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A super easy guide on how to use bicycle tire levers

A super easy guide on how to use bicycle tire levers

These handy tools can even help remove or install the most stubborn bicycle tires.


Getting a flat tire is an inevitable part of the cycle, and there are only so many times when you can escape a group to fix it, walk your bike to the store or have a friend give it to you. An important part of knowing how to fix a flat tire is also knowing how to use the tire lever, so there is no time to learn now.

If you do not have a tire lever, please do not try to use other available tools (such as a flat-head screwdriver) as a substitute. They can easily damage the inner tube, the tire, or worse, the rim. The tire lever is specially designed for removing and installing tires and will not damage anything in the process, so please stick to it to ensure safety.

Below, we will explain how to use bicycle tire levers, as well as tips for handling tricky tires.

How to use tire levers

Many tire levers are made of hard plastic and sold in groups of two or three. You can also find levers made of steel or with a steel core for tires that are more difficult to remove. All tire levers have a curved end that can slide under the lip of the tire; depending on the brand, it can be completely round or square. Many tire levers (though not all) have a small hook on the other end, so you can attach them to the spokes for leverage.



Disassemble tires

Start by deflating the tires. Select a point along the edge of the rim that is aligned with the spoke. Pull the tire back from the rim and install the bent end of the lever under the edge of the tire. Place the tip of the lever under the edge of the tire, use the rim as a lever to press down on the lever, and fix the hooked end to the spoke. The lever should lift the edge of the tire up and over the outside of the rim and hold it in place.

Take the second tire lever and install the curved end under the tire edge in the gap created by the first lever. Operate the second lever along the edge of the rim and slide one end laterally under the lip of the tire until the tire is off the rim on one side. This step is difficult to do with the tires tight-try to push the second lever with two thumbs.

If using the second lever does not make the tire move, please check the tips below. You don’t want to risk hurting yourself by using too much force and slipping your hands off the lever. Or, sometimes only one lever can be used to remove the tire. If the tire looks loose enough after using the first lever to release the initial part, continue to see if you can easily push the lever around the rim to remove the rest of the tire.

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Install tires

Putting the tire on the rim is usually easier than removing the tire, but you may still need to use a tire lever. First install one side of the tire on the rim. (If you are using an inner tube, you need to put it in next.) Now, start to install the other side of the tire to the rim. You will reach a difficult point because the last part of the tire is too tight, leaving a small part outside the rim. If possible, you should intentionally install the last part of the tire on the rim through the valve.

The next step is where your leverage enters. Place the curved end of the tire lever under the rest of the tire, with the curve facing down, hugging the inside of the rim. Lift up the other end of the lever, and at the same time firmly fix the bent end to the inside of the rim, and pull the rest of the tire onto the rim.

If a larger part of the tire is stuck outside the rim after installation by hand, you must repeat this step on the smaller part.

Tips for stubborn tires

Still having trouble installing or removing tires? Some tires are particularly stubborn. To make yourself easier, here are some tips you can try (or don’t try).

First of all, what you shouldn’t do: You may have heard of some weird tricks that are said to help tighten your tires, such as putting it in a dryer for a few minutes or using other heat sources. This may ultimately do more harm than good.

You shouldn’t do this unless you know exactly at what temperature the tire’s adhesive, rubber, and nylon begin to delaminate, etc. Instead, he recommends using a little soapy water to help slide the tires into place. Just don’t put it in your hands.

Another professional tip from a bicycle tester: “A mechanic once showed me that you should make sure that the bead core is located deep in the rim, not just against the hook. This makes the diameter of the rim slightly smaller and can pass very Tight beads make a difference.”

The tire lever is in the wrong position? Sometimes you can use your hands with the right technique and practice, especially when the tires are not tight. Experienced professionals like mechanics may hardly use tire levers. The trick here is to close or open the tires with the palm of your hand, not your thumb, because they are stronger.

Nevertheless, it is not fun to get injured from a slip and fall in this way, especially when the hand sweats during halfway tire repair. (Trust us, we’ve always been there.) So it’s better to have a set of tire levers on hand anyway. Of all the existing bicycle tools, they are one of the most affordable and easy to carry options. They can be placed in a saddle bag or tool box.

How to change and smooth bicycle tires

All tools, tips and tricks needed for maintenance on the express road (or trail) side

If you know how to deal with it, it’s no big deal to change your bicycle tire after a puncture. This will eventually happen whether you are riding on a flat road, a rugged gravel road, or a rugged monorail trail, so you might as well prepare the necessary tools and knowledge to solve the problem.

Below, we will detail everything you need to know about how to change your bicycle tires. For tools, you should always carry a tire lever, a spare tube of the correct size, and an inflation device, whether it’s a small pump or a CO2 cylinder. You may also need a patch kit or tire plug, which will come in handy for some riders. If you are using a tubeless tire, scroll down to skip to the tubeless section.


Remove tire

Start by removing the wheels. Keep your bike upright, and if the rear wheel is flat, shift the transmission to the hardest gear. If your bike has rim brakes (many bikes are still in use), you may also need to release the brakes.
Next, place yourself on the non-drive side of the bicycle (opposite the chain), and then open the quick release or loosen the axle to remove the wheel.

Now you can remove the tires. Hook the round end of a tire lever under the tire bead (outer edge) to remove it. Fix the other end to the spoke to hold the lever in place and prevent the unmounted tire from springing back to the rim. Then hook the second lever under the bead next to the first one and push it clockwise around the rim until one side of the tire comes off. You do not need to completely remove the tires.
Find the culpritAfter the tire is loose, pull out the old inner tube (if applicable) and look for the source of the puncture, which may be thorns, glass pieces or other sharp objects. Carefully slide your fingers along the inside of the tire and rim, making sure that nothing sharp is left; otherwise, you may get another apartment. Also check the outside of the tire and again look for any foreign objects that may still be stuck in the rubber.

If you are using a pipe and want to do some detective work, inject some air into the old pipe to find the leak. The two holes side by side indicate pinching, and the inner tube is sandwiched between the tire and the rim. A single hole indicates that your apartment is most likely caused by a sharp object. By using the valve as a reference point to align the inner tube with the tire, you can carefully check the area where the hole is located to ensure that the culprit is removed.


If you are using a pipe and want to do some detective work, inject some air into the old pipe to find the leak. The two holes side by side indicate pinching, and the inner tube is sandwiched between the tire and the rim. A single hole indicates that your apartment is most likely caused by a sharp object. By using the valve as a reference point to align the inner tube with the tire, you can carefully check the area where the hole is located to ensure that the culprit is removed.

Fix the problem

If you are a frugal type who likes to reuse old pipes, or if you get multiple units during the ride and don’t have more spare parts, then you can use a repair kit to repair your pipes. If you have a new tube, please skip to the next section.


First clean the perforated area and rough the surface with emery cloth. For a non-adhesive patch, just stick it on the hole and press firmly. For patches that require glue, add a thin layer of glue to the tube and patch. Wait for the glue to become sticky, then attach the patch and press firmly until it adheres.





Installation tube

Now inflate your new or repaired tube to keep it in shape. This makes it easier to place inside the tire. Next, install the valve stem directly in the valve hole of the rim and position the inner tube inside the tire. Roll the tire rim away from yourself by hand and reinstall the tire on the rim. Try not to use the lever to reinstall the tire, because you may accidentally puncture the new inner tube. When you reach the valve stem, tuck the sides of the bead into the lower part of the rim, and then push the valve stem upwards so that the inner tube enters the tire.

By gently pushing the tire aside while working around the rim, check to make sure that the tire bead is not pinching the inner tube. Then inflate to the proper PSI and check that the beads are properly seated.

Reinstall the wheel

If everything is normal, please re-install the wheel and make sure that the quick release lever or the barrel shaft is on the other side of the power transmission system.

If your rear wheel is flat, place the top of the chain around the smallest gear on the flywheel, and then carefully push the wheel back into the frame. Turn off the quick release device (and rim brake, if applicable) or reinsert the tube axle into the frame and hub and tighten them. Finally, raise the rear wheel and rotate the crank once to make sure everything is back in place and running smoothly. If all goes well, please re-ride the bike and enjoy the rest of the journey.

Or insert a tubeless tire

For tubeless settings—almost the standard on mountain bikes, and growing in popularity on gravel, cross-country bikes, and even some road bikes—your sealant should work without you even realizing it. Be sure to check your sealant regularly (approximately every three to six months) to ensure that the tires are adequate and have not dried out.

But if there are larger punctures or sidewall tears, you may need a tire plug to prevent air loss. The plug kit comes with a small piece of rubber and an insertion device that allows you to insert the hole without removing the wheel. After finding the puncture and inserting the rubber plug, reinflate the tire to the proper pressure to see if it has air. If so, please start riding again and check the repairs frequently to make sure it stays firm. You can also add more sealant, but you need to bring the valve plug removal tool and a small bottle of sealant.



If the air leak comes from a larger puncture than a plug repair, you can try patching the tire or boots. But a fair warning: If the area is not thoroughly cleaned, it may be difficult to put a patch on a tire coated with sealant. Adding more sealant or patch can also create another problem, because let all the air out and break the seal between the rim and the tire. It can be difficult to reinstall the bead onto the rim on the spot. The easiest way to ensure that your tires keep air at this time is to simply use a spare emergency tube to complete the ride and solve it at home or bicycle shop.

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