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Cycle Maintenance - Taking the tyre off your wheel

an easy task

Although I carry tyre levers it is possible to remove most tyres without the use of levers. I will discuss both methods here.

Having first checked the tyre has no nails or sharp pieces of glass embedded in its tread I make sure that the inner tube is fully deflated. If the valve has a threaded collar on it I remove it.

I stand the wheel upright on the ground, with the valve at the top. I then gently press the valve inside the tyre. I now gently grip the tyre with each hand, between my thumb and fingers, then whilst retaining pressure I slide my hands around each side of the wheel to the bottom. Imagine the tyre is an elastic band and I want to stretch it around the wheel. When I get to the bottom I find that I have some slack and I can just prise the tyre over the wheel rim. I then insert my fingers between this section of tyre and the wheel and slide them back around each side of the rim to the top. I now have one full bead off the wheel.

This is the point where it is easy to remove the inner tube from the tyre for repair or replacement in the case of a puncture.

If you want to remove the entire tyre then on some tyres BOTH beads can be removed from the wheel at the same time, otherwise you need to repeat the above procedure to take the second bead off the wheel, on the same side as the first.

With lever.
Some tyres are particularly tight, and some fingers arenít very strong. If this is the case then you need to use tyre levers to get the tyre off. It is best to have three tyre levers.

Start with the inner tube fully deflated. At a spoke insert the tyre lever between the tyre and the wheel rim, then rotate the lever against the rim so that the tyre is forced upwards. Hook the end of the lever onto the spoke.

With the second lever repeat this action at the next spoke hole. And then repeat again at the next spoke hole with the third lever. (You may get away with just the two levers). Now, with one of the two end levers, unhook the lever from the spoke and slide it around the rim. This will remove the entire tyre.


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