Cycling - Knowledge

Bike Flat Tires- Repairing and Preventing Punctures

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Biking is not just a hobby or a sport, but it is a killer workout and a thrilling adventure. It not only helps you keep yourself super fit but also gives a fillip to your confidence and personality. Biking gives you an effective and positive outlet to let go of the stress and rejuvenate yourself. As it is rightly said, “You werenʼt born to just pay bills and die.” Bike flat tires are a common hindrance to your joy rides, stay prepared by knowing how to prevent and repair these tragedies.

Just imagine you left for this adventurous sports dreaming of zipping across wobbly bridges, climbing treacherous peaks, dodging branches. Suddenly your bike has a flat tire. And whoosh goes your dream! For a smooth biking trip, you should have exhaustive knowledge about your bike, and one of the most vital parts of your bike – tires.

You should have a detective’s eye and requisite skills for inspection and repair of your bike, that is, how to patch a bike tire and replacing bike tubes.

For more information, read our article on Bike Maintenance Basics for Beginner Cyclists.

Mountain Bike Flat Tires- Repairing and Preventing Punctures
Biking to keep yourself fit

Here, we will share with you the methods to prevent bike flat tires, how to prevent it and how to remove a bike tire.

Basic Tire Care

Mountain Bike Flat Tires- Repairing and Preventing Punctures
Taking Care of Your Tires

Preventing bike flat tires is definitely a simpler task than repairing one.
Read Bicycle Maintenance and Oiling – Learn the Basics for more information on taking care of your cycle.

  • Inspection and repair: It is always good to examine your bike’s tires regularly and especially after every long trip. There can be unwanted objects lodged in the tire crevices, the tire might have worn-out rings, or it may have ruptured, and all these factors are recipes for bike flat tires.
  • Pumping Technique: Keep a check on the air pressure level. Most of the flat tires occur because the air pressure is either too low or too much. Either way, the tire is subjected to avoidable stresses, which lead to a flat tire at moments when you definitely do not want it.

Types of Tires

Another way to prevent a flat tire is investing in puncture-resistant tires. Though they are expensive but are worth all the money. The three main types of tires are:

Pneumatic Tire

Mountain Bike Flat Tires- Repairing and Preventing Punctures
Pneumatic Tires

Pneumatic or air-filled rubber tires are universally available and owing to their reasonable price, you can see them on almost every cycle. When pneumatic tires were invented, they transformed the uncomfortable and bumpy bicycle ride into a more exciting and relaxed ride. These are made up of rubber attached to a metal rim.

Air-Free Bicycle Tire

Mountain Bike Flat Tires- Repairing and Preventing Punctures
Air Free Tires

These are the next-generation puncture-resistant bicycle tires. A Tokyo-based company presented the bikers with the most precious gifts of their lives – tires without air. Bikers can now say goodbye to the frustrating woes of a flat tire. This bike supports the rider’s weight by using thermoplastic resin spokes. The material used is also recyclable.

Kevlar Bike Tire

Mountain Bike Flat Tires- Repairing and Preventing Punctures
Kevlar Tires

The element Kevlar is fundamental in making a puncture-proof bicycle, the very same material used to make bulletproof jackets and armor. This fabric is lightweight and supple, which makes the ride comfy and enjoyable. There are some other manufacturers who make puncture-resistant bicycle tires and tubes, such as Continental, Armadillo, and Marathon.

Types of Bike Flat Tires

Puncture is synonymous to a flat tire. However, you can have a flat tire without puncturing your tire or tube. A flat tire can be mysterious; you should carefully find out the root cause and then correct it.

Mountain Bike Flat Tires- Repairing and Preventing Punctures
Types of Bike Flat Tires

Bike flat tires can be classified under the main headings:

  1. Punctures: Punctures can be of three different kinds.
  2. Outer Surface Punctures: When a sharp object has penetrated the tire and punctured the tube.
  3. Sidewall Punctures: This is caused due to an underinflated tire. When you hit a bump on the road, the low air pressure allows the tire to hit against the sharp edge of the rim, thus puncturing the inner tube.
  4. Inner Surface Puncture: If a correctly inflated tire is losing air, then check for faulty rim strip, sharp rim surface or exposed spoke nipples. Such pointy surfaces can lead to inner surface punctures.
  5. Blow-Outs: Blow-outs can be caused because of various reasons like while changing a flat tire a piece of the tube gets pinched between the rim and the tire, the tire bead is not correctly seated inside the rim or the integrity of tire becomes compromised due to dry rot, brake pad, etc.
  6. Valve Problems: Bike flat tires due to a valve problem can be caused by some debris stuck in it and riding an underinflated tire.

Wheel Removal

If you have a flat tire, all you need to know is how to remove and re-install the wheel. Here we will demonstrate how to remove and re-install your front and rear bike wheels:

Front Wheel Removal:

Follow the following steps:

  1. Disengage the brake release mechanism.
  2. Flip your bike over.
  3. Open the quick release or remove axle
  4. Lift the wheel up and out of the frame.

Rear Wheel Removal:

Follow these steps:

  1. Shift the derailleur to the outermost gear and innermost front chain ring.
  2. Disengage rim brake release mechanism.
  3. Disengage the wheel from the frame using Quick Release, Thru Axle or Solid Axle.
  4. Pull back the rear derailleur to allow cogs to clear the chain.

Check out the below video for a detailed guide on how to remove and re-install your bike wheels.

 

How to Remove a Bike Tire

Do not get confused between the wheel and tire removal. Wheel removal is done for easy patching of bike flat tires or fitting the tire in the trunk of the car, whereas tire removal is done for replacing the tire or tube or repairing them. See the below video on how to remove and re-install the tire.

 

How to Fix a Flat Tire?

Carrying the bike tire repair kit is not enough; you should know how to fix a bike flat tire. We have already discussed different types of flats and their reasons. You also know how to remove and reinstall a wheel and a tire.

Mountain Bike Flat Tires- Repairing and Preventing Punctures
Fixing a Flat Tire

So let us now move on to how to fix a tire when you are out biking.

  1. Remove the tire from the rim.
  2. Remove the tube and pump air into the tube and dip it in water. Observe for bubbles, and if you see any then be sure that you have a puncture. Also, check for any debris or sharp object.
  3. Mark the punctured area and prepare the surface by rubbing emery paper. After rubbing, put the ready-made patch and allow for drying. You can even use tube sealants. You just have to apply the tube sealant to the hole and the tube is ready to re-inflate.
  4. Re-install the tube and tire.

Roads are highly unpredictable and so an extra back-up is always welcome. Bikers these days invest in tire liners, which cover the tube and them give an extra cushion, thus preventing bike flat tires.

So you no longer have to worry about a flat tire. You are now better equipped to go and thoroughly enjoy your bike ride. As said aptly, “When in doubt pedal it out.” So guys, grab your bike and just pedal your way out to an exhilarating experience of biking in the woods.

Share the stories of your bike flat tires, if you have had any, and tell us how you came out of the situation.

Team Livingit

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