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  1. #1
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    tube ripping when removing pump from stem

    The last two Saturday mornings, I have ripped the tube wher eit meets the stem when trying to remove a bike pump from the stem. Its never happened before in 15 years, but twice in a row is getting annoying.

    After it happened last week, I was very careful in removing it this morning, but it happened again. I know I should count that as "user error." But, the head clamped onto the stem pretty tight and it wouldn't come off easily. I made sure I pulled straight up on it.

    Is there a different type of pump I should use, or are there different tubes I should consider?

    BTW - the two tubes (one front, one back) were the original ones that came on the bike last year. Those stems had nuts. But those nuts would not fit the stems on the replacement tubes. Should I try to find nuts, or not worry about them? And why would the stems be slightly different sizes?

    Thanks for any help.

  2. #2
    Man, I'm Awesome
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    Yes, you need the nuts. They keep the tube from ripping and the valve from shoving into the tire.
    "I like to ride my bicycle." - Lance Armstrong -

  3. #3
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    Thanks Brian - do the nuts normally come with the tubes? None were in the box or on stem. And the ones on the torn tubes don't fit the new stems.

  4. #4
    Not a rocket surgeon.
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    No, you dont need the nuts. They dont do anything but rattle around. They may help you get the pump head on when the tire is completely flat but thats it. You can easilly work around that. If anything they damage the tube if you over tighten them and pull the stem through the hole.

    Now for your problem. If the pump head dosent let go of the tube that is probably your issue. Maybe try moistining it with a little spit. That may help. Mostly you just need to be cautious. The nut wont help.
    Isnotimpressedbystoreboughtplasticbikes

  5. #5
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    Thanks for the spit idea. Never tried that.

    Is there a type of head that works better than others? Mine is a Giant Control Tower 3 pump, with a simple head:
    Control Tower 3 Floor Pump (Inflation) - Service Gear | Giant Bicycles | United States

    I would be glad to pay more if there is a better option.

  6. #6
    Not a rocket surgeon.
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    I use a Lezyne floor pump. I love the screw on chuck. Some people dont like them. Others do. I also have a old Park that works well too. I have never tried the "one size fits all" head like the giant linked to above.
    Isnotimpressedbystoreboughtplasticbikes

  7. #7
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    I don't know if this helps, but I pull the nozzle off the stem between index and middle finger with equal pressure. Before I started doing this I was pulling it off and fought me everytime.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by tihsepa View Post
    I use a Lezyne floor pump. I love the screw on chuck. Some people dont like them. Others do. I also have a old Park that works well too. I have never tried the "one size fits all" head like the giant linked to above.
    Thanks - I've been looking at those today. I like the idea of screwing the head onto the valve. I was thinking about their Classic, and it mentions an ABS Flip-Thread Chuck and an included Speed Chuck. Is the ABS Flip-Thread the one that screws in, and do they add an extra speed chuck? Thanks again.

  9. #9
    Not a rocket surgeon.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Moonnerd View Post
    Thanks - I've been looking at those today. I like the idea of screwing the head onto the valve. I was thinking about their Classic, and it mentions an ABS Flip-Thread Chuck and an included Speed Chuck. Is the ABS Flip-Thread the one that screws in, and do they add an extra speed chuck? Thanks again.
    Yah, you flip the chuck over for either presta or schrader. The speed chuck just pushes onto a presta. It works well.
    Isnotimpressedbystoreboughtplasticbikes

  10. #10
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    I just picked up a Alloy Floor Drive yesterday. The screw-on chuck is really nice. I can't figure out how to keep the speed chuck in place however. I probably won't use it much but it will be nice to know how to use all the accessories included.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by brianmcg View Post
    Yes, you need the nuts. They keep the tube from ripping and the valve from shoving into the tire.
    Nonsense. Unless you put the nuts INSIDE the rim they won't do anything to keep you from ripping the valve stem out of the tube. And if you do that you will likely have other problems.

    For the OP: you may be having a problem with the grommet in the pump head. A shot of silicone lube will probably make it work but it might be that the rubber is damaged and causing too much grip on the valve stem.

  12. #12
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    Thanks Kerry - You're probably right. Its suspicious that its never happened before, and then the last two times I pump up a tire it rips the tube. I'm about to order the Lezyne, but will try the silicone until it arrives.

    Thanks again for all the help

  13. #13
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    I put a dap of grease on my pumps connector which I think helps.

    Plus... I do keep the little washer part on the stem. And I use a tiny box wrench.

    I don't try to hold the washer/stem in place with my fingers when pulling the pump off. I slip a small box wrench over the stem when filling the tires. The valve goes through the small wrenches hole... but the washer part can't. So I can easily hold the valve in place... nether pulling the stem.. or pushing in on the tube (because of the washer).

    If you find you pump stuck to your valve... instead of yanking on it and damaging your stem where it attaches to the tube try this. Grab a small open-end wrench and slip it between the pump/connector and the stem washer. Then hold the washer down and pull firmly against that pressure.

  14. #14
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    I recommend smooth stemed tubes. They're easier on the pump head
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  15. #15
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    You said you pull straight up when removing the pump head. I don't recommend this. Instead of pulling the pump head off try this. Rotate the wheel with the pump head on it so that the stem is near the top. Wrap your fingers around the tire & rim & push the pump head off with your thumbs. You'll be surprised at how easy it is. I think it's also easier on both the pump head & the stem.
    Before you criticize someone walk a mile in their shoes. That way when you criticize them you'll be a mile away & you'll have their shoes.

  16. #16
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    pushing the head off with both thumbs is the answer. I have noticed that some tubes are weak where the stem attaches to the tubes. I would suggest that the OP try some new tubes. One thing that strikes me is that the OP states that the nuts did not come with the tubes, and the old ones did not fit. I have to admit that I have never seen a presta tube without both the nut and cap. I have never seen a non standard size nut either.

  17. #17
    wim
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    Not sure if you do this, but people often push the chuck onto the valve as far as it will go. There's no need to do that—if the chuck stays on (even just barely) and there's an air seal, you can pump up your tire just fine.

    I sometimes use two fingers of one hand to lightly hold the chuck to the valve (at 12 o'clock, as suggested above) and pump with the other hand. When I'm done pumping and let go with those two fingers, the chuck almost always blows itself off the valve. No pulling, prying, wiggling needed, even with a threaded valve.

  18. #18
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    Good advice given, two other things to consider:

    If you bought the tubes at the same time, they might have come from a batch with an issue. I've had that happen where a couple tubes will fail at the stem, but the next one (bought later) held. Given "never" then "twice in a row", that might be a factor here.

    Another possibility, your tape is off near the hole in the rim, and you are getting some metal/rubber contact, weakening the stem/tube connection. Check for burrs, make sure the hole is well covered.
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  19. #19
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    Thanks for all the great advice. I will try your suggestions about how to clamp and unclamp the head. Soon I will be getting a Lezyne pump.

    Herbie mentioned the nuts. The old tubes (both of which came with the bike last year) had the nuts. The new tubes (which I bought a few weeks ago as spares) had a cap but no nut. The nut that came on the original tubes would not catch the threads on the new stems, as if the new stems were too wide. I've never seen that before. Thanks again guys - this has been a very helpful discussion about a very frustrating topic.

  20. #20
    Velocipediologist
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    You had defective tubes. It happens. I buy (10) tubes at a time and occasionally I will run into defective tubes. It doesn't happen often.

    I also place the nut "inside" the rim and have never had any issues in doing so.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by velodog View Post
    I recommend smooth stemmed tubes. They're easier on the pump head
    +1

    I know one cyclist who will use -only- smooth-stemmed tubes because of concern over stem damage during pump chuck removal. And yes, they're easier on the chuck grommet.

    Tubes made by Specialized, which I use for other reasons, have something for everyone--threaded at the base to accommodate the stem nut and smooth at the top to accommodate the pump chuck.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sam Brasel View Post
    +1

    I know one cyclist who will use -only- smooth-stemmed tubes because of concern over stem damage during pump chuck removal. And yes, they're easier on the chuck grommet.
    That was probably me. I have a couple of tubes with threaded valves lying around, but the only reason I have them is because I needed something right away & that's all they had. I can't remember using Specialized tubes. I tend to favor Michelins or Giant, both with smooth stems.
    Before you criticize someone walk a mile in their shoes. That way when you criticize them you'll be a mile away & you'll have their shoes.

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