How to replace a Bike tire

Diana Kynaston
8 Min Read
Busy workshop with broken mountain bicycle on the table.

Image by fxquadro on Freepik

In this guide, we will give you a short breakdown on how to replace the tire on your bike. Before starting, you need to check if you have a quick release wheel or not, also ensure that you have the tools listed for your use:

  1. Put your bicycle on its side so that you do not damage it, it could be worth putting something on the floor so that if it does fall it does not scratch. You cannot take the tire off whilst it is upright on its seat as it will fall over. The chain side is called the driving side and this should face upwards so that you do not damage it.
  2. If you have a quick release lever follow this step, if you don’t move to step 3
    • The quick release lever will be in the centre of your bicycle wheel and will thread through to the axel.
    • You need to turn this 180 degrees for it to loosen and then you will be able to remove it from the axle, if this doesn’t happen, keep loosening until you can remove it
  3. If you do not have a quick release lever follow this step
    • You will need to have wrench that is the same size as the nut (this is usually 15mm), you will need to loosen these on either side of the wheel – if you find it is too hard to loosen you can use some WD-40
  4. You may have to detach the brake cables at this point – if you have a quick release this will sometimes happen for you but if not, just squeeze the brake callipers and the cables will release
  5. You can now lift the wheel off the forks, you may need to wiggle the tire as you do this to allow it to be released – you will need to lift the chain if you are doing this on the back wheel
  6. Loosen the air cap on the tire to deflate it, if you cap comes off just place this to one side – there are 3 valves and you will need to know which one is on your bike, these are:
    • Schrader (american) to release the air you can use a small tool to press down on the plunger
    • Presta to release the air you need to unscrew and pull up on the cap
    • Dunlop to release the air, remove the cap and pull up on the air valve
  7. You will now need your lever tool, hook it around the edge of the tire and then pull the lever down towards the spokes to release it, hook the end of the lever onto the spoke. (repeat once more next to the original lever tool) – when you did this again you need to move the tool clockwise whilst pushing up and this will remove the edge of the rest of the tire as you move it round
  8. You can now pull the inner tube out from the tire, you will just be able to slide it out, but with the air valve make sure that you slide this through before pulling it out.

Inserting a new Inner tube

  1. Take all the packaging off the inner tube and remove the dust cap, lock ring and valve cover for now, place these somewhere safe
  2. Inflate the inner tube slightly so that it keeps its shape and you can insert it into the tire easier
  3. Check the walls of your tires to make sure there is no damage to them, no tears and no holes, be careful doing this as if there are any sharp objects you don’t want to injure yourself – ensure you are wearing work gloves
  4. You can now place the inner tube inside the tire, to do this just press the tube into the inside of the tire, ensuring there are no twists or kinks, you should make sure the entirety of the inner tube is in before continuing – There will be arrows on the tire to show you which way the tread should be facing, if your tire doesn’t have this it means that it can go in any direction
  5. Putting the tire back onto the wheel you will need to work it on so it is fixed in place, slide the air valve back into its place and ensure the tire is pushed onto the rim. You don’t need to use any tools to do this, just your hands will be suitable
  6. You will then need to place the lock ring over the air valve, this will then keep it in place – not all bikes have these
  7. Inflate your tire to the correct pressure level, this will be listed on your tire wall and you can use an automatic or manual pump
  8. Place the wheel back on the forks and if you have a quick release lever you can place this back through and tighten it, if not then place the nuts from either side back on and tighten them – if you removed your back tire you will need to place the chain back on. Ensure the wheels spin freely
  9. Finally, you can attach the brakes – press the callipers to set the brakes, squeeze them together so that they’re tightened up on the wheel
  • Can you replace bike tires yourself?

Yes you can as long as you follow the guide. It could also be useful to have the manual for your specific bike at hand in case anything goes wrong, a lot of these can be downloaded

  • Can you change a bike tire without taking it off?

It is not recommended as you can damage the bike doing this

  • When should you replace bike tires?

Bike tires tend to not need replacing unless they are damaged, this could be a puncture or tear. The rubber can sometimes rot if the bike has been left unused for some time and then this will need replacing

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