It can be pretty frustrating when you get on your bike to ride it and your bike tire pops. It happens to everyone who cycles at least once in their cycling journey. It makes you wonder, what causes bike tires to pop? Do they pop out of nowhere?
The most common cause of bike tires popping is an overheated wheel rim, either caused by too much braking or poor maintenance. However, that is not the only cause; bike tires can pop due to many other factors. It is important to note that bike tires popping is different from a flat tire, as they are sudden and explode instead of slowly going out like a flat tire.
Knowing what causes bike tires to pop is something every cyclist should know, so we will list all the reasons that can cause your bike tires to pop. What are the bases, and how can you prevent your bike tire from popping? We will cover all of this and the dangers a bike tire popping can cause.
Related: Can A Bike Pump Inflate A Car Tire?
- What Causes Bike Tires To Pop?
- How to Prevent Your Bike Tire from Popping?
- Final Words
What Causes Bike Tires To Pop?
Bike tire popping occurs when the internal tube of a bicycle tire deflates. This is because the inner tube has been punctured or torn. This usually occurs when riding into a pothole, rock, or shattered glass, when your wheel tires may be too old and used, or when you are using the wrong pressure in your tires.
This could be very dangerous as the bike could abruptly come to a halt, and the rider could fall, leading to minor or major accidents. So, it is important to know why this could happen and avoid them.
1. Wrong Tire Pressure
The tire pressure, measured by pounds per square inch (PSI), must be in the correct quantity according to the tire’s needs. Although the sidewall has a minimum and a maximum limit of pressure engraved on it, it doesn’t mean you should inflate it with any psi between that.
This is because other factors such as the tube type, rider weight, and weather and road conditions play a huge role in deciding the pressure you should be inflating the tire. If you put too much pressure, the tire could overinflate, and if you put too little, it could be under-inflated.
If the tire is overinflated, it can lead to dangerous explosions. Although these dangerous ones only happen in wider tires, they can also deflate slowly in narrower tires.
When the tire is under-inflated, it risks the tire to get a pinch flat. A pinch flat is when the tire gets pinched between two hard surfaces—the wheel well and the pavement. It causes the tire to rupture and has two small holes in it.
2. Overused and Old Tires
Old and overused tires are typically the main culprit if your bike tires keep popping despite all other maintenance. When the rubber starts wearing out, any form of external pressure, even if it is very light, can cause the tire to pop.
There will be less protection from heat, road hazards, etc., as the material of the tire is worn out and old.
3. Road Hazards
Although most lanes are clear of any harmful and sharp objects such as glass, debris, pins, etc., cyclists are more likely to get their tires punctured or popped from these road hazards.
That is because cyclists pedal more on the side of the road, where these objects are more likely to be found. If the object is sharp enough, it could lead to dangerous tire explosions. It may take a while for this to happen, but through time if the tire keeps getting used, the sharp object stuck on it will either make it pop or a tire flat.
4. Cheap Tires
It might be financially suitable for you to buy cheap tires, but it won’t be cost-effective. Cheaper tires tend to be weaker, and their rubber cannot properly protect them from any damage.
Cheaper tires are more vulnerable to heat, road hazards, or any other externally inflicted damage; hence, they can pop much faster than other tires. It is better to buy better-quality tires, as they can prove to be cost-effective and durable.
5. Fault in Tire Rims
Cyclists often overlook inspecting their tire rims and only focus on the tubes, which is a mistake on their part. When the rim is damaged, it often goes unnoticed, but a sharp edge can pinch and pop your tire tube. This can keep happening to any newly replaced tire tube because the sharp edge will stay there.
If the tubed tire is not placed flat around the wheel in the right way and instead is clustered up or not covering the spoke holes on the rim surface, it could cause the tube to get pinched, and as a result of it, the bike tires could pop.
6. Dried-out Tubes or Tires
Everything expires, including tires or tire tubes. If you have stored your new tires for a long time, it does not matter whether they are unused; they are still likely to dry out and rot due to the trick of time.
Factors such as moisture, light, lack of ventilation, or heat can make the stored tires expire faster. This makes their material become weaker and become more prone to react to damage, which eventually leads to the tire popping.
7. Wrong Tires
You are more likely to get a tire puncture if you use the wrong tire for your bike and the routes you usually take while cycling. Tires are made for different types of ground surfaces. This means that if the tire is narrower and lightweight, it is meant to be used on smooth surfaces only. On the other hand, if the tire is wider, it can be used on rough and rugged surfaces.
If you use a narrower tire in your bike for commuting on areas with rugged roads, it can lead to critical damage to the tire, causing it to pop. It is important to know and install the tires that are the best fit for your journey.
8. Pinched Tube
Many beginner cyclists have tried to fill and install tire tubes for the first time, which may have ended badly. The cause for this is that when the tube is not mounted onto the wheel properly, it causes a pinched tube.
If the tube is not covering the wheel properly from the start to the end, it can cause the tube to have a pinched hole, making it lose the air, and it may result in the tire popping if the bike is ridden without changing that pinched tire tube.
The following video shows us what could go wrong if we do not install bike tubes properly.
9. Bike Tires Pop from Heat
Overheating is the most common cause of tires popping. It may be due to the extremely high temperature or friction between the tires and the ground. For the latter, the friction during over-braking is what causes that heat.
Overbraking, especially when you are riding downhill for a long time with v-brakes, can cause the rims of your tires to heat up. When you constantly drag on the brakes, the rim and the tube’s interior start getting heated; this causes the tire to blow out.
The heat from the extreme temperature can cause a tire to blow out, especially if it is left unattended under the sun. When the tire gets overheated from the hot temperature, the air pressure inside it expands, causing the psi to increase and go over the limit of the maximum pressure that the tire can endure.
Even if there is less pressure or the psi doesn’t meet the criteria, the material of the tire can still get worn out and melt from the high temperature, resulting in a tire blow-out if ridden without precautions. Bike tires popping from heat have proven to be very dangerous as they are sudden and can cause serious accidents.
Can A Bike Tire Pop On Its Own?
A tire exploding on its own as the rider walks away from it is not an unknown incident, and you may wonder why it popped on its own. We often assume that there must be some sharp subject that cuts through it without us noticing, but that is not the only reason.
The unattended tire can also pop from all of these factors: the excessive psi, high temperature, or wrongly adjusted tube, occurring together. This can cause the bike tire to pop randomly, alerting us. It is important that we do proper maintenance of our bike tires to prevent this from happening.
Is It Normal For Bike Tires To Crack?
Bike tires have rubber material that can be prone to cracking due to the different and extreme conditions under which they can be used. Weather conditions such as hot and dry air can cause a crack in the tires.
Bike tires also come in contact with bumpy and heated roads all the time. We will discuss how they actually cause the bike tires to crack.
UV Degradation Of Tires
Bike tires are made of rubber. This rubber is prone to cracking if it is exposed to the sun’s UV rays in a prolonged state. This rubber cracking under UV rays is typically known as UV degradation.
Storing the bike under the sun’s UV rays is not the only way this can occur, as riding your bike in hot weather can also cause cracks, only if you have been riding for a long time.
Low Air Pressure
We talked about how high air pressure can cause the bike tires to pop, so it is important to know that less air pressure can cause the bike tires to crack. This is because the PSI does not support the tire structure well, which can cause stress in the tire as it is being ridden, causing it to crack.
Defective Tire Material
Some tires may be defective by default because of poor production by their manufacturers. When the rubber material is made from different compounds, it may disintegrate if it is not produced efficiently enough. So, be vigilant before buying your bike tires.
How to Prevent Your Bike Tire from Popping?
Since we now know what exactly causes bike tires to crack, we can take some measures to ensure that this does not happen. The best way of preventing that is regular maintenance of your tires. You can take note of the following tips to carry out this maintenance:
- Make sure that you pump the correct pressure into your tires. You must not only inflate the tire under the PSI limits of the tire but also don’t get anywhere near those limits.
- You should regularly inspect your tire rims and tubes in case of any sharp object or sharp edge that could make the tire pop.
- Safety always comes first – so make sure that you replace your tires on time when they are getting worn out, as we do not want any accidents.
- Try to invest in tire liners. These go between the rubber wheel and the tube to keep anything sharp from getting into the tube.
- Store your bike in a cool place away from the sun and heat.
- Buy wider tires with good rubber material that protects the tire from external damage. Also, ensure that you have the correct tube that fits these tires.
- Use better-quality tires, as cheap tires are more likely to pop easily.
We can conclude that bike tires can easily pop if there isn’t regular maintenance to ensure these tires are in their optimal condition. Bike tires popping can be very dangerous as they can cause sudden accidents, so it is important to know what actually causes this and how to prevent it. Hence, you can use the help of our article in case you ever encounter this problem!
I always had a thing for cycling sports and love almost anything that involves bikes and boards. I work part-time as a designer in the tech industry and work on my blogs whenever I can.