Is your bike tires losing air too quickly? Find out why do bikes lose air and what you can do to prevent flat tires.
If you love riding your bike, you may have had to deal with a flat tire once in a while. Tires lose air for many reasons, and it is frustrating if it happens in the middle of the road. So, if you are wondering why your bike has flat tires or how you can stop rapid air loss, please read on.
Why Do Bike Tires Go Flat When Not in Use?
If you have a bike that is not much in use, you will notice that tires are becoming flat after a while. You might wonder why this is happening, especially if you are sure that no foreign object has pierced through the tires’ rubber.
Well, the simple answer is science. The rubber in bike tires consists of polymer strands. These polymer strands are long and elastic. There are tiny spaces in between the strands, which make the rubber porous. Due to this porous nature of rubber, gas constantly passes through.
Why Don’t Tires Lose Air Immediately?
Now you might ask why bike tires do not go flat immediately then. The reason is that these spaces are too small for the entire gas to pass through at once.
If you do not use the bike tires for a long while and do not maintain the tires, the wear and tear will increase. It will cause the spaces between the elastic polymer strands to widen, and more gas will pass out.
Tire Quality Matters
The loss in tire pressure also depends on the quality of the rubber. If the rubber is too thin, then the gas will escape quickly. If you invest in a bike with top-quality, thick rubber tires, the gas will stay for a long time, even if you do not ride the bike often.
However, thicker tires mean more weight. Most people prefer lightweight bikes and, therefore, choose tires of thin rubber. If your bike has such tires, it can become flat if left in the garage for a few weeks.
Apart from the scientific reason, tires also lose air due to manufacturing defects or any such issues. When you buy a bike, you will be expecting good quality tires that will last long. However, if there are any manufacturing defects, there is no way to prevent air loss.
Usually, the defects are in the form of a hole in the rubber or wide gaps between the strands. The tires may also become faulty after you buy the bike. If any sharp object like a nail or a piece of rock pierces through the rubber, it will cause air to pass through rapidly.
The tire will collapse, and you will have to replace it. A tire losing air pressure due to a foreign object stuck in it is hazardous, especially if you are on the road. Before taking your bike out, check the tires thoroughly for defects. If any of the tires lose air on the street, the risk of accidents will be high.
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How Long Should Air Stay in Bike Tires?
When you buy a new bike, the air in the tires is supposed to stay for at least a few weeks. However, this depends on the nature of the tires.
You will notice that you only need to pump air into the tires more than once a week in some bikes if you are planning a long trip.
Longer Rides Means More Air Loss
If you are riding for a long time, the tires may lose more air, so it is best to take precautions. However, the air does not stay in for more than a few days in other bikes, especially those with thin rubber tires. You may even have to pump air every day before going on a ride.
If your bike has run over 40 PSI, you can squeeze the tires to understand if they are becoming flat. Try to understand the pressure in the tires and pump air accordingly.
Keeping Your Bike In The Garage Can Also Cause It To Lose Air
If you do not ride every day, the air may escape as long as you keep the bike in the garage. In this case, you do not need to pump air into the tires every day. You can pump the air when you go on a ride.
Type of Tire
Besides the nature or condition of the bike tires, you must also check the type of tire to understand how long the air will stay in. If you have 700x25c bike tires, you will notice an average loss of 5 PSI over twenty-four hours.
To bring it back to 115 PSI, you will need to pump air three to four times. Do this before going on a ride so that the bike tires are in perfect condition. With 700x23c bike tires, you might notice almost 20 PSI loss over two days. Therefore, you must know what kind of tires your bike has and monitor the loss of air.
Once you understand how long the air stays in the tires and when you need to pump, you will get a better idea of how long you can ride. If you see that the air is escaping quicker than before, you should inspect the tires for signs of defect or wear and tear.
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What Should You Do When Bikes Lose Air?
When you notice that your bike is losing air, you must first understand the reason behind this loss. It will help you figure out what to do next. If your bike is losing air rapidly due to a defect or wear and tear, you can do the following things.
Invest in Proper Tire Maintenance
Tire maintenance is essential to prevent loss of air pressure. Make sure you park the bike at safe spots, and your garage is free of debris. Inspect the tires and the sidewalls to ensure they are in good condition. After a long ride or before one, check your tires thoroughly. If you notice a small piece of debris sticking to the tire, ask your mechanic to patch the tear or replace the tire.
Use Tire Liners or Tube Sealants
Plastic tire liners are available for various bike tires. These fit between the tire and the tube. They protect the tire against quick loss of air. While tire liners help stop loss of air pressure, they add an extra 6 pounds to the tire’s weight.
If your bike uses high-performance tires, then this added weight will add to the rolling resistance. However, if you ride on rough roads or roads lined with debris, you should consider using tire liners.
You can also use tube sealants for a quick fix. You will have to apply the tube sealant through the valve stem, and it will spread on the inside of the tube and seal the tear.
There are two types of tube sealants available: latex and slime. But sealants are temporary fixes and can plug small leaks. They cannot protect tires against air loss if the tears are too large.
Buy Puncture-Resistant Tires
You can buy special puncture-resistant tires for your bike. These tires have an aramid fiber band that prevents punctures. However, the tires will not let you have a smooth ride because of this extra band of aramid fibers.
You might also not be able to ride your bike at high speeds. But, since the chance of air loss due to any defect is remarkably low, puncture-resistant tires are worth the investment.
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That’s all about bike tires and air pressure. You can use this article as a guide and ensure your bike is in perfect working condition. Don’t forget to leave a comment below and share this with other cyclists.