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How To Change A Road Bike Tire

There’s nothing like a fresh set of tires to breathe a little life into your road bike. New rubber brightens up your ride and provides a little extra traction and control when you’re diving into corners during your favorite descent. It’s also an easy upgrade that anyone can do themselves.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to changing a road tire. The only tools you’ll need are a pair of tire levers and a pump.

  1. Deflate your tube so you can remove the old tire. Once the air is completely out, remove the first bead of the tire. To make this easier, wiggle the tire back and forth until you feel it break free from the hook of the rim.

  2. Using a tire lever, remove one side of the tire. Start on the opposite side of the valve stem, placing the hook of the tire lever between the rim and the bead of the old tire. Now, as the name suggests, lever the tire bead off the hook of your wheel’s rim. Depending on how tight the fit is between tire and rim, you may be able to just push the tire lever away from you and all the way around the rim, pulling the tire off. If the tire is too tight, most tire levers have a hook that can be attached to a spoke to keep the lever in place. Next, take your second tire lever and repeat the steps above until the first bead comes all the way off.

  3. Reach inside the tire and remove the old tube.

  4. Remove the second bead of the tire, so that the tire comes completely off the wheel. Usually, once the first bead and the tube are removed, you can easily get the tire the rest of the way off without tools. But if it’s too tight, use a tire lever the same way you did to remove the first bead.

  5. Now it’s time to install the new tire. Start by lining up the label of the tire with your wheels valve hole. This provides a reference point between tube and tire if you get a puncture, and are trying to identify the source such as a piece of glass or a thorn.

  6. Using just your hands, put the first bead of the tire onto the wheel. Use your thumbs to move that bead up over the rim surface.

  7. Slightly inflate your new tube so it has some shape and a little bit of springiness. Then insert the tube valve through the valve hole of the rim. Now work the tube into the tire, making sure that the tube is tucked well into the rim cavity, so there is no chance it will get pinched when you inflate it.

  8. Mount the second bead of the tire, starting at the valve hole and slowly working your way around. Whenever possible, use only your hands, as using a tire lever can puncture the tube if you are not careful. Mounting the last bit of tire is often the hardest part. The best technique is to take the fronts of your knuckles and place them over the bead, and then roll the tire onto the rim. If this doesn’t work, use a tire lever being careful not to puncture the tube.

  9. Once the tire is completely mounted, give it a good wiggle all the way around. This helps everything seat up properly.

  10. Inflate the tire to 10-15 psi, then stop and make sure the bead of the tire is securely seated onto the rim. A good way to check is to give the wheel a spin and check for any dips or deviations. This means the tire is not seated properly. If this is the case, deflate the tire and give it another wiggle, trying to get the tire to evenly seat on the rim.

  11. Once everything looks good, inflate the tire to the manufacturer’s recommended psi, which you’ll find on the sidewall of the tire.

If you have any questions about changing out a road tire, call the Performance Bicycle Spin Doctor product support line at 1-800-553-TECH. Happy riding.

Tires, Tubes and Wheels