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tyre change, puncture repair
  • winkybiker

    It goes against common advice which is to start at the valve, but I always leave the valve section to last when re-seating. That way, I can use the valve itself to push the tube away from the rim to get it out of the way and avoid pinching it with the last little bit of tyre. My other tip is to work the slack around repeatedly, while keeping the pressure/tension on with one hand. Squeeze the tyre and flex it back and forth while working the slack around in each direction from the side already mounted, keeping tension on the last bit you’re trying to seat.

    • Simon E

      Yep, I finish refitting the tyre at the valve for this reason. I think there is definitely some knack to working the tyre back on which you only get with practice.

      Use 3 tyre levers, and experiment with spacing to get enough of the bead over the rim. I’ve read you can use washing-up liquid or soap to help ease the tyre over too but not tried it.

      Another tip I’ve read is to pump up new tyres to a high pressure (e.g. 120 psi or 8+bar for 700×23) and wait a week. Then when you have to remove and refit there will be a little more give than before.

      • Dave

        The dishwashing water tip works.

  • Phil Hubbard

    A weird one from an old shop hand in the UK, if you’re really struggling with a tyre for the first time. Take the tube out and fit it to the rim with no tube, remove the tyre and do it again. Apparently with some folding tyres this can help to stretch the bead slightly to make it easier to get on

    • winkybiker

      That makes sense to me. Tyres are always hardest to seat when they’re brand new. Second time is easier.

  • OneHandCyclist

    Hi, great article with handy tips. I have a challenging time changing tubes. I can do it easily enough at home on my work bench, but on the road is very very difficult as i only have the use of one hand. That large tyre lever you use, what brand is it? Any tips on changing a tube with one hand?


    • Tim Dougherty

      Some tire /rim combinations make tire changing easy- others not so easy. I have Zipp 404 clincher rims and use Michelin tires. For some reason this combination means I can get the tire off and on without using any tools at all.
      Also, I find that using latex tubes means that I tend to get fewer flats than those running regular butyl tubes. I know this is only anecdotal evidence, and latex tubes are more expensive than butyl tubes, but for me they are well worth the expense.

    • Ashok Captain

      As TD (below) says – some tyres/ tires fit some rims easier than others. Worth finding combinations that you can manage and like riding on. Another thing to try is either some old school toe straps, or strong velcro bits to secure the sections of tube and tyre that you’ve already installed. I also use talc (make sure it doesn’t have boric powder) inside the tyre and pre-talc the spare tubes and repack them.

    • winkybiker

      Look for tyre levers that can hook to the spokes. That way you can set one and work the other around to unseat the tyre. For re-seating, I’d be inclined to pre-stretch new tyres by putting them on and off a few times in the comfort of your home (or stretching them with weights or something), before you have to do it in anger. Experimenting with different combinations may not be (personally) practical, but your bike shop may have advice.

  • Ashok Captain

    Agree with all the advice below. Pre-treatment of tyres and spare tubes with French chalk powder (magnesium silicate) or an unmedicated bath talc (Johnson’s Baby Powder) helps (some with boric powder eat the rubber); as does slightly wetting the last section of rim and tyre. Regardless of valve drilling, I use Presta valve spares. If using them on rims for Schrader valves, a small oval piece of inner tube or a puncture patch ‘impaled’ by the Presta valve acts as a boot for the larger drilling. Its important to keep the valve absolutely perpendicular to the rim (Schrader valves can be particularly annoying). If using a pump head that fits the valve directly, grip tyre, rim and pump head, else the Presta valve can snap off. The best take-along pumps have a small foot step, are aluminium (not plastic) and have a switch on-off head. The screw-on attachments are preferred by some, but take ages to thread on and off and when tired one’s fine motor movements slow down a lot. If one has no tyre levers, one can use (certain) quick release skewers (be careful not to lose the springs and other end)! I prefer to start with the valve end and never use a tyre lever to replace the tyre. And lotsa no-puncture vibes to all.

  • Dave

    The biggest tip here is to do your research before buying wheels, because not all rims are equally sized and a tiny difference can have a huge impact.

    A good way to do this is to get custom wheels from an experienced independent wheel builder. As well as benefitting from their expertise, you’re guaranteed to know they’ll be true when you get them (not necessarily the case with factory wheels) and you’ll get what is best for you rather than compromising.

    • winkybiker

      Never had a factory wheel that wasn’t perfectly true and evenly tensioned. I’ve had way fewer issues since switching to factory wheels than I ever did with hand-builts (constant truing, frequent broken spokes), but then, my builders were perhaps rubbish. Factory wheel have pretty much been set and forget. I’ve broken one spoke on factory wheels in 15 years and the rim on that wheel was trashed (by brake wear) by then anyway.

  • Robert

    Another tip when changing a tyre is that a warm tyre will stretch more easily than a cold one. If you can leave the tyre out I need the sun to warm up before fitting (unless in Melbourne where the sun never shines lately). If you are at home you can even, with care, pop the tyre in to a warm oven for a couple of minutes, but not too hot and not directly on to metal grills or it will just melt! Always avoid using levers to get a tyre on, try to use your hands only. That can be hard of course if you do not have strong hands, so I usually wear cycling mitts to avoid blisters!


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