How To Change and Fix a Flat Tyre
Changing a bike tyre after getting a flat is a relatively easy fix—as long as you know how to handle it. Whether you ride on smooth pavement, rough gravel, or rocky singletrack trails, it’s bound to happen eventually, so you might as well prepare yourself with both the necessary tools and the bike repair knowledge you need address the problem.
Below, we detail everything you need to know about how to change a bike tyre, including the bike tyre repair tips you need to succeed.
First things first though—for tools, you should always carry tyre levers, a correctly-sized spare tube, and an inflation device, be it a mini pump or CO2 cartridge. You may also want to consider a patch kit or tyre plug, which can come in handy for certain riders. And if you run tubeless tyres, scroll down to skip to the tubeless section. When you’re ready to go, here’s your step-by-step guide.
[WATCH] Fix a Flat Tyre in 2 Minutes
Follow These Steps to Change a Tyre and Fix a Flat
Step 1: Remove the Tyre
Start by removing the wheel. Keep your bike upright, and if it’s a rear-wheel flat, shift your drivetrain into the hardest gear. If your bike has rim brakes, which many bikes still do, 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 keep the unseated tyre from popping back into the rim. Then hook the second lever under the bead next to the first, pushing it around the rim clockwise until one side of the tyre is off. You don’t need to completely remove the tyre.
Step 2: Find the Culprit
Once the tyre is loose, pull out the old tube (if applicable) and look for the source of the flat, which could be a thorn, piece of glass, or some other sharp object. Carefully run your fingers along the inside of your tyre and rim, making sure nothing sharp is left behind; otherwise, you risk getting another flat. 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 a little detective work, pump some air into the old one to find the leak. Two holes side by side indicate a pinch-flat, where the tube gets pinched between the tyre and rim. A single hole is a sign that your flat was most likely caused by a sharp object. By lining the tube up with the tyre using the valve as a point of reference, you can double check the area where the hole is to ensure the culprit is removed.
Step 3: Patch the ProblemIf 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. If you have a new tube, skip to the next section.
Start by cleaning the punctured area and 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 adheres.