tire sidewall separation

It’s not a pretty sight, is it? I know. I had it happen to a winter knobby tire a couple of years ago. I knowingly over-inflated it by about 10 psi and while out riding the tire opened up a whole lot … the cords quite literally separated. I wish I would have taken a picture of the tire as it would have made a very good illustration as to why you should not over-inflate a tire. I have not been able to find any pictures online that look anything at all like the tire that I had which failed.

 I am sure that just how much concern there should be and resulting damage that could happen is dependent upon the brand of tire. What I am saying is that there is a difference in the quality of tires in their construction. The tire I over-inflated and suffered extreme damage was an off brand Chinese made tire. The regular tires I run, Schwalbe Marathon Plus, I am pretty sure I could over-inflate by more than 10 psi and nothing would happen to them. They are very well made and could take it I think.

Speaking of Schwalbe tires HERE is their webpage about tire wear and premature failure.

tire overinflation damage 2

Anyway, it makes no sense to pay out good money for tires and then destroy them by not following the manufacturer’s instructions on tire inflation. The tire I destroyed was still like new as far as tread wear. I learned my lesson. I don’t care to lose any other tires before their time. Even if you don’t experience the tire self destructing, over-inflating a tire makes it more prone to being damaged by running over objects such as stones, holes in the pavement … most anything which produces sudden shock to the tire. Over-inflation will also likely effect tire wear. Usually the wear will be uneven.

Inflating a bicycle tire with a hand pump the air goes in slowly. Inflating it with an air compressor is another story. Since a bicycle tire is a relatively small area it will pump up fast with an air compressor and can easily be over-inflated quickly if attention is not paid during the process.  Over-inflating a tire can also result in the tire coming off of the rim. It may not happen immediately but rather it is most likely to happen while you are out riding. This, of course, means that you will have a pretty serious mechanical breakdown that you may not be able to handle unless you are mechanically inclined, knowledgeable and equipped to deal with it.

Over-inflating a tire will result in a harsher ride … something most of us would prefer to avoid. Some people run their tires low on pressure so that they will have a softer ride. Under-inflation is not good for a tire either. Tires should be inflated somewhere within the range shown on the sidewall of the tire. Over-inflation will decrease rolling resistance while under-inflation will result in higher rolling resistance. Even inflating the tire anywhere within the proper range will have this same result. A tire which has a range of 70 to 100 psi will have less rolling resistance at 100 and more rolling resistance at 70. Under-inflation can also result in more flat tires and damage to the wheel. Over-inflation can also lead to wheel damage. Both over-inflation and under-inflation can adversely effect handling.

You might be tempted to over-inflate your tires to decrease rolling resistance. I was. I paid a price for it. I advise you not to do it. It could result in more damage than simply replacing a tire prematurely. I think we all want to …


BTW … UNDER INFLATION can also damage a tire and cause premature failure and need of replacement. Here is a picture of a tire with fatigue cracks from under inflation. Such cracks weaken the sidewall and allow the internal pressure from the inner tube to “work” on it until they open up further and totally fail. You might hear an explosion when that happens.

fatigue cracks from under inflation

FREE GIFT awaits you!

Author: Steve Newbauer

I have a few current blogs (tadpolerider1, navysight, truthtoponder and stevesmixedbag) so I am keeping busy. I hope you the reader will find these blogs interesting and enjoy your time here. Feel free to email me at tadpolerider2 at gmail dot com (@gmail.com)

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