3 April 2023

How to replace an inner tube?

A punctured inner tube is the bane of cyclists. However, contrary to appearances, its replacement is easy and does not require you to return the bike to the service. All it takes is a few tools, some time and a willingness to do so, and the vehicle will be ready for the road again. We explain step by step how to replace the inner tube in a bicycle quickly and efficiently.

Replacing a bicycle inner tube – where to start?

To replace a bicycle inner tube, you will need:

  • tire spoons – preferably two;
  • a new inner tube.

In some situations – for example, if you find that after replacing the inner tube you will need to stretch the brake cable – an hex key will also be useful, as well as a flat and Phillips screwdriver.

Such a repair can be done on your own, even while on the road. That’s why it’s a good idea to have a repair kit in your backpack before setting off on an adventure on two wheels. Those who go on the road without these basic tools will find them at a bicycle repair point – there they will be able to use both a tire spoon and an hex key and a Phillips screwdriver.

Step 1 – removing the wheel

If you are going to replace the inner tube in the front wheel, you are in a slightly better situation – removing it is easier. All you have to do is set the derailleur to the lowest gear, loosen the clamp let you quickly unscrew it. If you need to replace the rear inner tube, you face a slightly more difficult task.

In this situation, also set the derailleur to the lowest gear. Those who have a bike with V-brakes will have to unscrew the screw holding the brake cable with a screwdriver. For other vehicles (with disc brakes), all you need to do is pivot the derailleur carriage and wheel clamp, and then remove them.

Step 2 – removing the tire from the rim

Start by deflating the tire. Then you can remove it – manualy by hand or with special tools. Removing the tire from the wheel is greatly facilitated by so-called spoons. These are small tools that you should always have with you when you go on the road. Use one of the spoons to lock the spokes, use the other to lever the tire around the valves, and then slide it around the circumference of the rim.

Never use screwdrivers, scissors or pincers to remove tires. These sharp tools could damage the rubber.

After removing the tire, look at it carefully. Pay attention to whether there are any sharp parts stuck in it that have damaged the inner tube, and whether it is in good condition. If it is bald and cracked, think about replacing it. Riding with such a tire can quickly end up damaging the newly inserted inner tube.

Step 3 – fitting the inner tube

If, after removing the tire you find that the inner tube is punctured, you can repair or replace it. Special patches and fluids are used to seal it. On the other hand, if you decide to replace the inner tube, slightly inflate it before you start putting it on the rim. This will make it easier for you to install it.

When replacing the inner tube, first place the valve in the hole of the rim, close it from the outside with the tire, and then begin to gently place it between the tire and the wheel.

Step 4 – mounting the wheel

Set the wheel in the frame, then check that it is aligned with it. Tighten it or tighten the quick release. For the rear wheel, aim for the hole between the pads and settle it into the frame. Those who had to remove the V-brake must put it back on. Sometimes you will find that it is then necessary to adjust the drive and brake cable.

Step 5 – testing

Take a close look at the tire and see if there is an inner tube sticking out from under it. If this is the case, your first ride on the bike could end with a loud puncture. Also go for a test ride. Pay attention to whether the vehicle performs as well as it has so far, and whether it “pulls” sideways during the ride – this could mean that the wheel is incorrectly seated in the frame.

Replacing an inner tube in a tire is not difficult even for novice bicycle enthusiasts and does not require many tools – remember to always carry a repair kit when going on a long trip. Self-service repair shops can also be a lifesaver when it breaks through on the route. There you will find the most important tools with which to remove the tire and install a new tube.