How to Fix Flat Bike Tire Without Tools in 4 Steps
One of the worst things that can happen to a cyclist is a flat tire on a long ride. Sometimes you mistakenly forget to bring a bike repair kit and you don’t have anything to fix it.
Therefore, building some maintenance skills to prepare for this riding scenario is crucial. So, how do you fix a flat bike tire without tools?
Well, you have to learn how to remove the tire from the rim, inflate the tube, and put it back on the bike rim. The process is simple after reading the guide below:
Why Bike Tire Keeps Going Flat
No one likes a flat tire that keeps going flat. It is a major hindrance on the road and can eventually compromise your safety. Having a flat tire means having to slow down, and taking time to inspect and repair your bike.
There are several reasons why your bike tire goes flat. Here are the top culprits of your flat bike tires:
1. Glass shards
Glass shards are hard and strong materials that can easily puncture any object. They cause a lot of damage, especially to pedestrians or bikers because they are often not visible on the road. You can easily pass through it without even noticing. The next thing you know, the material punctured your tire, and now it’s starting to deflate.
Thus, it is essential to be very observant when biking. If there are any shiny material on the lane, it’s probably broken glass that has the potential to damage your bike tire.
2. Goatheads and thorns
Thorns and goatheads are also culprits. Goatheads are plant-born spike balls that can easily penetrate your tire. They are caltrops that stick to your tires, and eventually puncture them.
Like broken glasses, goatheads are not very visible on the road. Their color easily blend with the environment, and it would be hard for you to see them while biking. Thus, avoid riding on the edges of the trial, where more goatheads are located.
3. Pinch flats
Pinch flats or snake bites are little punctures on the edges of your bike tube. They are the result of the tube constantly being pinched between the road and the bike rim. It usually happens when you are riding at a speed. Most pinch flats start from underinflated tires given the lack of pressure to keep the rim off the road.
4. Tire wear
Excessive use of your bicycle also causes flat tires, and you need to change a bike tire without tools in the process. You might not notice, but your tire develops tumors due to wear. Bike tires that are ridden down to the cords will lack rubber to protect the tube within. As a result, sharp objects can easily penetrate through the material.
In case you unluckily encounter these things, especially during long-distance cycling, you might need knowledge on how to fix a flat tire bike without using any tool:
- Remove the tire
- Break the tire bead
- Pull the tire entirely off the rim
- Place the tire back into the rim
Step 1. Remove the tire
Why Bike Tire Keeps Going Flat
The first step to fix a bicycle flat tire without tools is detaching the tire from the bike wheel. You have to remove it slowly and carefully and avoid pulling it out from just one side. It is necessary to use both hands, so you can pull the wheel from the two sides.
You have to apply pressure when removing the tire from your bike given that you are not using any tool. Use the same amount of pressure from both sides of the tire to pull them at the same time.
Step 2. Break the tire bead
The tire bead is the reinforced section of your bike tire that touches the rim. If you have a clincher road bike tire, it will probably have a tire bead. When you repair a flat bike tire, it is crucial to remove the tire bead by crouching down and placing the wheel in front of your knees.
Then, you need to grasp and pinch it from both directions to break the bead on the two sides. Afterward, roll it down as you follow the circumference of the rim.
Step 3. Pull the tire entirely off the rim
To do this, you need to place both of your hands at the top andposition your thumbs on the rim. You have to pull the tire together with the tube towards the direction of your body. Apply pressure on your thumbs that are placed on the rim, so you can easily pull the tire from it.
If it is not starting to come off, add more pressure on both of your hands. By this, you will notice the tire starting to come off, and it would be easier to remove it entirely. Inspect the source of damage and remove it.
Then, inflate it by opening the Presta valve and blowing air into the tube until you are confident there’s enough air inside. Ensure that the tube is in right shape, so you can put it back into the tire easily.
Step 4. Place the tire back into the rim
At this point, you should have already fixed the damages and inflated the tire tube. You are now confident to place the tire back to the rim. To do this, you have to push the back over the rim using your thumbs. Add pressure, and do this gradually until it is easier to roll over the rim.
You will notice that the tire pop back into the bead after it passes over a tight edge. Ensure that the tire is back in the rim. Finally, test drive your newly inflated tire and check if it has enough air.
What Do the Numbers Mean
Before the standardization of bike sizes, bike manufacturers had their own way of describing the measurement of their tires. A variety of wheel sizes are offered today for folding bikes, recumbents, and other specialty bicycles.
Understanding different bike sizes can come in handy. Today, we use the ISO standard notation for bike sizes introduced by the ETRTO (The European Tire and Rim Technical Organization). In this way, it is easier to determine the sizing of tires that can perfectly fit the rim of your bike.
The ISO is an ideal system that can eliminate inconsistencies in sizing. The ISO was able to standardize the tire sizes with numbers separated by a dash. The first portion has two digits indicating the width, while the other part has three digits showing the diameter.
The last three digits are the most crucial figure as it represents the bead diameter that will fit the tire to the rim. The ISO system makes a hassle-free bike tire measurement and comes in handy if you have no information about your bike tires.
However, if your bike tire does not have these key numbers, you will have to resort to the traditional measuring of your tires, which includes the following quick and easy steps:
- Prepare the tools needed to measure
- Determine the tire’s rim diameter
- Determine the tire’s width in millimeter
- Combining your measurements
Fixing a flat bicycle tire without tools is easy if you are creative and have the proper knowledge. You will only need some patience, a good amount of energy, and enough skills to be able to remove the tire from the rim, inflate the tire, and place it back to the original location.
May this tutorial on how to fix flat bike tire without tools help you with your flat dilemma, especially in situations where you have no tools to rely on. The steps are very simple, and with just a few tweaks, you will have the tire back up again.
Measuring your bike tire is very easy. There are only four steps to follow and you are good to go. It includes preparing properly, getting the diameter, obtaining the width in millimeters, and combining all your measurements. You would not need any added skill to complete these steps. You just have to be accurate and precise to be able to do the job right.
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