How to Change a Mountain Bike Tire

Table of Contents

Surprised by a flat on your last ride, or losing traction on your old tire? Don’t worry; we’ll walk you through changing it so you can avoid the extra trouble of someone doing it for you.

Knowing how to change a mountain bike tire might seem like a tough task, but you can do it in minutes.

Whether you use your bike for leisurely rides, everyday commutes or you’re getting serious about cycling, changing the tire yourself is useful.

It’s also a crucial skill if you’re taking your bike on rough trails or longer trips—you don’t want to be left on the side of the road!

Mountain Bike Tire

Changing the Tire of Your Mountain Bike

Changing a mountain bike tire is far more straightforward than you may think. Just follow our steps, and you’ll get through it quickly.

Before you start, you may need:

  • A wrench to loosen the bolts on your bike wheel.
  • A plastic tire lever or two.
  • Patching kit.
  • New tire or a new inner tube, depending on the damage.

Step 1: Loosen the Wheel and Pull It Out

Place your bike on its back, supported on the handlebars and saddle.

You’ll probably need the wrench to loosen two nuts on both sides of the tire, and in some cases, even use a release lever.

Be careful to disentangle the wheel from the brake cable when you pull it out from between the brake pads.

Step 2: Prep and Separate the Tire From the Rim

If the tire still has some pressure, let the air out by pressing on the valve with your finger.

Then, ease out the bead by pushing with your thumbs to separate it from the rim. It might feel stuck at first, especially if you’ve had the tire for a long time. This is why you need to separate it first; you'll have an easier time taking the tire out.

You can also use tire levers for this part because it can get tough to remove the tire without them. Just push the lever under the tire and slide it along the rim to separate it.

Ensure that if you’re using levers, don’t push them too far inside to not pinch the tube as you’re separating the tire.

Step 3: Take Out the Tire

It’s better if you do this pushing toward the non-disc side of the tire to safeguard your fingers: pull the tire up and then push it out with your thumbs.

When you’ve eased out one side of the tire completely, you should be able to take out the tube. If your tube is punctured, you can patch or change it for a new one.

Move on to separating the other side of the tire if you plan on changing the whole thing.

For a tire that’s otherwise in good condition, leave it attached to the wheel on the other side when you change or patch up the tube.

Step 4: Inspect the Tire

If you had a flat, check out the rim, the tube and the tire to see if you can spot what caused the air to run out. This will help you prevent repeating the problem.

You might find a nail, pieces of glass or thorns that are sharp enough to puncture the tire. They can also be sharp enough to cut your fingers, so be careful!

Step 5: Insert the New Tire

If you’ve separated the whole tire from the wheel, grab the new one.

Check out the rotation marks to ensure they’re going in the right direction. Your disc brake side of the wheel should be the right-hand side of the wheel.

Push the new tire in either by hand or with levers, always pushing the bead towards the rim’s center.

Step 6: Tube Techniques

You have a couple of options for inserting the tube back in, so Try out which technique works better for you:

  1. Some people prefer to insert the tube inside the tire and then push it all in together.
  2. Others find it easier to place the tube in the right position when they’ve already pushed in one side of the tire.

There’s another trick for getting in the patched or new tube: inflate it slightly, so it’s easier to handle. Also, take care to place the valve at the right spot of the wheel for inflating.

Step 7: Finish the Other Side

Move on to push in the other side of the wheel, and work carefully to not pinch the tube below the bead.

Do a light check when you’ve finished to make sure you haven’t pinched it anywhere by pushing the tire inside with your thumbs.

When you’ve gone through the tire, test the valve to see if it moves when you push it with your finger. It’s best to make sure you can inflate the tire without a problem before you place it back on.

Place the wheel back on the bike, and tighten the bolts enough to be safe on your bike. Using a wrench is safer than just your fingers.

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Keep In Mind

If you have a flat tire, it’s likely that you won’t have to replace the outer tire but only the inner tube. Depending on the damage, you might be able to patch up the tube instead of buying a new one, but you’ll be able to better assess the situation when you’ve taken out the tire.

It might seem hard at first, but knowing how to change a mountain bike tire is a useful skill for cyclists. It doesn’t require much equipment, and you’ll save money and have a better understanding of your bike. It’s also crucial if you’re planning to go on a long-distance bike trip!


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