Herniated bicycle tire

Should I boot this or pitch it and buy new?


The sidewall rubbed through because I was lazy about brake pad positioning.


  • Andy
    February 21, 2011 - 3:16 pm | Permalink

    The bike is totalled. You’ll have to spend at least $2000 on a new one.

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  • February 21, 2011 - 4:08 pm | Permalink

    I agree. His wife should be understanding of the traumatic issue!. Weep. Sniff.

  • February 21, 2011 - 4:15 pm | Permalink

    That looks just about like the tire I had some twenty-five years ago, up at Lick Observatory, eighty-miles from home and miles from any bike shop. I knocked on a few doors at the houses near the telescope, and somehow, improbably, one of the residents had a spare tire that fit my rim. When I got home, I think I sent him some money despite his protest, and it has always been a nice memory of the kindness of strangers.

  • Curtis
    February 21, 2011 - 4:43 pm | Permalink

    Man, I wouldn’t ride it with a boot. Just take it as a lesson learned and buy a new one. saving a few bucks isn’t as import as being safe.

  • Archergal
    February 21, 2011 - 4:46 pm | Permalink


    ::runs out to double check the brake pads I installed yesterday::

  • Ian
    February 21, 2011 - 5:05 pm | Permalink

    If it was just a small cut, boot it. But its been damaged for some length by the brakes, toss it.

  • February 21, 2011 - 5:17 pm | Permalink

    ha ha! You guys… ๐Ÿ™‚

  • February 21, 2011 - 5:18 pm | Permalink

    This one blew out about a quarter mile from home (before I noticed the hole in the tire, obviously), so I consider myself very lucky!

  • religion.of.one
    February 21, 2011 - 5:43 pm | Permalink

    Yeah, misaligned brake pads (and fenders) can really tear through the side wall of most tires. If you cut up an old tube and apply using rubber cement (or a similarly strong adhesive that binds with rubber) 2-3 layers inside and 1 layer outside the tire, making sure that the patches exceed the size of the hole by at least the diameter of the hole in every direction, the tire should hold. Obviously, check the size of the bulge before riding (at your own risk). I’ve ridden on tires patched this way for months and never had a problem.

  • Andy
    February 21, 2011 - 7:09 pm | Permalink

    I see boots as a temporary fix to get me home. Since every ride I do starts with a 2 mile decent at 30mph, it’s no question – I have to replace it because a failure at 30mph with traffic behind me is not worth the risk.

    If this is just a putsy path bike, maybe a boot is okay, but I wouldn’t let it go forever. I keep a few spare tires around just in case I need something to hold me over while I try to find a good new one.

  • February 21, 2011 - 7:31 pm | Permalink

    Oh wow, interesting. Look, i certainly don’t “know”, but even though it failed in one place there’s probably damage all the way around; that might be where the slightest imbalance in the wheel made it rub more, but the potential for failure now exists all the way around. I’m a big chicken because i’m new to riding and my home-from-work commute includes a banging 28mph downhill – i’d get a whole new tire to sooth my nerves.

  • February 21, 2011 - 8:07 pm | Permalink

    Good point about boots as temporary fix. I’ve actually already cut the tire up so I won’t be tempted to try using it.

    This tire was on the fendered fixed gear rain bike which is normally also the slow bike, but when the tire blew I was going downhill at about 25 MPH. I applied brake to stop at a red light a *BLAM*. Rear tire so not as much risk of losing control as a front tire, but still…

  • February 21, 2011 - 8:12 pm | Permalink

    Kymba = you’re right. The brake rubbed all the way around but happened to fail first at that one spot.

  • Anonymous
    February 21, 2011 - 8:28 pm | Permalink

    Last time I let a herniated tire go, it failed after 1500 miles and that’s also how I got this iPhone!

  • David
    February 22, 2011 - 7:53 pm | Permalink

    This tire absolutely needs to be replaced. High-pressure + thin sidewall (with tear!) = inevitable failure. A boot to get home is fine, though. The best boot material, I have found, is a small strip of Velox rim tape. There’s usually a little bit left on the roll after taping a rim. Fiberglass-reinforced cotton, sticky on one side, and you’re using something that usually ends up in the garbage. Ask your local bike shop to save you a scrap, and keep it with your spare tube.

  • Andy
    February 22, 2011 - 8:02 pm | Permalink

    I don’t tend to have rim tape on hand, so my boot material is some scrap pieces of Tyvek. You can get it free from FedEx / UPS drop boxes (they have envelopes you can cut up). It’s plastic, with fibers, that’s impossible to tear. I know dollar bills and clif bar wrappers are popular, but paper money can tear and wrappers can stretch – Tyvek won’t do either.

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