Changing a bike tire might sound like the easiest task in the world, yet we’re all too familiar with that heartbreaking image of a helpless-looking rider standing on the edge of the road with a broken tire lever in hand. The right tools and a good technique will get you out of trouble in races, Gran Fondos and local club rides. We’ll guide you through the process of fitting a tire and inner tube properly.


  • easy

Required tools

Tire | Pump | Inner tube | Tire levers


First things first: get the new inner tube ready. Take it out of the box and inflate it very slightly. This will make the installation process easier and prevent the inner tube from twisting inside the tire.
… but only pump it up until it unfolds.
Putting in too much air is pointless and will make the whole procedure harder.
… if your name is Greg Lemond or if your lungs are big enough you can unfold the inner tube with your mouth…
Before you even attempt to fit the tire and tube onto the rim you have to work out which way the wheel rolls and align it with the rotation arrow printed on the sidewall.
Now place the rim inside the tire…
…and pull just one side of the tire bead over the rim…
Make sure you pull the entire first side of the tire over the rim. TIP: if you want to do it like the pros, align the tire logo with the rim decals and valve hole. You can still adjust the position once the first side of the tire sits in the rim.
Push the valve stem through the hole. Do this on the side that’s not yet sitting in the rim.
…and place the tube into the tire.
Make sure the valve is straight.
IMPORTANT! Fit the tire starting on the opposite side of the valve. This trick allows you to push the tire deeper into the rim and makes the whole installation process easier.
Using both hands, press the rest of the tire into the rim. Place the wheel on the floor or lean it against your thighs – this makes it easier to press it into the rim. TAKE NOTE: be careful not to pinch the tube between the rim and the tire.
The closer you get to the valve the more difficult it will become to push the tire into the rim. That’s why it’s crucial that the tire always sits deep in the centre of the rim bed on the opposite side. Readjusting the tire from time to time might help too.
Should the last few centimetres prove particularly hard you can use a tire lever to pull the tire bead over the lip of the rim – real pros can do this with their bare hands though! If you use a tire lever make sure that the tire doesn’t slip off the rim on the other side.
If you managed to get the tire on but the valve moved in the process you can still adjust it using a firm grip (your fingers grip the inner tube inside the tire) and a bit of pressure in the appropriate direction.
If the valve and valve-hole are the same size, we advise against using the valve nut. This is mostly used to keep the actual valve straight and can cause the valve stem to snap.
Instead of using the valve-nut hold your thumb on the tire and push down firmly right above the valve to fix the pump head onto the valve.

Now it’s time to pump up the tire. We recommend an air pressure of around 6-7 bar in the front tire and 7 bar in the rear – the wider your tires, the lower pressure you can run without risking punctures, with the added benefit of a massive gain in comfort.

Important: Every tire has a bead seat line. If the tire is sitting properly the line should be running evenly along the rim and be completely visible.
If that’s not the case, try to add more air until the tire pops into the rim properly. Once the tire is properly fitted you can decrease the pressure to your needs.

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Words: Christoph Bayer, Manuel Buck Photos: Valentin Rühl