How to change a tyre or fix a puncture

A change of rubber on your bike is inevitable at some point. It may be a planned tyre change at home or an emergency repair to fix a puncture when you are out and about. Either way, removing and fitting a tyre is a must-have skill any rider should have. So let’s dig in to the detail.

Remove Your Tyre

  • Deflate your tyre as much as possible.
  • Remove the wheel from your bike.
  • Go around the tyre and pinch either side of the bead into the centre of the rim. This is an important step.
  • Pop a tyre lever under the tyre bead and lever it over the edge of the rim. At this point you may be able to slide the lever around the bead to unseat the tyre or you may need another lever to lever a bit more bead off first. 
  • When one side of the tyre is off the rim you can take out your inner tube. If you are running tubeless, the sealant will leak at this point TIP: if you are fixing a puncture, inflate the tube a little to find the hole and where on the tyre anything sharp may still be embedded
  • Lever the other side off and then you should be able to separate the rim and tyre by hand.
using a tyre lever to remove a tyre of a rim

Check your tyre

  • Check your tyre to make sure there are no sharp objects embedded in the tyre still
  • Replace or repair your tube with like-for-like size and valve

Fitting Your Tyre

  • Paying attention to the tread direction of your tyre (if applicable), fit one side of the tyre bead onto the rim. The last bit may need a tyre lever. Make sure the bead is in the centre of the rim
  • Refit your inner tube and tuck it in between the tyre and rim
  • Working from the top of the tyre, tuck the remaining bead onto the rim. Work down either side of the rim simultaneously with your fingers stretching the tyre as much as you can tucking the bead as you go. Supple tyres may go on at this point
  • If you can’t get the bead on with your fingers, check the opposite bead is still central. Check the inner tube is not trapped between the tyre and outside of the rim. Invert your tyre lever and push it gently in between the tyre bead and outside of the rim. Lever it up while pushing it onto the rim with your thumb
  • When the tyre is on, check both beads are central and visually check that the inner tube isn’t pinched between the bead and the rim
  • At this point you can add sealant (if applicable)
  • Pump your tyre carefully for the first few psi, check it’s seated centrallyby spinning the wheel, then pump it up to the required pressure
a front wheel on a bike in a stand being held by a mechanic

Further Reading

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