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I've just had my 3rd front wheel puncture in about 4 weeks (doing around 80 miles per week). Since the first puncture, the tube and rim tape has been completely replaced, but these seem to have not solved the problem.

I'm riding a road bike which is about 8 years old (but has only probably seen a years worth of proper weekly usage) on a mostly road based route through London, with a 5ish mile stretch on a canal towpath. Thanks!

Puncture was on the inner surface of the tube (ie facing the rim.)

  • Punctures come in waves - has it been wet lately? Punctures seem more common when the road is wet. Replacing the rim tape is not necessary unless your punctures are on the "inner-facing" surface of the tube. Did you find a cause for each puncture? Could be the same cause keeps resurfacing. – Criggie Aug 7 '17 at 10:36
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    It's rained once on my rides if memory serves, but generally dry. The puncture was on the inner surface I think in both cases (I was on my way to work so I dropped it at the cycle shop instead of dealing with it myself). I'm starting to think it is a recurring issue - I don't know if there could be a burr or something on the rim? – Lex Sandeford Aug 7 '17 at 10:46
  • Run your fingers slowly around the rim to feel for any rough spots, they could be removed with gentle filing. Depending on the rim tape you could cover it with electrical tape to stop it moving and provide better protection. – KeithWM Aug 7 '17 at 13:54
  • Did you find what caused the 1st puncture and are you sure whatever it was has been removed from the tyre? – Jackson Aug 7 '17 at 17:40
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    Mark the rim so you know if the spot repeats. – paparazzo Aug 7 '17 at 21:04
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So it turned out that my tires were really old and rubbish, and had a few bits of gravel, glass etc embedded in them which were puncturing the new tubes every time I changed them. I bought some new tires (puncture resistant ones) and I haven't had an issue since. Thanks for all your advice everyone!

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Ensure the rimtape is properly centered in the rim. If you have double-walled rims, the edges of the holes through which the nipples are accessed can cut a pressurised tube, or if the tube is pushed into the hole by the pressure, it may overexpand within the hole and rupture.

Check the rim's joint, opposite the valve hole. Most rims (all cheap rims) have pinned joints rather than being welded into a proper hoop. Over time, the joint may have pulled apart enough for the edges to cut the tube.

Assuming the rimtape is in good condition and properly installed, the next suspect would be pinching when installing the tyre: the tube should be inflated enough to hold its shape and prevent it from being trapped between the tyre bead and the rim. When fitting, most tyre+rimtape+rim combinations shouldn't require leverage to get the last section of bead over the rim wall. If the tyre is at the lower range of bead diameter tolerance and the rim well is particularly shallow (especially for double-wall rims) or you have a particularly thick rimtape, this may be difficult. At the point when the bead feels so tight you can't push it over, start working the tire from the opposite point on the rim, pulling the bead towards the middle of the rim and in towards the hub. Move your hands away from each other, keeping tension on the sidewall so the tyre doesn't pop up again. When your hands reach the tight spot, you should hopefully have relieved enough tension to push the last section of bead over the wall, or at least make some progress.

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