Instant Bike Tire Repair - No Tools!

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About: Hi! I'm Star Simpson! I'm a real me! See more at [http://stars.mit.edu stars.mit.edu]. photo by [http://bea.st/ Jeff Lieberman] (http://bea.st) stasterisk - my name is Star, and when I was 13 I ...

Intro: Instant Bike Tire Repair - No Tools!

This is a butt-saving trick! Thanks to Mars for teaching me in the nick of time!

Do you ever get a flat tire while you're in a bike shop, right there with all your tools? No! You get flat tires on the road, just off the highway near the intersection of "Middle of Nowhere" and "Most Inconvenient Place to Get a Flat".

I got this flat in Lynnfield, MA, seven miles from the nearest bike shop, while biking to Montreal from Boston. Seven miles is a long walk!

What did I learn?
1) check the tire before you go to a bike store. If it's just a puncture, patch it.
2) carry a patch kit.
3) if the problem is worse, take the tire off the bike and take it to the bike store with you
4) quick-release bike tires. Always.
5) it's awesome to know how to replace a bike tire without tire irons! Don't waste money on tire irons!
6) better than going to the bike store: carry a spare tube!

Do most people carry bike tools? The answer to that is also no!
Here's why you don't have to!

Step 1: Take Off the Wheel With the Flat.

If you don't have quick-release tires, you'll use a wrench

Step 2: Remove the Rubber

take off the tire and the old tube

Step 3: The Tubes!

Inflate the new tube slightly with your mouth or your pump, and slip it over the old rim.

Check this out - Rite Aid sells both bike tubes and wrenches. SO CONVENIENT!

Step 4: Tire ON, No Tire Irons

Put the tire on completely around the rim.

Use your thumbs to press the edge of the tire up over the rim.

Work towards your chest, at first. When you're almost done, turn the tire so you can push away from you.

Do one side first, then flip the tire and do the other.

At the very end of the second side, it'll get a bit tough, but if you press through and really apply effort, it'll pop on.

Step 5: Inflate, Ride, Repeat

Find a bike pump, use a gas station's pressurized air, or a barrel-chested human with the nickname "Lungs" and a one-way valve for a mouth.

Step 6: Avoid Bike Traps

Here's the trap that gave me the flat.

These lengthwise grates are the perfect size for your bike tire to slip into. My back tire had a lot of weight on it, and popped.

Watch out for broken glass, sharp stuff, etc.!

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    37 Discussions

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    fromeira

    3 years ago on Introduction

    Nice. Althougth it doesn´t work so simple in every tire type.

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    jcbarnhart

    4 years ago on Introduction

    Thank's for the instructable - Just a note:

    This might be more accurate if entitled: "Bike Tire CHANGING made simple".
    As you have not repaired, but rather changed it.

    Cheers
    J Charles B

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    goodgnus

    5 years ago on Introduction

    Tire irons (or levers as I call them) are awesome. My advice would be don't go without them! They make life much easier. I'm a shop mechanic and I never change a tube without them. We use Pedro's levers which have a lifetime warranty and can be had quite cheap, less than $5 for a pair.

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    mjursic

    5 years ago on Introduction

    I am not able to do that without levers--my beads are very tight because I ride at very high pressure.

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    camp6ell

    10 years ago on Introduction

    not really seeing the difference between carrying tools (a little puncture repair kit) or carrying a new tube... both of which require a pump (or gas station if you are fortunate enough to have your flat near one) anyway... and one seems more wasteful than the other...

    4 replies
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    The nerdlingcamp6ell

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    that reminds me of something........
    a while ago, i went bike riding with my school, the teachers tire POPPED!!!!!!
    huge gash in the tube and tire, put in a spare and pumped it up at a gas station, and at 10psi, BANG another pop
    :)

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    Esmagamuscamp6ell

    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    Have a "instant puncture repair" can. It won't be good for all punctures but it will replace the pump after you've repaired/switched the inner tire. It's faster.

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    drøncamp6ell

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    i have a tube with me. flat, change tube, keep tupe, repair at home /drøn

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    stasteriskcamp6ell

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    not all popped tires are fixable with a patch kit. I'm impatient and don't want to wait for rubber cement to set, on the road. So I carry a new tube. Yeah, you need some way of putting air in your tires. There's no way around that.

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    ak08820

    6 years ago on Introduction

    I don't get the title of this article - "Instant Bike Tire Repair - No tools!"
    How do you get the tire off without tire irons (which are tools) and the wheel off without a wrench (which is also a tool) if you don't have QR axles? Where do you find the pump?

    If you are trying to say that this so called trick is to replace the tube instead of patching it, the title is incorrect and misleading.

    And, if you have the spare tube wrench, pump and tire irons, might as well remember to carry a couple of patches and a tiny tube of rubber cement.

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    wblack3

    6 years ago on Step 6

    Never understood why they put the grates that way 'round. Why can't they be put so the slots run at right angles to the road?

    I never have flat tires, because I armor them with a second tire inside. most people think this is too heavy, yet it has been prooven that heavy tires produce more momentum.

    Obvuisly if your drag racing it is not good, unles you have a motor. But for cruzing to work it works fine.

    Unfortunatly this method only works on big tires.
    http://commutercycling.blogspot.com/2007/10/tire-liners-expose.html

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    velojym

    7 years ago on Introduction

    Dan speaks truth. Bikes, wheels, and tires vary widely, and some will be far easier to manage than others.
    For instance, the tires on my wife's Trek road bike are quite easy to remove and replace, though I'm very careful to ensure that the bead is set while airing them up. On my Kona, on the other hand, my tires *will* go on without tools, but they are a bit stiff. The whole point of proper tools is to make tasks safer and easier for you as well as the equipment you're working on.
    I've handled many a flat for many different bikes, having carried a trunk bag full of tools and parts as mechanical support for several of my club's century rides. Nearly all of the problems happen in the first few miles, by the way.
    I've had a few flats of my own, and can fix them quickly enough that I don't consider it worthwhile to fill my tires with snot. Liners, perhaps, for a heavier utility bike would be fine I suppose.

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    sharlston

    8 years ago on Introduction

    hey i use something called slime you simply fill both of your tires with it and get no punctures
    and its really cheap

    2 replies

    They sell those 'slime' inner tubes at the raleigh shop, the only downfall is that its hard for me to pump because slime keeps on shooting out.

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    Patrik

    10 years ago on Introduction

    To be fair, you only show how to get the tire back *on* the wheel, which is typically the easiest part.

    Tire levers are most useful to get the tire *off*, and are actually not recommended to get it back on, because you can pinch the inner tube that way.

    I'd love to see some tips for getting the tire off without levers though...

    3 replies
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    stasteriskPatrik

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    really?? I found getting the tire off the wheel to be trivial! I do have a picture of that step - it's a cinch when the tire's totally flat.

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    danstasterisk

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    it varies a lot due to small variations in rim sizes and tire sizes. some are easy and some are impossible.

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    Patrikstasterisk

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    If you watch BicycleTutor's video, you'll see that he uses the tire irons only to get the tire off the wheel.

    I have to admit I've never even tried without irons! The irons (well, "plastics" nowadays) are stored in my patch kit anyway, so back when I still did a lot of biking I never got stuck with a patch and glue, but no irons. :-)

    Getting the tire back on by hand is typically not too hard, as you show. BicycleTutor show a little googad that looks like it might be useful for heavier tires.

    Nice pictures, by the way! Don't you just hate those grates? Having grown up in a bicycle-friendly country, I'm astonished by the lack of consideration for bikes here sometimes...