Tandem Cycling - My thumbs are killing me!
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05-25-07, 07:32 AM
I'm doing a seasonal overhaul of our bike. I bought new Conti Gatorskin 700 X 28 tires. Our rear rim is a Mavic (I think) & the front is a Sun. The rear wasn't too hard to install but the front was REALLY tight.
The tires are wire bead. I asked the owner of the LBS if there is any technique to tire installation. He said no but just try to avoid using levers. He thought that some tire manufacturers were slightly reducing the bead diameter for liability reasons (reduce the liklihood of having the bead pop off of the rim).
On the front rim, I tried for a long time to avoid using levers. I got the second bead on all but about 45 degrees worth. I worked & worked with gloves & just couldn't get the last bit on. I gave up and used a lever. Just as I feared, pinch-flat. I had to de-mount the tire & start over. Same thing with second try. I finally got it on but had to use a lever. I lucked out the second time - it held air.
My thumbs were killing me. So, is there a secret technique to this? I can't imagine a bike mechanic mounting half a dozen tires a day this way.
Nothing wrong with levers, if you are pintching your tubes just be careful. Most tires loosen up a bit, so getting them on/off next time is easier.
Some tires just need that bit of persuading with the levers.
Getting comfortable with using tire levers can help you avoid flatting the replacement tube.
One trick when trying to mount the tire to the rim is to start opposite the valve. When you're getting around to those tricky last few inches, the extra slack you need comes from getting the bead on the opposite side (where you started) to move down towards the center of the rim away from the lip. Depending on the profile of your rim, and the willingness of your tire's bead to move around, it may or may not be easier to do this than using levers. If you don't get the bead to move inwards on the opposite side, you're trying to stretch the bead when popping it over the rim, which is extremely difficult.
Also, experiment with different amounts of air in the inner tube at various stages of mounting. It can help the tube retain it's shape, making it easier to get in position on the rim, but also help prevent those annoying tire lever pinch flats. Too much air will obviously start to push on the tire, and make mounting difficult.
05-25-07, 08:08 AM
Wire Beads: Never use 'em. Admittedly, I've heard the cautions but to date have never been compelled to give up foldable tires given our sub 300lb team weight.
Tire levers: If you must, you must. I try not to but there are times / certain tires when they are unavoidable.
Pinch Flats: How much air did you have in the tube when you installed the tire? I always have enough to ensure the tube fills the tire casing (you can usually get enough in by blowing air into the tube) and only release air if I reach an impasse installing the tire. More specifically, when I install a tire I blow-up a tube and then place it in the tire casing BEFORE starting to put the tire on the rim. Keeping just enough air in the tube usually keeps the tube from ever getting between the tire, rim and levers which, as previously noted, I will occasionally use on a new tire.
Other tricks: Some still swear by talcum powder, but I've never bothered. Purportedly has magic properties that make tire mounting easier, reduce rolling resistance, etc... I'm sure there are certain benefits, but still don't feel compelled to fiddle with it.
05-25-07, 01:46 PM
A couple more 'trix' . . .
Install smaller diameter inner tube.
Get rid of your rimstrip! Instead, install Velocity Veloplugs in the 8mm webholes and it makes for more room for the tube and easier mounting of tire. If rim webholes are bit too large and Veloplug does not snap in, spread the little retainers a bit, or put in plug and then scotch tape it.
Folding tires are easier to mount than the wire-beaded type.
With Veloplugs we can remove/install a tire without tools. We have Velocity Aerohead rims and folding Maxxis 23 to 25mm road tires. Yes, it takes fairly strong thumbs to accomplish this, but at 135 lbs. pilot is not exactly a Mr. Atlas! Takes a bit of practice and oh, take off the gloves!
Hope this helps!
Pedal on TWOgether!
Rudy and Kay/zonatandem
05-25-07, 03:06 PM
I tend to inflate the tube just enough so that it will hold its shape. I even tried spraying silicone lube on the rim & bead to ease it over the rim but this didn't seem to help. I tried with & without gloves. It took me at least 1/2 hour to do the front rim.
With other tire/rim combinations, I can often get the tire off just by forcing the bead into the bed of the rim & forcing all the slack 180 degrees to the other side & pull the tire right off.
Anyway, the hassle is over for now (until I get a front flat on the road). Thanks for the suggestions!
05-25-07, 03:24 PM
BTW initially mounting a brand new tire can be a hassle, as you've experienced. However, seems subsequent removals/installations are a tad easier due to having had the tire inflated and sorta stretched out.
I thought this was going to be a Nintendo thread.
05-26-07, 11:19 AM
Levers are the way to go on removing most tyres- but you find that there are tight and loose tyres. There also are tight and loose rims- I would love to see anyone fit a Schwalbe Marathon onto my rims without at least two levers. The Continentals can be pushed on by thumb pressure but as to the Panaracer Fire XC's onto the Downhill Disc rim- Forget it. That is a 3 lever tyre.
My technique for installing a tire/tube:
1. Rotate the tube to get the valve pointed to the outside. Roll the tube up starting opposite the valve, so the valve will be the last thing that gets rolled up. As you roll up the tube, open the valve to let all the air out. When you have squeezed all or nearly all of the air out, close the valve. Verify that there are no twists in the tube, which can be done when there are mold lines, by following the line all the way around the tube. Fix any twists. When you are done there should be no air in the tube, and the valve should be closed.
2. Place the wheel on your working surface with the cassette side pointed up. Put the tire label next to the valve stem hole on the cassette side. Install the bottom bead of the tire inside the rim. Lay out the tube on top of the rim with the valve stem next to the valve hole. Put the valve stem through the valve hole. Install the tube inside the tire, as far to the bottom and outside as you can get it.
3. Begin installing the remaining upper bead. Install an equal portion of the bead on either side of the valve hole, using both hands going in one direction away from the valve hole. As you do this, the hand farthest from the valve hole pushes the tube away from the bead that the hand nearest to the valve hole is pushing over the rim. When a sufficient amount of upper bead on both sides of the valve hole has been installed, push the valve into the rim most of the way toward the tread of the tire (depends on valve stem length), and then push both beads at the valve stem hole to the bottom (toward the hub) of the rim. Then pull the valve stem back out, so that the portion of the tube closest to the valve traps the tire beads next to the valve hole. Install and gently tighten the valve stem nut/lockring. This will keep the beads next to the valve hole trapped under the tube, next to the bottom of the rim closest to the hub.
4.Install the remaining portion of the upper (farthest from the working surface) bead, alternately working on either side of the valve, using the two-handed method described above, and finishing opposite the valve hole. With a loosely fitting tire you can press it over with your thumbs, with a tightly fitting tire you will have to use plastic tire levers. Obviously you can't see the tube as you press the last portion of the tire over the rim, but if you have previously pushed the deflated tube (as described above) away from the upper bead, you should be fine (with the only exception being if the tube is too small, in which case it is hard to work with owing to the lack of the needed slack).
5. Check both sides of the tire for tube trapped under the bead, by pressing the bead toward the opposite side of the rim. Tuck any misplaced tube into the inside of the tire. Inflate tire slightly, let the air out, and fully inflate the tire.
Works every time. Putting the label in a specific location simplifies flat analysis. I use folding tires.
05-27-07, 08:59 AM
It sounds a tad goofy but spray the bead with a little windex, it will act as a lube and dries fast. Another little thing that helps is to ensure that the bead is in the center of the rim as much as possible as you work your way around.
05-27-07, 09:33 AM
One trick when trying to mount the tire to the rim is to start opposite the valve. When you're getting around to those tricky last few inches, the extra slack you need comes from getting the bead on the opposite side (where you started) to move down towards the center of the rim away from the lip.
Hold the wheel vertically in front of you with the valve stem/final portion of bead on the floor. Pinch the beads together opposite the valve stem, grasp the tire at the 3:00 and 9:00 position and try to push all of the slack down toward the unseated bead section. That'll usually work.
Incidentally, the same technique also usually works for removing the tire from the rim without using tire levers.
Recalcitrant tires can be eased over the edge of the rim
with a bit of lube, water or windex is one possibility if you
work fast, as they evaporate rapidly. A bit of soapy water
is more slippery, or worst case use dish cleaning soap
straight on the edge of the rim. It helps and its removal
helps clean the rim grunge off. Don't have to do this often
but in extremis it is a fallback. Some rim/tire combos are at
the ends of the spectrum, (1mm too large rim, 1mm too
small a bead) others are the opposite and can be put on
by 120# stokers with out gloves. Wire beads are more
difficult than kevlar beads. If you have to really wrestle
to get the first bead in place, the second bead will be a
05-27-07, 11:14 AM
I gotta say, I'm really surprised to see how many people advocate using some kind of lubricant for this trick. I've never heard of any adverse effect per se, but after 12 years of wrenching professionally, I've never heard of anyone doing this either. The best trick/technique, whatever you'd like to call it is to NOT use your thumbs at all. Because, yes...it'll just kill them!! Pretty much all the previous posts have it right on when they say start with just a little air in the tube, just enough to give it shape (I usually just blow it up a bit with my mouth, like a balloon) then seat one complete side, then start seating the second bead, starting at the valve (making sure the beads are seated in the rim, UNDER the tube/valve...then moving towards the opposite side, equally. Then, once you get to the top, start to roll the tire over using the PALMS over the rim wall. Imagine holding a your mtn. bike handlebar and rolling your hands forward. I've been able to put on the toughest of tires, even ones that other mehcanics had broken plastic tire levers on while trying.
05-27-07, 11:26 AM
I second what redtires says. When you said you were using gloves, I assumed that you were palming it over the rim. The palm trick was taught to me years back by a bikeshop guy when I had one of the (then new) kevlar bead folding tires that was being recalcitrant.
I *do* think it's probably a bad idea to ride tires that can't be serviced easily in the event of a flat far from home.
05-27-07, 01:59 PM
Thumbs/palm combination does work when pushing the last few inches of bead of the tire over the rim.
05-29-07, 08:44 AM
I think I've tried variations of all of these techniques except for the suggestion from SDS. I never considered evacuating all of the air from the tube & trying to get gravity to hold it away from the "upper" bead. This might work. I'll give it a try next time.
05-29-07, 09:13 AM
Oh...Rickin...your post reminded me of an old trick...if you do happen to find yourself with a flat on the road and either don't have tire levers or you need an extra one...your quick release lever makes a superb tire lever in a pinch (no pun intended!!!!! :roflmao: )
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