Nothing can ruin a hunt quicker than a flat tire.
And unfortunately, eBike flats tend to happen while you're freezing cold, loaded down with hunting gear, and soaking wet.
In those moments, the last thing you want to do is repair or lug an eBike loaded with hunting gear down the trail.
You can prep for these bad situations, though. Here are some pointers on minimizing the likelihood of popping a tire and how you can prepare yourself to handle them on the fly.
The first thing you can do to avoid flat tires is to ensure you have a good set of tires on your hunting eBike.
Over time, the tread will run out, sidewalls grow thin, and the rubber becomes brittle.
You want to take the time to make sure there's plenty of tread and no serious signs of wear or rot on the tire before you head out for that long ride to your blind.
Ignoring tire pressure is a surefire way to set yourself up for disaster. If you're not inspecting tire pressure, you may miss slow leaks that will lead to a flat tire in the middle of a ride.
It also means you're not setting the pressure just right when those cold mornings cause pressure to drop. A tire with too much or too little air is easier to puncture than those set just right.
If there are tree stands near the route you're taking to your hunting spot, it's a good idea to avoid them. Even if the owner is careful never to leave anything behind, you can't assume they haven't missed anything.
Bits of hardware that have come free or other sharp objects can easily make their way to the ground around the stand, where they wait patiently to tear your tires up.
It's an unfortunate reality that there are people who treat the great outdoors as their dump.
We've all come across couches, tires, broken bottles, and all kinds of waste where it doesn't belong. It goes without saying that steering clear of them is a good way to protect your tires.
Be careful of old hunting cabins as well. If you come across an old foundation or what resembles a forgotten campsite, you should assume that the ground is covered with glass bottles or metal objects and take caution.
The environment can be just as harsh as stray screws and broken glass. Broken branches, sharp rocks, and hard blows can all cause flat tires.
If you're unfamiliar with an area where the terrain is rough, it's a good idea to walk your line before riding. Take the time to learn the safest root to ensure you and your tires can pass through trouble-free.
There’s only reducing, no eliminating, how to pack appropriately
Again, things out of your control can happen, and even the toughest tires go flat. Your best bet is to assume that they will. That way, you'll keep the possibility of a tire going flat in mind and will practice extra caution because of it.
You'll also take the time to prepare yourself to handle a flat when they occur so that you're not left stranded in the woods.
Below you'll find some examples of the equipment you should keep on hand whenever you break out your hunting eBike.
A patch kit is your first line of defense. These are designed to fill the hole a foreign object left being and can be all you need to repair your bike in the middle of a hunt.
Part of what makes them so great is how easy they are to carry and the fact that you may not need to dismount a tubeless tire to fix a puncture. Unfortunately, they are not equipped to repair tears or punctures that measure more than 1/4-inches in diameter.
We all know about the miracle liquid that you inject into a tire to fill holes from the inside. These are a fantastic option for pinholes or other small punctures that cause a slow leak as you simply spray it into the tire and you're back up and running.
Unfortunately, this isn't always the best solution because it can typically only repair very small holes, and the can will take up a considerable amount of room in your pack.
Regardless of where you have a tubed or tubeless tire, you want to carry spare inner tubes that fit your rim. The benefits are obvious for tubed tires, but some tubeless tires can ride on a tube if a puncture is too big for repair.
Also, remember that there are many ways to repurpose inner tubes as gripping tools during other repairs, which can serve you well in an emergency situation.
If you need to replace an inner tube, you need to remove the wheel assembly from the eBike.
At the very least, you should keep the wrenches and mounting tools you need to perform that task. However, you should keep a comprehensive tool kit that allows you to perform other trail repairs on you whenever you take your eBike on the hunt.
Pro tip: Many of the best eBikes have preassembled tool kits available to them for this purpose.
All of these other tools will help you deal with the puncture itself. They won't refill your tire, though.
You need an inflation tool of some kind to get you back up and running. Compact models you can keep in a tool pouch or backpack are available.
We do recommend keeping a secondary tire pressure gauge on hand so that you can double-check pressure readings, though.
Flat tires happen. That is frustrating, but as long as you know what to do, they aren't that big of a deal.
Our advice is to get the routine down before you hit the trail. To prepare yourself, take the time to determine the exact steps to remove the wheel and dismount the tires.
Repairing flat eBike tires is a straightforward process, but it's not something you want to learn at dusk or dawn when the action is good, and the weather is cold.
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