With the correct tools and know how, a puncture needn't be a catastrophe. Whether you own a Road Bike, Mountain Bike, Hybrid/Commuter Bike, BMX, Folding Bike or a Cyclocross bike, this step by step guide to puncture repair will get you back in the saddle in no time.
Top tip: always carry a spare inner tube. If you get a puncture when out and about, it's quicker to replace the inner tube than patch up a tube on the road side. You can fix the punctured inner tube when you get home!
For this simple guide you will need
Step 1 - Remove the wheel
- Loosen the quick release skewer
The first thing you need to do when replacing or repairing an inner tube is take the wheel out of the frame. If your bike has quick release skewers then loosen these and release your brakes.
If you are changing the tube in your front wheel then this should now just pop out.
If you are changing a rear wheel, ensure your bike is in the smallest sprocket prior to loosening the skewer. Once your chain is sitting in the smallest sprocket pull the rear dérailleur back to allow the wheel to drop out. A bike stand would make this process much easier.
Step 2 - Remove the tyre
- Use the levers to remove the tyre from the rim
Once the wheel has been removed from the frame, the tyre needs to be taken off the wheel itself. Tyres vary. Some are quite loose fitting and will be easier to remove from the rim than others. It's always worth carrying a decent set of tyre levers with you to make this process much easier.
Insert one tyre lever under the edge of the tyre (also known as the bead) and lever it away from the rim of the wheel. Some tyre levers will have a hook on one end allowing you to hook this onto a spoke as pictured above. If not, just hold the tyre lever ensuring that the tyre is being held away from the wheel rim. Using the second lever, repeat the process about 10-15cm away from the first lever and run it around the wheel to separate the tyre from the clincher of the rim - the tyre should now be completely lifted from one side of the wheel.
Step 3 - Checking tyre and tube
- Remove the lock ring as above if your bike has one
Remove the valve cap from the wheel and the lock ring if there is one. Gently remove the tube from the rim of the wheel. If there is nothing obvious causing the puncture, use a pump to inflate the tube slightly and place it close to your ear listening for escaping air. Another trick is to fill a bowl with water and look for escaping air as you place the tube in it.
Step 4 - Investigate cause of puncture
- Run a cloth around the inside of your tyre to check for debris
Once the puncture has been determined, remove any debris from the area and sand down the affected area of the inner tube using the sand paper supplied in the puncture repair kit.
Run a moist cloth or rag around the rim and inside of the tyre to ensure no debris is left. - You wouldn't want to go through all this and then have to repeat the steps due to a bit of debris or a thorn stuck in the tyre.
Once the area is smooth, use the adhesive that will have come supplied in the puncture repair kit to rub an approximate 1cm circle over the part of the tube that was penetrated and wait a moment for the adhesive to become thick and sticky.
Place a patch from the puncture kit over the affected area and compress to ensure there are no air bubbles. Leave for a minimum of 5 minutes so the glue can dry.
Step 5 - Re-fitting the inner tube
- Slightly inflate the tube using a pump. This will make the process simpler
Slightly inflate the tube using the pump to make the inner tube take shape.
Place the inner tube back onto the rim, starting at the valve and work it around the wheel. This can be easier if you put one side of the tyre on the wheel before doing so.
Step 6 - Re-fitting the tyre
- Encourage the tyre back onto the clincher of the rim. Tyre levers may be needed for this step
Now the inner tube is laying between the tyre and the rim, start putting the free side of the tyre onto the wheel using the two tyre levers. Start at the valve and move both tyre levers away to persuade the tyre into the clincher of the rim. This bit can be slightly tricky the first couple of times you attempt it, especially in the last 4 or 5 inches of the tyre.
Step 7 - Inflate the tube
- Inflate the tyre using a pump. The recommended PSI should be on the wall of the tyre
Inflate the tyre. If you are unsure of the PSI needed, it should state on the tyre wall. Failing this, check out our guide to tyre PSI levels.
Step 8 - Re-fitting the wheel to the frame
- Place the wheel back into the bike and tighten the skewer accordingly
Once the tyre is inflated to its optimum PSI put the wheel back into the frame of the bike and tighten the skewer. Don't forget to reconnect your brakes before setting off again.
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