We all hate getting flats on a ride. Over the years I have learned a few things that make swapping that spare tube out a little easier.
The only way you get better at something is to be really bad at it first. So get some practice! I make it a point to change out my own tires when it’s time for some new rubber on my bike. I also use the tools that I carry on my bike so I know I have everything needed for the job. That way when it comes time to swap out a tube on the trail, there are no surprises and I am already used to doing the job quickly. Don’t spend all day on the trail fighting a flat tire instead of riding.
2. Get an “Enduro Trail Stand“
Nobody likes purposely laying their bike down on it’s side in the rocks. Enduro Star makes this awesome stand that works great for changing the front or rear tire on the trail. It makes life much easier when the bike is securely upright and not barely balanced on some odd shaped rock. I’ve used one for years and every time I bust it out, my buddies always comment on how simple and helpful it is.
3. Quality Tire Spoons.
Don’t cheap out and use some crappy thin pieces of junk. Get some Motion Pro tire spoons or something similar or quality. Spend a few bucks now to make life easier from here on out. Get the combo spoon/ wrench sets that allow you eliminate a couple large axle wrenches from your tool bag. Consolidate and keep it light.
4. Baby Your Tubes.
First things first. Always run Ultra HD tubes, but pack standard tubes as spares. Standard tubes take up less space, weigh less, and are easier to change out on the trail. Seal and pack your tubes carefully in a pouch or bag of baby powder. I started using plastic motor oil quarts instead of thick ziplock bags. Cut one in half and slide each end over the tube, add some powder, then duct tape it securely. The powder helps keep them from drying out or chaffing a hole through itself. During install of your new tube, be SUPER careful not to pinch them when putting the tire back on. Watch those tire spoons very carefully as you slide the last bit of bead over the rim. Don’t get excited and rush things. That is the most crucial part of the install. I’ve pulled that rookie move several times getting anxious to get my wheel back on.
5. Get a Valve Stem Puller.
Trust me, it makes life so much easier when trying to fish that valve stem through the rim hole. For years I said “Ah you don’t need those damn things.” I finally bought one and it has helped tremendously.