How to unscrew the nipple on a bicycle – causes of failure, tips

You can’t go far on a flat tire – it’s an undeniable fact. And if a punctured tire can somehow be fixed in the short term, the failure of the nipple – such a small but important element can significantly change the plans. How to unscrew the valve on a bicycle? What is the purpose of the nipple? Why does this part need a lot of attention? To these and many other questions we will try to give answers today.

Causes of failure

causes of spool failure

  • valve breakage;
  • severe contamination, due to which the nipple can not fit tightly to the chamber.

Methods of determining the fault

Ways to determine if a bicycle nipple is defective

  • Visual. This method should be used to check the functioning of the nipple after each inflation of the camera. It is enough to wet the valve a little: if there are bubbles – then there is a problem.
  • Auditory. If the valve is out of order, distinctive sound heard when deflating will eloquently tell about it. But this method is not effective if the chambers are filled with sealants, preventing the formation of punctures.
  • Contact. By pressing your finger to the defective nipple and holding it firmly, you can feel the pressure.

It should be said that the above methods do not always allow you to identify the fault. In some cases, you will have to remove the camera and examine it in detail. And most likely it will be advisable to replace the nipple on the bike wheel.

How to Unscrew the Nipple

It may seem to some that this question does not deserve that much attention. And indeed, if you need to remove a Dunlop or Presta, for example, it’s easy. Even if the nipple is a bit stuck, you can pull it out with ordinary pliers. As for Schrader, then here, as life practice shows, not everything is as simple as we would like it to be.

These spools need a special tool, which is a rod with a diameter of 3-4 mm with a small (2-3 mm) cut in the center. It would seem to be a trifle, but it is this nuance that becomes a significant problem for those who do not know how to unscrew the nipple from the camera of the bicycle. Helpful:

  • Medical tweezers – it goes into the cylinder easily;
  • a homemade wrench from a metal rod with a diameter of 3-4 mm;
  • take your bike to a bike repair shop;
  • and buy a nipple cap on purpose.
Read also How to unscrew the pedals on a bicycle – instruction

All the same, avid cyclists are better to buy a special wrench or build it yourself. It does not take up much space, and its importance in some situations is difficult to overestimate.

How to replace the nipple on a bicycle

How to replace the nipple on a bicycle

Nipple spools – this is an expendable material, so it is not advisable to engage in its repair. They do not cost much, and you can buy them at any store where there is at least a minimal range of spare parts for the bike.

In some situations, minor repairs can be made that can extend the life of the spool:

  1. The valve on the valve nipple sometimes deflates due to heavy contamination, that is, it does not fit tightly, due to which there is a decrease in pressure in the chamber – here will be enough to clean it.
  2. If the valve leaks because of wear and tear of the rubber gasket, the situation will correct a drop of sealant.

Thus, by uncomplicated ways it is possible to cope with the task at hand. But it is worth once again to remind cyclists going on a trip that the necessary set of tools and spare parts should always be on hand.

How to change the nipple in the field

Anything can happen on the road, and a flat tire is an annoying nuisance that can ruin all plans. If you notice on the road that the wheel began to go flat and the puncture has nothing to do with it, you can take the following steps:

  1. Check the valve’s tightness.
  2. Flush the valve.
  3. If you have a sealant handy, treat the spool with it.
  4. In the Schrader cap you can push crushed rubber from the patches, and then tighten firmly.

This will help get you home or to the nearest bike shop. Remember, however, that high speed and dynamic riding in this case will negate all efforts.


Failure of the nipple – not common, but not such a rare phenomenon. Failure of the nipple does not mean that the camera should be sent to the trash can. You can always buy a new consumable and carefully change the nipple on the wheel. The video will help you visualize the sequence of steps.

Read also Adjusting the handlebar height on a bicycle: how to do it right

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