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How to Change a Flat Bicycle Tire

If you're new to cycling, you're probably new to changing a bicycle tire. While small factors may vary based on your own setup, changing a flat tire is an essential skill for every cyclist. If you've got the right gear, you can take care of a flat with no problem.

Absolute Essentials

There are a few things that you absolutely need to have to take proper care of your bike, and tools to change a tire are not an exception.. Being able to change a tire no matter where you are is a very important part of being prepared while cycling. Here are a few things that you will need to be able to change your own tire.

  • Pumps
    • You need to have two pumps, one at home and one on your bike. The last thing you want to do is end up on the side of the road or trail with a flat and no pump. Make sure to look for a pump that is compatible with your tube's valve type, note that some work for both. (Shop Pumps)
  • Tire Levers
    • Good luck getting a tire off the rim without using a tire lever, make sure that you always have tire levers at your workstation and on your bike. Pay close attention to the video of the proper use of tire levers, it might be tricky at first but you'll get the hang of it. (Shop Tire Levers and Tire Accessories)
  • Spare Tubes
    • Chances are, you're going to need a number spare tubes as you progress as a rider. You can find a great deal on many of our tubes if you buy in bulk - that also means never being without a spare when you need it. (Shop Mountain Bike Tubes and Road Bike Tubes)
  • Wedges
    • If you want to be prepared on the road or on the trail, you need a pump, tire levers and spare tubes on you while you ride. The most important part is somewhere to put these things that will stay put. (Shop Bike Wedges)

Making Things Easier

You can change a tire just fine with the essentials, but in an sport where every milisecond and gram matters there are always innovative products that make things even easier and faster.

  • CO2 Systems
    • CO2 Systems are a quick and compact alternative to a frame mounted pump. They use compressed CO2 to rapidly inflate a tube that has just been changed. Don't forget extra CO2 Cartridges though, using a CO2 system makes these just as important as spare tubes. (Shop CO2 Systems and Accessories )
  • Repair Kits
    • It is possible to repair a punctured tube with a patch kit, you may want to consider carrying a patch kit or repair kit along with you once you've gained experience with flats. A properly patched tube will function just as well as a new tube. (Shop Patch Kits)

View our Maintenance-on-the-Fly Buyer's Guide [PDF] »