Changing a Tyre

How To Fix A Flat Tyre

Flat tyres are an inevitable part of cycling, they won’t happen every day but they will happen. With these handy hints from the Lifecycle mechanics you will be able to fix your flat and get back on the road or trail in no time.

You will need: a pump, a spare tube and tyre levers (for removing the tyre).

Step 1: Open the brake

To get your tyre out the first step is to open the brake for easy removal of the wheel. When you notice that you have a flat pull over, and if it is a rear flat shift onto the smallest rear cog. Then open your brakes.There are a number of different brake systems on bikes these days.

Sidepull brakes: Found on most road bikes. Open by fully rotating the little lever on the brake upwards.

Some sidepulls are opened by pressing a button on the lever. Look for this if there is no lever on the brake.

V-brakes/ linear pull brakes: Common on hybrids and MTBS can be opened by squeezing the brake arms and lifting the end of the "noodle" out of its holder.

Disc brakes: These do not require opening but it is important that you avoid squezing the brake lever while the wheel is out.

Step 2: Remove the wheel

Open the quick release (or loosen the axle nuts) on the wheel with the flat and lift the bike to remove the wheel. To extract rear wheels, it helps to pull the derailleur back slightly to clear the axle parts as the wheel passes through. For front wheels, you'll probably need to hold one side of the quick release and turn the other counterclockwise to create clearance to get past the safety lugs on the fork.

Step 3: Remove the tyre & tube

First you need to get all the air out of the tyre. So even if you have a flat already begin by removing the valve cap. For Schraeder valves (they are like the ones on your car) depress the inside of the valve with the corner of a tyre lever to relase the air.

With Presta valves (the long skinny ones) you need to unscrew the top of the valve and depress it to relase air. Presta valves may also have a threaded collar on the valve which you should remove at this point.

With all the air out place a tyre lever under the bead of the tyre and press down to pry it off the rim. Hold the first lever in place with either your hand or by hooking it to the spoke.

Insert a second tyre lever about 6 inches along the rim and repeat. From here you should be able to work the lever along until one side of the tyre lifts off.

For really tight tyres you may need a third lever. With one side of the tyre removed you can take out the punctured inner tube.

Step 4: Inspect the tyre

It's important to find whatever caused the flat and remove it. If you don't, the sharp item might still be in the tyre where it will just pop your new tube. To find it, remove your glove (or use a rag), and run it around inside the tyre in both directions. The glove will snag on whatever caused the puncture (if it hasn’t fallen out already) and you can remove it.

If you can’t find anything in the tyre be sure to check inside the rim, too. The rim strip covering the spoke holes can move, which allows the tube to be cut. Make sure that the rim strip covers the spoke holes completely.

Step 5: Install the tube & tyre

One side of the tyre bead should already be on your rim.

Inflate the tube slightly to round it out and place it in the tyre.

Place the valve partway through the valve hole. If you pull the valve to far through it may be difficult to fit the tyre.Hold the tyre and wheel in both hands at the valve and use your thumbs to push the bead (the ridge running round the tyre) onto the rim. With both hands working in opposite directions away from the valve mount the rest of the bead on to the rim.

You will find the last few inches of bead the hardest to fit. Sometimes it pays to let a little more air out of the valve at this point. Crouch and rest the tyre against your knee. Hold the bead in place at one point with your stronger hand and then push the remaining bead on little by little with the other hand.

Some people find this part difficult and some tyres are very stubborn so you can use a tyre lever to get the remaining section on. This is an option but you risk pinching your tube and getting another flat.

Step 6: Inflate & seat the tyre

Place your pump on the valve and inflate the tyre. If using a hand pump, brace it by wrapping a finger behind a spoke (photo left) so you're pushing against your hand, not the valve. Inflate the tyre until it's just firm (not fully inflated). At this point, inspect the tyre to make sure it's "seated," which means that it's sitting correctly on the rim.

A well “seated” tyre will be sitting evenly around the rim with no tube sticking out under the bead. If not seated correctly deflate the tyre and work the bead into place. When the tyre is seated correctly, inflate it fully. Install the valve nut (if your tube uses one) and cap finger tight (over tightening the valve nut can damage the tube and make it difficult to loosen it when you need to fix a flat).

Reinstall the wheel in the frame, close the brake quick release or reattach the noodle or cable and you're ready to ride!

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