Sunday, March 28, 2010

TECH TIPS: Hands-Only Bike Tire Installation & Removal


When I "work" at cycling camps like Lon Haldeman's PacTours, one of the most popular things I teach is easy bicycle flat tire repair. The "easy" part is taking the tire off and putting it back on using your hands only; no tire levers. It's the easiest, fastest and most fun way to install and remove bicycle tires, and it's the way they were made to be put on and taken off.

It's easy for me to show you how to do this in person, but it's not so easy to explain it - even with a video. So I asked my friend, cyclist and illustrator Karl Edwards to draw what I described to him and I can now show you this great illustration that depicts the hand positions and how you get the tire on and off the rim using the mechanical principle built into all bicycle tires and rims.

I also put together a fun webpage explaining it in detail with tips and another key illustration.

Watch out, though: once you master the technique and demonstrate your speedy, effortless, flat-tire mastery on rides with friends, you may become the designated tire-changer and have to fix everybody's flats!

6 comments:

rgmw said...

You say, "Watch out, though: once you master the technique and demonstrate your speedy, effortless, flat-tire mastery on rides with friends, you may become the designated tire-changer and have to fix everybody's flats!"

That's true, but you also get treats and possibly, the admiration of someone you're interested in dating!

Jim Langley said...

Excellent! I also find that once you fix a few tires for friends you have even more friends wanting to ride with you.

Thanks for the great comment, and good rides!
Jim

redvic said...

i swear this doesn't work on some old (read: potentially crappy) wheel/tires combos, particularly those of the 27" variety

Jim Langley said...

Thanks for the feedback, redvic, but whether you have an old or new, 27-inch or 700c, good quality or crappy tire, the technique usually works fine. There are combinations that are tighter (and looser), and you have to watch out for things that cause problems like oversize (too-wide) tubes or much worse, thornproof tubes. But, as long as you have a tube that fits right, you should be able to get the tires on by hand. So, don't give up trying. You can do it.

Best,
Jim

SusannaMMMerrill said...

I have never been able to get my tire on! You have saved my self-respect!

Jim Langley said...

Happy to hear it, Susanna and congratulations!