A beginner’s guide to punctures

May 4, 2011

As a cyclist, it’s important to be prepared for any unexpected repairs you may need to carry out on your bike so that you can continue to enjoy your ride – wherever you may be. The number one problem that all cyclists come across has to be the puncture – whether you are a professional or hobbyist cyclist, it is a repair that you will have to make at some point.

For all of you beginners out there, we have put together a guide to punctures, so you know how to identify the type of puncture you have. Did you know there are five main types of puncture? If not, then read on!

Outer Surface puncture: This takes place when a sharp object such as a stone or glass slices the tyre and punctures the inner tube. Before you attempt to repair this type of puncture make sure you remove all remnants of the sharp object first – otherwise you will risk further punctures!

Sidewall punctures: You are at risk of developing a sidewall puncture when your tyres are underinflated. If you ride on a tyre that isn’t inflated properly and you go over a bump in the road, the lack of pressure will result in the tyre ‘bottoming out’ against the sharp edge of the rim, which pinches the inner tube. You may hear more experienced cyclists calling this type of puncture a ‘snakebite’ because they create two small holes in the tyre just under an inch apart (so if you hear this term don’t worry – there are no snakes around!).

Inner surface: These punctures are caused by a faulty rim strip, a burr on the inner seem of the rim or a broken tyre bead.

Blow out: This happens when the inner tube no longer sits within the tyre. It can be caused when changing a tyre, filling the tyre or if a piece of tube gets pinched between the rim and the tyre.

Valve problems: By ‘problem’, we mean when small amounts of debris get stuck in the opening of the valve, which makes it leak out air. Alternatively, it could mean that the valve is loose and ripped.

There are plenty of different types of repair kits out there to help you deal with each of these punctures and problems quickly and efficiently. Many come with the tools you need to get the job done whilst on the go too! If you want to find out more about bike puncture repairs, we have a very simple puncture repair guide on our website.

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