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How to Change a Road Bike Tire for Beginners

Changing a road bike tire for the first time ever? Then check out my guide on how to change a road bike tire for beginners in 10 simple steps!

how to change a road bike tire

Despite pushing myself to do the Prudential Ride100 a few years ago (this is basically the London Marathon of the cycling world), I still don’t consider myself a cyclist.

Yes, I completed it, but I barely did any training beforehand and it was a real struggle. Like, a real struggle. You can read all about my experience here which tells you everything. The thing is, I know if I put the work in, I would’ve enjoyed it a lot more.

Looking back on it, I had the wrong bike, the wrong equipment, and I didn’t really know what I was doing. It’s no surprise my bike sat unused for 18 months afterwards.

Then this thing called a pandemic came along, and I decided to get back into cycling again, this time a lot more seriously. I actually wanted to be a cyclist and go out on new adventures.

I picked up a top-quality second-hand bike, bought a load of new equipment from ProBikeKit, and came up with a new training program.

how to change a road bike tyre
This is my guide on how to change your tires

However, when you’re getting into a new sport or hobby, you don’t really know where to begin. You don’t know what’s the best gear to buy, and you don’t know simple things like how to change a tire. Don’t worry, I was like that too.

That’s why I wanted to write this guide on how to change a road bike tire for beginners. There’s so much information out there on this it can be a little overwhelming, so I wanted to break it down into a very simple guide.

If this is your first time changing a road bike tire, this is what to do! And as ever, if you have any questions you can let me know in the comments below.


How to Change a Road Bike Tire

1. Buy some new tires

how long do road bike tires last
Buy some new tires

I really wanted to go for some high-performance tires for the summer, so I bought a pair of Continental Grand Prix 5000. These are one of the best all-round road tires on the market at the moment.

They are light, fast, offer more grip (which is what I was after most), and had puncture protection. They are also supposed to increase rider comfort which is a real bonus.

2. Remove the wheels

how to replace a road bike tire
Remove the wheels

Now, the first thing to do when changing a road bike tyre is to remove the wheels.

Firstly, I flipped my bike upside down so I could work on it easily. Next, I had to remove the wheels.

Most road bikes come with quick release levers. The front is mega easy, you just need to use the quick release lever, make sure the brakes are loose, and the front wheel will pop off.

The rear wheel is a little trickier. Firstly, adjust the gears until they are on the smallest ring. Then, use the quick release lever and loosen the rear brakes. Then, you have to lift up the derailer which is a part of your cassette. Once you’ve lifted it up, you’ll be able to pull the wheel out of the cassette and away from the chain.

3. Deflate the tires & push the bead in

road bike maintenance
Deflate the tires & push the bead in

It’s a good idea to completely deflate the tires first. Then the tire and inner tube will be much easier to remove.

The next step is to push the bit of tire that’s closest to the rim (which is known as the bead), away from the rim to the middle of the wheel.

Do this all the way around the wheel, working it back and forth, so that comes away from the rim and is loose. You’re essentially pushing the bead of the tire to the centre of the rim.

4. Remove the tires from the rim

how to use tire levers
Remove the tires from the rim

For this job, you’re going to need some tire levers. They’re not 100% necessary, but I found them so much easier than using something like a spoon.

As the name suggest, tire levers are used to separate the tire from the wheel rim. They are usually plastic too so they don’t scratch or damage your wheels.

Using the hooked end of a tire lever, you hook it under the bead (the outer edge of the tire) and pull it so it’s over the edge of the rim.

Once you’ve done that, drag is along in a clockwise direction until the bead is on the outside of the rim.

If the tire is stiff and it keeps popping back onto the rim, you can use all three tire levels to prevent this from happening. The first two tire levels anchor the tire in place, and the third can be used to separate it from the rim. It’s actually a lot more logical than it sounds!

5. Pull the inner tube out

changing a road bike tire
Pull the inner tube out

Once the tire has come away from the rim, you need to pull the inner tube out. Just lift up the tire, grab the inner tube and pull it out.

Once you come to the inner tube valve, lift up the tire and pull out the valve. This will just leave a very floppy tire which you can now remove completely from the rim.

6. Check the inside of the rims

bike tyre removal
Check the inside of the rims

At this stage, once the tires are removed, check the inside of the rims. This is usually covered in a layer of tape that stops the inner tube from getting punctured.

It’s a good idea just to run your fingers along the rim/tape ensuring there aren’t any sharp edges that can cause a puncture when putting the inner tube back on.

7. Fit the new road tires

how to install road bike tire
Fit the new road tires

For this, I found it easiest putting the wheel between my feet, slipping on the tire over the rim at the bottom, then using the weight of the wheel to keep that part in place, I then fed the rest of the tire around the rim. Basically, you’re just guiding the tire back onto the wheel.

It’s a nice touch to match your tire logos with the valve if you have time. It’s the small things that count, right?

8. Put the inner tube back in

changing a tire
Put the inner tube back in

If you’ve gone to the trouble of changing road bike tires, you might want to change your inner tubes as well for brand new ones.

Either way, get your inner tube, and partially inflate it so it’s a little rigid. This is so it holds its shape when threading it back into the tire.

Starting at the valve hole, thread the valve through the hole. Then you can stuff the inner tube back into the tire.

9. Put the bead back on the rim

how to change a bike tire
Put the bead back on the rim

Once the inner tube is back in the tire, push the bead back over the rim, so it is flush next to the rim. Work your way around the tire using your hands to push the tire into place.

Once you get to the end, you’ll have to use the tire levers again, but this time in the opposite way of taking the tire off.

What you’re trying to do is put the hook on the inside, and then just lever the tire back onto the rim so it’s in place.

Now it’s really important to make sure the inner tube isn’t trapped under the bead, as this can lead to punctures.

To avoid this, just push the inner tube further back so it’s not in the way of the lever.  

As we’re approaching the end, take a look at both tires to make sure they’re sitting in the middle of the rim, and that the tire is securely fitted.

10. Put the wheels back on the bike

pumping up a tire
Put the wheels back on the bike

Once you’ve changed your road tires, you can pop the wheels back onto your bike. Then all you need to do is pump up the tires and you’re done!


I know there are quite a lot of steps there, but I wanted to write a very easy guide on how to change a road bike tire for beginners.

Hopefully, after reading this, you’ll have the confidence to change your own tires.

If you have any questions at all, just let me know in the comments below!

About the Author

  • Macca Sherifi

    Macca Sherifi is the founder of the multiple award-winning blogs An Adventurous World and the Great British Bucket List. Every month he inspires over 200,000 avid readers to travel the world.

Mark Sullivan

Sunday 24th of September 2023

Very good advice, but I would add two things: - when you replace the rear wheel, you need to place the chain on the smallest cog, & pull back the derailleur in order to gain access to mounting the axle. - when mounting new tires, you need to pay attention to the rotation direction arrow on some tires.

Macca Sherifi

Wednesday 27th of September 2023

YES! Great tips to add in. Thanks very much for that, I really appreciate it.

Ann

Wednesday 17th of May 2023

It is not that easy to “pop the wheels back on your bike.” I can’t figure out how to get the chain back on. I “popped the wheel back on my bike” but the chain won’t thread back onto the wheel. Why do your instructions not include that - at least pictures of that? This helped me some but not that much…

Macca Sherifi

Wednesday 30th of August 2023

Sorry, I appreciate I could've gone into more detail there. With the rear wheel, it should fit back onto the frame snugly. With the chain, it loops around the cogs - you need to loosen the tension so it stretches over the cog. There is a bit of a knack to it, but I really hope you get it sorted!