MTB Emergency Repairs

Mountain Bike Ride Emergency Repairs

It is not a matter of whether you will have to do an emergency repair, but when. In Mountain Bike Ride Emergency Repairs, we show you the tools and spare parts you should have with you to make the repairs including:

  • Multitool
  • Chain breaker
  • Tube
  • Tire repair tools and spares
  • Inflation system

and how to deal with the 2 most common ones

  • Flat tires
  • Broken Chains

(all is applicable to road bikes as well)

MTB Emergency Repair Tools and Spares

 

Be ready to easily repair the most common emergencies you will face as a mountain biker. Taking with you proper MTB Emergency Repair Tools and Spares is the first step. This is the list of the basic items you should always carry with you.

Multitool

They are a compact sized tool set containing the commonly used ones in bikes as follows:

  • Allen or hexagonal keys with at least 4-, 5- and 6-mm sizes. It would be good to also have an 8 mm key as some of the new pedal generations are starting to use this size.
  • Smaller sizes such as 1-, 2- and 3 mm may also be used with accessories such as lock-on grips, computer bases, lights and derailleur tuning and adjustment.
  • There is a marked trend in replacing the good old Allen keys with Torx ones. Allen keys have a hexagonal shape while Torx have a star shape. The most used sizes are 10T and 25T so check they are part of your multitool and if not, get a set.
  • Screw drivers, flat and Philips

Multi herramienta multitool

 

torx y allen

 

It is very important that you make sure that the multitool you select or have includes all the keys that are used in all the fasteners in your bike. Also, something often overlooked, is that you can access them with such tool. It is not uncommon to find multitools that, looking to reduce weight or size, contain too short keys or strange shapes that do not allow to access the fasteners properly.

So, make sure that your multitool works well with your bike.

Chain breaker

Damaged chains will need you to remove at least the damaged link to be able to put it back together, even if you use quick links (see below). Should be compatible with your chain size.

Most multitools include chain breakers but you should make sure they can easily be used. If your multitool does not have one, then get a standalone type that you can add to your tool bag.

rompe cadenas chain breaker

 

Chain Quick Link

Used to put a chain back together after a breakage. Quick links may be brand/chain specific so make sure you get the correct one for the chain you are using.

They are specific by drive train speeds 9, 10, 11 and 12. (though we have used 9 speed links in 11 speed chains and are still going strong)

Be especially careful with directional chain ones.

quick link

Pump/CO2 Inflation Systems

Get a good quality pump that allows to get the proper pressure for your tires with the minimal possible effort.

As pumps are made small to fit in a bike with mounting brackets or in tool bags, expect it will take several dozens of times to inflate a tire properly.

Make sure it fits your valve type (Presta or Schrader) and preferably chose one that has both options.

With tubeless tires it is advisable to bring CO2 cartridges for inflation. If at the time of the puncture, the tire bead comes loose from the rim, it will have to be seated back again which will be very hard, if not impossible, to do with a hand pump.

CO2 cartridges allow for high pressure instant inflation that will seat back the tire bead in the rim.

tanque co2

 

Tire Levers

Used to both remove a tire from the rim as well as to install it back. The tire must be removed from the rim to change a tube or add a liner in case of a tire rip. Most of them are plastic

palancas

and there are ones with a steel core wrapped with plastic to protect the rim. This are a great option for tight fitting tires.

palanca con núcleo de acero

 

Patch Kit

Contains patches for tubes as well as the needed tools to apply them including glue and a sanding device. Some also include a chalk type cube that allows to draw a mark where the puncture is located, making it easier to apply the patch in the correct location.

parches

Tubeless Tire Repair Kit

These are also known as “bacon strips” and are used to fill a hole in a tire that the sealant was not able to repair. These strips include an applicator to insert the strip into the tire.

parches tubeless

Spare Tube

A tube is your insurance you will be able to continue a ride in case of punctures, regardless of whether you use a tubed or tubeless set up.

Chain oil

A well lubed chain will work smoothly and las a long time. Even if you applied oil to the chain before your ride, muddy and sandy rides may remove the oil. So, it is always good to carry some chain oil with you to keep the chain properly lubed.

MTB Flat Tire Repair

Flat tire repair depends on whether you are using a tubed or tubeless system.  We explain how to do it in both cases.

Tubed Flat Tire Repair

To fix a flat tire you must do the following:

  1. Remove the tire using the tire levers. Insert the flat part of the lever between the rim and the tire, lower the lever and hook it on the spoke. Repeat with a second lever placed about 5 cm from the first. Do not hook this to the spoke just slide it along the rim to free the tire. Remove just one side of the tire.
  2. Unscrew the valve stem nut and remove the punctured tube.
  3. Check the inside of the tire to remove the object that caused the puncture. Could be thorns, nails, glass, or other objects. If you do not, you run the risk of puncturing the new tube as soon as you install it.
  4. Take the spare tube and inflate it slightly.
  5. Insert the valve stem into the rim and fasten the nut. Fit the tube around the rim.
  6. Place the tube on the rim taking care that it is completely inside. Once the tube is inside, insert the remaining of the tire inside the rim by hand. The last 10cm or so will likely require the use of tire levers to fully seat the tire.
  7. Before inflating, check that there is no section of the tube between the rim and the tire, which could cause a puncture.
  8. Start inflating checking that the tube is not pinched between the rim and the tire. Finish inflating to the proper pressure.

How to fix a punctured tube

Inflate the tube to locate the hole. Once located, mark it with the chalk from the patch kit or with something that allows you to locate it.

marcar ponchadura en cámara

Deflate the tube and sand the area around the hole to a surface slightly larger than the size of the patch you are going to use.

Remove the patch protector and make sure not to touch it as if it gets dirty it will not glue well.

parche

Apply the glue to the sanded area and allow to dry for about 2 minutes.

When the glue is touch dry, position the patch and press down on it with a hard object (such as a tire lever or air pump) to ensure it sticks completely.

Remove the cellophane and inflate the tube to check that it was patched correctly.

For tire tears, especially on the sidewalls, you will have to use some kind of booth such as a specifically made tire booth as shown in this image

parches tubeless

or a section of duct tape or a bill on the inside of the tire. This will keep the tube inside the tire and to be able to roll the bike.

TIP: In case you do not have patches and/or the tube is damaged in a way that it cannot be patched, an emergency solution is to cut the tube in the area of the puncture and tie it tightly. Install it on the wheel and inflate it. There may be some air escaping eventually so you’ll need to re-inflate it, but you’ll be able to ride back on the bike.

Tubeless flat tire repair.

Tubeless tires have many advantages over tubed ones as long as the liquid inside them does not dry up so that it can seal punctures.

The liquid shall be checked for and refilled about every three months or more often if you ride in hot climate. Check the manufacturer specs as to how often they recommend refilling.

Supposing there is fresh liquid in the tire, most of the punctures will seal by themselves without you even noticing it. There is where the greatness of this system lies.

Shall you hear air scaping through a puncture, turn it such that the air leaking area is at the bottom letting the liquid run to it. Bounce the wheel back and forth to help the liquid deal the hole.

It may be possible that the puncture is too big for the liquid to seal it by itself. It is now time to use your tubeless repair kit.

Get one of the strips, making sure it’s the appropriate size for the hole, load it in the tool and insert into the tire. Upon extracting the tool, the stripe shall remain attached to the tire.

reparación ponchadura tubeless

Pump the tire and turn the puncture area to the bottom to allow the liquid to seal it. Bounce the wheel back and forth to help the liquid deal the hole.

If despite all of this it is not possible to stop the leaking air or if the tire is ripped, you will have to use your spare tube as follows:

  1. Remove the tire using the tire levers. Insert the flat part of the lever between the rim and the tire, lower the lever and hook it on the spoke. Repeat with a second lever placed about 5 cm from the first. Do not hook this to the spoke just slide it along the rim to free the tire. Remove just one side of the tire.
  2. Try to collect all the liquid inside the tire. Avoid polluting the environment as much as possible.
  3. Unscrew the valve stem nut and remove the valve from the rim. Store it properly as you will use it again.
  4. Check the inside of the tire to remove the object that caused the puncture. Could be thorns, nails, glass, or other objects. If you do not, you run the risk of puncturing the new tube as soon as you install it.
  5. Take the spare tube and inflate it slightly.
  6. Insert the valve stem into the rim and fasten the nut. Fit the tube around the rim.
  7. Place the tube on the rim taking care that it is completely inside. Once the tube is inside, insert the remaining of the tire inside the rim by hand. The last 10cm or so will likely require the use of tire levers to fully seat the tire.
  8. Before inflating, check that there is no section of the tube between the rim and the tire, which could cause a puncture.
  9. Start inflating checking that the tube is not pinched between the rim and the tire. Finish inflating to the proper pressure.

Chain Repair

When a chain gets broken, follow these steps to repair it.

Identify the damaged link. In order to install a quick link you will have to remove it with the chain tool. Insert the removal pin into the broken link until it goes through and removes the link.

usando rompe-cadenas

 

in such a way that both sides of the chain end on the thin side.

extremos cadena

 

Quick links have two sides. Insert each one on either side of the end of the chain making sure that you follow directional marks if this is the case of your chain.

poner eslabón rápido

 

Pull the chain extremes together and insert the other side of the quick link into each other.

unir cadena con eslabón rápido

 

Stretch the chain tightly to lock the quick link in place. You may do this by moving the chain to the upper side and give a firm tug to the pedals.

unir cadena con eslabón rápido

 

Apply some oil to the link and make sure it is not tight and that it rolls free.

Go ride