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How to Change a Bike Tube - an Illustrated Guide

Updated on August 22, 2009

For those of you who cycle or have cycled in the past you will know how frustrating it is to get a puncture whilst out cycling, whether in a race or simply on a training ride a puncture can disrupt the rhythm that you have gotten into and leave you feeling out of cadence for the rest of the ride. Despite this punctures are something that need to be dealt with and the quicker that you can do this the better as such I have summarized the tube changing process in an easy to follow illustrated guide below.

One thing to note is that the photos below are of me changing the tube for a road bike with a Presta valve, if you have a mountain bike with Shrader valve tubes the instructions are exactly the same but the Valve will look different to that you see below.

Thing that you will need

Changing a bike tube is not an epic job and as such there are only a few things that you will need in order to do it.

A new tube, Tubes don't cost a lot these days and in general it's easier to simply replace a punctured tube as opposed to trying to repair one, this is especially true during races when the prospect of waiting 5 minutes for rubber cement to set is less than appealing.

3 tire leavers, Although tire leavers aren't essential they do greatly reduce the chance of you accidentally causing harm to your tire or wheel and in general they make the whole process a lot easier.

A pump, Depending on whether you are on the road or at home when changing the tire, you may have either a hand pump or a standing pump with you. A standing pump is much easier to use but due to it's size cannot be carried while cycling.

1. Remove the wheel of the punctured tire from the bike and lay it flat on the ground. This will be easier if you loosen of your brakes as it will give the tire more room to pass through

2. Use the thin end of your first tire lever to lever the tire onto the outside of the wheels rim.

3. Insert your second tire lever in the same manner a few spokes to the right, then move the two tire levers apart from each other along the rim of the wheel thus bringing an entire side of the tire onto the outside of the wheel.

4. Pull out the old tube by reaching between the rim and the tire and then discard the old tube.

5. Using your hand feel around inside you tire to make sure that there is nothing sharp or rough which will cause another puncture.

6. Insert the valve of the new tube through the valve hole then work around the tube pushing it into the tire as you go.

7. Once the tube is inside the tire, again use your tire leavers in conjunction with your hands, but this time, use them to push the tire back inside the rim.

8. when you get to the last little bit of the tire it will be to hard to get the tire back on just using your hands so you will have to use your tire lever again for the last bit.

9. Pump the tire up to the recommended PSI

10. Remount tire on the bike. Don't forget to retighten your brakes

There are no doubt more technically correct ways of doing this but this is what I find fastest. I photographed the whole tube change and it only took Four minutes, imagine how fast you could do it using both hands!


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    • profile image

      Rudy 4 years ago

      Totally helped. Didn't use anything but a screwdriver for the brakes and did the rest by hand. We rock, people!

    • john hayls profile image

      john hayls 5 years ago

      This is very helpful hub for those people. They have bicycles. Few days ago I changed the tube of my bicycle. It is vey easy.

    • profile image

      Joe 6 years ago


    • CyclingFitness profile image

      Liam Hallam 6 years ago from Nottingham UK

      Nice hub. I wish I could removed tires from my aksiums without the aide of tyre levers. I Mavic rims to be on the tight side personally

    • Jaynie2000 profile image

      Jaynie2000 7 years ago

      As an avid cyclist who has never been a do-it-yourselfer, I found this very helpful. Very nice step by step instructions and the pics are a great addition! Thanks for sharing.

    • profile image

      Samson 7 years ago

      You don't have to loosen or tighten the breaks if you put the tire on before you inflate it

    • prodriver08 profile image

      prodriver08 7 years ago from Houston, TX

      Excellent Hub! Thanks for taking the time to publish!

    • profile image

      Glenn Block 7 years ago

      Thanks for this. I was at my wits end after about 45 mins of trying to get my tire back on without using my bike tool. Looking at the photos showed me what I needed to do.

    • profile image

      nice2835 7 years ago

      Hey, This is amazing! I'm using it for a school project on Riding on the Trail, and I'm putting in your name on it! If you want a copy (free) of my paper I'm making (an informational manual called trailequette, email me at

    • profile image

      Brian 7 years ago

      I generally use my thumbs to replace the tire once the tube is in place. Also, when pumping, make sure the tube / tire is seated properly or your tube will pinch.

    • FavorsInTheCity profile image

      FavorsInTheCity 7 years ago

      Great hub! Thanks for pictures. I agree with Jellyrug on putting the tire back on by hand, though.

    • profile image

      LS 8 years ago

      Many claim that using levers to put the tire back on can damage the tube, and that working with only your thumbs is best.

    • Jellyrug profile image

      Jellyrug 8 years ago from AR USA

      Nice hub, excellent illustration!!

      Personally, three things I do is put a little air (blow through the valve with my mouth) into the tube, before feeding it back into the tire. The second is to never use a lever, when putting the tire back on the rim, it is too easy to pinch the tube. At first it seems impossible, but if you keep at working that last bit of the tire with your hands, it will eventually climb back on the rim. The third is once the tire and tube has been mounted, I go right around the the tire, squeezing it and making sure the tube is at no point tucked underneath the tire side edges, as this will cause a pinch one inflation starts.

    • Storytellersrus profile image

      Barbara 8 years ago from Stepping past clutter

      I should have looked up this hub at hubpages before I referenced YouTube! Your hub is as comprehensive as the video I published to illustrate this challenging experience! Thanks. It is referenced next to my hub, so this is good news.

    • dobsc400 profile image

      dobsc400 9 years ago from Wellington

      Do you want to have a race?

    • profile image

      janga 9 years ago

      you are a joker, that is not that easy and also it takes lot more then 4 minutes mate

    • dobsc400 profile image

      dobsc400 9 years ago from Wellington

      Thats terrible, I hope that the pain does subside with time.

    • funride profile image

      Ricardo Nunes 9 years ago from Portugal

      Unfortunately that´s not easy to find affordable recumbent bikes here in Portugal :( but I´m still waiting for Raptor´s final response. Any way I already started to ride my bicycle on small rides in plane surfaces even though I still feel pains but I guess I´ll feel them forever :/

    • dobsc400 profile image

      dobsc400 9 years ago from Wellington

      Thanks, I had a spare hour so I thought I would try and do something constructive. Have you ended up getting the recumbent bike or are you going to wait for the wrist to heal?

    • funride profile image

      Ricardo Nunes 9 years ago from Portugal

      Great hub! Due to my injuries I´ll probably have to learn how to change tubes with just one hand ;) but 4 min it´s fast enough for me :D

      Have fun!