How to Put a Back Tire on a Mountain Bike

Knowing how to put a back tire on a mountain bike is important for every mountain biker. Tires are the only bike part that contacts the ground. And putting a back tire is always trickier than putting the front tire because of the cogs!

You surely don’t want to always ask help from your friends when you’re on a ride, right? Not only will this hassle them up, but it also makes you less of a mountain biker.

You need to know how to fix your bike and not just ride it!

That’s what this article is about. We’ll be teaching you how to put a back tire on a mountain bike. Here is a step-by-step guide on the removal and installation of the rear tire and rim on your mountain bike.

Steps to Removing Your Rear Wheel

Remove first the rear wheel from the bike when replacing the back tire. Here’s how to do that:

  • Shift your rear derailleur to the highest gear to put the chain on the smallest cog.
  • Turn the bike over and let it stand with its saddle touching the ground. This makes it easier for you to remove the rear wheel.

But you need to do a different process if you have a quick-release axle:

  • Disengage the lever found on the left side of the bike.
  • Unscrew the bolt on the right side until you can pull out the rear wheel from the frame.

And here is how to remove the rear wheel from a thru-axle system:

  • Use a 5 mm Allen key to loosen the axle from the frame.
  • Pull out the axle to remove the wheel from the frame.

Rear Tire Installation

It’s now time to install your new tires once removed from your frame.

You need to have these tools:

  • Plastic tire levers
  • Floor or hand pump

But there are some cases where you won’t need tire levers if you can install them by hand. Examples of these are single-ply folding tires. You can easily insert them to the rim because they are very flexible.

Here’s how to install the rear wheel:

  • Check the rotation of the tire to know its right attachment side. You’ll usually find the correct rotation at one side of the tire.
  • Use plastic tire levers to put one side of the tire bead into the rim. You can also do it by hand if the tires are flexible enough.
  • Inflate the inner tube to a certain degree so it takes its shape.
  • Put the inner tube into the tire and insert the valve into the rim’s valve hole.
  • Use the tire levers to install the other side of the tire into the rim of your wheel.
  • Fully inflate the tire to finish installation.

Make sure that you’ve properly inflated your tires. They shouldn’t be too soft to lead to flats and not too hard which can make it too bumpy.

We recommend you set it on 30 PSI. You can then add or remove a few increments on it to reach your preferred setting.

Attaching the Rear Wheel Back to the Bike

Put your rear wheel back to your bike once you have installed the rear tire. Do this by:

  • Make sure that the rear wheel is in the right placement before attaching. The brake rotors must be alongside the brake calipers. Align the cogs with the derailleur.
  • Attach the side of the chain above the rear derailleur to the smallest cog.
  • Push down your rear wheel. It should be properly seated in the rear wheel drop out of the frame.
  • Tighten the bolt to a point where the quick-release lever meets resistance when it’s at 90 degrees. Only do this if you have a quick release system.
  • Insert the axle into place once you’ve attached the wheel into the dropout. This applies for thru-axle systems.
  • Lock the quick-release lever to secure your rear wheel in place.
  • Use an Allen key to tighten the axle to about 25Nm. It’s a good idea to use a torque wrench to ensure accuracy. Over-tightening the bolts can damage the axle thread.

Fine-tune your brakes and gears once you’ve installed the rear wheel on your mountain bike. This makes your bike run smoothly.


Learning how to put a back tire on a mountain bike is an important skill to master.

It might sound simple, but this will save you a lot of time and energy if worse comes to worst. Take note that flats and roadside maintenance are unavoidable. So, you need to be prepared at all times!

And knowing the right way on how to put a back tire on a mountain bike is one good way to be prepared.

Always remember that it’s all about knowing how to fix your bike for you to make the most out of mountain biking.


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Jomar Teves
A writer by day, a tech enthusiast by night, and a mountain biker at the weekends. After four years in business school and working for multinational clients, Jomar believes he can improve the world through his writings. Jomar has six years of experience as a writer and has a degree in entrepreneurial marketing. Some of his works have been published on Blokt, Clutch Points, and iTech.