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!
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.
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.
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!
Contents & Quicklinks
1. 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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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!