Ah, a new thread in the making. What causes latex tubes to pop?
Sadly, they usually fail because of user error. I know, I've said that about other equipment failures, and we're all immortal gods and we know how to solder the tips of our brake cables and hone the brake blocks for our carbon rims. But here are the kinds of things that make latex tubes look at you and go "pfffttttt."
First, holes at or near the stem:
1. Remember that your latex tube is extremely supple (that's why you bought it) and thus will take almost any shape, even if it isn't good for us (like the contortionist that throws his back every time he has sex). If you don't seat your tube all the way into the rim bed, the tube will wrap right around itself and kiss up against the valve stem or even work its way into the valve stem hole in the rim. As you can probably imagine, something will quickly pinch the tube and make it hiss and die. That's likely what happened to you.
2. If you have a rim tape that is too unsupportive or is stretched or simply oversized at the valve hole, the tube will try to get in there. Most rim strips are crap. Use one that really protects your tube.
3. Unless you have a wider rim, you are squeezing two sidewalls plus a valve stem into a not very big area. Give one point to 23 mm wide rims. If you just have to use a narrower rim, pick your tubes carefully. And remember that you still have to seat them properly. Sometimes the problem is that there is simply no room for the stem. Sometimes the problem is that you have to pull it by the valve stem to be sure it is seated, but you undo all the effort when you push a pump head onto it. At that point, read #1.
Holes away from the stem:
1. You didn't check your tube to be sure it was 100% inside the casing before you inflated.
2. You didn't recheck your tube at about 2 bar to be sure it was 100% inside the casing before you inflated rest of the way.
3. You didn't recheck your tube at full pressure to be sure something wasn't sticking out or looking lumpy.
4. Get the point?
5. If you got a glass cut in the tread that left a small hole through the casing, a latex tube can work its way right through that hole and then either die quietly or go out with a bang. Boot every cut that shows through the tire at all with a real boot. I've used thin adhesive sail tape and I've used Tyvek, but for real protection to keep that inner tube from squirming through, nothing works like a Rema patch or a piece of old lightweight tire casing.
6. If it can do it under the tread, it can do so on a sidewall. More easily in fact.
7. Snakebites. Enough said. It may not look like one because latex tube don't always give classic snakebite patterns, but if the hole is on the side, guess what?
8. Check your sidewalls for brake block wear. Equipment manufacturers keep trying to improve braking performance by making brake blocks bigger, especially top to bottom. That makes it hard to keep the edge of the block away from the sidewall. If you are using big tires with more tire clearance, you may be at the limit of your brake shoe adjustment and cheating on this a bit.
9. Latex tubes don't like to be folded on themselves. This doesn't make them go bad right away, but a month later, you'll get the lesson. And since latex tubes lose air fast, if you let your tire deflate and end up on the rim, check your tube before you reinflate -- everything could be kerflonkers under the casing.
10. And then there's just God. Sometimes He blesses you for using latex tubes. Sometimes he simply damns you. I guess it depends on whether you keep beating him in the city line sprints.