Are you stranded because you just got a puncture on your bike? Or do you simply want to know what to do, just in case? No matter how serious your bike-related emergency is, knowing how to change a bike tyre is important for any keen cyclist. You don’t want to be left on the side of the road and in need of picking up. If you get a puncture when you don’t know how to change a tyre, things can be awkward. You might have to walk all the way back home with your bike. And then what? You still won’t know what to do. Visiting a bike store just to fix a puncture can be embarrassing.
For extra peace of mind, learn how to change a bike tyre. Then you can fix it on the side of the road quickly and easily without having to take it to the bike store or pay for emergency repairs. That makes it cheaper, too. Don’t ever try and cycle back on a punctured tyre that hasn’t been repaired or changed, it could be dangerous, and it could ruin your tyre beyond repair.
Remember, some small punctures can be fixed with a puncture repair kit. But for major tyre-related issues, you’ll need to change the whole thing. That doesn’t mean the tyre can’t be repaired later, but it does mean it needs changing for now. Always take a spare tyre with you if you are going on long journeys. Take the right equipment as well, you’ll find out what you need in the rest of this article. But first, let’s find out how to change a bike tyre.
How to change a bike tyre
1. Check the tyre
Have a look and feel around the puncture to see what it’s like. While you should never consider cycling on a punctured tyre, if it’s only a minor problem you might be able to use a puncture repair kit instead. Obviously, you’ll need to have one to hand—and know how to use one.
To tell if your bike needs its tyre replacing or if a simple puncture repair will be good enough, simply feel how big the puncture is. Only the very smallest of punctures can be fixed with a puncture repair kit, as the patches won’t be big or strong enough to cover larger areas. If you’ve got a puncture that’s too big, or haven’t got a puncture repair kit anyway—you’ll need to change the tyre. Even if you can repair the tyre, it will need to be taken off anyway, so the next few steps are still relevant.
2. Take the wheel off
When you’ve checked your tyre and are sure you need to remove it, you’ll need to take the tyre off. Turn the bike onto its side or even on its handlebars so its upside down. Have the chain facing upwards. You won’t be able to move your tyre until your bike is in the right position, as it will fall over. If you’re leaving your bike on its side, have the chain facing outwards so it doesn’t get damaged during the process.
If you want to take your bike repair more seriously you can get an upside-down rack to work with, but this will cost more money, and you probably don’t have time for that if you’re in a bike emergency. However, these racks will hold your bike in a good position to work with and prevent the seat from getting dirty which it can when you put it upside-down without one.
Put your bike on the smallest outer gear. This should make it easier to remove the back tyre. This won’t be necessary for tyres at the front.
If your bike has a quick release lever, the next step is a bit more straightforward. Simply click and release it, and take the tyre out. To release it, pull up and turn it to loosen. You can then remove the lever from the axle and put it in a safe place. If the release doesn’t work, keep turning the lever until it does.
If you haven’t got a quick release lever, you’ll need a wrench. Use this to loosen the nuts around the wheel. Turn the wheel nuts to remove them all. YOu’ll need to do this on both sides. You can use WD-40 or other lubricants if they’re stiff. Make sure you use the correct sized wrench.
You might need to detach the brake cables to fully remove the tyre, after this you can carefully remove the tyre from the frame.
3. Remove the tyre from the wheel
Start by deflating the tyre. Take the valves off and push the air out as much as possible to make it easier to remove. Press the valve to release more air. Use a tyre lever tool to push the tyre away from the wheel frame by hooking under it. Put a second tyre lever in near the first one and move it around the tyre to push the tyre away when it has popped out and remove it.
4. Find a new tyre or repair the old one
Make sure you check the inner tube and either get a new one or repair that as well. Some punctures and damage will only affect the outer tyre while other problems could harm the inner tube as well.
5. Replace the tyre
Start by popping the new or repaired (deflated) tyre back around onto the frame. Work your way around putting it back in place so the wheel frame is completely in it.
6. Inflate it
Connect a pump to the tyre and start pumping. You shouldn’t try and put a fully pumped tyre back around a bike frame.
Now you can enjoy your bike as though it’s good as new again. Taking a tyre off and replacing it with a new one isn’t complicated. The harder part might be repairing the other tyre, but the actual removal and placement process can be done by anyone.