Don’t be the rider that gets caught out! Salvage your bike rides and save on the embarrassing calls home by knowing how to use tire levers to help you with puncture repairs.
It’s happened to us all once – you get a flat tire on a solo ride and can’t replace the inner tube because you cannot remove or reinstall your tire. Knowing how to use your tire levers will make those pesky puncture repairs fast and failsafe!
Read our guide to using tire levers so you’re never left calling a cab or phoning for mum again.
Ensure the inner tube is completely flat by bleeding any air out of the valve.
Use one hand to push the tire away from the wall of the wheel’s rim slightly. Dig the curved tip of the tire lever between the flat tire and the wheel rim, and scoop the curved section beneath the tire’s bead (the thick edge of the rubber).
Aim to do this in line with one of the wheel’s spokes so that you can hook the other end of the lever to a spoke in the later step of the process.
Leave the lever lodged between the tire bead and wheel rim for now.
THE SECOND ‘DIG’
Take a second lever and repeat step one at a point approximately 5-10 inches around the wheel from where you inserted the first lever. Again, leave this second lever lodged into the bead in preparation for step 3!
Grab both levers that are stuck into the tire’s bead and ‘lever’ the tire over the rim of the wheel. This requires you to push the end of the levers down (toward the centre of the wheel), using the wheel’s rim as a pivot point.
This will pop a section of the tire out of the wheel.
You can then hook the opposite ends of the lever onto the spokes of the wheel. This will keep the tire pulled over the wheel’s rim.
One end of each lever will now be beneath the tire and the opposite end will be hooked onto a wheel spoke.
THE ‘SCOOP AND SLIDE’
With two levers securely fastened, the tire should be almost ready to remove.
For more supple rubber, you may be able to finish the job by popping the remaining part of the tire out of the wheel with your hand.
If the tire is quite tight, take your third lever and dig it into the rim near one of your two clipped levers. Then slide this third lever around the remaining part of the tire that has not yet popped over the wheel rim. The tire should come free without you breaking a sweat!
With the tire now off the wheel rim, you can pull out the punctured inner tube and insert a fresh new one.
Don’t inflate the new tube yet!
USING YOUR LEVERS TO REINSTALL A TIRE
With the new tube now inside the wheel, it’s time to pop the tire back in place.
Firstly, ensure that one side of the tire is fitted to the rim. This should be an easy process you can do with your hands.
For looser rubber, you can then use your thumbs to push the second side of the tire over the wheel’s rim and back into place – meaning your tire is now fully installed.
Tighter rubber may require you to use a lever to install the second side of the tire. In these cases, use your hands to get as much of the tire in place as possible. You may then find yourself with around 1/6 of the tire left to pop back over the rim.
Now take the ‘digging’ end of your lever and carefully push it between the un-mounted tire and the wheel rim. Use the curved tip to hook the lever onto the edge of the wheel rim. Now lift the opposite end of the lever up so that the tool pivots on the wheel rim, sliding the tire into the wheel.
In many cases you will now be done and the whole tire will be fully installed!
If you had a large section of tire stuck outside the rim, you may need to repeat this process on another section of the rubber before the process is complete.
Now you can pump up your inner tube and get on with enjoying the rest of your ride!