An unexpected flat tire can be really deflating. When all you want to do is get back on two wheels, don't sweat it. Here's the step-by-step to turn that frown upside down:
Removing the Bike Tire:
- If removing the rear tire, shift the bike onto the smallest cog (the highest gear). This will come in handy when you remove the chain.
- Disengage the brake assembly: If there's no quick release lever, remove the cable from the bracket to let the brake pads away from the tire.
- Remove the axle: Most bikes have a quick release lever to loosen the axle. Unscrew the nut and pull the axle out.
- For rear tires, move the derailleur if necessary to put slack in the chain and take it off of the cassette. With your chain, axle, and brakes all free from the tire, it will come right out of the frame.
Tube Removal and Replacement:
- When you get the tire off, inspect it for any foreign matters causing the flat. Beware that it might still be in the tire!
- To get to the tube, the tire needs to be unseated from the rim. Starting opposite from your valve stem, use a tire lever or two to move one side of the bead off of the rim. This will allow you to reach in and get the tube from inside!
- Usually the tire is still in working order and it's just the inner tube that needs to be repaired/replaced. The tube could be patched, but it's safer to replace the tube entirely!
- Partially inflate the new tube to give it a round shape to work with.
- Place the tube inside the tire. Starting with the valve stem, be sure the tube goes smoothly in the tire. A pinched tire will pop upon inflation! Make sure the valve stem is coming out straight towards the center of the wheel.
- Reseat the tire using the tire levers. Check that the tube is not caught between the tire and the rim.
- Inflate that tire to the right pressure!
Reinstall the Wheel
- Place the wheel back in the frame, aligning the hub with where the axle will go through. Place the chain back on the cassette in the rear.
- Put the axle through the tire. With the quick release lever open, thread the nut on the axle until it's tight.
- Close the quick release lever. It should be super tight now!
- Don't forget to tighten the brakes.
That's it! You're ready to turn the bike over and hit the road or trails again. Remember it's always important to be prepared, patch kits have saved many lives!