Triathlon Coach on Changing a Flat Tyre

Ironman Training

Changing a bike tyre is a useful skill to have. If you are out on the road, or in a race, knowing how to change a flat will save you a lot of time and stress. Once you have had a go once or twice, you will realise that it’s not as difficult as it may seem. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to change a bike tyre:

Remove the Wheel

Depending on your bike, you may need to use a quick release lever or a wrench to loosen the bolts that hold the wheel in place. Once the bolts or quick release are loosened, you should be able to remove the wheel by pulling it away from the frame. You may need to release the brakes if the tyre does not pass out between the pads easily. If it is the rear wheel, ensure that the chain is in the hardest gear (smallest ring on the cassette) before you begin to make it easier and keep the chain out of the way.

Deflate the Tyre

If the inner tube has not completely deflated, then release the remaining air by depressing the valve. This will make it easier to remove the inner tube from the tyre.

Remove One Side of the Tyre from the Rim

Use a tyre lever to gently pry the tyre bead (the edge of the tyre) away from the rim. Once you have a small opening, you can insert a second tyre lever and pull on it to work your way around the tire, prying the bead over the rim until one side of the tyre is fully removed. You can then pull out the inner tube and discard of it responsibly.

Check for Foreign Objects

Once the inner tube is removed, use your fingers to gently and carefully feel around the inside of the tyre for any foreign objects that might have punctured through the tyre and still remain there. It is also a good opportunity to check the outside of the tyre of glass and small stones embedded in the rubber. If you find any, squeeze the tyre on either side of the embedded object and use your nail to flick it out.

Insert a New Inner Tube

Start by gently blowing up the new inner tube with your mouth to reduce the chance of any pinches. You can then insert the valve of the new inner tube through the valve hole in the rim. Taking care to no allow the inner tube to twist at any time, gently work the inner tube into the inside of the tyre space. Once it is fully inserted, use your fingers to push the tire bead back over the rim. Start from the valve and work your way in both directions so that the final point of reattachment is opposite the valve. This will be the loosest and easiest point to roll the tyre back onto the rim completely. The final roll over can be quite difficult, and you may need to use a tyre lever to help you. Just take care through the whole process to make sure that you do not pinch the inner tube between the rim and the tyre.

Inflate the Tube

Once the tyre is fully seated in the rim, you can use a hand pump, floor pump or CO2 canister to inflate the tyre to the recommended pressure. You can find the recommended inflation written on the side of the tyre.

Install the Wheel Back on the Bike

Once the tyre is fully inflated, you can install the wheel back on the bike. Make sure the wheel is properly aligned, and then use the quick release lever or wrench to tighten the bolts that hold the wheel in place.

Test the tyre.

Before riding the bike, test the tire to make sure it’s properly seated and inflated. Spin the wheel and give it a gentle squeeze to check for any wobbles or soft spots. If everything seems to be in order, you’re ready to ride!

Changing a bike tire may take a little practice, but with some patience and a few simple tools, you should be able to do it yourself. It’s a great skill to have and can save you time and money by avoiding an Uber or train ride home or having to pull out of a race due to a flat.

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