How to fix a bicycle tire

Bike Tire Repair Tips to Fix Your Flat

Changing a bike tire 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 tire, including the bike tire repair tips you need to succeed.

First things first though—for tools, you should always carry tire 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 tire plug, which can come in handy for certain riders. And if you run tubeless tires, 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 Tire in 2 Minutes

Follow These Steps to Change a Tire and Fix a Flat

Step 1: Remove the Tire

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 tire. Hook the rounded end of one tire lever under the bead (the outer edge) of the tire to unseat it. Fix the other end to a spoke to hold the lever in place and keep the unseated tire 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 tire is off. You don’t need to completely remove the tire.

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  • How to Find the Perfect Bike Tire Pressure

Step 2: Find the Culprit

Once the tire 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 tire and rim, making sure nothing sharp is left behind; otherwise, you risk getting another flat. Also inspect the outside of the tire, 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 tire 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 tire 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 Problem

If 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.

If you prefer to reuse old tubes or ran out of spares, you can try to patch the hole with a patch kit.

Katja Kircher//Getty Images

Step 4: Install the Tube

Now inflate your new or patched tube just enough so that it holds its shape. This makes it easier to place inside the tire. Next, with the valve stem installed straight through the rim’s valve hole, position the tube inside the tire. Work the tire back onto the rim with your hands by rolling the bead away from yourself. Try not to use levers to reseat the tire, as you could accidentally puncture your new tube. When you get to the valve stem, tuck both sides of the tire bead low into the rim and push upward on the stem to get the tube inside the tire.

Check to make sure the tire bead isn’t pinching the tube by gently pushing the tire to the side as you work your way around the rim. Then inflate to the appropriate PSI and check that the bead is seated correctly.

4 Essentials to Build Your Repair Kit
SILCA Mattone Waterproof Seat Bag

$50 at Amazon

Credit: Silca
Pedro's Tire Lever Set

$9 at Amazon

Park Tool Vulcanizing Patch Kit

$6 at Amazon

Credit: Park Tool
Topeak Mountain DA G Mini Pump

$45 at REI

Credit: REI

Step 5: Reinstall the Wheel

If everything looks good, reattach your wheel, making sure the quick release or thru-axle lever is on the opposite side of your drivetrain.

If you had a rear-wheel flat, lay the top of the chain around the smallest cog on your cassette and carefully push the wheel back into the frame. Close your quick release (and rim brakes if applicable) or insert the thru-axle back into the frame and hub and thread it closed.

Finally, lift the rear wheel and spin your cranks once to make sure everything is back in place and operating smoothly. If all is good to go, get back on your bike and enjoy the rest of your ride.

Trevor Raab

How to Plug a Tubeless Tire Instead

For tubeless setups—all but standard in mountain biking and becoming increasingly popular on gravel, cyclocross, and even some road bikes—your sealant should do the trick without you even realizing it. Be sure to check your sealant regularly (about every three to six months) to make sure the tire has enough and that it hasn’t dried out.

But in the event of a bigger puncture or side-wall tear, you may need a tire plug to stop air loss. Plug kits come with a small strip of rubber and an insertion device, which allow you to plug the hole without even removing the wheel. Once you find the puncture and insert the rubber plug, re-inflate your tire to the appropriate pressure to see that it’s holding air. If so, start riding again, and check the repair every so often to make sure it’s holding fast. You could also add more sealant, but you’d need to carry a valve core removal tool and a small bottle of sealant.

Trevor Raab

If air loss is coming from a puncture bigger than a plug fix, you could try a patch or a boot on the tire. But fair warning: It’ll likely be difficult to get a patch to adhere to your sealant-coated tire without thoroughly cleaning the area. Adding more sealant or a patch could create another problem, too, by letting all the air out and breaking the seal between the rim and tire. It’ll likely be difficult to reseat the tire bead onto the rim on the spot. The easiest way to ensure your tire holds air at this point is to simply use a spare emergency tube to get through the ride and address it at home or at a bike shop.

4 Tools to Make Tubeless Easier
Bontrager Bontrager TLR Flash Charger Floor Pump

$155 at Trek Bikes

SCHWALBE SCHWALBE - Tubeless Tire Inflator

$63 at Amazon

Keep It Clean

Stan’s Sealant Injector

$10 at notubes. com

Precisely measure sealant and install with no mess.

Mid-Ride Repair

Dynaplug Micro Pro Repair Kit

$60 at

Brass-tipped plugs make fixing bigger punctures easy.

Jessica Coulon

Service and News Editor

When she’s not out riding her mountain bike, Jessica is an editor for Popular Mechanics. She was previously an editor for Bicycling magazine. 

How to fix a flat bicycle tire

Changing a bike tire might not seem like an especially important life skill, but if you ride a bike in any capacity, it’s a skill you should learn. No one ever plans on having their ride interrupted with a flat tire, but flat tires are one of those annoyances that every rider has the displeasure of experiencing at one point or another. By thinking ahead and taking some time to learn how to change a flat, the hassle of having to change a tire remains just that: an annoying interruption, but not the end of your ride.

If you want to successfully change your bike tire, then before even learning the “how” of it, you first need to know and collect the “what.”

In other words, you need to be prepared, which means having a fix-a-flat kit that you take with you on each ride. At the very least, you should include the basic materials required to effectively fix your flat; what you’ll need will depend on whether you’re riding tubeless or tubed.

Tires with tubes

  • mini pump, preferably with a hose
  • CO2 cartridge(s), a minimum of two is recommended - just in case
  • inner tube(s), a minimum of two is recommended - just in case
  • valve extension, especially if you’re riding aero rims
  • tire levers
  • tube patch kit

Tubeless tires

  • mini pump, preferably with a hose
  • CO2 cartridge(s), a minimum of two is recommended - just in case
  • tire levers
  • tubeless tire repair kit
  • inner tube - just in case

Putting together a fix-a-flat kit might seem like an afterthought, but having one on hand might be the difference between a minor disruption to a ride and a major aggravation. If you end up with a flat, remember - always find a safe place, away from traffic and other possible dangers, before working on your bike.

1. Remove the wheel from the bike

The first step in changing a flat tire might seem obvious, but here it goes: remove the wheel.

If your tires are tubeless and you have a tubeless repair kit, then you might be able to skip this step. If the damage to the tire is a simple puncture, you can just plug it without taking the wheel off. However, if you find that the damage to the tire is extensive enough to where plugging it won’t resolve the issue, then the wheel will need to be removed. To remove the wheel from your bike, start by flipping it upside down.

Pro tip: You might find it easier to work on your bike when it’s upside-down. When flipping your bike, remove the computer from the handlebars to avoid scratching it.

Removing the rear wheel might seem intimidating at first, particularly when you realize that the chain and derailleur are located in the rear. However, the process of removing the back wheel isn’t much more difficult than removing the front, especially if you take your time. To begin, first shift the bike into the smallest sprocket, creating slack in the chain for easier wheel removal and installation. Raise the bike by the saddle and while pedaling with your hand, use the right shift lever to shift gears. Repeat this, using the left shift lever, so that the chain ends up on the smallest chainring in the front as well.

While typical wheel removal requires that you open the brake if you’re addressing a flat tire, then it’s likely that the tire has already lost enough air so that it slides out easily. If your bike is equipped with disc brakes, then you’re in luck because the wheels can be removed without touching the brakes. Quick releases that hold the wheel in place are especially common. To loosen the wheel via quick release, pull - do not twist - the lever out and away from the frame until it is completely open. You should be able to remove the wheel with ease by carefully lifting the bike by its saddle and letting the wheel fall out. If it doesn’t fall on its own, hitting it with the palm of your hand gently should be enough to make it drop. If it still doesn’t come out, then check to make sure the chain and derailleur aren’t stopping it. If they are, lift your bike by its saddle and, while holding it up, reach around with your other hand to pull back the derailleur and consequently, the chain. Some derailleurs are equipped with a clutch, requiring that you release the clutch and then remove the axle. Push the derailleur cage towards the crank and let the wheel drop. At no point should you find yourself trying to force anything to move.

2. Remove/plug the tire

Standard tires are designed with an inner tube, which is inflated with air. While relatively inexpensive to replace, making them a popular option, tubes can be punctured or pinched flat relatively easily. Tubeless tires don’t have an inner tube and are instead equipped with an airtight rim that the tire snuggly rests in.

If you’re running tube, then you’ll need to remove it; if you’re running tubeless, you’ll need to patch it with a tire plug. Tire plug kits are sold at most reputable bike shops and consist of a strips of rubber and an insertion device, requiring no other equipment or changing out hardware. Most tubed tires can be converted to tubeless.

To remove the tire, you’ll need to use your tire levers. To do so, insert the flat end of the lever under the bead. Place a second lever under the bead and move along the rim until the tire is off. In most situations, you can reinstall the replacement or a patched tube without completely removing the tire. By breaking the bead on just one side, you will save a lot of time and greatly simplify the process.

3. Determine cause of flat

While many would recommend you run your finger along the tire to search for the culprit of your flat, doing so could also result in you having to do some patchwork on your finger, too. If whatever punctured your tire is still there and it’s capable of piercing a bike tire, then your finger stands no chance against it. Before doing a hands-on analysis of the problem, visually inspect the tire, both inside and out, first. It might take longer, but you’ll be able to avoid a finger cut and maybe even a tetanus shot. You can also pack cotton pads or use something else to create a barrier between your finger and the sharp object that it might encounter, but there’s still a risk of injury . Tire levers are used for the removal of tires, but you can also run one along the tire for inspection purposes if you prefer playing it safe.

If both the visual and tactile inspections fail, reinflate the tire to see if you can hear the air leaking out of the puncture point. If you find only one puncture hole, then you’re most likely looking at road debris as being the culprit. Depending on the location and manner in which your tire has been punctured, a pointed tool, such as a screwdriver, can be used to push out the object in question before it works itself inward and creates additional punctures. If you see two holes next to each other, then it’s likely that you’re dealing with a pinch-flat, which means your flat wasn’t caused by road or trail debris; it was caused when the tube got itself pinched between the tire and rim.

4. Patch the problem(if applicable)

Patching tubes is an excellent option for anyone who prefers pinching a few pennies, going green by reusing, or being resourceful when there are no more spares. Patch kits are available exactly for this purpose and come with everything you need need in order to get the job done. Patch kits also happen to be very compact so they are a perfect backup, even if you prefer to replace the tube outright.

If patching is your thing, then you’ll want to start by cleaning the affected area and then roughing the surface with an emery cloth or sandpaper. Kits come with two kinds of patches: glueless and those required glue. If your kit has glueless patches, then it’s basically like putting on a bandaid: peel off the backing, place it over the hole, and press with firm pressure. If your patches require glue, then simply add a thin layer of glue to both the tube and the patch. Once the glue has reached a tacky consistency, place the patch and press firmly until you’re sure it’s solidly in place.

There are some flats that are simply too severe to patch. In those circumstances, you’ll need to skip this step and simply install a new tube.

5. Install new/patched tube

To install your tube, you’ll start by using your pump to inflate it just enough so that it obtains its form, making it easier for installation and reducing your chances of suffering a pinch-flat. Starting with the valve stem, put the tube on the rim and insert the stem straight through the valve hole. Carefully work the tire back onto the rim by rolling the bead away from yourself using your hands, not a lever; levers increase the likelihood of accidentally puncturing the replacement tube. Upon reaching the valve stem, wrap sides of the tire bead low into the rim and push up on the stem to get the tube into the tire.

Pro tip: if you align the branding on the tire with the stem, you’ll be able to locate the stem much quicker next time.

To avoid having to deal with another flat, it’s important that you take extra care to ensure that the tire bead isn’t pinching the tube. Do this by grabbing the tire with both hands and "massaging" and twisting it side-to-side as you work around the rim. This will ensure that the tube is positioned correctly inside the tire, away from the bead that can pinch it.

6. Inflate the tire

Now is when you find out whether or not your efforts paid off; it’s time to inflate your tire. To do this, you can use either a CO2 cartridge, a minipump, or both. Each method of inflation has its pros and cons, so ultimately, choose what’s most comfortable for you. If possible, equip yourself with both.

CO2 cartridges are highly effective, especially when your goal is to inflate to higher pressures, but they are a one shot deal, so there’s no reusing them. It’s a good idea to practice tire inflation at home using a CO2 cartridge to ensure that when the inevitable occurs, you don’t blow out your tube or waste the cartridge, and get left stranded. The key to using a CO2 cartridge is to ensure that the inflator is properly connected to the valve stem.

Having a minipump in your arsenal is highly recommended so that you always have a backup method for tire inflation, even if it’s not as easy to use as CO2 cartridge. Having a pump with a hose is also strongly suggested because it allows you to push the pump against the ground for better leverage, allowing you to accomplish higher pressures; pumps that attach directly to the valve stem don’t offer this advantage and might cause damage to the valve stem or even the rim when used improperly. Combination mini pump/CO2 inflators are also available.

As you’re inflating to your desired PSI, double and triple check the bead so that you’re sure it’s sitting in the rim correctly. Only after you’re certain that everything is in its proper place should you reattach your wheel.

7. Install the wheel

Last but not least, it’s time to install the wheel. The processes of replacing the front and back wheels vary a bit, but neither is especially harder than the other, as long as you know how to effectively get the job done.

To attach the front wheel, first line up the fork dropouts with the axle of the wheel and gently lower the fork onto the axle. Carefully push down on the handlebar to check for the proper placement of the axle in the dropouts. It’s important to be mindful that the quick release or thru-axle lever is on the opposite side of the drivetrain and not touching the frame. Hold the quick release lever in place as you tighten the bolt. If you find that the lever closes too easily or ends up making contact with the frame, just open the lever and tighten the bolt a bit more. Be careful that you don’t over tighten the bolt, as it should be tightened just enough to allow you to use firm pressure when closing the quick lever. If your bike is equipped with rim brakes, don’t forget to reconnect, adjust, and check them for functionality.

If your flat occurred on the rear wheel, then lay the top of the chain around the smallest cog on the cassette and make sure the frame dropouts line up with the axle. As you gently push the wheel back into the frame, take care to also pull the derailleur down and back so that it doesn’t get in the way. In the event that the wheel doesn’t go in easily, remove it and try again. If you’re sure that the wheel properly placed, then it’s time to close the quick release (and rim brakes if applicable) or insert the thru-axle into the frame and hub and thread it shut. The final test in determining whether your bike is ready to continue its journey is by lifting the rear wheel and spinning the cranks. If it runs smoothly, then you know you’re good to go.

Some useful tips and tricks

Flat tires are already unplanned and unexpected; planning ahead by prepping a fix-a-flat kit and learning how to change your tire can ease your mind for such unfortunate circumstances, but what do you do when even fixing your flat doesn’t go as planned? Read on for some quick, easy solutions when even flat tires don’t go your way.

Small, unfixable punctures. Super glue is already a life-saver in so many situations, so why should cycling prove to be any different? Super glue is a great quick fix for smaller punctures that might not be fixable otherwise, albeit temporary.

Large, unfixable punctures. If you find that you end up with a hole that’s simply too big to repair, then it’s time to resort to some out-of-the-box thinking. Cut out the damaged innertube section and tie the two ends together. It’ll be obvious to you that it’s not a perfect solution, but you should at least be able to reach about 50 psi, which is certainly enough until you can better resolve your tire situation.

Unfixable tire and sidewall gashes. In the event that your tire or the sidewall of your tire ends up sliced or gashed beyond standard repair, don’t despair; make a boot instead. Using a dollar bill, old gel wrapper, or piece of duct tape to cover the hole from the inside is a quick, easy way to resolve your emergency until you get home. It might not be ideal, but it should suffice until a more permanent resolution can be made.


Learning the skill of bike tire repair can be thought of as a form of insurance: you might not want it and you might never use it, but if ever find yourself in a situation where you need it, you’ll be glad it’s there. The folks at Velosurance are all cyclists and understand that it’s only a matter of time before an unfortunate circumstance arises. From gap medical to liability, vehicle contact protection to even roadside assistance - for when you’ve got a flat and are fresh out of options - Velosurance offers a highly customizable policy to provide coverage for nearly any cycling associate risk. Whatever your needs, chances are, there’s a policy for you.

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How to seal a bicycle inner tube at home -

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If you do not know how to seal a bicycle inner tube, then everything is quite simple - you only need glue and a patch. But wrenches, hexagons, disassembly, a container of water and a vise will also come in handy. The set is enough, so you can carry out repairs in any conditions.

Scheme of carrying out

Do-it-yourself repair of the bicycle chamber is carried out according to the following algorithm:

  • wheel removal. Before gluing the camera on a bicycle, you need to disconnect the brakes, unscrew the bolts on the sleeve. Then the wheel is carefully removed;
  • Remove a damaged camera. The wheel is disassembled with a flat object. Before sealing the bicycle inner tube, it must be completely lowered and removed;
  • further you need to find a hole. To do this, use a container of water. With the help of bubbles, it is determined exactly where the damage is located. Another option is to find a puncture in the bicycle chamber by ear - listen to where the air comes out;
  • sealing the hole. This requires a repair kit. Before sticking the camera on the bike, the surface is protected. You can use special tools, in extreme cases, a napkin will do. Then the film is removed from the patch, the adhesive is applied. It is pressed to the puncture site and held for several minutes;
  • reassembly. First you need to check the insulation tape inside the rim. Then the chamber is laid, the tire is refueled. Next comes the camera itself. This repair has been completed.

Sealing a bicycle wheel tube is easy - just remove it, patch the puncture site with a patch and put it back in place.

Other options

How to seal the bicycle chamber with a repair kit is understandable, but what if it is not there, but the repair is necessary? For example, a patch can be made from any rubber. Any glue is suitable, but the main thing is not to choose industrial.

There are also critical moments. In some cases, it is necessary to close the hole without glue and without removing the wheel. The patch is applied so that when inflated, it is pressed with strong pressure. But in this case, you need a pump.

If you don't have a rubber patch, a dampened plastic bag or duct tape will do, but only if you don't know how to seal the inner tube of your bike to get home, because the wheel won't withstand heavy loads.

Another option is vulcanization. This requires special tools, but the result is reliable. The point is that the patch and the camera are pressed against each other. Thanks to heating, both elements form a single whole. Before you seal the camera at home, think about vulcanization.

Ways to prevent a puncture

Even if you know how to properly seal a bicycle inner tube, it's worth learning how to avoid a puncture.

One of the most interesting options is cameras that can be sealed by themselves. Resin or a special gel is poured inside. When a breakdown occurs, the substance flows into the puncture point and seals it. In this case, it will be possible not to think about repairs for some time, but it will still have to be done sooner or later.

It is worth following a few simple recommendations to prevent a puncture:

  • the tire must be properly inflated. If it is pumped or under-pumped, then the risk of a rupture increases significantly;
  • it is worth paying attention to the roads. Most often, holes appear due to iron screws, glass or nails. They are easy to avoid if you keep an eye on the surface you are riding on;
  • must carefully avoid obstacles. Even if the wheels are cushioned, this does not mean that damage will not occur. There may not be a breakdown the first time, but it will not always be so;
  • use a special tape - this is an additional rubber layer that is placed under the tire inside the wheel.

These simple tips will help you avoid punctures and save time on repairs, although they will not take much time. But, nevertheless, it is better to prevent trouble than to deal with its consequences.

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How to properly change and seal the bike tube

Sooner or later, every cyclist has such an unpleasant situation as a bicycle tube puncture. Finding a flat tire at home is one thing (although it also requires some knowledge of camera repair), but what if you blew it during a multi-kilometer ride, for example, somewhere in a field? How to determine the puncture site in such a situation, correctly change and seal the bicycle chamber, what kind of glue and patches are best suited for this purpose. In addition, in this article we will consider some of the nuances of repair and proper operation of bicycle chambers, for example, we will talk about what pressure they should have and much more.

Contents of the article

  • 1 Replacing the bicycle inner tube
  • 2 How to determine the location of the puncture
  • 3 How to seal the inner tube
  • 4 How to stick the patch correctly
  • 5 What to do if the inner tube is leaking 90 010
  • 012
  • 7 Related video
  • 8 Conclusion

Replacing the bicycle inner tube

During long trips, it is advisable to carry with you not only a bicycle tool, but also a spare tube, with which you can quickly replace the failed one and go further. After all, this is much faster than waiting for the glue to dry on a freshly sealed one. Therefore, in this section we will consider such a question as how to remove a bicycle tire and replace the camera when it is punctured.

  1. Remove the wheel from the bike. To do this, loosen the eccentric (or unscrew the fixing nut on the axis).
  2. We wipe the side surfaces of the tire and rim from dirt with a rag.
  3. Lay the wheel on its side and make a mark with chalk (or other materials at hand) on the tire opposite the camera nipple. If there is nothing at hand, then remember this position, relying on the side inscriptions. After that, the wheel should remain only on this side. This is necessary so that after we take out the camera and find a puncture on it, we can, by attaching it to the tire, find the place where the foreign object pierced the latter. In most cases, the plant's nail or needle remains in the bike tire, and if left unremoved, it will pierce the new tube as soon as it is replaced.
  4. We unscrew the cap of the chamber nipple, and, pressing on the nipple, let the air out until the edges of the tire “leave behind” the rim sides. The camera can not be completely lowered.
  5. Then, using a special beading blade (mounting tool), pry off the edge of the tire, and, resting the blade against the rim wall, pull its bead out.

    Be careful not to get a tube between the mount and the rim. This may lead to its rupture. If you do not have a magazine spatula, then you can use any non-sharp, preferably plastic object of a similar shape. It is not necessary to use wooden products for these purposes (they may be with burrs) or metal products that damage the paintwork of the bicycle rim. Sharp objects (screwdrivers, knives, etc.) are strictly not recommended for use. They can damage both the tube and the tire.

  6. After you have pulled out a part of the bead, hold it with the other hand, and draw it along the contour of the rim with a spatula. At this stage, we have removed one side of the tire.
  7. We pull out the chamber, for which we push the nipple inside the rim, and slowly take it out.

    It is important not to turn it over to the other side until we find the puncture site and find it on the tire (by attaching a tube to it).

  8. After that, we remove the bicycle tire completely (you can not do this right away, but try to find the puncture site by touch, but with the tire removed, of course, it is easier). We move its side, which remains between the walls of the rim, to the edge and, holding the latter, pull it towards us. After we remove it, we leave the tire in the same position as it stood on the rim (to search for a foreign object stuck in it).
  9. Check the inside of the rim and tire for debris and foreign objects that should be removed before installing a new inner tube.
  10. We inflate the bicycle chamber and find the puncture site, remembering its position or marking it, for example, with chalk. After that, we lower it completely through the nipple.
  11. We apply the camera to the tire, placing its nipple against the mark, and make a second mark at the site of the hole found.
  12. We run our hand along the inside of the tire at the puncture site and find a sharp object that is easy to remove with tweezers or pliers.
  13. After that we put one side of the tire on the rim. Please note that during installation, the correct direction of the protector must be observed. This can be done by looking at the side of the tire. On one or both sides there will be arrows indicating the correct direction of rotation (the inscription Drive, Direction or just an arrow may be present). Next, we insert a new chamber inside, pulling the nipple through the corresponding hole on the rim (for ease of installation, the bicycle chamber can be pumped up a little), and put on the second side. We inflate the wheel with a pump and screw on the cap.

The punctured chamber should then be repaired, for example after you have returned home from a bike ride or during a break.

How to spot a puncture

At first glance, a very simple procedure for locating a puncture can become much more complicated depending on where you find a flat tire (at home or during a trip). To simplify the search procedure, it should be taken into account that in 90% of cases it is located on the so-called "contact spot" of the wheel with the road, usually no higher than 2/3 of the chamber height. An exception may be damage from the rim (if the rim tape failed on the latter) or the iron threads of the tire cord that came out. Therefore, we will consider several options for how to find a hole in the bicycle chamber through which air is bled.

  • The easiest way is to lower the camera into the water. It is enough to have an insignificant tank, the depth of which allows you to immerse it at least 2/3 of the height. We rotate the camera until we find air bubbles that will escape from the water. After we take it out, find the puncture site and proceed to repair.
  • If there is no water nearby, then fine dust will come to the rescue (which can be found on dirt roads). We increase the pressure in the chamber to enhance the air jet from the hole and bring it a short distance to the dust (without touching it). We rotate the camera, and we look at the place where the dust will begin to scatter.
  • If there is calm weather outside, then a puncture can be detected by bringing the camera to a wet wrist (its inner side). The skin should be wet to make the search as easy as possible. For this method it is also desirable to increase the pressure.
  • In case of a severe puncture in a quiet place, it can be detected by ear.

What can be used to seal the tube

Not all adhesives or patches are suitable for repairing a punctured bicycle wheel. Therefore, it is worth dwelling in more detail on the topic of what is possible and what should not be sealed with a bike camera. There are several options, which we will discuss below.

  1. Specialized repair kits. A lot of bicycle parts manufacturers produce so-called bicycle camera repair kits, which usually consist of a case, a crayon to mark the puncture site, a sander (usually a metal perforated plate or a piece of sandpaper), several patches of various shapes and sizes, and glue. The composition of the adhesive is specifically designed to be used with the surface of specific patches (with which it enters into a chemical reaction), so using it together with patches from another manufacturer may not work. Fortunately, in most of these repair kits, the amount of glue is clearly calculated for the number of patches.
  2. Chinese bicycle camera repair kits. Some riders underestimate the power of the Chinese industry and look down on their belts. I can’t talk about everything (I’m sure some of them are really terrible), but for the last 4 years I’ve been using exclusively Chinese Red Sun patches (although this may not be a company, but the name of a repair kit). They are quite common. For several years of use, none of the patches flew off and began to let air through. And the cost of this product is lower than that of famous brands. The disadvantages include that the set contains only glue and patches, and what is most offensive, there are disproportionately more patches than glue. Well, these are already trifles. In general, I advise everyone.
  3. The third option is the most unreliable and therefore it should be used only as a last resort. Here we have highlighted homemade patches that can be made from an old bicycle inner tube. As an adhesive, you can use almost any plastic adhesive for rubber. But in this case, the reliability of the patch turns out to be very low. It says so, "at your own peril and risk." When using homemade patches, you can not use glue, which, when solidified, can burst at the bends.
  4. Vulcanization. Sounds good, is very reliable (better than any glue and patches, given that you vulcanize in a specialized workshop), but in reality it is not worth the money and troubles. It is quite difficult to do at home (and impossible in the field) and you can easily screw up the camera.

How to glue the patch correctly

After we have found and marked the place of the bicycle inner tube puncture, it is necessary to start its repair, namely, to seal this hole. To do this, you must perform the following operations.

  1. If the camera is wet (after looking for a defect), then you should wait for it to dry completely. Plus, it must be completely deflated.
  2. Using sandpaper or a special perforated iron plate (which is usually present in bicycle tube repair kits), we clean the puncture site until a matte color appears. The sanding area should be 1 centimeter larger than the size of the bike patch in diameter. After this procedure, we try not to touch this place with our hands or other objects.
  3. Remove the protective film from the surface of the patch, which we will stick to the camera.
  4. Apply glue. It can be applied to the patch only, to the camera only, or to both. This information can be found on the adhesive tube. We also pay attention to the exposure time in air and the time of complete solidification indicated there (the last two points may not be indicated).
  5. We firmly press the patch to the place we need, squeeze the air out from under it (to do this, press on its center and gradually move towards the edges) and keep it in this state for several minutes. The procedure is simplified if you put the camera on a flat surface, place a strong plate on top (for example, a piece of laminate) and press it down with all your weight by stepping on it. We compress the place of gluing for about 5 minutes.
  6. Many people say that after that you can immediately put the camera in the bike wheel and ride, but I would advise you to wait at least another 30 minutes.

What to do if the tube deflates

If, after you have sealed a puncture on the bike tube, it still deflates over time, you should check:

  • Whether the air is leaking from under the patch. To do this, the place with the patch should be lowered into the water and make sure there are no air bubbles. If they are, then you will have to tear off the old and glue a new patch.
  • Check for other smaller punctures by lowering the camera into water. If they are found, seal them.
  • Check for air leaks at the nipple. To do this, spit on it (or, if you do everything right, apply a soapy solution) and watch for several tens of seconds. If it skips, then bubbles will form on it. If a leak is found, tighten the nipple with a special wrench.
  • Metalized cord has come out. It happens that over time on cheap bicycle tires the cord breaks down, which is a thin wire (more expensive tires use nylon threads and other materials) that can crawl out from the inside of the tire and constantly pierce the tube. If such a problem is found, the tire should be replaced as soon as possible. A temporary solution is to pull out the protruding cord wire and seal this place with a patch for the camera. But I repeat that in this case, a tire replacement is required, because. this will be repeated regularly.

If the tube is damaged at the base of the nipple (for example, it is rubbed by the rim), it is best to replace it immediately. As a rule, such defects cannot be repaired.

Tips for avoiding punctures

To reduce the chance of unexpected tire and tube damage while riding, follow a few simple rules.

  • Maintain the correct tire pressure. There is no specific figure here, because for certain tubes / tires, the nominal working pressure may be different. For example, on mountain bikes, the pressure in the chamber should be about 2.5-5 bar, and on road bikes - 6-9bar. On the tire of the bicycle there are corresponding inscriptions of the minimum and maximum pressure. It looks like this. If the pressure is too low, this greatly increases the risk of puncture. It is worth remembering that when driving in winter or in the autumn-spring period, the temperature outside is lower than in the apartment. Therefore, on cold days, the chamber should be inflated a little more (because as the temperature of the air in the closed volume decreases, its pressure decreases). Therefore, if you pump up to 3 bar in summer, then in winter you can increase the pressure by about 1 bar (but not higher than the maximum allowable).
  • Change tires when worn. When developing its resource (erasing the tread), the likelihood of a puncture also increases. And if you have a worn tire, and you began to notice that the wheel began to break through more and more often, you should think about replacing the tire.

There are two more devices on the bike parts market that are designed to make life easier (at least they position themselves that way) when riding a bike. This is an anti-puncture tape and sealant, which is poured in a small amount into the chamber and is designed to “tighten” punctures while driving.

Anti-puncture tape is a strip of soft, rubberized plastic or, in more expensive products, Kevlar, that can be glued or simply inserted between the tire and the bicycle tube to protect against punctures. But there are pitfalls here. Cheap anti-puncture, firstly, does not always protect against punctures, and secondly, it can fall apart inside the tire and rub the chamber into dust with its fragments, thereby dooming the latter to ejection. Plus, it's extra weight. In general, after sitting on the forums, I agreed that they are more blamed than praised.

As far as the sealant is concerned, things are not so good either. As a temporary solution, when you don’t want to bother with replacing the camera, you can, of course, use it. But the sealant does not seal the puncture completely, but only reduces air leakage. Plus, there were complaints after use, when they wanted to stick a patch on the puncture site.

In general, according to the editors, it is better to use better quality bicycle tires with built-in puncture protection, carry a spare tube with you and not bother with the above accessories.

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After reading this article, we can conclude that replacing and repairing a bicycle inner tube is not such a difficult task, and sealing it during a trip is not much more difficult than doing it at home. The most important thing on long trips is to have another spare tube and a puncture repair kit with you. Also, do not forget to pump up the chamber to the required pressure in time and change worn-out bicycle tires in a timely manner.

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