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I noticed recently that my rear tire seems to be tearing on the right side. The bead is firmly attached inside the wheel but the wall/fabric are tearing away. The bike and tire are only 3 years old. I’m wondering if one of the following might be causing this:

  • I ride most weekdays with a rear pannier on the left carrying 5–10 pounds of weight. On rarer occasions I’ll carry more weight.

  • A month or so ago, I had a flat caused by a sharp sliver of unknown material poking through the rear tire. I removed the intruder and patched the tube. (It’s possible the tube is slightly bulged due to the patch, although I’m not sure the location corresponds exactly with this tear.)

Would anything else reasonably cause such a tear? It looks as though the tube is causing the tire to bulge out a bit where it’s torn, but I wouldn’t say that I normally have the tubes overinflated — if anything, probably underinflated.

photo of tire

  • It happens and typically does not fail – paparazzo Oct 14 '17 at 21:19
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    The tube has nothing to do with it. A guess riding under inflated (when you had the flat), the sidewall has been damaged. It may last a day, it may last 10 years, personally I would replace the tire. – mattnz Oct 15 '17 at 2:49
  • What pressure do you normally run that tyre at? And about how much to you weigh ? – Criggie Oct 15 '17 at 8:45
  • A single case of overinflation after fixing a puncture caused similar damage followed by a blowout after about a mile for me (the pressure gauge on my pump was stuck). So it doesn't have to be habitual. – Chris H Oct 15 '17 at 17:44
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    But that's another point for folks to consider. On rim brakes (the OP's is disk) a misaligned brake pad can rub on the tire and cause damage similar to what is pictured. – Daniel R Hicks Oct 16 '17 at 11:28
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Underinflation is bad for tyres. Your pannier won't have caused this, other than adding more weight to an underinflated tyre.

Its likely that riding underinflated, combined with stresses of changing the tube last month, have damaged the tyre. Possibly a tyre lever used wrong may have contribited too.

You should replace this tyre, and inspect the front tyre for similar damage.


I see a moderately knobbly tyre - if you're riding roads then consider more of a neutral commuter tyre tread for easier riding.

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To me it looks like the tyre damage happened in one incident, maybe when you removed it to patch the tube. You could test that by marking the damaged area with paint or anything thin and colourful. If the tyre is being slowly damaged you should see some rubbing or cracking of the paint.

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