Most people find it challenging to change a flat tire. They feel like changing a tire is a difficult skill they do not possess. However, changing a bicycle tire is relatively easy if you know the important steps. No matter what kind of trail you are riding on, you must be prepared to deal with a punctured tire in case you do not find a mechanic nearby. In this article, we discuss the steps to change a flat tire and also the tools required to do so.
Whether on a smooth pavement, gravel road or a rocky trail, you need to carry the right tools if you have a flat tire. You can use a saddle bag to carry all the essential tools with you. If you can not carry these tools on your daily commute, you need to get hold of such tools to fix your tire. To change a flat tire, you require levers, a spare tube, and a mini pump. A patch kit or a tire plug can also prove useful. After you have collected all these tools, you can get ready to change the tire.
Written below are the steps you need to follow to change a flat tire:
Park your bike into a standing position, and if you need to replace the rear tire, shift the drivetrain into your hardest gear. Loosen the rim brakes and position yourself on the side that puts you opposite the chain. To remove the wheel, you will have to unthread the thru-axle. Once the wheel comes off, you can easily remove the tire by unseating it from one end. You do not need to remove the entire tire. Just unseating from one side is enough.
Once you loosen the tire, pull out the old tube and find the object, such as a thorn, a shard of glass or any other sharp item that damages your tire. Get the source object out and ensure the inside of the tire and the rim do not have any other sharp objects left behind. Double-check the outside of the tire, and rubber, as a part of the source might be stuck there too.
You can also pump air and submerge the flatten tire in water to spot the leaks. If you see two holes beside each other, it indicates a pinched flat. It happens when the tube gets caught between the tire and the rim and ultimately the tire gets punctured. If you see a single hole, it can be due to sharp foreign objects.
If you do not have any spare tubes or like to reuse tubes, you can consider patching the tube using a patch kit. Firstly, clean the punctured area and rough it off. You can glue the patch to the tube. Apply firmly and wait until it adheres in place and your problem is patched.
If you have a spare or are not satisfied with the patch fixing of a tire, you can also install a new tube. Next, inflate the tube but not entirely. Position the tube inside the tire and send the tire back into the rim. Try not to use levers as they can accidentally puncture your patched or new tube again. Get the tube inside the tire by tucking the sides of the tire bead low into the rim while pushing upwards. Make sure the tube is not getting pinched between the tube and the tire by pushing the tire aside as you install the tube. Once inside, inflate your tube fully using the mini pump.
If done perfectly, you can now reattach your wheel. Make sure that the thru-axle lever is on the opposite side. Carefully push the wheel back into the frame by laying the top chain on your cassette. Tighten your brakes and thread back the thru-axle. Lift the wheel and spin it to check if everything seems smooth and fine. If the wheel spins to perfection, you can get back on your cycle and ride away!
Tubeless tires have become popular in mountain and gravel bikes and are increasingly becoming popular with road bikes too. A good sealant should work well when fixing a flat in a tubeless tire, but be sure to keep checking it regularly whether you ride a normal bike or an electric bicycle. However, in the rare case of a larger puncture or a tear, you might have to plug the tire.
A plug kit should do the trick as it comes with a rubber and a device to insert the hole. All you need to do is find the site of the puncture, insert the strip of rubber and inflate your tires. You can cycle away if there isn’t any air leakage. Also, add more sealant on top if necessary.
Every cycling enthusiast needs to know how to fix a flat tire whether they ride a smart e-bike or a regular bicycle, as they might come across it anytime. If you follow the above mentioned steps, you can do the task easily.