how do you change tyres??

i have had my tyre changed many times by my local bike shop and i am intrested in knowing how to do it myself to save the cost of them doing it for me.

an someone please let me know how to change my regular 20"x1.85" tyre to a nice fat onza sticky fingers 20"x2.40" tyre?

thanks very much joe

just purchase some tire levers from your LBS (local bike shop) or an outdoors store like R.E.I.
Just use those to pry each side of the tire out, and if you don’t know exactly how, just watch/ask the bikeshop guys. Some tires are big enough that you can pry them off w/o tire levers, but when I’m riding, I always bring my tire levers and a patch kit in order to fix flats. (To fix flats just pry off one side of the tire and pull the innertube out)
good luck,
hope this helps

  1. Deflate the tyre.
  2. remove the wheel.
  3. Push the valve stem as if you were trying to push it all the way through the hole (in fact, you’re just breaking any “stiction” there might be.)
  4. Work round the tyre, pushing the edges of the tyre towards the centre line of the wheel, to break the contact between the tyre bead and the rim.
  5. Starting diametrically opposite the valve, use a tyre lever to hook the bead and lever it out of the rim, on one side of the wheel only. Don’t pull it all the way, just make a gap.
  6. Using another tye lever, lever out the next bit of bead (so the levers should be only 2 - 4 inches apart (5 - 10 cm).
  7. Once you have an “edge” you can quickly remove the rest of the bead.
  8. You have now removed one side of the tyre.
  9. Carefully pull out the inner tube.
  10. PUll the valve through the hole in the rim.
  11. You have now removed the tube.
  12. You should now be able to remove the other tyre bead easily. Use levers if necessary.
  13. You have now completely removed the tyre and tube.
  14. Check that the rim tap is in position. This stops the ends of the spokes digging into the tube. Also, make sure that the valve hole in the rim tape is positioned over the hole in the rim!
  15. Fit one side of the new tyre. You shouldn’t need levers.
  16. Carefully insert the tube, valve first, then making sure that the tube is evenly around the rim, not folded or twisted. (Hint, a little bit of air in the tube helps.
  17. Push the valve stem down.
  18. Important: starting at the valve, put the second edge of the tyre into the rim. Make sure that it seats comfortably, and is not trapping the base of the valve stem.
  19. Working first one way then the other, put the rest of the tyre bead into the rim.
  20. Important: be careful to work evenly, and not to let the tyre drag the tube so that the valve projects from the hole unevenly. It should be at right angles to the rim.
  21. Important: you will end up with a little bit of the bead that is not back in the rim. This should be diametrically opposite the valve.
  22. Work your way round the entire tyre, pushing the walls together with finger and thumb to seat the tyre properly, and to ensure maximum slack for when you put that last difficult bit in.
  23. You should now be able to push that last difficult bit in. If you have to use levers, be careful not to trap and tear the tube.
  24. Double check that the tyre is evenly seated all the way round the rim.
  25. Inflate the tube, checking that the valve isn’t trapped or under any tension.
  26. have a nice cup of tea and a biscuit.

i have no tyre levars is there anything else i can use to get it off?

you should really buy some from your bike store. they’re very cheap. but if you choose not to, screwdrivers will work. except you probably need someone to help you, and it’s really hard, and there’s a slight risk of popping the tube.

Just buy some tire levers. They’re way cheap, and they help a ton. If you use something else, you risk damaging the rim, the tire, and the tube.

My dad always swore by nice, rounded end handled spoons in place of tyre levers. They work for me, too. Some spoons are a bit namby-pamby though, and bend far too easily. Plastic spoons are a definite no-no, wooden spoons are too clumsy and ladles are just over the top.


Money spent on good tools is never wasted.

Money saved by bodging is usually spent on repairing the bodge.

A set of tyre levers costs about as much as a takeaway meal, and loads less than a CD. For goodness’ sake, don’t be a cheapskate. Buy the levers.

I’ve poked the tube every time i’ve used screwdrivers.If you use them BE CAREFULE.

Mike of course is absolutely right. But then I didn’t get where I am today by listening to those who are wiser than me. :sunglasses:

Mikefule gave a very nice and clear description on how to change a tire. That should be a keeper for the FAQ.

Here’s two other tire changing guides that are on the web:
Tire changing guide at
Tire changing guide at

The trick to removing and installing a tire it to realize that the center of the rim is usually a smaller diameter than the outer part of the rim. Many rims have a bit of a “V” shape inside.

The trick is to push the tire down into the bottom of that “V” on one half of the rim and work the tire levers on the opposite half of the rim. Pushing half of the tire down into the bottom of the “V” gives you a few extra millimeters on the other half of the rim which makes it easier to get the bead of the tire up and over the lip of the rim. See the attached drawing.

And do use real tire levers. Never use a tool like a screwdriver cause you’ll surely puncture the tube or damage the tire. A set of basic plastic tire levers is cheap. Under $3 (USD) for a set of 3. The heavy duty metal tire levers that are useful on the heavy DH tires like the Gazz are a little more (about $10 each).

tire changing tip.gif

I would like to add only one thing. If it is at all possible to remove and install the tyre without the tyre irons, don’t use them. The fewer things you have stuck in there the less likely you are to puncture something. I can do a Gazz with cheap plastic tyre irons. I can do a standard Coker entirely by hand, no tools. Every possibility in between exists. Some people like to use liquid soap on particularly stubborn tires. I strongly recommend staying away from soap or any other substance that likes to disolve water (KY Jelly for instance is water soluble.) Vaseline or some light grease might help in this situation. Keep water away from the inards of the wheel whenever possible to prevent corrosion of spoke nipples, preservation of the rim strip and the such.

just an example

Edit: you can also ask next time to see your bike mechanic change it for you. They might use the cheater machines like at REI that puts the tire on like car tires, but most likely they’ll do it the ol’ fasioned way.