One of the most common basic maintenance skills required as a cyclist is knowing how to change a bike tyre. Whether you have punctured the tyre or just want to change the tyre for another one, the principle is the same and it is a skill every cyclist should learn. We highly recommend that you don't use tyre levers on carbon rims as it is possible to damage the wheel rim and it may void your warranty.
How to remove the old tyre
Most bike tyres these days are quite tight fitting to the wheel rim. To make it easier to remove the old tyre, make sure that all of the slack in the tyre is at the same point. If the rim bed has a central channel running along it, the tyre should be maneuvered into the channel and gathered as much as possible at the top of the wheel rim. Pulling the tyre upwards away from the top of the rim, begin to maneuver the sidewall of the tyre over the side of the rim. This can be tricky and require a lot of effort, and if you aren't using carbon rims you may wish to use some tyre levers at this point. If you are using innertubes and you wish to re-use them, care should be taken throughout not to nip the innertube against the tyre, potentially puncturing the tube. Once the first part of the tyre sidewall is off the rim, the rest should follow quite easily. Check that there isn't anything inside the tyre if you're re-using it and check the rim and rim tape to make sure they haven't been damaged at all.
How to fix a bike puncture
If you are wanting to know how to fix a bike puncture with an innertube, we'll cover this now. Once you have removed the tyre and the innertube, you will need to locate the hole in the tube. Pump the innertube up and if it isn't immediately obvious where the hole is, you could try placing the tube in some water and looking for the bubbles, or running the tube round close to your ear so you can hear the air escaping. Once the hole is located, use a puncture repair kit or some glueless patches to cover the puncture.
Tubeless tyre punctures that are too big for the tyre sealant to close can sometimes be repaired using a tubeless repair kit, such as those made by Dynaplug.
Putting a tyre on
To put either a new tyre or your existing tyre back on to the wheel rim, first check to see if the tyre has a direction of rotation. Not all tyres have this, but often mountain bike and road bike tyres have a suggested direction in which they work better. Orientate the tyre in accordance to this direction and push one side of the tyre onto the rim. If you are using innertubes, inflate the tube a little so that it holds it's shape but isn't going to be too big to prohibit the tyre going on. The reason for this is to limit the possibility of pinching the innertube against the tyre and wheel rim, which may cause a puncture. If you are using a tubeless tyre and rim, you may wish to put some sealant in the tyre at this point. Line up the valve with the valve hole in the rim. With the valve at the top of the wheel, begin to push the second side of the tyre on to the rim, working from the bottom around to the top on both sides at the same time. If you are using innertubes, be careful not to catch the tube at any point. As with tyre removal, the closer you get to having the full tyre on the rim, the more difficult it will become to perform the task. Make sure that if the rim has a channel in the centre, that the tyre bead is in the channel to maximise the amount of slack at your disposal when maneuvering the tyre onto the rim.
Inflate the tyre
If all is well, the only thing left is to inflate the tyre. If you are not out on the road or trails, we recommend using a floor pump to inflate your tyre as these are a lot more efficient than mini pumps. If you are inflating tubeless tyres, sometimes using an inflator such as the Schwalbe Booster Tubeless Tyre Inflator, can help if you are struggling to get the tyre on to the bead of the rim to seal.
If you have any more questions about how to change a bike tyre or how to fix a bike puncture, please get in touch and one of our Cytech qualified mechanics will be happy to assist you.