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How do I Change a Bicycle Tire?

Malcolm Tatum
Updated May 23, 2024
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One of the basics of bicycle upkeep is the ability to change a bicycle tire. Whether the reason behind the change is to repair a flat tire or add new tires that are right for various types of terrain and road conditions, the ability to change a bicycle tire is an essential skill for every person who owns a bike. Here is a simple set of instructions to help even the novice get into the swing of changing bike tires.

First, it is important to gather the essential tools. This will include a set of bicycle tools and at least one replacement inner tube for the tire. The type of tools required will vary, depending on the construction of the bike. Newer models sometimes are manufactured with release levers that allow the removal of a wheel from the axle with one simple push or pull. Older models generally have axle nuts that hold the bike tire in place. Know what tools you need and have them on hand before you begin to change any bicycle tires. At this point, you are ready to change a bicycle tire.

The second step in the process to change a bicycle tire is to flip the bike over, so the wheels are off the ground. This will make it easier to flip the levers or loosen the axle nuts. Once the wheel is free of the axle, lift the tire and wheel from the axle. If there is any air left in the tire, finish deflating the tube. Use a tire tool to slowly work between the tire and the rim of the wheel. The idea is to pop up the edge of the tire so that it is free from the rim. Work around the rim until the edge or hem of the tire is lapped over the rim. Remove the tire and the tube from the rim.

Once the tire is off the rim, you can either patch the punctured tube or replace it with a new one. To change a bicycle tire inner tube, simply remove it from the interior of the tire and work in a fresh one. Make sure the new tube is more or less evenly placed within the tire. There should not be any twists or pinches in the tube, as that will make inflating the tube impossible later on.

Once the tube is in place, gently begin to work the tire and tube back onto the rim. This will involve reversing the process used to remove the tire in the first place. Roll the tire back into place over the edge of the rim, then use the tire tool to make sure the hem or edge of the tire is settled back into position on the rim, with no overhang. As a final step in the process to change a bicycle tire, inflate the new tire and tube, taking care to make sure the amount of pressure is at the proper level. Once the tire is inflated, secure the tire to the axle with the nuts or by using the lever to lock the tire back into place.

Learning to change a bicycle tire is not a hard process. Even persons who do not consider themselves to be mechanically inclined can master the task in a short time. By making sure the right tools are on hand and using them properly, it is possible to change a bicycle tire in just a matter of minutes.

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Malcolm Tatum
By Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing to become a full-time freelance writer. He has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including Sports n' Hobbies, and his work has also been featured in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and newspapers. When not writing, Malcolm enjoys collecting vinyl records, following minor league baseball, and cycling.
Discussion Comments
By irontoenail — On May 03, 2011

The hardest part is removing the tire from the rim and putting it back again. If you can get the hang of doing that, you'll be fine.

If you want to patch the tube, try inflating it, then running it through a bowl of water. In a pinch, you can sprinkle water from a bottle over the tube. Look for bubbles, or the sound of air to find the hole, then patch it. Remember to dry it first.

Look for the thorn or glass in the tire that made the puncture and remove it before replacing your tube.

By anon15840 — On Jul 22, 2008

How Do I Change a Bicycle Tire - two comments:

1. You can't inflate a tire - only a tube.

2. If you don't find the nail or glass in the tire, you will forever be replacing tubes.

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing...
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