How to Replace the Rear Tire on a Bicycle

How to Replace the Rear Tire on a Bicycle
You are in your rhythm, the pedals are turning and you finally are in the lead of your Saturday ride group. Pow. Wouldn't you know it, you blow a tube in your rear tire and now face a change in the field. Changing your rear tire requires a few more steps but is still a task that can be done while on rides and in the field. Be ready to get a little grease and smudges on your hands and fancy bike shorts though.


Difficulty: Moderate

Things You’ll Need:
  • Tire levers
  • Replacement inner tube
  • Bike pump
  • Baby powder (optional)
Step 1
Shift into the smallest cog on the rear cassette and let the chain move onto the small cog. Turn the bicycle over and set on the handle bars and seat upside down. Release the brake on the rear tire if it is a V-style brake. If you use disc brakes, the disc will dislodge naturally as you remove the rear tire.
Step 2
Turn the quick-release mechanism on the center of the axle to the left and let the tire go slack on the hub and axle. Gently tug up on the rear tire, letting the derailleur snap into the up position and letting the tire slip out of the brake locks. If it is sticking, gently move the tire side to side and pull up to remove it from the cassette and brakes.
Step 3
Set the tire on the ground and let all the remaining air out of the tube by opening the valve and pushing it into the open position. Take one tire lever and push it into the space between the rubber on the tire and the metal edge of the rim. Slide the tire lever around the tire forcing the rubber away from the metal edge of the rim.
Step 4
Push the second tire lever into the opposite side of the tire from the first lever. Lock the second lever onto one of the rims using the hook at the end of the lever. With your thumb, force one side of the tire off of the rim. Remove the inner tube from the inside of the tire. If you wish, cover the inside of the tire with baby powder as this helps the new inner tube slide into place in the tire.
Step 5
Push the new inner tube into the tire and align the valve of the inner tube with the valve hole on the rim. Inflate the tube 1/4 of its maximum PSI. With your hands, force the lip of the tire into the rim edge and lip. This takes some work, so do not get frustrated. Your tire will be snug inside the edges of the rim when it is set. Finish pumping up the remainder of the inner tube.
Step 6
Slide the rear tire back into the rear tire holders and drop-outs on the frame. Make sure the cassette matches up with the derailleur and the chain slips into the smallest cog on the cassette. If using a disc brake system, make sure the disc goes into the brake caliper. If using V-brakes, connect them with the cable connector fids. Turn the bike back upright and ride off into the sunset.

Article Written By Eric Cedric

A former Alaskan of 20 years, Eric Cedric now resides in California. He's published in "Outside" and "Backpacker" and has written a book on life in small-town Alaska, "North by Southeast." Cedric was a professional mountain guide and backcountry expedition leader for 18 years. He worked in Russia, Iceland, Greece, Turkey and Belize. Cedric attended Syracuse University and is a private pilot.

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