Got a puncture? Tyres soft and flat? That sounds like a puncture. Here’s how to remove and replace the inner tube that sits under the tyre itself.
First though, check you haven’t just got a soft tyre by pumping them up. We explain how in our Beginners Guide to Pumping Your Tyres article.
If you get a puncture while out on your bike, it’s quicker and easier to just replace the inner tube, rather than faff on trying to patch it up. From experience, we’ve found it’s never a wise idea to wait for a puncture; it’s best to practise the technique at home. Some tyre and tube combinations can be quite tight, needing thumbs of steel, don’t give up, persevere and you’ll get there in the end.
2 x tyre lever
1 x mini OR floor pump
1 x new inner tube
- If you’ve suffered a rear flat, shift your gears to the outermost gear at the back and innermost at the front to make it easier to get the wheel off.
- If you’ve got v-brakes release them before removing your wheel. This is not something to worry about if you run disc brakes.
Accessing punctured inner tube
- Use thumbs to push bead of tyre towards centre of rim. Loosening the bead will make it easier to use tyre levers.
- With end of tyre lever under bead, affix lever to spoke.
Removing punctured inner tube
- Remove valve of inner tube from valve hole.
Installing new inner tube
- Remove dust cap, lock ring and unscrew Presta valve tip on new inner tube.
- Place the rest of inner tube inside tyre.
- Continue pushing bead over rim. This is easier with some tyre/rim combinations than others. If your combination is tight, push tyre bead into middle channel of rim to create some slack.
- Once bead is over rim, check both sides of tyre to ensure no inner tube is poking out. If so, remove tyre and start from step 18.
- Ensure quick-release skewer is unwound and brakes are still open.
- Hold quick release lever open, opposite its final closed resting place.
- Use other hand to tighten nut, stop when you can feel resistance on quick release lever.
- Remember to re-connect your brakes.
Go forth and repair!
How did we do?
As this is the first in our How to series, we’re keen to get your feedback. In the comments section below we’d love to here how you got on following this guide.
Demystifying the technical vocab of the cycling world.
Inner tube: Separate inflatable tube that goes inside your tyre.
Presta valve: Type of valve on inner tube. A thin valve, with screw-in tip, means high pressures can be achieved and maintained.
Schraeder valve: Type of valve on inner tube, also the same as found on cars. A wide valve, predominately reserved for mountain biking, with pin in the centre to release air.
Quick-release wheels: A mechanism that allows you to remove wheels without the need for tools. A skewer runs through the axle, with a lever one end and nut the other.
Spokes: Thin poles or blades on your wheels that connect the rim to the hub.
Spoke nipples: Special nuts usually found connecting the spoke to the rim. It helps to adjust the tension of the spoke.
Lock ring: A ring that screws on the threads of the inner tube valve. Once the valve has been inserted through the rim, the lock ring holds valve in place, preventing movement.
Rear derailleur: A mechanism that moves the chain between sprockets to give a range of gears.
Sprockets: Toothed discs that the chain run on to drive the rear wheel.
Bead: Metal or Kevlar wire found in tyre. Holds tyre to the rim.
V-brakes: A brake that acts on the rim. V-brakes have two nearly vertical arms that mount on pivots on the frame and are pulled together with a brake cable across the top.
Rim: Outer part of the wheel, where the tyre mounts.
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