How to Change a Bike Inner Tube

How to Change a Bike Inner Tube
A relaxing, enjoyable bicycling trip can quickly be ruined by a flat tire. If you are properly prepared with a small emergency bike kit (that includes a new inner tube), you should be able to change the damaged inner tube and be on your way in no time. Practice changing a tire in advance so you can do it quickly. Sooner or later, you may find yourself in inclement weather out on the road.


Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Things You’ll Need:
  • Tire pump
  • Inner tube
  • Tire levers
  • Wrench
Step 1
Find a safe place to work on your bike, away from traffic.
Step 2
Remove the wheel. To remove a front tire, open the release on the brake and raise the front of the bike so the wheel falls out of the dropouts on the fork. If your bike does not have a release on the front brake, use a wrench to loosen the bolt. To remove a rear tire, open the release on the brake, shift the bike to its smallest gear and loosen the wheel. Place your left hand on the seat, and your right hand on the derailleur body. Pick the bike up and rotate the derailleur clockwise. The wheel should fall out of the dropouts.
Step 3
Let any remaining air out of the tire.
Step 4
Attempt to remove the tire from the wheel with your hands, by pulling on it and easing it over the rim.
Step 5
Insert the plastic tire levers between the tire and the edge of the rim--if you are unable to remove the tire with your hands.
Step 6
Pry an edge of the tire over the rim. Insert another tire lever and pry another portion of the tire over the rim, while holding the first tire lever in place. Repeat until the tire is completely removed from the rim.
Step 7
Remove the old inner tube from the tire.
Step 8
Check the outside of the tire to see if the object that punctured the inner tube is still present. Run your fingers along the inside of the tire to double check. Remove the object, if necessary.
Step 9
Pump a small amount of air into the new inner tube so that it takes on its circular shape.
Step 10
Place the new inner tube in the tire, inserting the valve into the valve hole on the rim.
Step 11
Lie the wheel on a flat surface and slide the tire onto the rim. Carefully pry the tire on a little at a time. Try to avoid using tire levers so as to not damage the new inner tube. If you must use the levers, do not pinch the inner tube as you put the tire back on the rim.
Step 12
Pump air into the inner tube slowly, making sure the tire is sealed properly. If the tire starts to bulge, let a little air out and gently push the tire back into position.
Step 13
Pump the tire with air to its full capacity, once you have fully installed the tire onto the rim.
Step 14
Put the wheel back on the bike.

Tips & Warnings

Keep the old inner tube; you may be able to repair it at home with a patch kit.

Article Written By Cate Rushton

Cate Rushton has been a freelance writer since 1999, specializing in wildlife and outdoor activities. Her published works also cover relationships, gardening and travel on various websites. Rushton holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Utah.

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