The 10 Point Bike Tire Install

Warning: This may save your thumbs.

Tire Install is Easy

Someone recently asking about fixing a flat and the fact that they had pretty much shredded their thumbs trying to install a new tire. There is a better way to correctly install a tire. One that uses a little bit of physics and a touch of common sense.

Here is a PB+J’s 10 Point Bike Tire install guide to make this onerous task a little faster and more reliable.

The secret is threefold.
1 – Seating the valve nicely.
2 – Placing the inner tube neatly around the wheel rather than simply ‘somewhere inside the tire’ during the install.
3 – Creating some slack in the tire.


The Problem

If you only think about placing the tube inside the tire, then you have to get both the tube and tire onto the wheel at the end. If you get the tube seated around the inside of the rim/wheel first, then you only have to deal with the tire at the end.

Everyone can install 90% of a tire easily. Most people struggle with the last bit of the tire. This next sentence is key. You want to avoid having to mount the tire AND inner tube as the last bit of the install. You only want to be mounting the tire as the last bit of the install.

You know that little ‘bubble’ of inner tube you see at the end creating all the problems? The bit that means your skin comes away from your thumbnails as you wrestle with the tire? Yep! That bit. We don’t want that. It’s stopping the tire going on.


10 Point Bike Tire INstall


1 – Place the wheel on a flat surface. One side of the tire mounted all the way around, the other side ‘off the wheel all the way around. The ‘off’ side of the tire should be should be on top of the whe. This is pretty much how everyone usually starts their tire install.

2 – Take the inner tube and slightly inflate it. Not much, but enough to stop it being a floppy flat ring, make it a slightly floppy tube instead. Just enough air to make it 3 dimensional.

3 – Keeping the wheel on a flat surface. Take the inner tube and place the inner tube valve through the valve hole in the wheel. Give it a wiggle. The valve should now be seated nicely through the hole in the wheel.Not twisted, not pointing at an angle. Just inserted, cleanly, straight through.

4 – Place the rest of the inner inner tube loosely on top of the wheel so you get it untwisted and in the right ballpark with regards to it’s round shape. The idea here is to ensure it is not twisted / kinked and that it is laid out so that you can easily snug each part onto the wheel. It will be pretty much just laid out on top of the tire / wheel at this stage. Make sure there are no ‘kinks’ in the tire.

5 – Once the inner tube is nice and neat, start to place the tube inside the rim/wheel channel – NOT JUST THE TIRE. This is the key element of the install. DO NOT focus on inserting the tube into the tire itself. Focus on getting it neatly inside the rim of the wheel. Of course, this is going to be somewhat inside the tire too! But focus on ‘around the wheel’

6 – Once that is done, run your finger around the inside of the tire, along the edge of the wheel rim. Go all the way around to ensure the tube is nicely inside the wheel channel. This is THE key part. If it is sitting neatly inside the wheel channel all the way around you are good to go.

NB: Once you get good at this. Laying out the inner tube on top of the wheel and then ‘wiping’ your finger around the rim of the wheel to seat the tube is a speedy way to get the inner tube in the right place.

So, now you have the wheel in front of you. The other side of the tire is mounted all the way around and the inner tube is now mounted neatly all the way around the wheel channel. Time to mount the remaining side of the tire.

We start at the valve area. The valve is the thickest part of the inner tube and can sometimes get in the way or get caught up. So, sort that bit first.

7 – Pop the valve back out of the wheel slightly to give the tire some room to get behind it. Get the tire bead seated here first and then insert the valve fully again. Now, if you push/pull the valve it should pull up and down cleanly inside that newly mounted section of tire. Pull the valve out to hold the tire in place.

8 – Next, hold the wheel with the valve closest to you and start mounting the tire. Make your way around the tire, starting near the valve, use both hands to massage on the tire, left hand moving around to the left. Right hand moving around to the right. Try to create some slack towards the last it of the tire. This will not be much, but each tiny bit helps.

9 – Having more slack on the tire means it is easier to pop on at the end. So, try to mount the tire inside the wheel channel. You can do this at the end by pinching the tire a bit and seating it in the middle of the wheel channel.

We are nearly done!

Guess what. Because you seated the inner tube nicely around the wheel rim at the start you should have no bulge of tube getting in the way for this final bit. This is what usually causes people to struggle mounting the last bit of the tire.

10 – The last bit of the tire should now pop on fairly easily. Use your thumbs to ‘roll’ the last bit of tire bead over the rim. It should pop into place.



  1. Place wheel on flat surface with one side of tire installed.
  2. Slightly inflate inner tube.
  3. Insert the inner tube valve into the valve hole.
  4. Lay the rest of the inner tube around wheel. Ensure there are no kinks and it is not twisted
  5. Insert valve cleanly into the wheel – not just the tire.
  6. Slide your finger around the wheel edge to ensure the inner tube is seated nicely.
  7. Push the valve back in a little and seat the tire nicely behind the valve.
  8. Mount most of the remaining tire. Try to create some slack towards the last it as you go round.
  9. Pinch the tire into the middle channel of the wheel all the way around.
  10. Pop on the last piece of tire by rolling it over the edge with your thumbs.

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