How to Change a Bike Inner Tube: A Step-by-Step Guide

Are you tired of constantly worrying about getting a flat tire while riding your bike? The fear of losing control and potentially damaging your bike can be overwhelming. But don’t worry, with the right knowledge and tools, changing a bike’s inner tube can be an easy task that anyone can do.

As someone who loves to ride their bike but is intimidated by the thought of fixing it themselves, you may have stumbled upon this article in search of guidance. Well, look no further! As an experienced cyclist who has changed countless inner tubes over the years, I am here to share my expertise with you.

By reading this article, not only will you gain confidence in your ability to change a bike’s inner tube on your own, but you’ll also save time and money by avoiding trips to the bike shop. Plus, imagine the peace of mind of knowing that if you do get a flat tire during a ride, you’ll have the skills necessary to fix it quickly and efficiently. So let’s dive into how to change a bike’s inner tube easily – trust me when I say it’s simpler than you think!

Why should you learn how to change a bike’s inner tube?

There’s nothing more frustrating than getting a flat tire in the middle of a ride and not knowing how to fix it. So learning this skill will not only give you peace of mind during your rides but also save you money in the long run. Taking your bike to a shop for repairs can be costly, especially if it’s something as simple as changing an inner tube. 

Additionally, knowing how to change an inner tube can also help others who may need assistance while out riding. You never know when someone else might have a flat tire and need some help fixing it. Being able to lend a hand could make all the difference in their day.

How to Change a Bike’s Inner Tube

Changing a bike’s inner tube may seem daunting, but with the right tools and knowledge, it can be done quickly and easily. In my experience, having a spare inner tube on hand is always a good idea in case of unexpected flats. Try practicing changing an inner tube at home before attempting it on-the-go.

  1. Gather the necessary tools and materials:
  2. Remove the wheel from the bike: For the front wheel, release the quick-release skewer or loosen the axle nuts and lift the bike off the wheel. For the rear wheel, shift the chain to the smallest cog on the rear cassette and the smallest chainring on the front. Release the quick-release skewer or loosen the axle nuts, then carefully guide the wheel out, lifting the chain over the smallest cog.
  3. Deflate the tire completely: If the tire isn’t already flat, deflate it by pressing the valve to release any remaining air. For Presta valves, unscrew the top cap before pressing the valve. 
  4. Remove the tire from the rim: Insert a tire lever under the tire bead (the edge of the tire) and pry it over the rim. Once the bead is over the rim, slide the lever around the circumference of the wheel to unseat the tire. Use a second tire lever, if necessary, to remove the opposite bead and fully take off the tire.
  5. Remove the old inner tube: Carefully pull the old inner tube out from between the tire and rim. Make sure to remove the valve from the rim’s valve hole.
  6. Inspect the tire and rim: Thoroughly examine the inside of the tire and the rim for any debris, sharp objects, or damage that may have caused the flat. Remove any foreign objects and repair or replace any damaged parts as needed.
  7. Prepare the new inner tube: Optionally, dust the new inner tube with talcum powder to reduce friction between the tube and the tire. Partially inflate the new tube just enough to hold its shape, making it easier to install without pinching.
  8. Install the new inner tube: Insert the valve of the new inner tube into the rim’s valve hole. Slowly work the inner tube into the tire, making sure it’s not twisted or pinched.
  9. Re-seat the tire onto the rim: Starting at the valve, carefully push the tire bead back onto the rim. Work your way around the tire, using your hands to push the bead over the rim edge. If the bead is difficult to seat, use soapy water as a lubricant to help ease the tire back onto the rim.
  10. Inflate the tire: Slowly inflate the tire to the manufacturer’s recommended pressure, checking periodically to ensure that the tire is seated properly on the rim and the inner tube isn’t pinched.
  11. Perform a final inspection: Spin the wheel to check for any wobbling or irregularities, and double-check the tire pressure.
  12. Reinstall the wheel onto the bike: For the front wheel, simply place the wheel back into the dropouts and secure the quick-release skewer or tighten the axle nuts. For the rear wheel, place the chain on the smallest cog and carefully guide the wheel back into the dropouts. Secure the quick-release skewer or tighten the axle nuts, and shift through the gears to ensure proper alignment.
  13. Test ride the bike: Take a short test ride to ensure everything is functioning properly and the tire maintains pressure.

What tools do you need to change a bike’s inner tube?

Below is a list of tools you will need to have on hand to change a bike’s inner tube. First, you would need to ensure you have the replacement new inner tube that matches the size and valve of the current one.

Tire levers

This tool is used to remove the tire from the rim.

Pump or CO2 inflator

A pump or CO2 inflator is necessary to inflate the new inner tube once it’s installed.

Patch kit

Additionally, having a patch kit on hand can be helpful in case you encounter another flat while riding.


Some other useful tools include pliers or needle-nose pliers for removing debris from the tire.


You will need gloves to protect your hands.

In addition to these basic tools, some cyclists may prefer additional accessories such as portable work stands for easier access to their bikes during repairs or multi-tools that combine various functions into one compact device.

Subsequently, investing in quality tools can save time and frustration down the road by reducing the likelihood of equipment failure during repairs. Plus, having essential repair items readily available can help prevent long delays caused by unexpected flats while out on rides.

How long does it take to change a bike’s inner tube?

It depends on your level of experience and the tools you have available. However, with practice, you can become proficient at changing an inner tube in just a few minutes. This can help build confidence and speed up future repairs when time is critical. 


  1. Do prepare your workspace: Choose a clean, flat surface with ample lighting to work on your bicycle. Have all the necessary tools and replacement parts within reach.
  2. Do deflate the tire: Make sure the tire is completely deflated before attempting to remove it from the rim. This will make it easier to work with and prevent any accidental damage.
  3. Do use proper tire levers: When removing the tire from the rim, use tire levers specifically designed for the task to avoid damaging the tire, rim, or inner tube.
  4. Do inspect the tire and rim: Once the tire is off, carefully inspect the inside of the tire and the rim for any debris, sharp objects, or damage that may have caused the flat.
  5. Do apply talcum powder: Lightly dust the new inner tube with talcum powder to reduce friction between the tube and tire, which can help prevent future flats.
  6. Do partially inflate the new inner tube: Before inserting the new tube into the tire, give it a bit of air to help it take shape and prevent it from getting pinched during installation.
  7. Do check for proper alignment: Once the new tube is in place, make sure it’s properly aligned and not twisted or pinched before re-seating the tire onto the rim.
  8. Do inflate the tire slowly: Inflate the tire to the recommended pressure, checking periodically to ensure that the tire is seated properly on the rim and the tube isn’t being pinched.
  9. Do perform a final inspection: Before riding, spin the wheel to check for any wobbling or irregularities, and double-check the tire pressure.


  1. Don’t use sharp tools: Avoid using screwdrivers or other sharp tools to remove the tire, as they can damage the tire, rim, or inner tube.
  2. Don’t force the tire onto the rim: If the tire is difficult to re-seat on the rim, try using a bit more lubrication, such as soapy water, rather than forcing it.
  3. Don’t overinflate the tire: Overinflating the tire can cause it to burst or damage the rim. Always check the manufacturer’s recommended tire pressure and stay within that range.
  4. Don’t ignore damage or wear: If you find damage or significant wear on your tire or rim, don’t ignore it. Replace or repair the damaged parts before reinstalling the inner tube.
  5. Don’t ride immediately after inflating: Allow a few minutes for the tire to settle after inflating before riding to ensure proper seating and alignment.
  6. Don’t forget to check the valve: Ensure that the valve of the new inner tube is straight and securely fastened before inflating. If the valve is angled or loose, it can lead to a slow leak or future flat.

Wrapping Up 

Overall, changing an inner tube requires several key tools including tire levers, an appropriate-sized replacement inner tube with matching valve type, inflation equipment like a pump or CO2 inflator plus optional extras like pliers. By ensuring compatibility between parts and investing in quality equipment where possible; riders can enjoy smoother cycling experiences without worrying about unexpected breakdowns along their journey!

Last Updated on March 17, 2023 by Daniel White

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