How to Change a Road Bike Tire

When you need to change a flat or broken road bike tire, you might feel like you’re out of your element. It’s not a task that many of us need to perform on a regular basis. Being properly prepared is going to be your key to success. If you’re going out on a long ride, then make sure you take all of the essentials along with you. That means you’ll need the following.

  • A spare tube.
  • A repair kit.
  • Tire levers.
  • A pump.

Now there are times when your wheel will break and you’ll have to swap it out. This guide does not cover that. What you will know is how to change a road bike tire. Just follow these steps.

#1. Remove the bike wheel.

Although you could fix the tire while it is still attached to the bike, the process is a lot smoother when you take a few moments to remove the wheel. You can do this by releasing your brakes first, then release the wheel. If you have a mountain bike with disc brakes, make sure you don’t touch the rotor because this will be hot.

You may also need to squeeze the brake arms together in order to release your cable. If you’re lucky, then you’ll just have a quick-release lever to remove the brakes and the wheel.

Some bicycles do have a retention device that holds the wheel in place even when its release lever is open. Each system is a little different, so you’ll need to consult with your owner’s manual. If it’s the back wheel, remember to disengage the chain. You may also need to remove bolts or other components for a full release.

#2. Remove the tube of the tire.

In order to find where your tire has picked up a flat, you’ll need to remove the tube from the tire. You can start this process by making sure there is no air remaining in the tube. Then you’ll need to unseat the tire bead.

On most flats, you can unseat it by pushing the bead edge toward the center of the wheel rim with your hand. A tire lever can give you more leverage if needed. On a stubborn tire, you may need a second lever. Start on the section of the tire that is opposite the valve stem and then work to pry the bead of the tire over the edge of the rim.

#3. Repair or replace the tube.

If you’ve purchased a tire repair kit, there’s a good chance you can patch the tube so that it can hold air once again. If the damage is more than you’d like to see, then the tube needs to be replaced.

To install a new tube, just remove the old one and place the new one in its place. Partially inflate the new tube to give it some shape. Then, starting with the valve stem, begin lowering the tube onto the wheel. Make sure you insert the valve into the rim valve hole.

Then push one edge of the bead back inside of the rim. Continue around the tire on both sides to make sure you have a full seal. If any edge is caught, you could wind up with another flat.

That’s all it takes to know how to change a road bike tire. It is cheaper and easier to repair or patch a tire if possible. Follow these steps and you’ll likely have success.

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