How to change an inner tube

Got a flat? Well don’t despair follow these 7 steps for getting back on the road.


1. Take the wheel out of the bike

On bikes with rim brakes you will have to either un-couple the brake so that they brake pads allow room for the wheel to drop out. If it’s a rear puncture then put your bike into the smallest cog at the back (this will make it easier to get the wheel out and back in the frame).


2. Un-mount one side of the tyre bead

Expel any remaining air out of the inner tube. Work your way around the circumference of the wheel squeezing the tyre bead away from the wheel rim wall. This loosens up the tyre and make it easier to get the tyre bead over the rim. Remove one side of the tyre using a tyre lever or two. You don’t always needs these – some tyre beads pop over the rim with just your hands.

3. Remove the punctured inner tube

Take the tube out. You can repair it if you want when you get home but whatever you do don’t leave it at the side of the road!

4. Check the tyre for foreign objects

Carefully run your hand round the inside of the tyre to remove any foreign objects.  Remember to take care as whatever caused the puncture in the first place may be quite sharp.

5. Put a new inner tube in

Inflate the new tube a little bit to get some shape into it. This makes it easier to fit into the tyre and also helps to prevent the inner tube from being damaged or snagged when you remount the tyre fully.

6. Pop the tyre bead back on the rim

Sit your tyre around the rim. Try to fit it into place using your hands if possible. If you absolutely have to use tyre levers then please take care not to snag the inner tube with the tips of the tyre levers. Make sure whatever you do that you take the time to not pitch your tube as you might be starting all over again.

7. Pump it up

Using a pump inflate the tyre to the correct PSI (recommended pressure ranges are printed on the side of tyres). Pause now and then to check that the tyre is seated properly in the rim and that no inner tube is escaping or tyre bead snagged. Ensure the tyre is bump free and running correctly by gently manoeuvring it by hand as necessary.

8. Put the wheel back in the bike

Put your wheel back on your bike. Do up the QR properly. Connect your brake back up. Get back on the bike and continue to enjoy your ride!


  • Christian Moss

    Christian is the Social Media manager at Merlin Cycles. Christian brings an air of levity to the blog, coupled with a generous splash of irreverence. As part of his responsibilities, Christian manages the Facebook and Twitter accounts. Christian is also the resident photographer here at Merlin.

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