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Bike Mechanics 101: Change a Tire

Posted May 07 2010 8:58am

First up:  Changing a bike tire

This is probably the most important thing to know how to do if you ride a bike, whether for fun, fitness, or racing. You never know when a flat could happen!

I personally like my own version of changing a tire , but here’s what was covered at last night’s bike maintenance class . I found I was doing a few things wrong, but hey, if it works, it works!

(PS If you’re a picture person, go read this tutorial instead.)

1. Elevate bike- use bike stand, tree limb, friend. (You can turn it upside down, but that can cause the chain to fall in a weird manner & make getting it back on more difficult. I’m going to use that as my excuse;))

2. Release brake quick release. (Unless you have disc brakes- then you won’t have one/need to)

3. Open quick release and loosen skewer nut.

bike quick release

4. Remove wheel from bike.

5. Release air

6. Use a pair of tire levers to help you get one side of the tire off. Use one lever to pull a piece of the tire out from under the rim, then attach it to a spoke. Use a 2nd lever and starting where the tire is already released, run the lever around the edge of the tire until one side is completely free.

7. Pull out tube.

8. Find out what caused the flat & fix it!

9. Get a new tube. Some people like to put a little air in it, some don’t.

10. Put the air nozzle through the hole in the rim, then slide tube into tire.

11. Push free edge of tire back into rim. Try not to use any tools to get the tire back on, as it could puncture the tube. (Tip: Face the edge of the tire you’re trying to get back in away from you. Using the palm of your hand, pull towards you in a rolling motion on the tire.)

12. Make sure tube is not sticking out or caught anywhere.

13. Fill with air.

14. Put tire back on. Best to have quick release on left side of the bike, pointing back or up.

Random tidbits:

-90% of flats occur in the back tire. (Bikers tend to steer around objects, but only with the front wheel, not the back. Plus there’s more weight back there!)

-The #1 cause of flat tires is inadequate air pressure—top off your tires at least once/month.

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