Can you change your flat bike tire in under 2 minutes?

Apparently you should be able to…when I had a flat tire yesterday, it occurred to me that I should be practising changing that tire to be a lot faster than the 10 minutes or so that it took me…I use clincher tires…the ones with a tube

So, I looked it up…seems that the fastest guys in contests are around 1 minute…and that’s with rear wheel on the bike, take it off, replace tube, and ready to ride off again.

…10 minutes would kill your bike time in Ironman…2 flats and 20 minutes, and whatever your time goal was, is no longer.

…under 2 minutes however, is more like a rest stop than a race killing issue

Here’s one video on how it’s done, with a bit of a narrative…on the road I’d be a little more careful in checking the inside of the tire so that you don’t slice your finger open if you do find a nail through the tire:

…this one I thought was interesting as well:

since it shows the use of the tire levers a bit more…and I seem to have _really_ tight rims/tires…and a little trick to blow some air into the tube first with your mouth…I’d usually use a little bit of air from the CO2 cartridge, but this is faster

…although not specifically mentioned in our 2 videos today, shifting your chain to the smallest gear on the back wheel makes it a lot easier to get the wheel off and on

…of course you need a tool kit with tubes and CO2 cartridges…with the 700×23 tires that I ride, a 12g cartridge can get you to about 90psi, and a 16g to around 130psi…so I carry the 16g cartridges, since I ride at 110-115psi…and don’t use the whole thing

…if you’re not prepared, you can end up like Normann Stadler at Kona in 2005…2 flat tires…no 2nd replacement with him…by the time the support car got to him the second time, he was cooked and DNF’d…not in our video clip today was painful to watch in the live coverage…Normann trying to get his tire off with a stick laying on the ground, and ultimately throwing ‘things’

…or Chrissie Wellington in 2008 that did have 1 change kit, and 1 flat, but messed up the change…blew out the 1 CO2 cartridge she had before attaching it to the tire valve…and ended up standing on the side of the road waiting for someone to toss her another one

…I’ve had valves freeze up on me, and little stems break off, and missed something still poking into the tube so flatted again, and once a hole in the sidewall of the tire that I didn’t see, and so my flat tire was actually the tube expanding out through the hole once I got on the bike and blowing up again…took me twice to find it and a folded 20 dollar bill to cover it to get me home

…ever since I saw Normann in 2005 I carry 3 of everything…so even with my recent weight shedding, I doubt that the extra few tubes and CO2 cartridges…are going to make that much difference to my time

…and it’s like carrying an umbrella to make sure it doesn’t rain…if I’m well prepared, it’s less likely that Fortuna…the goddess of fate…will think that it’s fun to pick on me with a flat 🙂

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5 Responses to Can you change your flat bike tire in under 2 minutes?

  1. Anne Boone says:

    A week or two before IMFL I plan to practice changing a tube, several times.

    I also plan to put new tubes in my Zipp wheels before the race. The old ones are 1 1/2 years old, I think. What’s the life of a tube? I bet you’ve researched this. I do keep my bike on the porch where it’s in the h/ac. But i assume those tubes will dry rot.

    • Dad says:

      Anne, I can’t say that I’ve read about changing tubes in tires before a race
      …I _have_ read about putting on new tubes _and_ tires before a race…and that’s what I do, and then get a few miles on them just to make sure that everything is OK
      …ensures that there aren’t some little glass shards working their way through the rubber…and calms my overly-detailed brain 🙂

      • Anne Boone says:

        Hmmmm…maybe I should change the tires, too. Heck, you’re already spending so much $$$, what’s a couple of hundred bucks more? I’m looking at a new cockpit, too. My aero bar clamps (carbon natch) broke a couple of months ago. Tim had the same ones (Oval) and his broke at the same spot. I’m afraid it might happen during the IM. The ones I like are about $1100 of course. Will this never end?

  2. Dad says:

    nothing like looking fast to be fast 🙂

  3. Tom Thumb says:

    This guy can do it in 45 seconds:

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