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  1. #1
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    The phantom flat

    Today on the ride, I experienced a phantom flat. All of a sudden the rear tire felt squishy. I was so certain I didn’t even bother checking it. I was close to home, so I got out of the saddle... shifting as much weight forward as possible... dreading every bump as I babied the bike home.

    Then I get home, check the tire, and it’s just fine and holding the same 90lbs it had when I started.

    Anybody else had a phantom flat?


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  2. #2
    'brifter' is a lame word.
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    Not after hopping the rear end a time or two...or actually looking down at the tire. Hard to believe you wouldn't even stop and stick your thumb into the tire to see.
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  3. #3
    A wheelist
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    Yep I had a "phantom flat" yesterday. It was sooo hot and humid and all of a sudden I'm dragging my arse and I was sure I had a flat. Quick look down.......nope, both tires seem normal. Have a drink; back off the gas just a bit; recover on the next slight downhill. Repeat until I got home.
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  4. #4
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    The phantom flat

    Quote Originally Posted by cxwrench View Post
    Not after hopping the rear end a time or two...or actually looking down at the tire. Hard to believe you wouldn't even stop and stick your thumb into the tire to see.
    I would have if I wasn’t so close to home and so sure it was going flat. I figured I was playing “beat the clock” before the air went out entirely.


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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Opus51569 View Post
    Today on the ride, I experienced a phantom flat. All of a sudden the rear tire felt squishy. I was so certain I didn’t even bother checking it. I was close to home, so I got out of the saddle... shifting as much weight forward as possible... dreading every bump as I babied the bike home.

    Then I get home, check the tire, and it’s just fine and holding the same 90lbs it had when I started.

    Anybody else had a phantom flat?
    On a group ride going up a very slight grade with a light head wind, a riding buddy announced FLAT! We stop and check but his tire is fine. His legs, not so much.

  6. #6
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    Too much Jell-O?

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kerry Irons View Post
    On a group ride going up a very slight grade with a light head wind, a riding buddy announced FLAT! We stop and check but his tire is fine. His legs, not so much.
    That must have been what it was for me. Strange how the mind can play tricks on you like that.

    Quote Originally Posted by J.R. View Post
    Too much Jell-O?
    Nah. "There's always room for Jell-O"...
    The Law of Headwinds states: If the ride out is easy... wait.

  8. #8
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    That resolves why the 8 year old on a BMX bike passed me with ease. And/or I didn't realize they had run-flats for the bicycle. ;)

  9. #9
    Frog Whisperer
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    Actually, really hot asphalt can get soft enough to make it feel like a flat with a narrow tire
    Of course I'm sure...that doesn't mean I'm right.....

    "There's no sense being stupid unless you show it."

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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Touch0Gray View Post
    Actually, really hot asphalt can get soft enough to make it feel like a flat with a narrow tire
    I think I may have found the problem. It happened again today on the ride. When I got home, I pulled the tire and discovered the center has worn in a few spots nearly down to the threads. It wasn't noticeable until I cleaned off a bit of road grime. I'm guessing the thinned tire was deflecting and feeling squishy but still held air.
    The Law of Headwinds states: If the ride out is easy... wait.

  11. #11
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    the phantom fart is worse.
    Yossarian: don't worry. nothing's going to happen to you that won't happen to the rest of us.

  12. #12
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    The phantom flat

    Quote Originally Posted by blackfrancois View Post
    the phantom fart is worse.
    I would have preferred the fart. Today’s ride just s#it the bed entirely.

    I swapped out the tire yesterday and put in a new tube. On today’s ride, I flatted completely 10 miles in. So, I swapped out that tube with the spare, went to pump it up, and it leaked from the valve stem and wouldn’t hold air. I had to call the sag wagon... and let me tell you, she was not pleased...


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    Last edited by Opus51569; 08-14-2018 at 11:54 AM.
    The Law of Headwinds states: If the ride out is easy... wait.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Opus51569 View Post
    I think I may have found the problem. It happened again today on the ride. When I got home, I pulled the tire and discovered the center has worn in a few spots nearly down to the threads. It wasn't noticeable until I cleaned off a bit of road grime. I'm guessing the thinned tire was deflecting and feeling squishy but still held air.
    Nope, it was not "the thinned tire." The stiffness of the casing combined with the pressure in the tire is what determines how stiff a tire feels, not the thickness of the tread. Thinner tread means a faster tire (less energy loss from flexing the thicker rubber of new tread).

  14. #14
    'brifter' is a lame word.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Opus51569 View Post
    I think I may have found the problem. It happened again today on the ride. When I got home, I pulled the tire and discovered the center has worn in a few spots nearly down to the threads. It wasn't noticeable until I cleaned off a bit of road grime. I'm guessing the thinned tire was deflecting and feeling squishy but still held air.
    Nope. That had nothing to do w/ it. Your tire at whatever pressure you use will always feel like it has that much pressure in it no matter how thin the tread is.
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kerry Irons View Post
    Nope, it was not "the thinned tire." The stiffness of the casing combined with the pressure in the tire is what determines how stiff a tire feels, not the thickness of the tread. Thinner tread means a faster tire (less energy loss from flexing the thicker rubber of new tread).
    Quote Originally Posted by cxwrench View Post
    Nope. That had nothing to do w/ it. Your tire at whatever pressure you use will always feel like it has that much pressure in it no matter how thin the tread is.
    So rubber+casing at 100psi will be no less pliable than (and feel exactly the same as) just casing at 100psi because it's the air you're really riding on more than the material?
    Last edited by Opus51569; 08-15-2018 at 06:38 PM.
    The Law of Headwinds states: If the ride out is easy... wait.

  16. #16
    'brifter' is a lame word.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Opus51569 View Post
    So rubber+casing at 100psi will be no less pliable than (and feel exactly the same as) just casing at 100psi because it's the air you're really riding on more than the material?
    Not 'exactly' the same but close enough that you'd not likely think you had a flat. Some people might notice a slight loss of ride quality...kinda like a really worn car tire...noisier, harsher ride. Definitely not softer. Think about it...the tread material is very soft, the casing has upwards of 100psi. No way the tread is stiff enough to overcome that kind of pressure.
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  17. #17
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    "All of a sudden the rear tire felt squishy."
    "the center has worn in a few spots nearly down to the threads."

    I think tires that have worn a lot of rubber off feel a little smoother. About the same as 10 less PSI or latex vs butyl feels.

    But regardless of what someone can or can not feel comparing a worn tire to a newer one, you did not wear out your tire "all of a sudden".

  18. #18
    'brifter' is a lame word.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jay Strongbow View Post
    "All of a sudden the rear tire felt squishy."
    "the center has worn in a few spots nearly down to the threads."

    I think tires that have worn a lot of rubber off feel a little smoother. About the same as 10 less PSI or latex vs butyl feels.

    But regardless of what someone can or can not feel comparing a worn tire to a newer one, you did not wear out your tire "all of a sudden".
    It can't work like this. The tube/tire still have the same pressure. If there is less soft rubber tread because it's worn the tire can only feel firmer not softer. If the pressure hasn't gone down the tire can't feel softer. This is similar to people thinking they can feel the difference in ride quality between wheels. The tire masks any difference in wheels just the like the tread may slightly soften the feel of a tire...but less tread=less softening of the 'feel' of how much pressure is in the tire.
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by cxwrench View Post
    It can't work like this. The tube/tire still have the same pressure. If there is less soft rubber tread because it's worn the tire can only feel firmer not softer. If the pressure hasn't gone down the tire can't feel softer. This is similar to people thinking they can feel the difference in ride quality between wheels. The tire masks any difference in wheels just the like the tread may slightly soften the feel of a tire...but less tread=less softening of the 'feel' of how much pressure is in the tire.
    This contradicts what I have noticed. I have found that a road tire feels the most harsh when new and seems to "soften up" with some wear.

    That being said, a worn tire is nowhere near the feeling of a flat. A rear flat is unmistakeable. Any power to the pedals will result in a very squirmy feel, not a soft feel.
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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by blackfrancois View Post
    the phantom fart is worse.
    Not as bad as the one with a lump in the middle.
    "With bicycles in particular, you need to separate between what's merely true and what's important."-- DCGriz, RBR.

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  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lombard View Post
    This contradicts what I have noticed. I have found that a road tire feels the most harsh when new and seems to "soften up" with some wear.

    That being said, a worn tire is nowhere near the feeling of a flat. A rear flat is unmistakeable. Any power to the pedals will result in a very squirmy feel, not a soft feel.
    I've explained how this doesn't happen, can explain why it does other than 'it feels like it does'?
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  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by cxwrench View Post
    I've explained how this doesn't happen, can explain why it does other than 'it feels like it does'?
    I can't explain any logic in what I've felt. Only my own observations.
    "With bicycles in particular, you need to separate between what's merely true and what's important."-- DCGriz, RBR.

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  23. #23
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    A seam with a lip in the road with can cause the "sudden squishy" feel.

    I have noticed it a couple of times when riding over concrete roads that have had a stretch of unevenness ground level. If there is a slight lip at the edge of the length of ground surface and my tire catches that edge it will steer the tire to follow the line of the edge, feeling very similar to a tire with too low of pressure.

    I'm not speaking of ground down to be repaved but just some unevenness ground off the top to level the driving surface. I haven't seen this on asphalt roads, just concrete.
    Too old to ride plastic

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