One wheel of my bike got several burst inner tubes in a row. After trying a few things and taking the bike to the shop, my current theory is that the wheel tape wore out leaving a circular hole which the inner tube bulged through, leading to an explosive burst when weight was applied.

One of the things I tried before reaching this conclusion was replacing the tyre. I think there were at least two bursts after this, and the tyre soon developed a small tear which makes it unusable. Is it fair to request a refund for the tyre, or should I think of this kind of bursting as a challenge a normal tyre shouldn't be expected to survive?

Edit 1

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Edit 2

I should probably add that for now the punctures have stopped. The rim tape was changed and a new tyre fitted, and there have been no punctures since.

  • Clarify: is a burst a puncture from an external sharp object? You can often tell what caused a hole in the tube by where it is, and what the shape/size of the hole is. Photos help a lot.
    – Criggie
    Commented Feb 16 at 19:59
  • @Criggie I've added a photo of the tyre. I didn't take a photo of any of the inner tubes, but if memory serves the ones I inspected burst along the seam. The rim tape -> bulge -> burst theory came from the bike tech I showed it to; he saw a burst first hand while replacing the inner tube.
    – mjc
    Commented Feb 16 at 22:22
  • okay thanks - how wide is the tyre? How wide is the inner-valley of your rim? What air pressure do you aim for when inflating ?
    – Criggie
    Commented Feb 17 at 1:50
  • 1
    @Criggie Tyres are 700x28c. I don't know the inner rim width. I usually inflate by feel, but I think I'm more likely to have been underinflating than overinflating. The wheels are the same ones the bike came with, and the tyre width is the same as that of the original tyres, so I don't think a size mis-match should be causing a sudden cluster of inner tube bursts.
    – mjc
    Commented Feb 17 at 2:42

2 Answers 2


From your post it is not clear what is the actual damage. Perhaps a picture would help? Are inner tubes bursting on the inside due to damaged rim tape? If so then the tire should normally not be impacted.

Replace the rim tape. I would strongly recommend using tubeless rim tape even though you are using inner tubes.

Give tire a visual inspection for damage, if bead looks uniform and undamaged and tire is not deformed, put it all together and inflate to recommended pressure. Give it another visual inspection once inflated. If there are no noticeable bulges or cuts on the tire, it should be good to ride.

Damaged tire is inconsistent with your theory of inner tube bursting on the inside (rim tape side).

  • Could also be that several punctures were unrelated ?
    – Criggie
    Commented Feb 16 at 20:00
  • Art Gernter, see my comment under the OP. Could you say more about why you think a bursting inner tube (powerful enough to make a loudish pop/bang each time) shouldn't damage a tyre like the one in the image I've added to the OP? If it's right that that shouldn't happen then that answers my question and I'll request a refund.
    – mjc
    Commented Feb 16 at 22:26
  • 1
    @Criggie The last three or so happened within minutes of fitting and inflating the inner tube, and/or riding the bike for the first time after this. To my thinking the timing supports a single cause.
    – mjc
    Commented Feb 16 at 22:34

Bursting tubes is a tire (most common) or a rim problem, not a tube problem. Tube keeps the air in, tire and rim contain the pressure. Bursting is a pressure containment problem/. The photo clearly shows the tire has failed close to the bead.

Possibilities are over inflation (Rims and tires have inflation limits), or, given you replaced the tire and had the same problem, you got astronomically unlucky and had two failures of the same mode.

How did you inflate the tire - did you use a gauge and a bicycle pump. If you used a pump for car tires (especially running off a compressor at a service station or mechanics workshop) there is a real possibility you exceeded the tire and/rim pressure rating.

If you used correct inflation, check the rim, from the photo it could be a sharp edge damaging the tire, pay particular attention to the location tire has failed. Look for sharp edges, and also check for signs of a crack. It is possible the rim has failed around the bead seating area.

  • 1
    I always inflate with a bicycle pump, with a gauge, which I don't always watch closely; I think I'm more likely to underinflate than to overinflate. I had the first set of tyres for a couple of years, without ever (that I recall) having an explosive burst, and I don't think I started inflating to a significantly higher pressure than previously. Also, one of the bursts occurred when a technician at a bike workshop, who I think is competent, replaced and inflated the inner tube. He also inspected the rim and didn't mention any sharp edges. Do you think it's fair to request a refund for the tyre?
    – mjc
    Commented Feb 17 at 5:16
  • Based on that info (especially eliminating the rim as the problem), I now suspect underinflation - it can cause the failure that tire is showing. Usually takes a while for the rim to chaf through the tire but combined with rough roads (or MTBing) and or heavy riding (heavy loads or hitting obstacles hard) it can happen. Suggest replacing the tire and inflate to the correct pressure. Talk to your LBS about the best tire (A heavier duty one might be needed) and recommendations for tire inflation.
    – mattnz
    Commented Feb 17 at 23:39
  • The new tyre lasted only a couple of weeks iirc, riding not harder than usual on roads that are mostly fairly smooth (and anyway are the same ones I was riding on previously). If rim chafing from underinflation tore the tyre that quickly, I think I would call that a bad tyre.
    – mjc
    Commented Feb 18 at 23:32

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