Anyone who has even been on a bicycle is well aware of the fact that once in their life, they will have to change their bike tires for the first time. No matter if they are new to it or they are already a pro, changing tires can be hectic if not done right. Even if you buy a new bike or just build one yourself, changing tires can quickly turn into a nightmare if the deed is not done properly.
You can easily fix a punctured tire, put on a new patch, or just reinflate it and you’re good as new. The difficulty arises when a puncture is beyond fixation, or your tire has clear signs of wear and tear. The visible cracks appearing in the tire indicate that it’s time to bid farewell to your old tires and get new ones.
Don’t worry, by following some simple steps and using the right tools, you can easily change the tires of your bike. Before getting started, you first need to learn how to remove your old tires.
Let’s start with the tools that you will be needing for changing the wheel of your bike.
All you need:
- A wench
- Tire Levers
- Spare tube of the correct size
- A bike pump (Manual or electric)
Rest Your Bike
First, you need to rest your bike on its handlebars. You can either place it on its side or you can simply make it stand in an upside-down position so that it is resting on its handlebars. You can also mount it on the wall using hooks or a wall mounting bracket. Another option is to buy an upright bike stand.
Pick out the position you are most comfortable with, but if you chose to place your bike on its side, make sure that the chain side is facing up.
Adjust The Gears
Now that you have rested your bike, it’s time to adjust the gears. You have to adjust the gear on to the smallest ring I.e., the outer gear.
If you are only removing the front tire, then adjusting the gears is not required.
Removing the Quick-Lever/Wheel-Nut
The first step to actually begin changing the tire is to remove the quick lever or the wheel nut. Consult your bike’s manual or the website of the manufacturer beforehand to see if there are any instructions for your specific model.
There is no need to panic if you can’t find any information, all you need to do is
- Locate the lever, which is typically at the center of your bike’s wheel. After you have located it, try to turn it to 180 degrees which will loosen it up.
- Once it loosens, remove your lever from its axel.
If it does not loosen up even after you have rotated it, keep on turning the lever until it loosens and comes off.
Use A Wrench
If your bike does not have a quick-lever, you can use a wrench. For that, you need to
- Place the wrench on the nut and then keep on turning to loosen it up. It is best to use a 15-millimeter.
- If the nut is stuck or you can’t get it to loosen up, you can use WD-40 spray. Another option is to use a cooking spray which will get it to loosen up.
Unfasten the Brake Cables
Normally, you don’t need to unfasten the brake cables, as it disconnects itself once the quick lever loosens in most bikes. However, if it does not detach by itself, you can
- Find the calipers, which are located on the breaks near the tire. Once you have located it, now squeeze the calipers so that the cables are released.
- Nevertheless, also refer to the manual, there may be different instructions for various models.
Raise The Wheel
The next step is lifting the wheel so that you can remove it from the frame. Now that you have unfastened the wheel nut and the brake cables, you simply need to
- Lift or pull the tire out of the forked slot that is supporting the tire.
- While removing the back tire, be sure to remove the chain out of the way before unloading the tire.
Deflate Your Tire
Now that you have successfully removed the wheel. The air cap will have a valve, which you will need to lose. You can use a wrench for that purpose. There are different types of air vales and things will be much easier if you use the correct procedure for the type of valve your bike has.
1) Schrader Valve: For a Schrader or an American valve, you can use your wrench. There will be a plunger. Push the plunger inside to remove air.
2) Presta Valv: If your bike comes with a Presta valve, simply unscrew the valve cap and pull it up to release the air.
3) Dunlop Valve: For this valve, you’ll need to first take the cap off, and then pull the air valve up to remove air.
Removing the Deflated tire from the Rim
This will be in fact the most challenging task of the whole procedure. If you fail to do it right, the tire will keep on wrapping itself around the rim again and again, while you’ll be stuck in the endless cycle of trying to separate it from the rim.
For this hectic task, we recommend that you make things easier by using a tire lever, which you can find very easily online or at bicycle stores. You may be tempted to use a screw-driver or a spoon, but by using them the chances of damaging your tire are very high.
- Slip the tire lever between the tire and the rim. This will create some space.
- Use this to your advantage and try to pull the edge of the tire out of the rim. Hold the lever from the other end and pull it downwards towards the spokes. Now hook this end to the lever to a spoke so that the tire remains popped up and doesn’t cling again to the rim.
- Repeat the process using another lever on a different part of the tire. Move it clockwise alongside the circumference of the tire. Keep on repeating it unless the side that you’re working on becomes loose.
Pull The Tube
Now you should be able to pull the inner tube. You can dump it afterward. Usually, only the tube needs replacing, but you may also need to replace the outer tr if the extent of damage is high.
- Put your hand in between the space that you’ve created.
- Once your fingers are inside, hold on to the tube and gently pull it out.
- Keep sliding it out until you reach the air valve. Once you reach the air valve, you will need to push the valve out of the frame through the hole and then continue with the removal.
Now that you have successfully removed the tire, let’s move on to how to attach the new one. Keep following these simple steps and you’ll be done with it really soon.
Unpack The New Tire Tube
The first step is to unpack your new tire tube. Carefully unbox the item by
- Removing the dust cap
- Removing the lock ring
- Removing the valve cover
Make sure to check for any premature damages. Keep safe the small parts in a box or a drawer so that you do not lose them.
Inflate The Tire Tube
Now that you have successfully unpacked it, it’s time to fill up your new tire tube with air. For this purpose, you can use a bike pump or a tire inflator, whatever suits you best. It is important to inflate the tire tube to avoid any damage which may be caused by bending, pinching, or while you are twisting the tube to fix it. Also, it will be much easier to install the new tire tube if you have already inflated it.
Examine The Tire
Before you begin to install your new tire tube, make sure to examine the condition of your tire. Make sure to look for
- Any internal or external damage
- Critical wear and tear
- Look for any sharp small objects which may cause damage to the tire tube.
If your tire is in a good condition, you’re good to go, but if you find yourself checking all the boxes mentioned above, it’s time to get a new tire. Make sure that you always change both tires, if you opt for changing only one, it may lead to various issues. The tires will not match and there will be a risk of exhausting one tire involved. Most probably the older one.
Install The New Tire Tube
Now that you know the condition of your tire, it’s time to install your new tire tube in the tire. Use your fingers to press the tube inside the tire. Make sure that your tube is following the shape of the tire when inserting. Watch out for any bending or twisting.
If you are facing trouble while inserting the tube, there is no need to fight it. Simply, take out the tube and let out some of the air and then try again. Letting out some of the air will help the tube to hold its shape.
Reinstalling The Wheel
After you have successfully managed to install the new air tube inside the wheel, it’s time to work on installing the wheel back on your rim. Look for an arrow on your tire, called “Direction of travel”. This arrow tells us about the direction the treads should be facing. Make sure that the arrow is facing in the forward direction. Some tires don’t have this arrow, meaning that they can go either way, so make sure to check for the arrow first. No matter whether your tire is old or new, you will need to follow the same process to put the wheel back on the wheel frame.
Avoid using any tools at this step because they can cause damage to your tire tube. Your fingers are your best friend here.
Using your fingers, follow the steps mentioned
- First, you need to put the air valve inside the air valve hole.
- Adjust the outer rim with the wheel’s one side.
- Now carefully press the rim back in its place alongside the wheel frame.
After you have done this, you will need to fit the other side of the wheel.
- Double-check to see that the tube is correctly placed inside the wheel.
- Place your fingers on any one side of the air valve and start pressing the wheel in its place.
- Slowly press on and push the tire back into its frame and finish this process on the sir valve, from where you started.
- At this point, when the tire is back on the frame, the air valve will be the most loose-fitted.
It is important to check for any bumps in the tire. If so, it means that your tire tube is twisted or strained. Although you may use tire levers for this step, that involves the risk of damage. You may face some difficulties if your tire is new, but hang in there, your fingers will help you sail this see.
Bolt The Lock Ring
If your bike doesn’t have one, you can skip this step. However, if you see a lock ring you need to fasten it. A lock ring is basically on the tube and it goes down over the air valve. The purpose of this lock ring is to hold your tube in its place. You will need to
- Line up your lock ring with the threads of your air valve.
- Now fasten the screw making sure it is screwed down properly.
Pump-Up The Tire
After you’ve dealt with the lock ring, it is time to fill up your tire so that the pressure and air levels are correct. The correct level of pressure should be available on the manual or you can find it from the tire wall. You can either use a manual pump or get the deed done using an electric pump. Simply
- Attach your pump to the air valve.
- Start filling up the tire.
- Once you have reached the correct air level, lock up the valve using the cap of the air valve
Related: How To Use A Bike Pump
Attaching The Wheel Back on The Bike
Don’t give up because you are almost there. After your wheel is all set, it is time to place it back in its place on the bike. When reinstalling the back tire, make sure to remove the chain out of your way first. Carefully lift your chain and put the tire back in. You will need to
- Carefully place the wheel back in the forked slots.
- Slip the metal bar or the lever. This will hold the tire in its place.
- Use a wrench to tighten the easy lever or the nuts. Make sure that you tighten it up nicely.
- If your bike has an easy-release lever, close it.
After you have installed the wheel, spin it using your hand to see if it is moving freely.
Rejoin The Brakes
If your wheel is spinning freely, it is time to reconnect the brakes if they are still disconnected. After you have rejoined the brakes, make sure to double-check if they are working before taking your bike out for a ride. To reconnect the brakes, simply
- Squeeze the calipers so the brakes slip back in place.
- Now press the brakes so that they are grasping the wheel tightly.
Although maintaining your bike may look like a hectic, time-consuming task, be sure that this task will not only improve your bike’s life but also enable you to enjoy frequent smooth rides. While replacing the wheel, make sure to store the little part properly so that you don’t lose them. Using the correct tools will save you a lot of time. Make sure to frequently check your tire condition, so that you can save yourself from any big expense which may arise due to an improperly functioning wheel.