It always happens when you least expect it, and at the most inconvenient times, so let’s look at bicycle puncture repair in a way that will get you quickly back on the road again.
For bicycle puncture repair on the go, you will need to prepare yourself with both the necessary tools and knowledge required to fix the irritating problem at hand. The other option is to carry some comfortable hiking shoes as you may have a long walk ahead of you.
These are all the tools that you will need for your bicycle puncture repair job. It is a good idea to carry these tools with you all the time so that you are prepared.
If you don’t have any of them, you can simply click on the picture to purchase them quickly online.
The tools you will need are:
- Spare Tube
- Inflation Device
- Patch Kit
- Tyre Plug
- Tyre levers
Bicycle Puncture Repair Explained
Normally, your first job in the event of a flat is to remove the tyre so you can assess the problem inside.
For riders with tubeless setups, which is becoming increasingly popular nowadays, you can often stop air loss with a tyre plug.
These kits come with a small strip of rubber and an insertion device, which allows you to plug the hole without changing any hardware. This makes life so much easier.
When you find the hole, all you need to do is insert the rubber plug, pump up your tyre to the appropriate pressure and check to see if it’s holding air.
If the tyre plug doesn’t work, or if you have a tube in your tire, you’ll need to remove the wheel.
Keep your bike upright, and if it’s a rear-wheel flat, shift your drivetrain into the hardest gear. If you have rim brakes, you may also need to loosen the brake.
Next, position yourself on the non-drive side of your bike (opposite the chain) and either open the quick release or unthread the thru-axle to remove the wheel.
Now you can remove the tyre.
Hook the rounded end of one tyre lever under the bead (the outer edge) of the tyre to unseat it. Fix the other end to a spoke to hold the lever in place and to keep the unseated tyre from popping back into the rim.
Then hook the second lever under the bead next to the first, walking it around the rim clockwise until one side of the tyre is off. You don’t need to completely remove the tyre.
Find The Source
Once the tyre is off, pull out the old tube and look for the hole and the source of the hole, which could be a thorn, piece of glass, stone, nail or some other sharp object.
Carefully run your fingers along the inside of your tyre and rim, making sure nothing sharp has been left behind. Otherwise, you risk getting another flat just after fixing the first. Also inspect the outside of the tyre, again looking for any foreign object that might still be stuck in the rubber.
If you’re using tubes and want to do some detective work, pump some air into the old one to find the leak. Two holes side by side indicates a pinch-flat. This is where the tube gets pinched between the rim and the tyre. A single hole is a sign that your flat was most likely caused by a sharp object.
Patch It Up
If you’re the thrifty type who likes to reuse old tubes, or if you’ve gotten multiple flats on your ride and have no more spares, then you can patch your tube with a patch kit.
Start by cleaning the punctured area well and then roughing the surface with an emery cloth. For a glueless patch, simply stick it over the hole and press firmly.
For a patch that requires glue, add a thin layer of glue to the tube and patch. Wait for the glue to get tacky, then apply the patch and press firmly until it sticks.
Install The Tube
Now inflate your new or patched tube just enough so that it holds its shape. This makes it easier to place the tube inside the tyre again.
Next, with the valve stem installed straight through the rim’s valve hole, work the tyre back onto the rim with your hands by rolling the bead away from yourself. Try not to use tyre levers to reseat the tyre, as you could accidentally puncture your new tube.
Check to make sure the tyre bead isn’t pinching the tube by gently pushing the tyre to the side as you work your way around the rim.
Now inflate the tube and check that the bead is seated correctly. If everything looks good, reattach your wheel, making sure the quick release or thru-axle lever is on the opposite side of your drivetrain.
If you had a rear-wheel flat, lay the top of the chain around the smallest cog on your cassette and carefully push the wheel back into the frame.
Close your quick release (and rim brakes if applicable) or insert the thru-axle back into the frame and hub and thread it closed. Finally, lift the rear wheel and spin your cranks once to make sure everything is back in place and operating smoothly.
This all requires a bit of practice, but the more you do it the faster you will get.
If all is good to go, get back on your bike and enjoy the rest of your ride.