photo of it here at one point or another). In doing so I came to the realization that I have never changed a flat of the front wheel on it. The back wheel, sure, plenty of times. Not that this is unusual; on mountain bikes, even more so than road bikes, your weight tends to be heavily on the rear wheel, so you don't get flats of the front as often. 

If only you could gauge heft through a photo

Now, four years is quite a while, plenty of time to forget about a flat here or there. What makes me confident about this run of unusual good fortune is what I saw when performing the fix; I was not prepared for what I pulled from that front tire - it was not your normal tube. It was some sort of freakish monster tube, the likes of which I have never before encountered. Its thickness easily equaled two or three normal tubes. Honestly, this thing weighed as much as either the tire or, yes, even the wheel. This is something I most definitely would have remembered if I had seen it before. When deflated of air, it did not hang limply from my fingers, but maintained a perfectly round shape. When I checked the inside of the tire, searching for the cause of the flat, I found and pulled, eleven thorns, or fragments of thorns. All of these protruded far enough to have caused a normal tube to go flat; only one of them was responsible for my flat. Anyway, regardless of the weight I would have saved by changing to a lighter tube, I patched up the old one and put it, and the tire, back on the wheel. I figure it has saved me nearly four years worth of flat tire aggravation - I will deal with a little extra weight, and after all, I was oblivious to it before. Don't know who made the tube, but it came from Taiwan, and is a standard 26x1.25 mountain bike size. I just hope this thing never does go flat out on the trail; I don't think I could fold it enough to fit into my camelbak, so would need to patch it on the trail.

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