Knowing how to change a bike tire is a skill that all cyclists should have. Whether you cycle for leisure or for your commute, there’s always a risk that you’ll end up with damaged tires and in need of repair.
If you’ve never learned how to change a bike tire before, then you’re in luck!
This simple guide will take you through all the steps of how to replace your tires. Just follow these instructions and you’ll know how to change a bike tire in no time.
Why You Need To Change Your Bike Tires
Like any other vehicle, your bike needs to be maintained so it can work properly. Think of it like a car - if your car tire blew out, you wouldn’t keep driving on it.
In the same way, you need to make sure your bike is getting any repairs it needs before you take it out.
Punctures can be patched in most cases, but sometimes your tire will take damage that a patch isn’t enough to fix.
A long slash or slice in the rubber can be more than a patch can handle, and if it’s long enough the tire’s rubber is at risk of curling inwards and becoming malformed. Cycling on flat tires really isn’t an option, so you’ll need to replace the damaged tire.
Tires also wear down over time, with the rubber being ground down by rough roads and paths.
The older and more used a tire is, the more likely you are to have a blowout. Replacing your tires when they start to look a bit worse for wear is the best way to prevent your tire from popping. This will keep you safe when riding your bike, and make sure you get the smoothest ride possible.
Making sure you change your tires when necessary will make cycling safe and enjoyable. Now let’s take a look at how to do it!
How To Change The Tires On Your Bike
Take The Wheel Off
Before you can start changing your tire, you first need to remove the wheel from the bike.
It’s easy enough to do this on most models, although some variations may make it more difficult.
First of all, let’s look at how to replace your front tire. Start off by releasing the brakes, then unscrew the quick release.
If your bike doesn’t have a quick release, you may need to unscrew the bolt holding your wheel in place using a wrench. As long as there’s enough room, the wheel should slide right out.
Removing a back wheel is a bit trickier. To begin, switch to the smallest gear, furthest away from the tire. This will stop the chain from catching on the tire.
Now, open the quick release. This should be a more simple version compared to the front wheel. Keeping a good grip on the frame, reach down and gently pull back the back derailleur.
Lift up the frame, and the wheel should come off smoothly.
Remove The Old Tire
With the wheel off, now you can start to get the tire off. There are a few parts to doing this, so make sure you know all the steps you need to do first.
First of all, deflate the tire. Make sure all the air is out, as this will make it much easier to take the tire off.
Next, push the ‘bead’ off the tire to the center of the rim. This is the part of the rubber that is closest to the edge of the rim. Use your thumb to push the rubber towards the center of the tire.
From here, use a tire lever to start pulling the tire away from the rim. Some tires will be loose enough after being deflated that you will only need the one lever, but other tires may need some more.
Slide the hooked end between the rubber and the rim, then pull it down to lift the rubber up.
Many levers will have a hook on the other side that you can loop into the spoke for stability while you insert the other levers. Repeat with the next spoke (or spokes) over until the tire is loosened from the rim.
Now, you should be able to slide the first lever all the way around the tire, lifting it off completely. Don’t take the rubber off straight away, though.
Beforehand, pull out the inner tube from between the tire and the rim. This will make the last step much easier.
Finally, you can take the tire away from the rim. Check the tape around the rim while the tire is off, as any scratches or sharp parts on the rim can damage your tire when you put it back.
Put The New Tire On
When you first take out your new tire, have a quick look along the bead to see if there are any specifications on which way it needs to be facing on the bike. If there are, make sure you follow these.
Putting the tire back on will mostly involve reversing the previous steps. To get started, put the wheel into the new tire. The easiest way to do this is to hold them side-by-side, and slot the wheel inside the tire.
It’s a bit tricky to keep the tire in place as there will be some extra room without the inner tube. Luckily, this will be less of an issue once you put the inner tube back in.
Speaking of which, it’s time to replace the inner tube. Start with the section with the valve. The air valve should slot through a hole in the rim, and the rest of the tube can then be tucked back under the tire. Make sure the tube doesn’t twist.
Finally, start tucking the rubber back into the rim. You should be able to get most of the way around without much hassle. When you aren’t able to tuck in any more, it’s time to use the tire levers again.
Using the lever to put a new tire on requires the opposite motion to take it off. Hook the curved end into the rim, and then lift the lever up. This will push the rubber beneath the rim snugly. Take care not to pinch your inner tube, and repeat until the whole tire is in place.
Inflate The New Tire And Put It Back In Place
With the new tire on and the old tire gone, all that’s left for you to do is inflate the new tire. Pump the tire up to the correct pressure and do a few checks to make sure the tire is stable and completely in place before you reattach the wheel to your bike.
Again, to do this you just need to reverse the instructions for taking the wheel off. You may find the back wheel easier to reattach due to the simpler quick release, with the more complicated front quick-release being harder for reattaching.
Give your wheels a quick spin to make sure everything’s in place, and you’re good to go.
So there you have it! Now you know everything you need to know about how to change a tire.
While some models of bikes may need a different strategy for changing their tires, these instructions can be used for most bikes you might be using.
Not only will this make changing your tires quick and easy, but it also means you don’t need to take your bike to a repair shop every time the tires get damaged.
So get out there and enjoy some safe and fun cycling! Enjoy!