How to fix a puncture!
How to fix a puncture
Punctures are one of the most annoying things on a bike ride, because they’re also preventable. The quality of cycle tyres has never been better. Correctly fitted and maintained tyres will last you hundreds (if not thousands) of miles – and be pretty much trouble-free.
Fixing punctures doesn’t have to be a long, painful experience. With a few cheap pieces of kit, some pre-ride preparation plus a little practice, you can repair flat tyres in minutes and even avoid getting them in the first place.
If you cycle more than a few miles from home, you need to carry repair kit and a spare tube/s with you. Obviously, you’ll need a pump. Handy, pocket-sized pumps are a good match for most tyre pressures you require. Decent tyre levers make the job so much easier and save your fingers and nails.
Tyres with higher pressures are harder to puncture. So make sure you’re giving your tyres a chance to do their job properly. As a very rough guide, the range of pressures recommended are:
Mountain bike 35-50psi
Road bike 80-100psi
On the tyre wall, it will state the maximum pressure. A pump with a pressure gauge is handy. Alternatively, you can usually get a good idea by pinching each side of a tyre to see how much ‘give’ there is. And when you’re riding, you’ll feel how it handles.
Just don’t be the novice cyclist struggling along with sagging tyres. It’s not only an extra effort to pedal the bike forwards and the risk of punctures, the tyre could easily pop off the wheel when you go round a corner.
Puncture prevention: 5 top tips
1. Avoid gravel and glass
Keep an eye ahead, be conscious of what you’re riding through. Keep one metre away from the kerb to avoid road debris. Try to avoid puddles as you never quite know what’s in them, including hidden potholes.
3. Pump it up!
Tyres constantly lose air. So investing in a track pump with a pressure gauge (average ones start at about £20) will save you time and help you get in the habit of checking tyres regularly. Remember, soft tyres are more likely to puncture. It’s also easy get a pinch flat if a tyre is too soft (where the inner tube gets pinched tightly against the wheel, say if you hit a rock or pothole).
4. Get a grip
When you’re hurtling down a hill or cycling in the rain, two thin tyres are pretty much your main insurance policy. Buying good quality tyres doesn’t have to cost a fortune – especially if tyre weight or brand names don’t matter. Some mountain bike and road bike tyres are an excruciatingly tight fit – fixing a puncture becomes a nightmare – and best to be avoided. At Bikes Direct, we can help you choose the right tyres for your bike and offer free, impartial advice.
5. Get extreme
If you want to take puncture protection to a whole new level, you can consider:
Getting slimey – the world of slime, you put gooey stuff in your tubes and/or tyres which automatically seals small punctures.
Going tubeless – no tubes, means no tubes to puncture. Just like your car tyre and steadily becoming a popular choice as tyre technology evolves.
Adding a puncture belt – look for quality brands like Continental, Michelin, Vittoria and Schwalbe that put extra layers of protection in their tyres, like kevlar belts.
Buying wider – so the theory goes – the wider the tyre, the less psi needed, so the less pressure between tyre and road and the less likely you are to catch a puncture.
So that’s a guide on how to avoid and fix punctures. We hope it makes dealing with the almost inevitable flat tyre a much more pleasant experience.