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flatting on downhills?(9 posts)

flatting on downhills?The Weasel
Sep 3, 2003 1:23 PM
OK - here's a thing that scares the bejesus out of me: getting a flat while speeding downhill. Hasn't happened yet (knock on wood). Who's experienced it, what happens, and what should you do to come to a controlled stop? Or am I making too much of this? Thanks.
it is usually rearcyclopathic
Sep 3, 2003 1:30 PM
first you see what you ride over, and second it is usually pinch flat. Still imposes handling problems when tire goes soft. Gradually slow down and don't do anything stupid.


PS. in case if your front tire blows off the rim at 50mph+ you will never find out what happend, so relax 8-P
That's why my personal land speed record is 50.1, one timecory
Sep 3, 2003 2:20 PM
There's a hill I ride occasionally where I'm sure I could hit 60, but the one time I got to 48, I gave it a couple of hard cranks to pass 50, so I could say I'd done it, and never went that fast again.
I've actually had a rear blowout at 35+, and while it was scary, control wasn't a huge problem. I was near the bottom of the hill, and just wobbled to a stop. On the same road--old Donner Pass, for Sierra riders--I had a pretty rapid letdown, but not a blowout, in the front. I got a half-dozen or so revolutions to slow down from around 20, and by the time control went away, I was slow enough to put a foot down. The thought of that happening at high speed keeps me cautious, though.
Keep the bike verticlespookyload
Sep 3, 2003 3:34 PM
Meaning don't let any kind of lean happen. If you are in a turn, you need to straighten it out before you are riding on the rim. Your flat tire will stay on the rim if you stay upright and protect the rim somewhat. If you are flying down a hill, you will likely take a Joseba Beloki pose like someone else said.
My big kersplatjtolleson
Sep 3, 2003 6:27 PM
happened exactly that way. Front tire blowout coming down Squaw Pass. Now I'm up, now I'm down. The tire went soft so fast that the bars just jerked sideways. Five years and four surgeries later, I'm all better 'cept that fused left ankle.

I know my experience was rare, but not unheard of. In hindsight, I think my tire was dangerously worn which may have been a factor... otherwise it is just one of those things. The benefit to stiff-legging it into the ground on the way down is that I really didn't significantly hit my head, and for that I am forever grateful. As I skittered down the pavement others said that it was the longest f-u-u-u-u-u-u-u-u-u-... ever uttered. It was a club ride with many witnesses. I was in front. 'Tis now organizational folklore.

Go figure. On a positive note, I irreparably pretzled the god-forsaken 1995 Cannondale R900, which rattled my fillings for three seasons.
I've blown front 2x at 40+DMoore
Sep 3, 2003 11:58 PM
The first was on Monitor Pass on the Death Ride a few years ago - the yellow plastic rim strip on my Helium had cracked and allowed the tube to get pinched. I managed to keep it upright by carefully using back brake to slow down. I stopped just before a sharp turn, with a huge dropoff on the outside of the turn. Scared the daylights out of me.

Second was just a couple of months ago, coming down SR-38 (the back way) from Big Bear. Whatever I hit actually sliced the front tire, and I had an explosive blowout. Road was straight, and again managed to get it stopped. Almost lost it at about 15 mph when I got a huge wobble, but somehow rode it out.

I've no idea what I did to survive those, other than not panicking. You have to look and see which tire is flat, then very gently slow with the other brake. I got as much weight as possible off the bad wheel, and just hung on.

I'd gotten my heart rate up to about 170 on the climbs, and thought that was near my max. Then I saw what a blowout could do to my heart rate!
ever since the Tour...kgg
Sep 4, 2003 5:47 AM
I have visions of Beloki when I'm taking high speed sweeping downhill turns (a couple in particular).

I don't hit 50 on these turns - maybe just a little above 30 actually. Still...
re: flatting on downhills?tarwheel
Sep 4, 2003 6:35 AM
My front tire blew out on a gradual straight downhill going about 20-25 mph. I had no problems with control whatsoever and gradually slowed down and pulled off the road. The flat was from a rock that cut the sidewall and ruined a tire with less than 100 miles on it, and the air went out very quickly.

I was recently riding with a guy who had a flat on a downhill curve going about 30-35 mph. I can't remember if it was in the front or back. He was able to keep the bike upright and avoid wrecking, but was squirreling all over the place. Fortunately there was not a car coming from the other direction because he was forced into the opposing lane to maintain control.

I start getting nervous on downhills when my speed tops 40 mph. I always make sure I have a good tire in the front. When the rear tire wears out, I rotate the front tire to the back and put the new tire in front.
excellent advice (and stories), thanks guys!The Weasel
Sep 4, 2003 11:02 AM
I typically peak out at 36 or 37 which isn't that bad compared to what you guys are doing, so that gives me more confidence. Thanks again.