How to Replace a Bicycle Tube

How to Replace a Bicycle Tube
Getting stuck with a flat tire can ruin a good day's biking. Knowing how to fix the problem, and fix it quickly, can be the difference between hitting the road and an hour of frustration. For road bikes especially, the inner tube can be a sensitive component with numerous ways to fail. As such, you should always keep some spares on hand and learn how to employ them without letting it become a hitch in your plans.


Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Things You’ll Need:
  • Inner tube
  • Pen
  • Tire lever
  • Rim tape
  • Air pump
  • Pressure gauge
Step 1
Remove any air that is still in the inner tube. Depress the release inside of the valve with a pen, eraser end of a pencil or even your finger. Keep the valve pin depressed until you don't hear anymore air being released.
Step 2
Push up on the tire valve, forcing it out of the tire rim as close as you can get it. Press around the rim of the tire, rotating the wheel and pressing the entire tire toward one lip.
Step 3
Use a tire lever to catch the lip of the tire and drag it out over the rim. Begin rotating the tire slowly, forcing the tire over the rim all the way around the perimeter, using another tire lever or your fingers. The wheel should come off easily once about half the tire has been squeezed over the rim.
Step 4
Discard the old inner tube and check the outer surface of the rim for any possible puncture points. Typically the puncture comes from outside or from imperfections on the rim that press against the inner tube. Any rough or sharp patches should be covered with tape.
Step 5
Partially inflate the new inner tube using your air pump and stick it gently into the tire. Make sure that the rim is inflated enough to fit evenly inside the tire.
Step 6
Insert the new valve through the hole in the rim. Get the valve as deep through the rim as possible and begin squeezing the tire on by working from the valve outward with your hands. Be careful not to pinch the new inner tube between the tire and the rim.
Step 7
Once the tire is back on the rim, inflate it fully. Using your pressure gauge, check that you have the tire at the right pressure.

Tips & Warnings

Ride around a driveway or safe area before going back out on the street on your new inner tube.

Article Written By Louie Doverspike

Based in Seattle, Louie Doverspike has been a professional writer since 2004. His work has appeared in various publications, including "AntiqueWeek" magazine, the "Prague Post" and "Seattle Represent!" Doverspike holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Hamilton College.

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