5 mistakes newbs make when changing flats


For new mountain bikers, changing a flat can be a serious learning experience. Even after years of riding though, I see people making the same mistakes over and over. Let’s look at a few of the most common rookie mistakes, and how to avoid them. Most mountain bike wheels are held on with a quick release skewer. I can’t count how many times I’ve seen people tighten these
like wrenches, completely disregarding the flipping action of the lever. Not only is
this dangerous, but it’s also unnecessarily difficult. Here’s how you’re supposed to do it…
Taking a wheel off is as simple as flipping the lever, and loosening the bolt on the opposite side just a little . Some bikes need more loosening than others and some barely need any at all. Reinstalling the wheel is easy too. Just get everything into place with the lever flipped outwards, and then tighten the bolt a bit. If the lever is too easy to flip,
tighten the bolt more. If you need to break your hand off flipping the lever, the bolt
is too tight and needs to be loosened. The lever should lock into place with moderate force using your palm. On the topic of taking wheels on and off,
it seems like a lot of people have trouble with the rear wheel. Why this simple task
can be so hard for some comes down to the intimidating mechanism we call a derailleur. Here’s a simple trick…. with your bike
turned upside down, just pull the derailleur back from the main body, and pull the wheel out from in between the chain. Done. To get it back in, just pull the derailleur back,
get the cassette between the chain, and mount the rear wheel again. It’s also helpful
to shift to the highest, or smallest gear before starting this process. Changing flats is something many of us learned when we were kids, but some people have incredible difficulty getting the tire off, even with
levers. Surprisingly, most people don’t really know how to use tire levers. Did you
know that this hook at the end is actually designed for something? Yep, you can just hook it to a spoke and then have both hands free to use the other lever. For really stubborn tires this is a lifesaver. When putting a new tube in, always check the inside of the tire for thorns, sand, or other objects which could have caused the original flat. I see people just throw the new tube in without considering that there could still be a thorn in their tire. This is as good as not changing the flat at all, so always
double check before you put everything back together. Last but not least, Before installing the
new tube, put a little bit of air in it. I’ve seen people install twisted up, airless tubes, that look like pretzels. This can cause the tube to get inflated with the twists in it,
and give you a bad time. Blow enough air in for the tube to hold its form, and you won’t have this problem. If you’ve made any of these mistakes yourself, it’s all a part of learning. If you’re a seasoned trail mechanic, I hope you had
a laugh. In the end, it’s better for everyone to lend a hand and give some tips than to
ride by laughing and pointing. Thanks for riding with me today, and I’ll see you next
time.

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