Updated on September 25, 2023
Your whole enthusiasm falls down when you encounter a flat tire in the middle of cycling, and you stare blankly at it thinking about what to do next. But as a cyclist, we all should know how to change a flat tire and thus I have brought some easy steps below in this article that will help you change the tire in a couple of minutes. Keep on reading and learn the quickest way of changing a flat tire.
Also, it is essential to know the steps of changing the tire so that whenever you are in the middle of someplace where there is no help near, you can do things on your own. Also, always keep the compact kit full of essential tools with you while cycling because you never know when the culprit on the road hits the tire and punctures it. Furthermore, learn the steps of changing the tire and practice them as this will become a routine and whenever you will encounter such a scenario you will be able to change the tire quicker than before. Let’s now begin with the steps.
How to Fix a Flat Bike Tire
Before I start with the steps of fixing a flat tire, I would like to mention here that there are several different types of bikes in the market having different types of tire attachments. However, the tire types are the same that is tube and tubeless. So today the steps I am going to mention here are the general ones.
Remove the Wheel
First of all, the wheel should be removed from the bicycle so that you can handle it properly. To do so, place the cycle upside down as this position makes it easier for the user to detach the tire. Also, let me add here that changing the rear wheel is a bit more intimidating than changing the back wheel as the rear wheel has a chain and derailleur attached to the wheel. Well, to change the rear wheel, shift the brake into the least sprocket first. This step will create slack in the chain, enabling you to remove the wheel easily.
Now it’s time that you raise the bike through the saddle and use one hand for paddling, meanwhile with the other hand you use the shift lever to shift gears. Now do the same with the left lever, and bring the chains in the smallest chain ring. You don’t need to do this step if your bike is equipped with disc brakes.
Remove the Tire
Now remove the wheel carefully and after doing so, it’s time for the next step which depends on the type of tire your bicycle has. It can either be tubeless or tube one. If it has a tube then this procedure will cost you less relatively but there is one drawback and that is it can be punctured easily.
Moreover, tire with tube are easy to repair too. You just have to remove the inflated tube and exchange it with the new one but if the tire is damaged then you have to patch it with the tire plug. Furthermore, if the damage is in the tire then you would need two levers to remove the tire. The first lever should be placed below the bead and the second lever should be placed under the first lever and should then be moved by you throughout the tire circle until the tire gets off the rim.
Determine the Cause
After removing the tube and the tire it’s time to determine the cause of the puncture. But the question arises how can one determine the cause? Most people, especially mechanics, run their fingers through the tire and feel if anything is stuck in there which caused the damage to the tire. But let me warn you, never do this. You can do such a stunt only if you are wearing a heavily cotton band-aid on your fingers which will act as a shield between you and the tire surface so that when you encounter that sharp object your finger doesn’t cut to bleed.
This sounds crazy and not much durable but believe me it works wonders. Also, there are several patching kits available in the market which are not just compact but also have everything that you need to patch the damaged area. In this step, you must have to clean the damaged area with sandpaper that is already present in the kit and then attach glue patches or the glueless patches over the defective area.
If you don’t have that glue patch in the kit then you just need to apply glue on the tube and on the patch as well and then press it firmly on the defective part till the glue gets firmly attached to the tire’s body. This patching option is not doable in every situation as if the damage is too severe then you have to change the whole tube. But if the damage is not too severe then I would say that this works amazingly. This is not just an environmentally friendly option but an easy and a fast backup.
Install the Tube and Inflate the Tire
Now it’s time to install the tube on the rim of the tire. Make sure that you install the tube perfectly otherwise you would have to plug the whole wheel all over again. So now, just inflate the tube enough that it gains its obvious shape, you don’t have to inflate it fully and tighten it up too hard. Now put the tube on the rim in such a way the stem of this tube comes out through the valve hole.
If it was the tire that you changed then place the new tire over the rim carefully. Now grab the tire and the tube in your hand together and while twisting them move your hand throughout the tire in such a way that both of them settle accurately in the right positions. Now inflate the tire with the CO2 or with the minipump, the choice is yours. Actually, the minipump is more reliable but hectic while the CO2 makes tires firm but is not much reliable and if the tire gets damaged you cannot reuse it.
Install the Wheel
Now it’s time when you have to attach the wheel to the cycle. Just place the wheel on the axis and attaches the chain and derailleur accordingly just the way you detached them but follow the steps in reverse. Once the tire is attached to the cycle it’s time that you check the wheel and see if the bicycle is running properly. Also, check if there is still any rumbling or not. If there is no rumbling and the tire is moving smoothly it means you have done the job perfectly.
Some General Tips
- If the tire is punctured in an unsafe area then the first thing to do is get off the bike and drag it to the safe side as fast as possible and then place it upside down and start the tire changing procedure.
- Never ride with a flat tire as this can damage the rim and other parts of the bike as well.
- Practice tire changing at home until you become a pro with it and can do it in a few minutes.
Can you ride a bike with a flat tire?
Yes, you can drive with a flat tire for a few miles. But it is better that you stop as soon as your tire starts rumbling. This is because riding a flat tire can damage the tire to the maximum level and can also damage the rim of the tire as well.
How much does it cost to fix a bike tire?
If you want to fix both the front tire and the back tire then the price would be between 30 dollars to 40 dollars and if you wanna change only one tire, then the cost would be between 10 dollars to 20 dollars.
How long can I ride on a flat tire?
You can’t ride a bike with a flat tire for up to 50 miles. This distance might also vary with the speed of the cycle, the type of road you are cycling, the load over the vehicle, and the vehicle’s condition.
I know that changing the tire isn’t an easy task but if you ractice it daily you can definitely learn to do it effortlessly. Also, this saves your money that you would spend n some professional/mechanic for fixing your tire. Lastly, always keep with you a kit of some general tools required to change the tire.
Austin Jacobs is a passionate cycling enthusiast who has over five years of experience in bike repair and maintenance. He is an avid mountain biker and loves tinkering with bikes for hours on end to make sure they are running at their optimum performance level. Leland’s blog, which focuses on bike repairs and tips to keep them in good running order, was created out of a desire to share his knowledge and help fellow cyclists stay safe while enjoying the outdoors. He covers topics such as preventive maintenance, troubleshooting common issues, basic tools and supplies needed for repairs, and more.