How to Change a Bike Tire

You’re on the side of the road with a bike tire flat. What is there to do but to impress your friends with the ability to change a tire with no tools?


Up next in Bike Repair & Equipment (32 videos)

Every avid cyclist should know how to fix his bike; learn the basics in this video series.

You Will Need

  • Safe area
  • Tube
  • Tire levers


  1. Step 1

    Find safe place

    Find a safe place off the side of the road or bike path.

  2. Step 2

    Release brakes

    Release the brakes. To do this on a road bike, turn the small, tear-drop-shaped lever above the brake caliper upward. On a mountain bike, release the cable by pinching the caliper and remove the cable from the middle.

  3. If your rear tire is flat, shift into your smallest rear gear.

  4. Step 3

    Have hub clear dropouts

    Pull your quick-release lever into the open position, hold the nut on the opposite side, and spin the lever counter-clockwise until you’re able to have the hub clear the dropouts.

  5. You won’t have to completely remove the nut to do this.

  6. Step 4

    For flat front tire ...

    For a flat on the front tire, remove the wheel and let the bike stand upright on its front fork.

  7. Step 5

    For rear flat ...

    For a rear flat, turn your bike upside-down standing it on its saddle and handlebars. Then move the chain to one side while you move the wheel straight out of the drops.

  8. Step 6

    Remove valve cap & stem nut

    On the wheel itself, remove the valve cap and the stem nut (on presta valves).

  9. Step 7

    Remove air from tube

    Remove any remaining air from the tube.

  10. Step 8

    Work way around tire

    Work your way around the tire with your thumbs, pushing the edge — or bead — up and away from the rim. Do this all away around the edge.

  11. Step 9

    Remove tire

    Remove the tire by holding the wheel against your thighs, and working your tire — again with your thumbs — inward and upward away from the rim until the bead has enough slack to come free of the rim.

  12. Step 10

    Pull tire away from rim

    Slide your fingers under the loose edge of the tire and pull it away from the rim until the entire edge is off. This will easily enable you to take off the tire.

  13. Use tire levers on old, sun-damaged tires that are too stiff and stubborn.

  14. Step 11

    Removed damaged tube

    Remove the damaged tube. You can patch it later, so save it.

  15. Step 12

    Check tire

    Gingerly run your finger on the inside of the tire to make sure there are no remaining objects from the puncture that will continue to damage new tubes. Remove anything you may find.

  16. Step 13

    Inflate new tube

    Grab a new tube and inflate it just enough to hold its shape.

  17. Step 14

    Place one bead of tire within rim

    Pick your tire and wheel, and place only one bead of the tire back in place within the wheel’s rim.

  18. Step 15

    Insert valve into hole

    Find the valve stem hole and insert the valve of your partially inflated tube into the hole.

  19. Step 16

    Continue placing tube around rim

    Continue placing the tube around the rim and up into the tire.

  20. If you’re using a presta valve, screw the valve stem nut on the stem.

  21. Step 17

    Push bead back into rim

    At the valve stem, push the loose bead of the tire back into place, then work your way around the wheel from the steam outward, pushing the bead back into the rim.

  22. Step 18

    If you have trouble, remove a little more air

    If you have some trouble getting the last bit of bead back into the rim, remove a little more air and try again.

  23. Step 19

    Pump tire/tube to suggested PSI

    Pump up your tire/tube to the suggested PSI listed on the sidewall of the tire.

  24. Step 20

    Make sure tire inflates correctly

    As you’re pumping air back in, make sure the tire is inflating evenly and that no areas of the bead are coming loose.

  25. Step 21

    Replace wheel onto bike

    Replace the wheel onto your bike.

  26. Step 22

    Secure brakes, lever, & chain

    Secure your brakes, quick-release lever, and chain.

  27. Installing a new tube without the use of tools or levers helps eliminate the possibility of 'lever bites' or punctures.