Pit stop

For the first time in my life I changed a bicycle tyre’s inner tube. I used YouTube to help me out but got there in the end. Here’s what I did:

  • Deflate the tyre.
  • User tyre levers to pop off only the near side of the tyre. Keep the far side of the tyre wall inside the rim.
  • Remove the inner tube completely, taking care around the valve.
  • Partly inflate the new tube – one or two pumps is all it takes. You don’t want it too fat to fit inside the rim, but just plump enough to hold its shape.
  • Insert the new tube’s valve into the tyre.
  • Working your way around the inner of the rim, replace the tyre. You might need tyre levers to replace the final section.

The tyre levers I have are made of plastic, and whilst they did the job I think they’re a bit too wide and they don’t have a hook/clip so I can’t insert them and attach them to the spokes, which would be a smart addition. I’ll buy some metal ones, because metal tools are much more manly than plastic tools.

Do you have any tips you’d like to share with us?

9 Replies to “Pit stop”

  1. The reason that tyre levers are plastic is that metal ones will damage alloy rims, there are good and bad plastic ones.

    Be really careful if you have to use the lever to get the tyre back on as you can pinch the tube, as the tyres get older they are easier to remove and fit.

    As for tyres I have been running Specialized Armadillo tyres now for a couple of years and I have never had a puncture due to anything other than metal objects. They have a kevlar lining and can stand up to big bits of glass, the tradeoff is that they are slightly heavier than normal tyres.

  2. I got some Continental Ultra GatorSkin tyres on recommendation of Ben and so far all wicked with them having similar design to the Armadillo’s.. I think our streets and paths are pretty clean to the conditions these things are designed for.

    As for tyre changing I support Jacks comment on watching pinching the tube. The guy down at the shop changed my tyre for me after a rare faulty tyre incident and he used some talc which he lightly dusted whole surface of the tube with after part inflating it. That way when you feed it back into the tyre and over the rim, the rubber doesn’t grip getting you into those potential pinch situations.

    One of those “good practice” if you can be bothered ideas I guess.

  3. Oh and I found with my shimano rims and the conti’s, they were a challenge to get on due to the beading being tightly fitted. I watched as the guy at the shop worked his way around from one side in both directions tightening up the tyre on the rim and building up some slack to the point where he didn’t need levers to get the last bit back on.

    I wouldn’t have believed it possible given I found it a mega challenge and resorted to levers for the last couple of cm but if you do it slow and really work the tyre around it’s doable.

  4. That’s a good point Jack. I know Aaron said he didn’t have much faith in plastic levers so maybe that’s clouding my judgement. Either way, I think they should have a hook cut out of them so they can be clipped around a spoke. Maybe I’ll hacksaw some myself :)

    I don’t think I’ll have any problems with punctures on the bicycle paths I ride to and from work, and I don’t plan on taking the bike off road :) I will however check out these tyres you guys recommend when I need new rubber.

    I found that I was able to replace the last section of the tyre without the use of levers, which was a real surprise considering how stiff the tyre wall is.

  5. Wow,

    Your bike is fancy! I remember changing the inner tube on my mountain bike when I was younger and there were none of these levers that you speak of. I had to deflate the tyre and then grab two spoons from the kitchen. I would position one spoon under the tyre to hold it out and then use the other spoon to run along the rim of the tyre until it was completely off. Remove tube and then put it back in. Now if I got a puncture in the tube and was looking for the leak I would inflate it and then throw it in the pool to look for the bubbles. These days I’m sure its just cheaper to buy a new tube than repair it, or buy puncture proof tyres.
    Your way sounds much easier.

  6. Hehe, Mel, that’s similar to the last time I had a puncture (probably in primary school). I rode my mountain bike to school for 5 years and never once had a puncture that I can remember. I’m surprise they don’t fix themselves 15 years on.

  7. I use the laundry sink to check inner tubes for punctures. You only need a little bit of water, and rotate the tube around til you find the bubbles. You don’t need to submerge the whole tube, you just need to go all the way around in case there are two punctures.

  8. I bought two new inner tubes today with the expectation that I’ll end up replacing the (original) rear tube shortly. The front tube’s valve stem punctured the tube near the join when I was tweaking it side-to-side in an attempt to inflate it.

    I’ve since been shown a better way of sliding the pump over the valve, and the new tubes have a smooth valve surface whereas the old/rear valves are threaded on the outside.

  9. I also bought a white LED spotlight for the front and a flashing red LED for the rear this morning. I’ll be able to ride home after dark now. With daylight savings having recently been turned off I need artificial illumination.

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