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Old 01-21-10, 01:09 AM   #1
pedalpedalpedal
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Mounting the dreaded Specialized Armadillos

So I bought a pair of Specialized All Condition 700x25c Armadillos... and it took me nearly 1 hr to mount the first tire 7/8 of the way, and I have blisters to show for it!

As always, this last few inches is the most difficult to mount... I don't seem to be making any progress, even with my tire levers.

Any tips?
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Old 01-21-10, 01:11 AM   #2
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Take them back and get Schwalbe Marathons instead.
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Old 01-21-10, 01:29 AM   #3
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Use the thinnest rim tape you can get away with - being able to get the bead down as low as possible in the rim helps you get that last bit of the bead up and over.
Also put some soapy water on the rim edge where you're trying to get the last part of the bead over - helps lubricate it and lets it slip over more easily.
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Old 01-21-10, 01:58 AM   #4
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lift weights?... for your thumbs?
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Old 01-21-10, 02:42 AM   #5
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var levers or kool stop tire jack
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Old 01-21-10, 04:08 AM   #6
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When I mounted mine I thought I was going to pull the rim out of true! I did it using brute force and a tyre lever. Not sure what will happen if I ever get a puncture! Soapy water sounds like a good idea.
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Old 01-21-10, 05:44 AM   #7
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I usually just hold the wheel in front of me using my left fingers and right palm to horse those suckers on there. Spraying a tiny bit of windex sometimes helps too.

Don't use downhill levers or anything crazy like that...you can damage your rims.
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Old 01-21-10, 06:21 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by ibis_ti View Post
var levers or kool stop tire jack
+1 get both, var is pouch size, kool stop beefier for home use.
http://www.biketoolsetc.com/index.cg...&item_id=KS-TJ

Last edited by roberth33tiger; 01-21-10 at 06:33 AM. Reason: added link
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Old 01-21-10, 06:48 AM   #9
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Once again I'll share this and, no doubt, I'll be soundly ignored. But I'll tell you this: For any tight, mega-tight, knuckle-busting beast of a clincher (such as Armadillos), the VAR Tire-Tool will make it easy. Light-weight. Fits in a pack or pocket. Affordable. Uses the principles of leverage put forth by Archimedes in way-gone days - still true now as then (the 'lever'). Really! I own 2 sets. Need a third for my latest machine's tool-bag.

Here:

http://www.biketoolsetc.com/index.cg...item_id=VR-425

If the guy who came into the last thread I suggested this and said; "They are no good. They are from France!" - shows up, just figure he's choking on his Freedom-Fries and drinking wine from Vinnie's Basement Chateau du Petroleum.

Last edited by Panthers007; 01-21-10 at 06:53 AM.
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Old 01-21-10, 06:52 AM   #10
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Once again I'll share this and, no doubt, I'll be soundly ignored. But I'll tell you this: For any tight, mega-tight, knuckle-busting beast of a clincher (such as Armadillos), the VAR Tire-Tool will make it easy. Light-weight. Fits in a pack or pocket. Affordable. Uses the principles of leverage put forth by Archimedes in way-gone days - still true now as then (the 'lever'). Really!

Here:

http://www.biketoolsetc.com/index.cg...item_id=VR-425
Thanks for the tip - will probably pick one of these up I take it it is similar to the Kool Stop Bead Jack?

edit: found it at sjs - will add it to my next order

Last edited by daven1986; 01-21-10 at 07:00 AM.
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Old 01-21-10, 06:57 AM   #11
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Use RU Glide to lubricate the bead area. Its what the auto tire dealers use. You can find R U Glide at any NAPA autoparts store.
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Old 01-21-10, 07:34 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by daven1986 View Post
Thanks for the tip - will probably pick one of these up I take it it is similar to the Kool Stop Bead Jack?

edit: found it at sjs - will add it to my next order
yes - same principle in physics as the Kool Stop one. Just lighter and easier to toss in your bike-bag - or shirt pocket. You'll love it!


(No - I don't own stock in VAR)
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Old 01-21-10, 08:47 AM   #13
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I have the Armadillos on three bikes. They are a true pain to install UNLESS you have these (as said above).

http://www.biketoolsetc.com/index.cg...item_id=VR-425

These will save your thumbs!

Get them you will love them!
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Old 01-21-10, 12:39 PM   #14
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I have a set of 700 by 23mm on my Open Pro rims and had no real trouble. For what it's worth, on the few combinations of rim/tire that I have had trouble with the Koolstop Tire bead jack has been great. http://aebike.com/page.cfm?action=de...=30&SKU=TL4022
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Old 01-21-10, 01:16 PM   #15
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Thanks guys... i will definitely pick up one of those tire jacks. For now I'll use the soap-lubing thing
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Old 01-21-10, 01:47 PM   #16
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chill the wheel out in the cold air or with cold water and heat the tire with hot water. be sure to get the tire down into the channel by squeezing both sides of the tire. then keep it down in that channel all the way around. be sure the tube is not too inflated.
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Old 01-21-10, 01:52 PM   #17
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Animal sacrifices under a full moon...
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Old 01-21-10, 02:08 PM   #18
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This subject seems so odd to me. I have the above mentioned tires, albeit 27"ers, but they go on by hand.
In fact, I've never had to install a BICYCLE tire with anything but my hands!

Maybe y'all doing somethin wrong.....
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Old 01-21-10, 02:14 PM   #19
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I have them on 27s and 700c wheels. they are more difficult on the 700c wheels. must have something to do with something I am ignorant of

hahahaha LOL
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Old 01-21-10, 02:14 PM   #20
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I must have gotten one of the rare oversized Armadillos. In my case I can darn near stand back 20 feet and toss the tire horseshoe like onto the rim. OK so I jest. But I had no issue at all with thumbing on. In fact my biggest issue was that it was so loose that the tube kept trying to sneak out from under the bead and pinch until I got about 5 psi into it. Reading the accounts here in light of my own experience I had to wonder if you weren't all fitting a 700 onto a 27! ! !

In any case the biggest "secret" to mounting the tight tires is to keep pushing the bead of the portion already seated into the center of the channel for as much of the tire as you can. The tighter the tire the more frequently I re-center it. It's by far the most important part of mounting a tough tire. You may use jacks or overlength irons as well but first and foremost keep on recentering the bead while you're applying pressure at one or both of the crossover points.

Also take smaller bites with the levers at the cross over. Trying to pop too much tire over the edge at one time is a major factor in failing. If it's really tight lever over well less than an inch at a time.

You guys think you have it tough with the Armadillos? Try mounting a dirt motorcycle front tire some time. It'll teach you why you fear the dark and make doing bicycle tires look like child's play....

Way back when in one of my rare (?) moments of stupidity I managed to mount a 700c onto a 27 inch rim. Guess I should have checked the tire that came off the rim a little more closely. I swore a little doing it but by dang I got it on with what sounds like no more issue than what you guys are having with the Armadillo. Once I realized that the tire didn't really look right, it looked like a deflated cactus, I double checked and found my error. I could NOT get the irons under the bead and if I had they would have snapped. I had to cut the tire off. But the moral of this parable is that I got it on using the two rules; 1- keep the bead in the middle of the rim channel and 2- take small bites with the lever.
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Old 01-21-10, 04:53 PM   #21
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My Spec All Condition 700x28 Armadillos went on easy. Rims are WTB DX23. So no tips from me (sorry).
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Old 01-21-10, 05:10 PM   #22
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+1 on the bead jack. Life saver for sure.
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Old 01-21-10, 05:22 PM   #23
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Proper technique first and only then a bead jack. Why stress the bead of the tire any more than it needs to be stressed? If I can put a 700c onto a 27 (see story above) using only the little plastic Zefal levers and proper technique then surely the Armadillos can be fitted to the correct size rim just by using the proper technique.

I see that jack as too easy an option to ignore the use of proper technique and needlessly stress the tires and possibly the rim.
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Old 01-21-10, 06:22 PM   #24
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In any case the biggest "secret" to mounting the tight tires is to keep pushing the bead of the portion already seated into the center of the channel for as much of the tire as you can.
That's what I think too.

1. Pinch the beads on the part of the tire that's already installed in toward the center of the rim.
2. Hold the wheel vertically in front of you with the unmounted portion on the bottom.
3. Grasp the tire at the 3 and 9 0'clock positions and push it straight down. What you are trying to do is to concentrate all of the slack between the tire and the rim at the portion of the tire that's not yet installed.
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Old 01-21-10, 06:33 PM   #25
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I use rubbing alcohol (instead of soapy water) for real tough tire installs. It evaporates within a few minutes. It's the tire/rim combo that affects how hard it will be, which is why some people have an easier time than others with the same tire.
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