Fixing a Flat - The Dirtbag's Guide

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The Scenario: It was supposed to be a day of berm slapping and steep shredding right up until Carl got a flat tire. The problem? Carl’s carbon-woven wonder donkey has different sized wheels than everyone in the group, and he’s without a tube. It’s up to you to keep Carl from hiking back to the trailhead because you’re the dirtbag here, and therefore the only one with problem solving skills. If you don't already know how to fix a normal flat, click HERE.

If you have a tube and it’s just the wrong size, you’re still good to go.


If the tube is too small (i.e. you have a 26” tube and Carl has a 27.5” or 29” tire), it can be expanded to fit the bigger tire size.

Expanding A Smaller Tube

(Expanding a smaller tube)

Simply inflate the tube until it expands and fills out the inside of the bigger tire. This will make it difficult to put the tire back on the rim, and the use of tire levers will increase the likelihood of puncturing the tube so be careful.

Filling OUt Tire

(The Smaller tube will fill into a larger tire)

TUBE Too Big:

If the tube you have is too big for your friend’s tire (i.e. you have a 29” tube and Carl has a 27.5” or 26" tire), put your rolling skills to responsible use.

Rolling in Tire

(Roll the tube inside itself after you’ve added a small amount of air)

Simply roll the tube back into itself and then inflate it to the point where it fills out the tire.

Rolled Tire In Tube

(Make sure the tube fits snugly inside the tire before putting it back on the rim)

Again, ditch the tire levers and rely on your grip to reapply the tire.

No Extra Tube:

If you don’t have an extra tube, it’s time to pull a knife out.

Cutting a Tire

(Cut the tube in half right at the puncture)

Luckily for Carl, there won’t be any bloodletting. Instead, locate the puncture in the tube and cut it in half right there.

Tying Tire Off

(Yes. This actually works)

Tie the tube back together in a knot. Square knots work the best, but haphazard replacements work too.

Final Tire

(This is the hardest version to put back on the rim, but faith and patience are required if you’re not going to bring extra tubes.)

Re-inflate the tube inside of the tire and get going.


All of these solutions will get Carl back to the trailhead, where Carl better damn well have a cold beer waiting for you. But you know he forgot a bottle opener. If you need help with that, well, you’re screwed.

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