Difficulty

Easy

How to change an inner tube without tyre levers

Fixing a puncture is an easy task but it can be tricky if you’re forgotten tyre levers

Clock14:03, Friday 1st December 2023

Whilst a puncture will bring you to a deflating halt on the side of the road, it doesn’t have to signal the end of your ride. As long as you’re prepared with all of the essentials, you can have the problem fixed and be back riding in no time.

Except, even the best-prepared cyclists can sometimes forget to carry essential tools on rides. Many cyclists have experienced that heart-sinking feeling when they realise that they’ve forgotten to bring tyre levers - cue plenty of choice language.

It’s a nightmare scenario but you don’t have to give up hope. Here’s how to replace a punctured inner tube without any tyre levers.

Tools Needed

This will create slack, making it easier to remove the tyre from the rim by hand

Step 1

Push tyre bead into the centre of the rim

To remove the punctured inner tube, you’ll need to remove the tyre from the rim by hand.

Start by going around the wheel and pushing the bead of the tyre into the centre of the rim. This will create slack which should make the task a little easier.

The more slack there is in the tyre, the easier it will be to remove

Step 2

Push the tyre to create slack

Lean the tyre against your legs, with the valve at the top of the wheel.

Starting from the valve area, press down on the tyre, working your way around to the bottom of the wheel. This should create more slack in the tyre at the bottom of the wheel.

Use the slack to remove the tyre from the rim by hand

Step 3

Pull the tyre off the rim

There should now be enough slack at the bottom of the wheel to now pull the tyre off the rim by hand. If not, try step 2 again. There may be some particularly tight-fitting tyres that won’t budge.

Roll the tyre off the edge, taking the inner tube off with it. Now is a good time to check the inside of the tyre for thorns or other sharp things before fitting a new tube.

Leave one side of the bead off the tyre

Step 4

Fit half of the tyre to the rim

The hard part is done! Now it’s time to fit the tyre.

To start, only fit one side of the tyre bead to the rim. Leave the other side for now as we need to leave a gap so that we can slot the new inner tube in.

Make sure the inner tube doesn't get caught between the tyre and rim

Step 5

Fit the inner tube

Give the inner tube a small pump of air to give it some shape - this will prevent it from twisting when you insert it into the tyre.

Then slot the valve through the valve hole and then work your way around the wheel, tucking the inner tube under the tyre.

Use your thumbs to remove the tyre from the rim

Step 6

Fit the remainder of the tyre

Starting from the valve and working your way round, use your thumbs to fit the other side of the tyre bead to the rim.

The final part of the tyre can sometimes be tricky. It’s easier if you lay the wheel on your lap with the tricky section on the opposite side from your body, and then use your thumbs to push the tyre on.

Check the tyre pressure and top up if necessary when you get home

Step 7

Pump the tyre

Finish by pumping the tyre up. While tyre levers aren’t essential, a pump is, so hopefully you’ve remembered it or you may have to send an SOS message to friends or family!

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