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  1. #1
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    Changing tires/repairing flats without prybars

    I've always just ridden on whatever tires the bike came with, and when I've got a flat, repaired it--usually creating and then having to repair at least one more flat in the process. To get the cursÚd tires off I've used pro prybars, kitchen knife handles, and, when caught short out in the boonies, even pieces of wood whittled down. For me, working on tires has always been an ordeal that seemed as though it shouldn't be anywhere near as hard as I always managed to make it.

    Well, I've just swapped out knobbies for semi-slicks in about 20 minutes, first time, and without tools!

    So for the three people in the BFs who have never done this before, I offer this wonderful, liberating article:
    http://www.teamestrogen.com/articles/asa_levers.asp The author is an experienced pro wrench and off-road racer.

  2. #2
    You Know!? For Kids! jsharr's Avatar
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    Good article with some nice pointers, thanks for the link!
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    Quote Originally Posted by colorider View Post
    Phobias are for irrational fears. Fear of junk ripping badgers is perfectly rational. Those things are nasty.

  3. #3
    cab horn
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    Pfft. Some tire/rim combos are tight and you do need tire levers. What the **** is with this elitist attitude that using tire levers means you're weak or something that's supposed to be shunned?
    Mes compaingnons cui j'amoie et cui j'aim,... Me di, chanson.

  4. #4
    You Know!? For Kids! jsharr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by operator
    Pfft. Some tire/rim combos are tight and you do need tire levers. What the **** is with this elitist attitude that using tire levers means you're weak or something that's supposed to be shunned?
    Always nice to read your positive and uplifting posts.

    If use of levers can be avoided, why not do it and decrease the chance of damaging a tube? Just a thought.

    Also, levers break. I use them and broke one last week. The article does give some tips about getting slack in the tire to aid in removal if you don't have levers.
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    Quote Originally Posted by colorider View Post
    Phobias are for irrational fears. Fear of junk ripping badgers is perfectly rational. Those things are nasty.

  5. #5
    cab horn
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    Quote Originally Posted by jsharr
    Always nice to read your positive and uplifting posts.

    If use of levers can be avoided, why not do it and decrease the chance of damaging a tube? Just a thought.

    Also, levers break. I use them and broke one last week. The article does give some tips about getting slack in the tire to aid in removal if you don't have levers.
    That's great. Maybe they should leave out the macho attitude in their next "How to feel macho when repairing a flat" article.

    If use of levers can be avoided, why not do it and decrease the chance of damaging a tube?
    That's great. Until you can't avoid using them.

    Also, levers break. I use them and broke one last week.
    Either you don't know how to use them, or you have bad levers. Try the park levers.

    Always nice to read your positive and uplifting posts.
    If you don't like hearing discussion, there's the option of not logigng in or the ignore function. My previous post was in no way an attack on you.
    Mes compaingnons cui j'amoie et cui j'aim,... Me di, chanson.

  6. #6
    You Know!? For Kids! jsharr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by operator
    That's great. Maybe they should leave out the macho attitude in their next "How to feel macho when repairing a flat" article.

    That's great. Until you can't avoid using them.

    Either you don't know how to use them, or you have bad levers. Try the park levers.

    If you don't like hearing discussion, there's the option of not logigng in or the ignore function. My previous post was in no way an attack on you.
    I think the gist of the article is that if you know what you are doing, changing a tire without levers does not have to be a show of strength and macho.

    I think that learning to change a tire/tube should be one of the first mechanical tasks a cyclist learns.

    I do have cheap levers, but this is maybe the second cheap lever I have broken in over 20 years of riding, so I just cannot justify the cost of good levers. My total lever investment is around $5. Not sure if I am using them correctly or not, but it works for me.

    And as to my asserstion that is it great to read your positive posts, I stand by it. You could offer constructive criticism, not just criticism. Just a thought.

    Thanks for your reply.
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    Quote Originally Posted by colorider View Post
    Phobias are for irrational fears. Fear of junk ripping badgers is perfectly rational. Those things are nasty.

  7. #7
    RIP Shiznaz. DoshKel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jsharr
    I think the gist of the article is that if you know what you are doing, changing a tire without levers does not have to be a show of strength and macho.

    I think that learning to change a tire/tube should be one of the first mechanical tasks a cyclist learns.

    I do have cheap levers, but this is maybe the second cheap lever I have broken in over 20 years of riding, so I just cannot justify the cost of good levers. My total lever investment is around $5. Not sure if I am using them correctly or not, but it works for me.

    And as to my asserstion that is it great to read your positive posts, I stand by it. You could offer constructive criticism, not just criticism. Just a thought.

    Thanks for your reply.
    Are you breaking nice, steel levers? I mean, you can buy Soma's Steel Core levers for like 5 bucks, and they are almost impossible to break. Some tires are easy to get off of rims, but in the case of Alex RPD-15 Double Wall Road Rims, the tire is a ***** to get off. It is faster, and more practical to use a good set of steel levers on them.

  8. #8
    Senior Member barba's Avatar
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    I have never found carrying levers to be an ordeal or challenge. They are light and cheap, and I would prefer not to scuff up my quick releases. Some tire/rim combos are tight enough that you will need at least two levers. I guess you could remove both wheel's skewers, but at that point you are well beyond carrying levers on the inconvenience scale.

    At best this seems like a good trick if you have forgotten your levers (but then you likely forgot your spare tube and pump as well).

  9. #9
    You Know!? For Kids! jsharr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DoshKel
    Are you breaking nice, steel levers? I mean, you can buy Soma's Steel Core levers for like 5 bucks, and they are almost impossible to break. Some tires are easy to get off of rims, but in the case of Alex RPD-15 Double Wall Road Rims, the tire is a ***** to get off. It is faster, and more practical to use a good set of steel levers on them.
    I am using cheap plastic generic levers and I have bought two or three sets in 20 years, so I am saying it has cost me $5 total for every lever I have ever bought and broken in over 20 years.

    And I agree that there are some tire combos that will not come off without mechanical assistance.

    I just liked the tip about going around the rim on both side breaking the bead free and then squeezing from sides of rim to top to get some slack. This would even help when using levers.
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    Quote Originally Posted by colorider View Post
    Phobias are for irrational fears. Fear of junk ripping badgers is perfectly rational. Those things are nasty.

  10. #10
    RIP Shiznaz. DoshKel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jsharr
    I am using cheap plastic generic levers and I have bought two or three sets in 20 years, so I am saying it has cost me $5 total for every lever I have ever bought and broken in over 20 years.

    And I agree that there are some tire combos that will not come off without mechanical assistance.

    I just liked the tip about going around the rim on both side breaking the bead free and then squeezing from sides of rim to top to get some slack. This would even help when using levers.
    Yea. I also like that tip. It really does help if you are using levers or not like you are saying.

  11. #11
    Senior Member dave80909's Avatar
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    I've changed out hundreds of tires out in the
    last few months..I use screwdrivers...thats right
    flat bladed screwdrivers, and have only ruinend one tube.

    I wouldn't recommend it to others though

  12. #12
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    great and informative article for a newb like me

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by seriouslysilly
    great and informative article for a newb like me
    That's how I felt about it too. I've always dreaded having to fix a flat because of the dog's breakfast I'd inevitably make of it. So when I followed her instructions and was able to swap out both tires and have the wheels remounted and ready to go in just 20 minutes--and without tools!--I was ecstatic.

  14. #14
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    I can't recall any of my tires ever having as much slack as pictured in the example shown on teamestrogen. I use levers to pop the tire off the rim and replace the tire by hand. It isn't a macho thing if you can't do it with your hands. You just have weak hands. Someone has to fetch the water. All kidding aside, whether it takes 10 minutes or 30 minutes to fix a flat, you only want to do it once and get on your way. With respect to tire tools, someone invented them to make life easier. Learn to use them.

  15. #15
    Broom Wagon Fodder reverborama's Avatar
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    I saw a video of a guy taking a tire off and putting it back on strictly by hand. And he was really fast at it, too. I'd love to be able to do it that easily but I never have been able to. I will certainly give this a try next time I change one, but I will still keep the levers handy!

  16. #16
    <>< SoonerBent's Avatar
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    That is a good article. And I agree that some of the points can be used even with tire levers. Which is good because my Conti 4000s on Velocity Uriel wheels isn't going to happen without levers. The Kendas I had before could be done but not the Contis.

  17. #17
    Trans-Urban Velocommando ax0n's Avatar
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    I've always done it that way (leverless) until I got this Sorrento. The 1.25" slicks on 20mm rims is a tight, tight fit. REALLY tight. The park tool levers worked awesome, and they sit in the under-seat bag with my MTB-3 multi-tool (which has 2 levers built in, that also work great), a spare tube, and a patch kit.

    The Park Tool levers are the best $2 investment I've ever made as far as cycling goes.
    ax0n: Geeky and bikey
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  18. #18
    Senior Member Grand Bois's Avatar
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    I've got to agree with operator on this one.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by reverborama
    I will certainly give this a try next time I change one, but I will still keep the levers handy!
    +1

  20. #20
    30 YR Wrench BikeWise1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dirtdrop
    I've got to agree with operator on this one.
    Yeah......I don't know how many tires I've changed in 25 years of wrenching, but it's a metric buttload...

    And as much as I'm known as the guy in the shop with "kevlar thumbs", once in a while you are going to run across an unhappy wheel/tire combo. Some Michelin tires(or Conti, for that matter) on older Campy rims....well, Conan himself couldn't get those things off without the Park steel levers.

    I have a pretty good sense of how difficult a tire will be to remove by how much bead slack there is after deflation. Sometimes you need a tool, sometimes you don't.

    I think the only unfortunate thing about "rah-rah you-can-do-it" articles like that is that somewhere, someone's got one of those really hard combinations and feels like a loser because they can't just pop it off like the article would lead you to believe you could...

    For those that it helped, ain't it great to be a little more self-sufficient!

  21. #21
    Solo Rider, always DFL
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    When I put gatorskins on my road bike, and when I had to do it on my beater yesterday (27x1 1/4), there is absolutely NO way I could have gotten them on without levers. It was a PITA even with the levers. And yes, I ruined a tube last night... Patched it up fine, but it was an epic struggle.

    The road bike was easier than the old beater, but neither was a picnic.

    FWIW, I use plastic levers, three of them stack together, haven't broken one yet.

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