How to Change Inner Tube on a Bike

Overview of Inner Tube Replacement

Maintaining the inner tube of your bicycle is a crucial aspect of ensuring a smooth riding experience. Over time, the inner tubes of bicycles may experience wear and tear, leading to instances of slow or fast leaks and punctures, which may need a replacement. Thus, understanding how to replace the inner tube on a bike can be quite handy.

Importance of maintaining the inner tube

The inner tube of your bicycle, as suggested by its name, is the rubber tube within the tyre that inflates with air to provide cushion and grip while riding. It plays a pivotal role in your bicycle’s performance and the overall riding quality. Proper maintenance can:

  • Improve the bike’s speed
  • Enhance handling and grip
  • Ensure a smoother and comfortable ride
  • Increase the lifespan of your bike’s tyres

When to replace the inner tube

A bicycle tire on a tiled floor.

The need to replace the inner tube can stem from several factors:

  • If your bike often goes flat even after pumping air, it may be a slow leak in the inner tube.
  • Sudden deflation while riding might indicate a fast leak or a punctured inner tube.
  • If you’ve ridden over a sharp object like glass or a nail, a quick inspection is recommended as these can often result in punctures.
  • Old age and extensive use can also cause wear and tear leading to leaks.

Identifying these signs early can save riders from any on-road inconveniences and potential safety issues.

Remember, maintaining the condition of your bike inner tube will offer an enhanced biking experience and keep you safe while exploring those cycle paths. Keep an eye out for the above signs, and you’ll be good to go!

Tools and Materials Needed

A gun and other items on a wooden table.

Changing an inner tube on a bike requires a few basic tools and materials. While the process may seem challenging at first, with the right tools and a bit of patience, you can easily do it yourself.

List of tools required

Here’s a list of the essential tools you’ll need:

  • Bicycle Pump: You’ll need it to inflate your new tube once it’s in place.
  • Tire Levers: These handy tools make it much easier to remove the tire from the rim. Avoid using metal objects as they may damage the tire or rim.
  • Spare inner tube: Ensure you have a new or patched inner tube.
  • Bucket of Water (Optional): Useful for checking for punctures in the old tube.

Types and sizes of inner tubes

There are several types and sizes of inner tubes available on the market. The two main types are Schrader valve (commonly found on mountain bikes and kids’ bikes) and Presta valve (typically found on road bikes).

When it comes to sizes, it’s crucial to match the inner tube size with the size of your bike tire. The size can typically be found written on the side of your tire. For example, a common road bike tire size is 700x23c, whereas a typical mountain bike tire size is 27.5×2.0.

Ensure to use the correct inner tube that matches your tire’s width range. This is important because using the wrong size can result in the tube popping out or tire pinch, causing a blowout.

Step-by-step Guide to Changing the Inner Tube

With your tools and correct inner tube size in hand, you’re ready to change your bike’s inner tube. Stay tuned for a step-by-step guide in our next section of this blog post.

Removing the Wheel

A man working on a bicycle.

To fix a punctured tyre, the first step is to remove the wheel from the bike. The procedure can be different for front and rear wheels. Here’s a simple step by step guide on how to do that.

Step-by-step guide to removing the wheel safely

1. Positioning the Bike: To start, flip the bike upside down so that it rests on its handlebar and saddle. Ensure that your bicycle is on a flat and stable surface to prevent it from falling over.

2. Releasing the Brakes: On most modern bikes, the brakes need to be released to allow the wheel to be removed. If you have a bicycle with disc brakes, you can move to the next step.

3. Loosening the wheel: Now, proceed to loosen the wheel. If your bicycle has a quick release lever, you only need to flip the lever and loosen the bolt on the opposite end. However, if you have a bike with bolted wheels, you’ll need to use a spanner to loosen the bolts.

Precautions to take while removing the wheel

1. Safety First: Make sure to wear gloves to protect your hands from grease and sharp objects. Also, have a clean cloth or paper towel handy to wipe off excess grease.

2. Check your surroundings: Be cautious not to lose any small parts during the process. It might be a good idea to place a bowl or container nearby to put in small parts like bolts or nuts.

3. Removing the chain: For the back wheel, shift the chain to the smallest cog before removing the wheel. This will make it easier to remove and reinstall the wheel.

By following these steps and precautions, you can safely remove your bike wheel, ready for the next step, changing the inner tube. Happy cycling!

Deflating the Tube and Removing the Tire

A man fixing a bicycle tire in the grass.

Learning how to deflate a bike tube and remove a tire is a handy skill for any avid cyclist. The process can be done in a few simple steps, provided one has the necessary tools at hand, like a set of tire levers.

Step-by-step guide to deflating the tube

  1. Locate the valve: Find the valve on the bike tube. The two common types are Schrader and Presta. Schrader valves are similar to car tire valves, while Presta valves are thinner and have a locking nut at the top.
  2. Deflate the tire: For Schrader valves, simply push down on the small pin inside the valve. For Presta valves, unscrew the small locking nut at the top and then push down on it. Allow all the air to escape from the tube.

How to remove the tire without damaging the tube

  1. Prep for removal: Once the tire is deflated, squeeze it on both sides to create a gap between the tire and rim. This helps to start the removal process.
  2. Use tire levers: Slip one end of the tire lever under the bead of the tire (the edge of the tire that sits on the rim). Then, pivot the lever down towards the spokes to lift the bead out of the rim.
  3. Remove the tire: After one bead is free, you should be able to slide the lever around the remainder of the rim to free the rest of the tire.
  4. Take out the tube: Once the tire is removed, the deflated tube should be easy to extract from the tire.

Please note, while removing the tire, care should be taken to avoid damaging the tube. Now, you’re ready for the next stage in the process to change a bike’s inner tube.

Inspecting the Inner Tube

To maintain your bicycle’s overall performance, it’s crucial to regularly inspect and maintain your tires, including the often-overlooked inner tube. Bike inner tubes are an integral part of your bicycle as they keep the tires inflated, promoting a smooth and efficient ride.

Checking for Punctures or Damage

The first step is to closely examine your bike’s inner tube for any visible punctures or damage. Here are some steps to follow when checking for punctures:

  • Remove the inner tube from the bike tire.
  • Inflate the tube slightly to make the checking process easier.
  • Run your hand along the tube to feel for any sharp objects or areas of damage.
  • You can also submerge the inflated tube in a basin of water and look for bubbles that signal a leak.

If you find any punctures or damage, it may demand a repair or a complete replacement, depending on the severity of the damage.

Note: Remember to handle the tube gently to avoid causing additional damage.

Determining if the Tube Needs Replacement

Once you’ve examined the tube, you have to decide whether it needs repairing or replacing. If the tube has:

  • A puncture less than 1/4 inch in diameter, it can often be repaired using a patch kit.
  • Multiple punctures or cuts over 1/4 inch, it’s generally recommended to replace the tube.

In case you opt for a replacement, make sure to consult the size printed on the side of your tire to find a matching tube size. Also, choose a tube that matches your bike’s valve type (either Presta or Schrader).

Above all, keeping your bike’s inner tubes in good shape positively impacts your cycling experience, ensuring a smoother and more enjoyable ride.

Installing the New Inner Tube

A man is working on a bicycle tire in a workshop.

Installing a new bike tube is an essential skill for any cyclist. The right procedure can save time and prevent potential wheel damage. Let’s go over the key steps.

Proper techniques for installing the new tube

1. Insert the new tube into the tire:
Once you have the right inner tube size for your bike, slightly inflate it so it takes shape but is still flexible. Make sure the entire tube is inside the tire.

2. Insert the valve:
Slide the tube’s valve into the hole in the rim and then tuck the inner tube into the tire’s casing around the whole wheel. Be cautious to prevent any twisting or pinching of the tube.

3. Mount the tire: Re-mount the tire onto the wheel rim, starting at the section opposite the valve. Check to ensure the inner tube isn’t being pinched between the tire and the rim.

4. Inflate softly: Slightly inflate the tire to check if the tube sits correctly. Correct any bulges or low spots.

Ensuring the tube is correctly positioned

5. Final Inflation:Once the tube is seated correctly, inflate the tire to the manufacturer’s recommended pressure, which is usually indicated on the tire’s sidewall.

6. Check the Setup:After inflating, check the whole setup carefully: inspect the tire for any unevenness, and make sure the tube is not poking out anywhere.

7. Replace the wheel: Finally, replace the wheel on your bike. Make sure it’s secure and that the brakes operate smoothly.

Here’s a quick recap of the steps:

• Insert the new tube into the tire• Insert the valve• Mount the tire• Inflate softly• Check the tube’s position• Inflate to the correct pressure• Check the setup• Replace the wheel

With these steps, you’ll have a new inner tube installed on your bike in no time!

Inflating the Tube and Reinstalling the Tire

A person is putting a tire on a bicycle.

Now that you’ve successfully installed the new tube, it’s time to inflate it and reinstall the tire. The trick here is to inflate the tube just enough to give it shape but not too much as it could result in another puncture while reinstalling the tire.

Choosing the correct air pressure for the tube

Choosing the right air pressure is crucial for a comfortable and safe ride. The correct air pressure for your bike tires can usually be found on the side of your tire. Bicycle tires typically have a pressure range between 30 and 60 PSI (Pound-force per Square Inch), but it can vary depending on the type of bike and tire. Always go for the optimum PSI range or slightly less but never inflate beyond the maximum limit.

Step-by-step guide to inflating the tube and reassembling the tire

Here’s a quick guide on how to inflate the tube and reinstall the tire:

  1. Start by slightly inflating the tube, just enough to give it form and avoid it being pinched when reinstalling the tire.
  2. Slide one side of the tire onto the wheel’s rim.
  3. Put the valve through the hole in the rim, and then tuck the slightly-inflated tube inside the tire.
  4. Carefully push the other side of the tire back onto the rim.
  5. Once both sides of the tire are properly seated on the rim, you can start inflating the tube to your desired PSI within the range mentioned.
  6. As you fill the tube, ensure to check that the tire is evenly seated on the rim and the inner tube isn’t being pinched .
  7. Once the tire is fully inflated, reinstall the wheel onto your bike.

Remember, mastering how to change an inner tube on a bike needs practice so don’t feel discouraged if you don’t get it perfectly the first time.

Checking for Leaks and Proper Installation

Once the new tube is installed on your bike, it’s critical to double-check for any leaks and ensure that the wheel has been securely reattached.

Tips for identifying leaks in the new tube

Identifying leaks in your new bike tube doesn’t have to be a guessing game; there are straightforward ways to do it:

  • Inflate the tube slightly and submerge it in a basin of water. Observe any bubbles which signify a leak.
  • Listen closely for a hissing sound while the tube is inflated.
  • Feel around the tube for escaping air especially around the valve.

If any leaks are detected, the unfortunate news is that you’ll need to remove the inner tube and patch it, or replace it if the damage is too significant.

Ensuring the wheel is securely reattached

Reattaching the wheel after a tube change also requires an attention to detail to ensure safety. Be sure you follow these steps:

  • Firstly, make sure the chain is looped over the right cog if you are working on the rear wheel.
  • Then, guide the axle into the bike’s dropouts. Be sure you align it correctly.
  • Tighten the axle nuts or quick release lever. This can be done by hand but always ensure they are secure.

Taking the time to perform these checks will save potential troubles down the road. In bike maintenance, a bit of careful attention can go a long way in preventing a mishap or an unplanned stop during your ride. Thus, always ensure there are no leaks in the tube and that the wheel is securely reattached.


With the proper tools and steps, changing a bicycle inner tube can be quite easy, even for the uninitiated. In no time, you can get your bike back on its wheels and be pedaling again!

Safety tips for future tube replacements

Safety should always be paramount when it comes to bike maintenance and repairs. Here are a few tips to keep in mind for future tube replacements:

  • Invest in good tools: High-quality bike tools can make the job easier and safer. A good set of levers, a reliable bike pump, and a patch kit (for emergencies!) are worth their weight in gold.
  • Inspect your bike before fitting new tube: Before you insert a new tube, always do a quick inspection of the inside of your bike tire. Small sharp objects like thorns or shards of glass can puncture a new tube almost immediately.
  • Don’t overinflate: Overinflating your tire can cause it to burst, putting you and your bike at risk. Always check the recommended PSI range on your tire, and inflate accordingly.

Lastly, always take note of the condition of your tire every time you replace an inner tube. A tire’s lifespan doesn’t last forever!

The more familiar you are with the process, the easier it will be in the future. Remember, to err is human, and a bit of practice goes a long way when it comes to bike maintenance. Stick with it, and it will become second nature. Ride safe!

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