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Wheels & Tires

  • Maintenance Monday: Removing and Installing a Bicycle Wheel

    Bikewagon's own Cole Chandler is back with another Maintenance Monday. This week, he teaches us how to remove a rear bike wheel and re-install it. Continue reading

  • How to convert your bike to tubeless tires

    In the last few years, tubeless tire setups have become the wheel systems and tires of choice for mountain bikers. While still not nearly as popular as in the MTB world, road and cyclocross setups have also started taking hold in the last year or so.

    If you've heard your friends talking about their tubeless setups but haven't yet made the effort to switch, we've put together a few videos to help you understand the process.

    Part 1: An overview of tubeless tires

    Continue reading

  • What should your bike's tire pressure be?

    Bikewagon - BWCC

    Many newcomers to cycling don't think about inflating their bike tires to the proper pressure. To them, a tire is either flat or not, either bad or good to ride. The reality is much more complex. Just like for an automobile, bicycle tire inflation can have a dramatic effect on efficiency and handling characteristics, and we cyclists can use some of these effects to our benefit. Let's jump in and learn more about tire inflation.

    Continue reading

  • Maintenance Monday: How to use a Presta valve

    Presta valve

    The standard type of valve on most modern bike tires is called a "Presta valve" (sometimes called a 'French Valve'). Unlike Schrader valves, which are common on some mountain bikes and all car tires, these types of valves are built to handle high-pressure tires, since the narrower valve stem increases the strength of the tube.

    Presta valves can be a little tricky to figure out when you are first working to fill one of them with air. The first step is to remove the black dust cover from the top of the valve. Set this aside somewhere it won't get lost.

    Continue reading

  • How to true a bike wheel at home or on the trail

    Bikewagon - BWCC

    Do you feel a bit of wobbling in your bike, do your brakes rub at one spot on your wheel, or are you having trouble tracking straight while you ride? Your wheel may be out of true. This tutorial will explain the basic procedure to true a wheel yourself using a minimum of tools.

    What's required:

    • Spoked wheel
    • Spoke wrench to match your spokes
    • Your bike
    • Rag to clean wheel

    spoke wrench

    Step 1: Flip your bike upside down, and balance it on its handlebars and seat (use a soft surface like grass or carpet to avoid damaging your bike). This will give you easy access to the wheels. Give your wheel a quick wipe down with a damp rag to remove grease and dirt.

    Step 2: Sight along the wheel so you only see a thin slice of it. Begin to spin the wheel gently with your hand, and observe the wheel. Watch for side-to-side wobbling. If you see none, switch to the other wheel and repeat.

    Step 3: Make sure that the wheel is well-seated in the fork dropouts. This could be the cause of any wobbling, so release your quick releases or unscrew any bolts that hold your wheels in place. Make sure they are seated correctly, and re-tighten them.

    Continue reading

  • How to avoid flat bike tires

    Bikewagon - BWCC

    Flats are a pain in the butt, there is no way around it. We’ve already taught you how to change a flat tire in another tutorial, but the best solution by far is to avoid getting a flat in the first place. This tutorial will explain how flats most often occur and how to ride smart to keep your tires intact.

    Continue reading

  • How to patch a tube

    Bikewagon - BWCC

    If done correctly, patching can revive your tubes and save you tons of money!

    Tools you'll need for this job:

    • Bicycle Tube Patch Kit (includes: sand paper, glue and patches.)
    • Tire Levers
    • Pump

    Most punctures are small enough to be quickly patched without too much headache. After removing the tube, if you follow these steps, it will be simple!

    1. Find the hole. Pump up the tube to the point where it is fairly inflated. Move your hand around the tube feeling and listening for air leakage. If you can't feel the air with your hand, try bringing the tube close to your lips. This sounds weird, but your lips are very sensitive and can feel small amounts of air easier than your fingers. If you still can't find where the air is leaking, you can submerge the tube under water looking for bubbles. Don't forget to close the valve before you submerge!
    2. Rough up the tube. This is an important step! Use the sandpaper to rough up the rubber of the tube around the puncture. I like to scrape the tube in a few multiple directions to make sure that it is sufficiently scraped. It's not like sanding woo,d where you only go with the grain. Scrub it up pretty good! Also, make sure you scuff up a surface area that is quite a bit bigger than the size of the patch. If you try to stick the patch onto a spot that hasn't been roughed up, it won't adhere correctly.
    3. Apply glue. Apply a thin, even layer of glue. Apply it to an area that is bigger than the patch so that you get good adhesion on the entire patch. Let the glue dry completely! Many people try to stick the patch on when the glue is wet, but this in wrong! Let the glue dry completely. That is how it is designed and how it adheres best!
    4. Apply the patch. Usually patches will come in between a piece of foil and clear plastic. The side of the patch that is supposed to touch the tube is the smooth side, which is the foil side. I like to remove the foil but not the plastic piece. So, with the patch still stuck to the plastic, press it onto the tube with the puncture hole directly in the middle of the patch. Put the tube on a table or hard surface and push down to ensure that it adheres in the middle and around the edges of the patch. After 20 seconds of pushing, slowly peel back the plastic wrapper and inspect the patch. None of the edges should be peeling back around the whole patch.
    5. Check the patch. When you're all done patching -- and you think you did a good job -- do this last step before re-mounting the tube and tire. Pump up your tube a little and look, listen or feel if any air is escaping from around your patch.

    When you're satisfied, re-install the tube and tire.

    Trick of the Trade

    I like to put a little bit of air in the tube right before I put the patch on. I put just enough air in the tube so that it gives it about the same amount of shape that the tube would have when inflated inside your tire. By doing this, your patch won't be stretched out when it is pumped up to full pressure.

    by Nathan Moulton

    Nathan is the content manager at Bikewagon. He has written or edited product descriptions for thousands (probably tens of thousands!) of bike parts and accessories. Nathan joined the BWCC faculty in 2008.

  • How to remove and install a bike tube and tire

    Bikewagon - BWCC

    Once you learn this skill, flat tires won't be such a daunting task. It is very simple as long as you have the right tools and the proper technique.

    Continue reading

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