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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?


  • Step 1: Find safe place Find a safe place off the side of the road or bike path.
  • 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.
  • TIP: If your rear tire is flat, shift into your smallest rear gear.
  • 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.
  • TIP: You won’t have to completely remove the nut to do this.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Step 6: Remove valve cap & stem nut On the wheel itself, remove the valve cap and the stem nut (on presta valves).
  • Step 7: Remove air from tube Remove any remaining air from the tube.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • TIP: Use tire levers on old, sun-damaged tires that are too stiff and stubborn.
  • Step 11: Removed damaged tube Remove the damaged tube. You can patch it later, so save it.
  • 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.
  • Step 13: Inflate new tube Grab a new tube and inflate it just enough to hold its shape.
  • 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.
  • Step 15: Insert valve into hole Find the valve stem hole and insert the valve of your partially inflated tube into the hole.
  • Step 16: Continue placing tube around rim Continue placing the tube around the rim and up into the tire.
  • TIP: If you’re using a presta valve, screw the valve stem nut on the stem.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Step 19: Pump tire/tube to suggested PSI Pump up your tire/tube to the suggested PSI listed on the sidewall of the tire.
  • 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.
  • Step 21: Replace wheel onto bike Replace the wheel onto your bike.
  • Step 22: Secure brakes, lever, & chain Secure your brakes, quick-release lever, and chain.
  • FACT: Installing a new tube without the use of tools or levers helps eliminate the possibility of 'lever bites' or punctures.

You Will Need

  • Safe area
  • Tube
  • Tire levers

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