How to Pump and Change a Bike Tire
Whether you're a keen cycler or you're just starting out, two of the most important things you need to know how to do are pumping and changing a tire. After all, you don't want to be 20 miles away from home and have to walk back with a flat tire. So, follow our simple steps to take care of your bike tires so you are never stranded on the road.
How to Pump a Bike Tire
Make sure you have the right pump
There are two valve types on a bike tire so you need to make sure that you have the right pump for the specific valve on your bike tire. These are a Schrader valve with a wide flat end or a narrow Presta valve with a locking nut at the top. If you're not sure which pump you need then take a picture of the valve and ask which pump you need at your local bike shop.
Prepare the tire valve
Once you have the correct bike pump, you're almost ready to use it. Take the plastic cap off and loosen the locking nut at the end of the valve stem then give the valve hole a few taps to check the air is moving. You only need to do this if you have a Presta valve.
Check your tire pressure
It's important that you check the correct tire pressure before you start to inflate them. This will be written on the outer edge of your tire and is measured in psi. This varies depending on whether you have a road bike, mountain bike or hybrid bike which is why it is so important that you check the correct tire pressure to use. You will have a range and it is up to you to determine what is the right pressure for you based on your weight and riding style.
Attach the pump
The pump needs to be attached to the valve correctly otherwise the air escapes as you are pumping. So, if the pump screws on, it needs to be threaded correctly or if it has a switch it needs to be secured properly up or down. If it is not properly secured then undo the pump and reattach it.
Pump up the tire
It doesn't matter if you have a floor pump or a hand pump, what you need to keep an eye on is the pressure gauge. Pump your tire up until the pressure gauge reaches the correct psi for you, within the recommended range on your tires. Once you have reached the correct pressure, remove the pump, replace the plastic caps and you're ready to ride.
Sometimes, pumping up your bike tire just won't solve the problem and it may be time to replace the tire or the inner tube. So, follow these simple steps to replace your bike tire.
How to Change a Bike Tire
When to change the tire
Bike tires need to be replaced if the tread has worn down or the casing has become damaged. You may also need to replace the tire if it has suffered a significant impact from hitting a pothole or becoming punctured.
Remove the wheel
Put your bike in a secure and sturdy position ready to remove the wheel. This could be upside down, if you don't mind risking damage to the handlebars, on the side with the chain facing you so it doesn't get damaged or on a bike stand if you have one. If you're taking off the back tire then select the smallest gear before turning the quick-release tire lever 180° to loosen and remove it. If you don't have a quick-release lever then you will need to use a wrench to loosen the knuts. Next, detach the brake cables if you need to and then remove the wheel from the frame.
Remove the tires and tubes
First, you should deflate the tube by unscrewing the cap from the valve. If you have a Shrader valve you can use a wrench to press the plunger in the valve or if you have a Presta valve then unscrew the locking nut and pull the valve cap up to let the air out. Once the tire is deflated, use a tire lever to unhook one edge of the tire and attach the lever to a spoke. Take a second tire lever and move it clockwise around the tire until the whole side of the tire is out of the frame. Then you can take out the inner tube before completely removing the tire to inspect it for a puncture before replacing the tube.
Replace the tire
If the tire has become damaged then you will need to replace it with a new tire for your specific bike model. Repeat the process of removing the tire in reverse by first checking the arrows on the tread are pointing the right way for the direction of travel and then work the tire back into the frame on one side using your fingers.
Insert the inner tube
Again, using your fingers, you should insert the inner tube back inside the tire and check there are no twists or kinks in the tube. If you find any twists or kinks then take the tube out and start again. Once the tube is inserted, make sure it is completely inside the tire before working the other side of the tire back into the frame by starting and finishing by the air valve. Screw the lock ring around the air valve and use your pump to inflate the tube to the correct pressure before replacing the plastic valve cap.
Replace the tire
Slide the tire back into the frame and replace the lever or knuts to hold it into place and check the wheel spins with ease when it is back in place. If you are replacing the back tire then you'll need to lift the chain to get the wheel back in and you may also need to reattach the brake cables.
After pumping up your tires or changing a tire or inner tube, you should test your bike out on your road or on a short run before going for a long cycle. When you're happy that your tires are safe and secure, it's time to hit the road, If you're heading out on a longer family bike ride away from home, check out our bike racks to transport all of your bikes safely to your cycle route and have fun on your ride.