Fools with Tools Episode 1: Flat Tire Fixes
Flats happen to everyone, whether you are a tubeless fan or you're running a good ol' tube.
In the inaugural episode of Fools with Tools,Tori and Zach show you how to replace a tube and plug a tire so you can get back on the trail.
How to Replace a Tube:
- 6mm Hex
- Tube (Whichever is the proper size for your wheel)
- Tire Lever
- Inflation Device (CO2, Handpump, Floor Pump, etc.)
- Set up bike to remove the wheel. This can be done by putting it in a stand if you have one available or carefully set upside down if a stand is unavailable.
- Remove wheel with flat from bike using a 6-mm hex wrench if required, or by flipping the quick release lever.
- Inspect the wheel/tire to determine the cause if possible. This could be something like a thorn that is still stuck in the tire, a hole or gash, etc.
- Use your thumbs to pop the tire bead off the rim by pressing toward the center of the rim. Do this all around the tire to ensure the bead has released all the way around.
Use a tire lever to remove one side of tire from rim. Do this by inserting the spoon end of the tire lever under the bead and pushing down on it to pull it over the edge of the rim. Continue to push lever away from you along the rim to remove it entirely on that one side.
- Remove the punctured tube from the wheel by unscrewing the valve lockring and pulling out, take care not to damage the rim tape. If your tire was set up tubeless, remove the valve and put it your pack to reuse, then empty excess sealant out of the tire (it's going to be sticky and messy).
- Inspect the inside of the tire to try to find the cause of the puncture. If you feel something such as a thorn or other sharp object, remove it so that it doesn't puncture the new tube.
- Re-inspect to verify all puncture causes have been removed.
- Using a hand pump or a floor pump, add some starter air to the new tube. It should have just enough pressure to hold its shape, which will make it easier to install. Insert the new tube starting at the valve hole and pushing it into the space between the tire and the rim.
- Once the tube is in place, gently push the tire bead back onto rim, starting opposite the valve hole. Do this by pushing the tire back towards the center of the rim, doing the opposite of what you did to pull it off the rim.
- Use both hands to push bead back into place while using stomach or leg to hold wheel. This can be difficult toward the end, depending on tire/rim combo. If you are struggling, use the tire lever to help push the tire back onto the rim.
- Push bead all the way around wheel to make sure it is entirely secured after returning the tire to its proper position.
- Inspect the rim to make sure the tube is not pinched between the tire and the bead. If no pinch is found, begin to inflate tire back to desired PSI slowly.
- Inflate to 10 psi and inspect for any unusual bubbles or bulges that may be from the tube.
- Inflate to recommended max pressure to ensure tire is fully seated in the rim.
- Decrease to desired pressure once it has been fully pressed and seated.
- Reinstall wheel on your bike and you're good to go!
How to Plug a Tire:
- 6mm Hex
- Tire Lever
- Inflation Device (CO2, hand pump, floor pump, etc.)
- Plug Kit
- Setup bike to remove the wheel. This can be done by putting it in a stand if you have one available or carefully set upside down if a stand is unavailable.
- Remove wheel with flat from bike using your 6mm Hex.
- Inspect your wheel/tire to attempt to determine cause if you can. This could be something like a thorn that is still stuck in the tire or a rock that you rolled over.
- Once the hole is found, begin prepping plug kit based on how large of a hole you have. Do this by placing the proper plug into the insertion device. Use the bigger plug for a bigger hole and a smaller plug for a smaller hole, etc.
- After your plug kit is prepped, use your inflation device such as a hand pump or CO2 to put as much air into the tire as possible.
- If kit comes with reaming tool, use this to rough up the hole to provide a better surface for plug material to seal.
- With tire inflated, push plug kit into hole in tire fully. If bacon strip, half should be installed, half should be inside. If dart/bullet style (Dynaplug, Stans Dart) install until plus is fully seated - per manufacturer recommendations.
- Remove installation tool carefully to insure it doesn’t pull plug back out with it.
- Add more air to tire to desired pressure. If you are using a CO2 and aren't able to check the PSI, just do it based on the feel of the tire.
- Smash your finger or some trailside dirt onto the plug/bacon strip to smush it as flat as you can onto tire to prevent the trail from yanking it out once you start rolling again.
- Reinstall wheel. This can also be done without removing the wheel if you'd prefer.