Tire installation is an essential skill for maintaining a bike. Whether it's the ability to fix a flat on the side of the road or to install a new set of tires, most cyclist need to know how to change their own tires.
Note: Proper mounting of tires and tubes is a critical safety item.
Removing a Tire
Tires are best removed carefully, and by using your hands. Let all of the air out and wrestle that thing off. Folding bead tires are usually pretty easy to remove - wire beads can be a bit harder. If you can't get it off by hand, slip a tire lever underneath the bead of the tire and bend it outwards, leveraging the tire against the rim. This should create enough space to slip the tire bead over the rim and peel it off.
While tire levers make the job easier, we recommend using them as sparingly as possible. Sliding tire levers along the inside of your tire can damage rims or further damage your tube. Tube punctures are easily patched. Cuts are usually not patchable.
If you're fortunate enough to be rolling on a pair of carbon clinchers, like the Reynolds 2010 Attack Wheelset, avoid tire levers. It's worth the time to find a tire that can be removed by hand. There's no feasible way to repair a carbon rim damaged by a tire lever.
Installing a Tire
Make sure your rim is properly taped. There should not be any room for the tube to expand into the spoke holes, this will cause flats. A new rim may need to be taped, an old rim might need new rim tape. One does not need to re-tape a rim with each new tire, properly installed rim tape should last for years. Velox Rim Strip and Continental Easy Tape 700c Rim Strip are the most popular types we sell.
Next, install one side of the tire. The bead on one side of the tire should be between the rim "hooks", it does not need to cling to the side of the rim it will reside in, inflating the tire allows the bead to fully "seat". Partially inflate the tube and place it inside the partially installed tire, making sure the valve sits flush in the valve hole. Finally, gently guide the uninstalled bead into place. This is where it can get a bit tricky.
When installing the second side of the tire, take great care not to puncture the new tube. It is best to hold the "bottom" of the wheel against your stomach with both hands at "12 o'clock" supporting the wheel. Carefully hook the bead into the rim and proceed to bring each hand around the opposite side of the rim guiding the bead into place as you go. This will generally go smoothly until the last six inches when the tube will try and squeeze through the last remaining opening between the tire and rim. It is tempting to use a tire lever to leverage the last bit of bead into the rim, if this is the method you prefer, do it extremely carefully. This is when you will easily puncture or slash the tube.
Generally, it is best to muscle the tire into place with your hands. It takes some strength, and the bead of a new tire can take a bit of stretching, but the bead should finally click into place. Before inflating, make sure no tube is caught between the tire bead and the rim. Finally, carefully inflate the tire making sure that both sides of the bead are properly seating in the rim and no tube is bulging through the tire and inflate to the desired pressure.
That should do it. When you think you're done roll down the street and back to make sure there is no reason for sudden tire failure. If the tube lasts through a short test ride, it should be good for the long haul.