Is there a danger if the tyre or the inner tube suddenly burst?

  • 2
    What is behind your question, or said differently what is your specific worry? What event do you expect to burst the tire? – Ross Dec 6 at 22:01
  • If you have a dodgy-looking cracked/crumbling old tyre, there's a good chance the tube is old too. Tubes are consumables, tubes are cheap, its always wise to replace if you have any doubts or concerns. – Criggie Dec 6 at 22:35

The main danger can be an immediate loss of control.

Depending on when/where is happen, that loss of control can be minimal if going at slow speed to kill you if it happens going downhill at high speed.

  • Not to mention losing control while cycling on the shoulder of the road, which could be deadly. – user40474 Dec 7 at 8:12

Indoors it's not good for your hearing. I once misread the pressure ratings and exploded two tubes in a row.

At high speed it could cause you to crash, especially if it happens on the front wheel.

This is why it's always good to inspect the tyre for bulges if you feel a thump-thump-thump.

  • It is easy to underestimate the concussive effect of a blowout. Moreso if you're using a service station pump which can dump volumes of high pressure air in before the sensor can react, and you're generally a lot closer to the wheel when it lets go. – Criggie Dec 6 at 22:33
  • @criggle particularly if you're kneeling next to the tyre to get to the Schrader valve. I think I was about 9 or 10 years old... – mpez0 Dec 7 at 14:38
  • @mpez0 - I think we were all about 9 or 10 years old... – FreeMan Dec 7 at 14:58
  • I was in college, and the guy upstairs came down to yell at me for waking him up. – Jeffrey Bell Dec 7 at 20:54

If a tyre or its tube bursts while cornering there's a strong chance of it losing grip. Losing grip on the front while cornering is quite likely to result in a crash, less so on the back, but if it's because the tyre is suddenly flat you may not be able to recover.

On the straight it's less likely to be serious. I've had a front blowout on the straight and I wasn't close to coming off. But I was going slowly to stop under the next light and investigate the dodgy noise (which turned to to have been the tube bulging through a slit in the sidewall and rubbing on the fork). A rear blowout on the straight is probably the most common, and the safest form of blowout. I've seen a few happen and they've never resulted in a crash.

  • I'm puzzled at the several blowouts you seem to have experienced: I've only had a single blowout once, and it was due to a severely mistreated tire. (Luckily it exploded while the bike was parked, and I was nowhere near to be seen.) As long as you don't mistreat your tires, you should never get a blowout... – cmaster Dec 7 at 10:48
  • @cmaster I've only had one myself, and that was from massive overinflation (stuck gauge). Everything else is stuff I've witnessed. – Chris H Dec 7 at 10:55
  • Ah, then we are on the same page :-) So, bottom line: Never overinflate, never ride underinflated, replace tires that are too old, and you'll never see a blowout. – cmaster Dec 7 at 12:21
  • @cmaster that's right. I did come close to another when I took a chunk out of a sidewall, big enough for the tube to stick out, but quickly spotting it, booting it and reducing the pressure got me home. So you can still be unlucky. – Chris H Dec 7 at 12:24
  • 1
    I don't think it's legitimate to assume that there's a strategy that will result in you never having a blowout. There are certainly steps you can take to reduce the chance, and I'm sure there are people who have never had a blowout, but given the variables it's certainly not something we have complete control over. – dwizum Dec 7 at 13:56

Last time this happened around me I was wrenching on a bike and someone in the front of the shop blew out a tube. It was so loud the tool I was holding slipped off and made a nice scratch in the frame.

So yeah, it’s dangerous.

  • You have a point here. Want to try expanding the answer? Perhaps search out if there's a risk of burst eardrums by being too close? – Criggie Dec 9 at 10:47

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