One of the most common problems when riding a bike is punctured. These can happen at any time, so you always have to carry a basic kit with everything you need to repair the tube and know how to do it. A simple puncture can become a real headache if you don’t have the necessary tools and parts. Here we tell you how to repair the tube of your bicycle in 6 simple steps.
How to patch bike tubes?
We are aware that different terms may be used in different countries, so for the purposes of this article, we will use the following basic material:
- Tire Removal Levers
- Tube patches
- Patch glue
- A piece of sandpaper
The easiest and most comfortable way to repair a punctured tube is to disassemble the entire wheel to be able to remove the tube and the cover to be able to check both parts carefully and to maneuver better.
Alternatively, the tube can be repaired without removing the bicycle wheel. The workspace will be quite limited using this method. However, if your bike does not use a lock (quick release) and you do not have the tool to remove the wheel, this will be your only option. You may like also: Best mountain bikes under 500.
In different countries, the parts of the bicycle can be called differently. We refer to the wheel as the whole set, including; rim, chamber and cover.
1. Remove the cover and remove the tube
Regardless of whether you uninstall the wheel or not, the next step will be to remove the tube using the levers to remove the cover. To do this, you have to push the cover with your thumbs in order to detach it from the walls of the ring.
Once it’s detached, push and hook the bead or edge of the tire with one of the tire removal tools and pry up by pressing in the direction of the spokes (spokes).
Most takedown levers include a hook to hold onto one of the spokes. If your levers do not have a hook, you must hold it, with your hand, against a lightning bolt. Be very careful not to pinch the tube.
Repeat the procedure with the second lever approximately 10 cm from the first, but this time slide it firmly away from the first lever until the entire lateral circumference of the tire is outside the rim. At this time, we can take the tube and pull it out.
If the wheel is still installed, you will have to carefully maneuver it between the wheel and the tube of the bike.
Some lever sets include three levers, which can be useful when the cover is difficult to remove with just two of them. The procedure is similar. You just have to hook the first two levers and dismount with the third.
2. Locate the puncture
There are piercings that are quite obvious and some others are almost invisible to the naked eye. If you are at home or have access to enough water and a bucket, the easiest method of locating a puncture is to submerge it to locate the bubbles where the air is escaping. The reality is that we will not always have access to a place to submerge the tube.
In these cases, which will be the vast majority, you will have to make use of your senses of touch, hearing and even smell. The first thing you will have to do is inflate the tube and bring it closer to your face trying to hear, feel and even smell the air (it has a rubber smell) that escapes from the tube.
If you have a pen on hand, you can mark the exact point with a cross, trying to make the lines longer than the area that the patch will cover.
3. Inspect the cover
It is very important to inspect the cover as there is a possibility that the object that pierced the tube is still embedded in it or the tube has suffered considerable damage.
The inspection should be done both on the outside and inside the deck, using sight and touch. My suggestion is that you take a reference point on the cover (it could be the mark on the side) and turn slowly while looking for the object that caused the perforation or any other damage.
Once you have located the object, remove it, being careful not to injure yourself. You can use pointed tweezers to facilitate this process if you have them on hand.
4. Prepare the chamber before applying the patch
In order for the glue to adhere better, it is necessary to lightly sand the surface of the chamber where the patch will be placed. The area to be sanded should be slightly larger than the area that the patch will cover. To facilitate this step, we can lean on the air pump cylinder, on your bottle, or even on one of the tubes of the bicycle.
Many tubes have lines along the joints. In case the patch is going to be applied on one of these joints, it is very important that you erase them completely with sandpaper.
If you don’t do this, a hole may form through which air will escape. In addition, during this process, it is important that you no longer touch this area with your fingers, as it can become contaminated with dirt or grease that will prevent us from achieving optimal adherence.
5. Apply the patch
There are two types of patches. First of all, there are the traditional patches in which it is necessary to apply a layer of glue in the chamber before adhering to the patch. In the second place, we have the patches that do not need glue, known as glueless, which adhere directly to the tube.
To apply a traditional patch, the first thing you will do is apply a layer of glue over the entire area that you sanded. It is recommended to apply enough glue directly to the piercing and then spread it to cover a larger area than the patch will cover with the end of the glue tube. This way, you will not end up with your fingers full of glue, nor will you contaminate the area.
After a few minutes (the time varies according to the brand, so read the instructions, check the indications of your patch kit), since the glue is dry, take one of the patches and remove only the metallic paper that covers the face adhesive of the patch. Be careful not to get dirty.
Then apply it, in one go, over the area where you applied the glue. The patch must be pressed well so that the entire adherent face makes contact with the chamber and apply pressure starting from the center towards the ends to avoid the formation of bubbles. Ready, the tube is patched and ready to use!
In the case of glueless patches, you only have to remove the paper that protects the adhering face from the patch and apply it to the perforation. Likewise, make sure to remove any bubbles that may form.
6. Install the tube
Once the tube is repaired, it will need to be installed on the wheel. To make this task easier, inflate the chamber a bit to give it body. Continue inserting the tube into the cover. This reduces the possibility of pinching the tube between the bead of the tire and the flank of the rim.
Then insert one of the tire beads into the rim, checking that the tube is perfectly tucked between the rim and the rim. If everything is in the correct position, just insert the opposite heel into the hoop.
Personally, it is a bit easier for me to start this step on the opposite side of the valve. Depending on the type of tire, this step may be a bit more difficult, as some tires are harder than others or have less clearance.
Make sure your heels are sitting properly inside the hoop and that the valve is perpendicular to the circumference of the hoop. If everything is in order, inflate to the proper pressure.
Like many other things in life, the first few times will likely cost you a bit of work. For this reason, it is highly recommended to practice these 6 steps in the comfort of your home. Thus, at the moment of having to repair a puncture on the road, you will already know what to do and avoid headaches.