More of us are using bicycles than ever before as we attempt to battle the ever increasing fuel prices and also try to keep fit.  Sales of all kinds of pedal bikes have gone through the roof, with mountain bikes selling especially well.  If you are new to cycling then there is a good chance that you don’t know too much about bike maintenance.  There is also a fair chance that at some point in the future you are going to get a puncture in your bike tyre.  Here we take you through the best process to follow when carrying out leak detection in your bike tyres.

Obvious signs

The first step of leak detection is always to look for obvious signs of what has allowed the air to escape.  Often this will be a thorn or perhaps a nail that has penetrated through the bike tyre and into the inner tube concealed within.  It is important at this point that you understand that it is actually the inner tube that needs repairing as opposed to the tyre as this is where the air is held.  Due to tread it can sometimes be hard to locate exactly where the problem is, but if you do find it at your first attempt then make a mental note of its location before removing the tyre from the rim.

Checking the valve

If you don’t immediately find the problem after the first step then you should now spend a little time examining the inner tube valve.  This is because the valve can often be damaged; allowing air to escape, or on occasion the centre pin may become loose giving the same result.  The easiest way to check your valve is to take a small amount of spittle on your finger and rub it over the top of the valve – make sure there is enough to cover the entire hole around the centre pin.  If the problem lies with the valve then an air bubble should appear where you have placed the spittle – nice!  If the seal around the valve is damaged then it is time to invest in a new inner tube.  If you find that the centre pin has come loose then you should be able to tighten it with a pair of long nosed pliers or possibly some tweezers.

Taking a dip

If you still haven’t located the problem after checking the valve then your final move is to call in the water backup.  Find a container that is big enough to hold your tyre and fill it with water – a bath is the obvious choice.  Now fill the tyre up so it has plenty of air, and then submerge it in the water.  You should be able to see air bubbles escaping to the surface, which should make your leak detection a whole lot easier.  In the event that your house doesn’t have a bath and you can’t find a container big enough to hold the tyre; you can simply use the sink.  Using this process you can rotate the tyre whilst holding it under the water a section at a time.

Fixing the problem

If you find that your inner tube has been punctured then you are going to need a puncture repair kit to solve the problem.  These kits usually contain glue and some type of rubbing implement with which to smooth the surface area down with; before applying the supplied patches.  Full instructions on applying patches will usually be provided with the repair kit.


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