Bicycles Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for people who build and repair bicycles, people who train cycling, or commute on bicycles. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

At the start of my ride yesterday I was passing through town slowly and crossed a section of cobble stones (just a line running across the tarmac). I managed to hit the one cobble sticking out of the ground. I lost a lot of tire pressure (I normally ride 23mm tires with 90-95 psi, it dropped to around 20 psi) and thought I had gotten a pinch flat so turned back home to change tube. When I got home I tested the existing tube (in the bath tub) for holes and found nothing, I've put it back in the wheel now and reinflated, got through a 50 km ride yesterday evening and still inflated this morning...

Any ideas what happened? Is this a common (or at least not entirely unheard of) occurrence for others. The valve was closed and it's not the first time its happened to me either.

Here's the offending piece of cobblework, it's nothing extreme...

enter image description here

share|improve this question
Maybe the valve got depressed and let the air out? Hence no puncture, but loss of air? – AliGibbs Jul 16 '14 at 12:37
@AliGibbs The valve was securely closed so I don't think that could be the case – rg255 Jul 16 '14 at 13:37
If it was not the valve then what else could it be? Either the tube failed and recovered or valve failed and recovered. – Paparazzi Jul 16 '14 at 14:43
@Blam This is why I'm asking, can a well closed valve let a big portion of air out? - I'm no expert on the intricacies of how a presta valve works – rg255 Jul 16 '14 at 15:01
Has that tube been previously patched? A similar thing happened to me and I realized a patch had failed. It wouldn't leak at low pressures - but at 120psi it would drain down to around 40-50 in about an hour. – Kevin Jul 16 '14 at 15:20

Three possibilities that I see

  1. You did not suddenly lose air you just did not notice until you got to the cobble stone
  2. The rubber tube failed and recovered
  3. The valve failed and recovered

No so sure you had a sudden loss of air. If the tire when from 90 psi to 20 psi in a short period of most likely you would have heard that.

Since the valved is the only mechanical device I going with valve failed and recovered. Either random or by force of the cobble stone the valve unseated and before it lost all air it re-seated.

I am definitely ruling out rubber tube failed and recovered.

If this has happened to you before on that tube then I would replace the valve or tube and valve. If this has happened to you on more than one tube/valve then wow - it has never happened to me.

I agree with the comment a patch could fail and then recover at a lower pressure but if you were able to air it back up and hold I would rule that out. My mountain bike was down to 20 psi once and tube only at low pressure could not find a leak but with tire on at 50 psi it did leak (at a patch).

See picture below. The little gasket may have deformed or it has a little slit that is held together with compression. Another possibility is the the valve itself (not the knob) is not screwed all the way in. Where you see the flat spot on the the threads screw that in with pliers. I had a set of tubes that by unscrewing the pump some times the valve would unscrew so I would use a dab of thread lock. I think that is actually a picture of a presta valve that the core does not remove - so screwing that in would do no good. Presta Cut Away

share|improve this answer
I think a combination of 1 and 3 is the most likely scenario. As this is the beginning of a ride and due to the volume of air released I'm inclined to think the valve had been leaking prior to the ride and was only noticed at the cobbles. – DWGKNZ Jul 16 '14 at 19:55

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.