Friday, December 16, 2011

Flat Philosophy

I've noticed different outlooks when it comes to changing flat tires. I prefer the patch and pump routine while my husband will think nothing of removing the offending tube and immediately replacing it with a new one. While one method is neither right nor wrong, I lean towards the minimalist approach - anything to avoid getting grimy.

Patch & Pump
Photo credit: About.com bicycling
1. Spin wheel and look for obvious object stuck in rubber, squeezing as you go. Pinching the tire will often display a cut or shiny piece of glass or metal.
2. Remove object if found. Mark edge of tire with pen or scrape with a stick or tool.
3. Otherwise, if tire looks fine, pump plenty of air into tube.
4. Slowly rotate wheel and listen for a hissing sound.
5. Identify leak location and mark.
6. With tire levers, loosen rubber from rim in the specific area of leak and pull out a section of tube.
7. Inspect and inflate tube again if you need to further pinpoint hole. Be sure to inspect inside of tire in case something is still stuck in the rubber.
8. Mark hole with an X over puncture.
9. Completely deflate tire.
Photo credit: Cdn.shopify.com
9. For on the road repairs I love Park's Glueless Patches. Peel and stick. It's instant adhesive.
10. Re-seat tube back into tire and pop back onto the rim using the levers.
11. Pump and go.

Remove & Replace
Completely removing the tube requires popping the quick release levers, loosening brakes, and if it's the rear wheel, finagling with the derailleur so the wheel can be freed from the chain and freewheel. What a pain! I only resort to this if the tire has too many patches or the cut is an inch or larger. If I can, I leave this project for when I'm at home.

Then again, I suppose there is also a third view on the subject. Some folks would rather not deal with the situation altogether and have a bike shop do the repair. In this instance, Call your spouse for a ride.

What is your approach?

1 comment:

  1. My approach is to avoid flats and to continue to try different approaches to lessen their occurrence. To those ends, I prefer Slime tubes and Kevlar-lined tires. We have goathead thorns here, which plague the paths and trails, so I feel like the best strategy is a good defense. Slime and Kevlar works for me, the last flat I had on the road was due to a large nail that probably would have done through the rim too if I had run over it squarely. I don't think that was patchable, either, since it tore through the tube. I carry both a spare tube and patches, since I have been on some multiple flat mountain bike rides, and carrying multiple spare tubes is more cargo than I want for most rides.

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