How To Change A Bike Tire In 5 Easy Steps [With Video Guide]

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Learning how to change a bike tire is an essential skill every new cyclist should learn.

Functioning tires in good condition are essential for both safety and performance. Whether your tires are worn out, damaged, or you’re just upgrading for a performance boost, knowing how to change a bike tire is a skill you won’t pedal far without.

Although it might sound like an easy task, many cyclists make it really difficult for themselves, and it can be daunting for beginners who’ve never done it before. Even some experienced cyclists don’t know the best way to change a bike tire.

In this article, we’ll be covering:

  • What Do We Actually Mean By The Bike Tire?
  • 3 Reasons You Might Need To Change A Bike Tire
  • What Tools Will You Need To Change A Bike Tire?
  • How To Change A Bike Tire In 5 Easy Steps
  • Robbie’s Video Maintenance Guide: How To Change A Bike Tire

Let’s get rolling!

How To Change A Bike Tire: Title Image

What Do We Actually Mean By The Bike Tire?

Before we start, there’s a common misconception among beginner cyclists when it comes to what the bike tire actually is.

The bike tire is the sturdy rubber outer tire that wraps around the rim, and the inner tube is the thin, inflatable rubber ring that sits inside and holds the air that inflates the tire.

Understandably there’s some confusion around the terminology. As cyclists, we’ll often refer to inflating the “tires” – when technically we’re actually inflating the inner tube, and so on.

As a result, you might’ve come here looking for guidance on changing your inner tube, rather than the tire itself.

In this article, we’ll be dealing with how to change the outer tire (although you can also change the inner tube at the same time if you need to).

Some of the leading brands when it comes to bike tires are Schwalbe, WTB, and Continental.

Close-up of a black bike tire.

3 Reasons You Might Need To Change A Bike Tire

There are many reasons why you might consider changing your bike tires. Here are some of the most common:

#1. Wear And Tear

The first and most common reason you will find yourself changing tires is through wear and tear.

Tires are very important to give you grip and comfort and are the contact point on the ground when you’re riding. They wear out quickly and need replacing often. 

#2. For Different Terrain

Different tires are designed for different types of terrain.

If you are someone who owns a bike, such as a gravel bike, you might change your tires depending on the ride you’re going on. You might enjoy smaller, skinnier tires for road riding and for off-road, chunky larger tires.

#3. For Better Performance

If you want to get an edge on your competition, you might enjoy a faster tire with less rolling resistance.

Many riders who are pushing their limits and want to pitch themselves against other cyclists upgrade their tires. Good quality tires are considered one of the best bang-for-buck upgrades for cyclists who want to improve their bikes.

A road bike tire on a deep-section aero wheel leaning against a brick wall.

How Do You Know When You Need To Replace A Tire?

We often get asked how do you know when it’s time to change a bike tire. Well, it depends on many factors, but some obvious signs of worn tires are:

Lots Of Punctures

If you start getting a lot of punctures, there’s a strong chance that your tires are getting old and brittle.

You will hit a point where it’s cheaper to buy new tires than it is to keep replacing inner tubes. 


Another obvious sign that your tires are getting old is when you start to get a lot of little slits in them.

This is where rocks have gotten stuck over time and then fallen out. These can be dangerous if they are too big. 

Mis-shaped or Warped

When tires are very worked, they start to get mis-shaped or warped.

You will typically see this on the rear more than the front. If you look at it from the back or front, you will see the tire will sit flat on the top. You want to avoid letting your tires get like this, as it can affect the handling of sharp corners. 

What Tools Will You Need To Change A Bike Tire?

A bike tire, hand pump, and yellow tire lever sit on a black floor mat.

When it comes to needing to change a bike tire, you don’t require much as far as tools go. Here’s what you’re going to need:

  • Tire Lever
  • Pump (Hand or Track Pump)
  • New Tire

Before you start, we recommend double-checking that the tire you plan to put on will fit your wheel and is suitable for your frame. If you are unsure what can fit, check the bike manufacturer’s website. 

How To Change A Bike Tire In 5 Easy Steps

Step #1. Deflate The Tire

Deflating a bike tire by hand.

The first thing you will need to do is deflate the tire.

If you use rim brakes, it makes the tire will come out easily. You will need to remove the cap anti-clockwise, unscrew the valve and push the pin down to release the air. 

To learn more, here’s our article on Bike Tire Valve Types.

Step #2. Remove The Wheel

Removing the front wheel from a blue road bike.

Now, remove the wheel so we can get access to the tire.

You can do this by opening up the quick release and unscrewing it. After a few turns, the wheel should drop out.

If you have a thru-axle, you will just need to unscrew it for the wheel to drop out when removed.

Step #3. Remove The Tire

Demonstrating how to change a bike tire using bike levers.

Now it’s time to get the old tire off.

To make this easier, you should first unhook the tire’s “bead” (the internal metal threads at the edge of the tire) from the rim.

To do this, simply run your hands around the whole tire, pushing each side into the rim’s center. It will feel much looser when you get all the way around.

Now, take the tire lever and insert it between the tire and the rim. Push the lever around the rim, lifting the tire over the edge. 

Once you have done this all the way around on one side, the tire should be free enough for you to just pull the rest off. Take care not to be too rough with the fragile inner tube, as we will need this when we install the next tire.

Step #4. Install The New Tire

The new bike tire hangs half-installed on the bike wheel's rim.

It’s time to get the new tire on.

Get one side of the tire on first, so that the other is hanging over the edge of the rim. It should just fit on one side fairly easily.

A great bit of advice is to line up the tire’s label with the valve hole. We do this to identify punctures in inner tubes easily. 

Before we get the inner tube in, put a bit of air into it to give it shape. This makes installing the inner tube much easier and reduces the risk of pinch flats when getting the other side of the tire on.

Now starting at the valve hole, install the inner tube. You need to ensure the tire completely covers it and it rests on the inside of the wheel rim.

Now, start fitting the other side of the tire onto the rim, with the inner tube inside.

Go as far as you can with your hands, as this reduces the chance of pinch flats on the inner tube. If you get the whole tire on, perfect. If not, you will need to use the tire lever to finish the job by pushing it over. Be very careful not to pinch the tire in the process.

Step #5. Put The Wheel Back In and Pump It Up

Inflating the new bike tire.

Finish the job by getting the bike back together. We recommend quickly checking if the tire is on properly before installing it into the bike.

Now install the wheel into the bike with the tire still deflated. 

Ensure the wheel is straight inside the frame and tighten up the quick-release or thru-axle. Give it a quick spin to check you don’t get any brake rub.

Now, pump the tire up to the required PSI. If you are unsure, check the manufacturer’s website, or you might find this calculator useful from Cycling Sport.

Once you have pumped it up, remove the pump and then give it one last visual check before going out and trying your new tires.

Robbie’s Video Maintenance Guide: How To Change A Bike Tire

Check out the BikeTips YouTube Channel here for walk-through bike maintenance guides and more!

Found this Beginner’s Bike Maintenance Guide helpful? Check out more from the BikeTips experts below!

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Robbie has traveled the globe as an endurance athlete and bikepacker, breaking world records and competing in international ultra-cycling events such as the BikingMan series and the Transcontinental Race. He's also worked as an ambassador for some of the industry's leading names, including Shimano and Ritchey. If Robbie's not on a bike, he's either fixing them or out walking with his dog!

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