How to deal with a torn bike tyre whilst out riding - Alpkit

Essential bike maintenance - How to deal with a torn bike tyre whilst out riding

By Alice Peyredieu

Here's a great 'get you home' fix for a torn bike tyre using levers and a £5 note.

Torn tyres out on the trail may need mean a long walk home. With tyre levers, bicycle pump and £5 note its possible to patch the tyre and be able to ride home.

Tools Required

  • £5 note (or a piece of plastic)
  • Tyre levers
  • Bicycle pump


Step 1

Remove the tyre. Start by going around the tyre with your hands and pinching the edges of the tyre together, this will disengage the beading of the tyre from under the lip of the wheel rim.

Step 2

Opposite the valve use a tyre lever to pull the tyre over the side of the rim. If the tyre isn’t too tight it may come off the rim by holding the tyre over the rim and then pulling the tyre level along the rim. This will leave a section of the tyre outside of the rim which can then be pulled around so that one half of the tyre is inside the rim and the other on the outside. If the tyre is tight, another tyre lever may be required approximately 10cm from the first tyre lever to prise the tyre over the rim wall. It can then be pulling around.

    How to deal with a torn bike tyre whilst out riding - Alpkit

    Step 3

    With one side of the tyre removed the innertube will now pull out.

    Step 4

    Even though there is an obvious tear in the tyre it is worth checking the rest of the tyre for anything that could cause a puncture. To do this remember where the tyre was in relation to the innertube, as with the innertube out it can be pumped up to see where the location of the puncture is. This location can then be compared to the tyre to locate any debris or sharp objects in the tyre that can be removed.

    Step 5

    Carefully run your fingers around the inside of the tyre when it is completely off the wheel, whilst looking at the outside of the tyre. This way you will be able to feel anything on the inside of the tyre and see any object on the outside of the tyre.

    Step 6

    If there is just the tear in the tyre, open a new innertube and pump a small amount of air into it to give the tube some shape.

    Step 7

    Fit the tyre back on to the wheel so that half of it is within the rim and the other half is outside.

    Step 8

    Using a £5 note, or any piece of plastic, make a tyre boot. Fold the note up and insert it into the tyre so that is covers the hole created by the tear in the tyre.

      How to deal with a torn bike tyre whilst out riding - Alpkit

      Step 9

      Fit the new innertube by placing the valve through the valve hole in the wheel and flipping the outside of the tyre over the innertube.

      Step 10

      Push the innertube under the tyre all the way around the wheel.

      Step 11

      Starting back at the valve push the tube which is in the tyre over the lip of the rim so it is sitting within the rim. Take care to ensure that the £5 note stays in position under the tear in the tyre.

      Step 12

      Now starting opposite the valve, flip a section of the bead of the tyre over the rim wall. Continue flipping this bead over all the way around until the you reach the valve area. At this point if the tyre is a loose fit, the final section of the tyre which is outside the rim wall can be pushed inside the rim wall. If the tyre is tight the use of tyre levers may be needed again.

      Step 13

      When using tyre levers take care that the innertube is not being pinched.

      Step 14

      With the tyre completely inside the rim of the wheel, look at the small gap between the rim wall and the tyre beading and ensure there is no innertube showing which will pinch when the tyre is pumped up.

      Step 15

      Pump the tyre up to its recommended air pressure which will be stated on the side of the tyre.

      Step 16

      Stop pumping halfway and check that the tyre is seated correctly on the rim and that the £5 note is not bulging out of the tyre. If it is, it will need folding more to make it stronger.

        How to deal with a torn bike tyre whilst out riding - Alpkit

        Step 17

        Tighten the valve to trap the air.


          This content is brought to you by Alpkit and our friends at Bicycle Maintenance Guide. They have an app which makes a complete bike maintenance course.

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          This repair has been carried out on a component from a popular brand. If you are using a different component please refer to the manufacturers manual to ensure specific details of the component/task are known. The principles and general skills of the task can be transferred but maybe not the exact details.


          • Crisp packets are cheaper
            Plus you can eat then first

            Karl Moorhouse

            September 23, 2021

          • Please NOTE step 17 on dealing with a torn tyre using a £5.00 note. The picture shows the tear in the tyre without the note, meaning that we have no idea what a ‘bulging’ note that needs to be folded looks like nor indeed what the repaired tyre with the note in place should look like. What have I missed. Do I need to go to specsavers?

            Jean Baird

            December 30, 2022

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