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Another premature tire failure

Today's ride with Different Spokes was fun, friendly, and pleasant, if just a little bit too warm. Thanks to the five other riders who joined me.

But immediately after the ride, right as I had started to ride the 3.5 miles back home from the ride location, I started to hear a thump-thump-thump coming from my wheel. I stopped pedaling and coasted, and the thumping continued, suggesting there was indeed a wheel-related problem. I stopped and discovered that my front tire -- a Specialized Armadillo -- was bulging hugely out of its rim at one point; the thumping noise was caused by the tire rubbing against the brakes on every rotation.

This was bad, and as the photos show, it was a total failure of the wire inside the tire -- torn to shreds. This is almost exactly what happened to me back in May, when my rear tire exploded on a hot day. The only difference was that today, I noticed the problem before an explosion happened.

And yes, the air temperature was about 90 degrees at the time, which meant that the surface temperature was no doubt well over 100 degrees. Coincidence or not? Who knows. I rode in Fresno without such problems. But again today, I had failed to heed my own advice, and my tires were fully inflated to about 110 psi. Before I deflated the bulged tire, the pressure felt much higher than that.

So I headed to Sports Basement as soon as I got home (thanks for the ride, David), and I bought a Continental Gatorskin tire to install on the front. I had a less-than-satisfactory experience with them earlier this year, but I'm willing to try again, especially since the Gatorskins list for $34 each compared to a ridiculous $50 each for the Armadillos.

According to my far-too-detailed ride log, I installed the front tire on May 3, and as of today, I had put only 1,360 miles on it. A $50 tire should last far longer.

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