When it comes to changing a bike tube, there are some obvious and some not so obvious tools you need to do the job right. Here is our quick guide to what you need to get your tube swapped out effectively, efficiently and avoiding many of the pitfalls! Read on below...
1. A Tube! Duh?
Not trying to point out the obvious of having a tube but more so having the right tube. Nothing worse than going to the trouble of having your wheel off your bike, the tyre on the floor next to it to then go look at the tube only to realise it's the wrong one. So before you start the process of swapping a tube out, just take a moment to check you've the correct one. Yes, that means actually taking it out of the box and seeing its the correct specification and valve type you need. In the world we live in now it's too easy to assume a package contains what you ordered or what you picked up from the bike shop was exactly what you needed. So save yourself a headache and check your tube before you do anything else (especially if its a spare or backup tube to be carried with you).
2. Tyre Levers
Not true in all cases, but let's face it, having a proper set of tyre levers makes everything easier. Not just any old half chewed up tyre levers either, a proper set in decent condition. Tyre levers are one of those things that if we don't have them we think we can improvise (most of us have done it). Truth is, if you're in a pinch and want to risk a pinch flat, go for it. Or instead just be prepared and have a decent set to hand. The chances of ruining a tube (or your fingers) by not using a correct set of tyre levers or damaged levers simply isn't worth it. Also, just take a moment to check you have all the tyre levers you need. Again, if you can only find one, we think we can crack on and do it. In some cases you can. But come on, why make it hard, find the other(s) you'll need and save some frustration in advance.
3. Proper Instructions
Not saying you'll be stood there armed with the correct tube and tyres but without the foggiest about how to actually change a tube, but it is worth asking yourself if you really know how to change an inner tube? Most inner tubes come with a guide on 'how to change your tube', however we've seen many that don't and plenty with a universal guide that in some cases what might as well be in hieroglyphics for all the use it could be. Best advice if the instructions are not helpful is to find a great how-to from a trusted source online, either with a full image break down (like the guide we have coming soon) or a YouTube video (like the guide we have coming soon). Plus whether you're new to it or a seasoned pro, you could be surprised at all the hints and tips you never knew looking at the actual right way to do it. So do yourself a favour, know how to actually change a tube properly before you begin, it'll save you a lot of time and stress.
Check out our ultimate inner tube fitting guide here (Coming Soon)...
Yup, actual patience. Sadly, you can't buy it. No need to go full Zen when changing a tube, but just remembering to take your time, working through it methodically will save you a lot of frustration. It's easy to go at it like a bull in a China shop thinking you're amazing at changing inner tubes, only to realise you've made a daft mistake or worse, damaged your tube or bike. One of the best ways to make it so much easier is to be prepared first and have space to work. If you don't have one yet; it could be worth considering a proper bike stand too. These things make bike maintenance much easier and are not as expensive as they used to be. Either way, set yourself up both in the environment and mentally if possible when changing a tube.
An air moving contraption of the hand or foot variety will work a treat (hand pump or foot pump). Ideally something with a hose flex to make it easier and better still a built in pressure gauge will really help. But if you've a bog standard hand pump, it'll more than do the job. Thats the obvious out of the way, but something else to consider is the pressure you're inflating too. If you run high pressures, but sure to check your pump runs safely to these pressures.
6. Hints & Hacks
It's easy to crack on and change a tube if it's your first time. Even if you've been changing tubes for 30 years you will probably be really good at it. However, to go from your first tube to a seasoned cycle mechanic without the decades of experience is impossible. However, if you watch and read about all the accrued knowledge, hints, tips and mistakes pros have made you might find you can learn more hard won experience in 5 mins than in 5 years of changing tubes. Okay, you won't have the skill level, but it will set you up to avoid all the pitfalls of changing tubes. So save yourself the headaches you'll likely encounter as you change tubes over the years and let someone else tell you all the answers in advance by investing a little extra time beyond simply 'learning how to change a bike tube'. Even one mistake avoided will save you a lot of time and money down the line. Trust us, the mistake you make will happen at the worst possible time. Save your bacon upfront and get the inside line from those who know..
Checkout our Ultimate Hints and Hacks for changing a tube (Coming soon)...