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Home » Cycling » A Revolutionary Way to Change a Bicycle Tire… Here’s a Hint: Leave the Tire Irons in Your Saddle Bag

A Revolutionary Way to Change a Bicycle Tire… Here’s a Hint: Leave the Tire Irons in Your Saddle Bag

April 2018
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Everyone I’ve ever seen change a tire has used a tire iron. Every. Single. Time.

Until last week.

I was dropping off a rear wheel at the shop to be relaced. Seconds before I left I realized I needed my rear tire to put on a spare wheel I had at home. No sense in riding a new tire this early in the season, right? Of course right.

I raised a finger in the air and exclaimed, “Wait, fine shopkeep! I need my tire!”

I strode confidently toward one of the shop benches for tire irons… I was in the back of the shop. Matt, the owner, stopped me in my tracks.

“Neigh, neigh, my young apprentice, we shan’t be needing the irons of the tire”, he said.

Aghast, I stumbled backward as if mortally wounded, clutching at the heart fluttering in my chest…

“Kind sir, that’s imposs…”

My word trailed off as, with a pinch, a twist and a healthy push, the tire and tube were stripped from my clincher wheel.  I $#!+ you not.

I looked at him as Luke first looked on Yoda after realizing who the little green fella was.

But unlike young Skywalker, I’d paid attention to those deft three moves and I shall now pass them on to you, my friends, because that’s how I roll.

May the Force be with us.

First, let the air out of the tube, all of it. Dead flat.

Next, opposite the valve stem, pinch the tire so you’ve got the tire and tube between your thumb and forefinger.

Next, bend/wiggle the tire back and forth until you can see a little daylight betwixt the tire bead and rim, like so:

Then, with one move, twist and push the tire away from you and the rim… the tire and tube will come off, straight away – and the twist is not left or right, it’s away from you, top to bottom (or tread to bead):

You want to look like some kind of pedaling Svengali? Next time you’ve got a flat, try that little move and watch the jaws go slack.

Dude.

*** I should add, here, this won’t work with every tire and rim combination – some tires are simply too tight on the rim, though I did this with two different sets of wheels and it worked both times for me.

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14 Comments

  1. saoirsek says:

    Reminded me of when we were kids, bent many of my Mothers spoons trying to do this!

  2. capejohn says:

    Now for the magic of getting that last 6 inches on the rim. It can sometimes be so difficult. I even tried Bon Ami.

  3. Nice, will try that one out. Thanks 😉

  4. Sue Slaght says:

    Wowza I’ve never heard of that! hoping i don’t need to try ittoo soon but very cool. I wonder if I’m strong enough to twist it like that.

  5. I saw a sag support guy do this a few years ago, when a friend flatted on a ride. I have had some success, but I have ended up with blisters on my thumbs several times.

    • bgddyjim says:

      The trick is the wiggle rather than enough power to cause a blister… I didn’t come close to enough grip to cause that. The wiggle gets the bead seated where you’ll have a little space to mess with. You also may have some crazy tight rims and tires, too.

      • It’s the crazy tight rims and tires that are the challenge. Some of it is just me, I think. I would rather skip the tire tools.. more often than not they end up causing another flat when I use them to replace the tire.

        I am going tubeless on the mountain bike. I am a bit slow to embrace that option, but I see the benefits.

  6. I’ve seen people do this before, but I’ve unfortunately never managed to master the art form. Maybe it’s my weedy climber’s upper body that lacks any true strength. I had a puncture today too and if I’d read this post earlier would have given it another go!

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