If you are a serious mountain biker, obviously, of all other mountain bike techniques and skills you want to learn today, changing a flat tire sits right on top of the list. If you often ride for hours or even days in the wild, the chances of you being hit by a flat tire are practically high. So if you want to be ready for any eventualities, it would make a lot of sense if you know how to change the tire. In other cases, it could be you often commute your bike and you are just tired of spending quite a sizeable amount of money on those repair shop trips every now and then. If you want to learn this art, here is how to change a flat bike tire.
Put the bike in the right position
Well, before you have the wheel removed, you need to put the bike in the right position. That alone will allows you to remove the wheel with so much ease. In this case, you need to put your bike on its side with the bike chain facing upwards. Additionally, with caution; so that you don’t end up damaging the handlebars, you can also turn the bike upside down with the handlebars providing the much-needed resting and support position.
Removing the wheel
In this stage, you will need to do a number of things. If you don’t want to have any problem, you need to follow these steps as outlined
Release the brakes
Before you even think about removing the wheel, you first need to release the brakes. Most brakes setup comes mounted very close to the wheel rims and often comes equipped with a quick-release mechanism to allow you to release it with ease. Most mountain bikes are equipped with a quick-release lever, which you can actually open to help you release the brakes.
Word of caution: If your mountain bike does come with disc brakes, you might need to be careful so that you don’t touch the rotors. The rotor is located close to the quick-release mechanism and at times it can get extremely hot. You don’t want to end up burning your hand
Remove your wheel
Once you have the brakes released, the next thing is to remove the wheel. Even after releasing the brakes, at this point, the bike’s wheel is still being held right to the fork or frame by the wheel axle, that is depending on if it the front or rear wheel. Again, pretty much like the brakes, check if the axle does come equipped with a quick-release mechanism. If it does have, that would be great. On the other hand, we have bikes that wheels are held right in place by bolts and nuts.
- Front-wheel: If it is the front wheel that you need to remove, just employ the quick-release lever. Thereafter unscrew those nuts that secure the whole thing. Lastly, release the tension that holds the wheel. Word of caution though; we have seen a number of bikes that don’t let the wheel off even after you employ the quick release mechanism. If you experienced this, you might use the owner’s manual and follow the steps provided in the manual.
- Rear Wheel: When it comes to the rear wheel, you might need to do things a bit differently. Unlike the front wheel, here you will have to actually shift the chain onto the smallest rear cog. For you to do this, you need to have the shifter adjusted up, you then have to raise your bike and crank the mountain bike’s pedal until the gear shifting is complete.
Once you have done that, take your bike and turn it over and have it facing upwards, thereafter, you can then turn the rear wheel quick-release mechanism until you have the wheel completely opened. Moreover, just like the front wheel, have the securing nuts unscrewed. Lastly, pull back the rear derailleur and ten lift the wheel out with the other hand.
Deflate the wheel
Normally, before you have the tube removed, the first thing you to do is to deflate the tube. In this case, you first have to remove the valve cap from the valve. Make sure all the remaining air is completely removed from the tire. On the other hand, if your tire comes with the Presta valve, you will be forced to unscrew the top part of the valve that is right before you could actually have the tire deflated.
Remove the tube
This is now one of the trickiest parts; it can be quite challenging but with a lot of practice you can pull through it quite successfully. To remove the tube, you will have to do everything by hand. First, push the edge of the tire right to the center of the rim while at the same time pushing the other edge. If you do this the right way, you will see the tube pop out.
If the above method doesn’t work, you will now have to use some tools. In this case, you need tire levers. Since you don’t want to end up damaging the valve, you actually need to start at the opposition section of your tire. A tire lever can help you get that tube as it can easily pry the tire bead up.
Replace the tube
Most serious bikers have a spare wheel with them, but again if you don’t want to go through all the trouble of having to ride with a heavy wheel, you can just have the tube replaced. It is one of the easiest processes to pull through. What you need to do is to fill the replacement tube with a bit of air right before you can put it right back in the rim. First, you need to actually put the valve right in the hole located in the rim before putting it back.
- Repairing the flat tire
At times, you may find yourself in a very awkward position. It is not all the time that you will have a tube replacement. If you are hit with a flat tire and you can’t really get a tube replacement in time, you can have the damaged one repaired. Once you have the tube out, you need to find out where the puncture is exactly at. When it comes to this, you need to be very thorough as finding the cause of a flat tire can be difficult.
When searching the cause of the flat, you need to begin from the exterior as you work in. You can check the outer surface of the tire. Look for any sign of wear or even foreign object stuck on the thread. If you are satisfied with the outside layer, you now need to get inside of the tire. Check both your inner tube and also the inside surface of the tire. In here, also look out for similar damages.
- How to locate a puncture easily
Finding tube damaged can be quite a hassle. However, one of the best ways you can use to locate the puncture is by inflating the tube. Try to find any escaping air. If it is a big leak, you are going to locate the area with ease. On the other hand; if it is a small leak, that could prove to be a challenge. However, you might want to put the tube close to your ears and try to feel for air coming out of the tube. You can also choose to put the tube in water and check for any bubbles
- Repairing the damaged
Once you have located the exact place that is letting air out, the next thing is to have it fixed. This is a simple process and it will take you 5 simple steps to pull it off.
- Find the area that has been damaged
- Have the area cleaned and completely dried
- With sandpaper, rough the surface. This will help the glue adhere well
- Spread the glue and give it a few seconds to set. You need it to be as tacky as possible
- Lastly, have the tube patch. Hold it there for a few seconds and apply a bit of pressure
Put the tire back on
Once you have the entire tube inside, now you need to put the tire back on. If you didn’t remove the tire from the bike when you were removing the flat tube, you need to attach it right back by pushing one edge of the bead right into the rim. This is a simple process and it shouldn’t take you more than 5 minutes.
It doesn’t even stop here; using both palms, you need to keep pushing the other edge of the bead right into your rim. It is recommended you start from the opposition section of the valve as you slowly move towards it.
Again should you experience any challenge when using your hands, you can also use a tire lever and have the remaining parts of the tire’s bead pushed into the rim. Again, you might need to be careful so that you don’t now cause any harm to the tube.
Inflate the tube
Once you have both the tube and tire back on the wheel, you now need to inflate the tube. But before you do that, if the tire did come with a lock ring, have it screwed first. Once you do that, it is now time to pump air right into the tube. In this case, you might need to start pumping it slowly. As you do that, you need to be constantly checking and ensuring the tire stay in place. One of the best ways to tell this is if the valve stem remains straight. You may also want to ensure your tire is not getting in any way being pinched.
Put back the wheel on your bike
These are the last steps. It is also straightforward and it shouldn’t take you a much longer time. Here you need to do a few simple steps. First, if you had the rear tube replaced, you need to put the chain back right on the smallest rear chain wheel. Lastly, have the quick release mechanism properly locked. In other cases, if the wheel did use bolts and nuts, have every single nut and bolt screwed back.
So as you can see the entire process is simple, especially if you follow all the steps in the right way. So if you have been having trouble when changing a flat tire, we are now sure this guide is going to help you. Again, like any other technique, you need to keep practicing this great skill if you are a serious outdoor enthusiast
Updated on January 22, 2021 by Ben