Bell Tube Blues: Back to Square One on the Pinnacle

The thought of trying to get the Pinnacle back up and going blew up in my face… literally.

In my previous post, I had two goals – one of which actually got accomplished. The first goal (the one that was actually accomplished) was to reinstall the tires and get the tires back on the bike. The second goal was to get the rear derailleur mounted back on the bike, so that it wasn’t hanging from the bike.

The rear derailleur from the Pinnacle reinstalled, but not without a slight problem.

I was hoping that maybe – just maybe – I could even be able to ride the bike again after those two goals were accomplished.

As for the rear derailleur, I got it mounted back on the bike – but that is about as far as I got. The chain was tangled up, and the process of untangling the chain and getting everything straightened up was going to require more work than I anticipated, including the use of tools I didn’t have.

Although I want to learn as much as I can and get hands on with fixing my own bike, I’ve reached a point where it may be best to reach out and get help from someone who has the tools and the know-how to fix the derailleur problem.

Bell Tube Blues

Then, one of the new tubes sung the “Bell Tube Blues.”

After letting the tires set for a few days, I deflated them and unmounted them to check the electrical tape. I do this to ensure there are no weak spots in the electrical tape that can cause a flat.

While this, I inflated the tube from the front tube. Because both tubes were Bell/CST tubes – they bulged out considerably during inflation. I play it safe and don’t go crazy on how much air I put in them. Especially since I’m doing this in my dorm… where many other people also reside.

Bell/CST/Acimut tubes have always given me problems with weak spots in the tube.

And then – out of nowhere – BOOM! The bulging area on the front tube ruptured. Thankfully it wasn’t super loud because there wasn’t a whole lot of air in the tube – it was probably inflated to about twice the size of the tube deflated. It sounded like a balloon popping rather than the dreaded gunshot, so nobody got suspicious.

Thankfully, the tube sounded more like a balloon popping than a gunshot when it ruptured.

But I was blown away by it rupturing. I’ve inflated many tubes to check them, and I’ve probably got really close to popping some tubes by inflating them well over triple their deflated size.

Obviously, the ruptured tube went straight into my bad tube stash. I decided to play it safe with the rear tube and remove it from service. The rear tube was actually the worse out of the tube, as it not only had one bulge – but six.

The rear tube had SIX bulges… a new record.

While I know that tubes bulge when inflated outside of a tire, I’ve never seen tubes bulge like CST tubes. As mentioned, I’ve inflated (non-CST) tubes to over triple their normal size, and they don’t bulge out or pop.

The issue is pretty obvious when you think about it: the rubber thickness varies. In the spot where the tube bulges out, the rubber is thinner than the rest of the tube. At least in my personal experience, it’s a mark of poor quality.

I have a hypothesis that the tubes I purchased have sat on the shelf for some time. 27×1 1/4 (and 27×1 1/8) tires are not that common, as they’re mostly found on vintage road bikes from the 1970s and 80s.

I’m probably going to take a leap of faith and purchase another set of Q-Tube tubes (which I originally got in this post) from the online bike parts site I frequent. While one of the tubes did decide to fail, I am willing to try them again just in case the failure was caused by the rim.

Fingers crossed that the tire problems with the Pinnacle end so that I can at least store it and use it as indoor decor.

Good news is that the electrical tape itself held up, bad news the tube popped and now needs to be replaced, and the chain is all twisted and tangled up. Ugh… just another day with the Pinnacle.

The Pinnacle eats tubes like a kid eats candy, unfortunately. I’m actually uncertain how many tubes I’ve installed on it since I acquired the bike, but it’s likely in the triple digits. 🙁

I try my hardest to put those tubes to good use even after they pop, instead of feeding the landfill with them. I actually have a stash of tubes from the Pinnacle and the couple tubes from the Sedona. (The original Kenda tubes and that Good-Year/Kent tube meant as a spare that didn’t really last.)

I may in the future make a post dedicated to the things you can do with old tubes (hint: there are a lot of things.) I have a friend who likes doing arts and crafts and making things out that have exceeded their intended purpose in life, so I usually give her many of the tubes.

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