Pedal Wrencher HowTo: How to replace a tire

by Pedal Wrencher

Posted: 2016-04-12 at 02:03

So you’ve gotten the text from Pedal Wrencher, and you’ve taken a look at your tires… Sure enough, it’s time to replace them. There’s a flat strip down the middle of each of them, and they’re just looking a little bit threadbare. Now you just have to figure out how to get the old ones off and put new ones on without popping your tubes. Follow these instructions, and you’ll be ready to roll in just a few minutes.

Take the Old Tire Off

First of all, before you start, you’ll need to take the wheel off of your bike. You will likely need to use the quick release on your brakes to open them up so that your tire can pass through. Then just loosen the wheel at the axle, and take it off the bike. If you don’t have quick release wheels, you’ll most likely need a fifteen-millimeter open-end or box-end wrench to do this. The only other tools you’ll need for this job will be a set of tire levers and a bicycle pump.

Once the wheel is off the bike, go ahead and let the air out of the tube by depressing the valve stem. If you have a Schrader valve (the one that looks like the ones on your car), you can just take the valve cap off and press the valve stem down. If you have a presta valve (the skinny, metal kind), you’ll need to unscrew the nut at the top of the valve stem and then depress it.

After you’ve let the air out, take one of your tire levers and scoop the flat end of it the bead of the tire (with the convex side facing the tire so it can scoop under the bead), in between the tire and the rim. Then, using the rim as a fulcrum, use the lever to pull the bead of the tire over the edge of the rim. If the tire is really tight, you may need to do this with more than one lever, as shown in the image below. That’s why they come in convenient sets of two or three.

With the tire off of the rim on one side, go ahead and pull the tube out. Then you should be able to roll the other bead of the tire off of the rim (on the same side – you don’t want the tire straddling the rim).

Put the New Tire On

Now, take the new tire, and set one side of it into the rim so that it looks just like the old tire did when you got one bead off the rim. You should be able to do this barehanded, but your levers are there for you if you need them with a really tight tire. After you’ve done this, pump a little bit of air back into the tube and guide it back into the tire.

Using your palms, roll the tube and tire toward the center of the rim. Then, starting at the valve stem, use your thumbs to roll the bead of the tire back inside the rim. Work your hands away from each other as you do this, rolling a little bit more of the tire’s bead inside the rim on either side as you go. 
This will get more difficult as you get closer to the opposite side of the rim. Just keep rolling the tire onto the rim as far as you can. If you can’t go any farther, you may need to use your tire levers. This time, you’ll slide the lever between the tire and the rim with the convex side of the lever toward the rim instead of toward the tire. Then use the same kind of lever motion to flip the tire onto the rim.

If you need to use one or more levers to get the tire onto the rim, be very careful. It is very easy to pinch the tube between the rim and the tire, and then you’ll have a flat tire and you’ll have to do it all over again. You can prevent this by doing just a little bit at a time and always making sure that the tube is far enough up inside the tire and toward the center of the rim.

After you’ve gotten the new tire on the rim, put a little bit of air into it and check to make sure that the bead of the tire is seated properly all the way around the rim on both sides. If you see it sticking up anywhere, let the air back out and reseat it. Then you’ll be able to put air in again and move on to the next tire.

Now you have all you need to know to change your tires, whether they’re worn out or you have a flat and need to change a tube. Have fun!

Pedal Wrencher

The strava-powered check engine light for your bike