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  1. #1
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    changing tires...near impossible

    I've spent about 10 hours over the last three days trying to change the tube on my Downtube VIIIH and I've just about had it.

    First day I spent a few hours trying to get the tire off until I snapped my tire lever in half.

    Second day I went to a bike shop and bought a few more tire levers and was able to get the tire off fairly easily by using plenty of levers. Patched my tube and then struggled in vain for the next few hours trying to get the tire back on.

    Third day I went to the local bike coop to ask for advice. Old timer there told me that he has a Birdy. I asked him if there is a trick for getting small tires on and he said, no, small tires are just a PITA.

    After 30 min or so he was able to get one side of the tire back on with the harder levers they had at the coop. He struggled with the other side for 15 min or so before telling me to do it myself. I worked at it for an hour or so. Broke one of their harder levers. Finally through a combination of pulling the tire with one hand and leveraging with the other I managed to get the tire back on.

    Pumped up the tube and....air escapes from several places. Seems there are more holes than I started with.

    I dread the thought of going through it again. What should I do?

  2. #2
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    Get a tire bead jack, a Dutch tool imported and sold by Kool Stop. It is a wonderful invention that helps with even the most difficult tire.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by recumbenteer View Post
    Get a tire bead jack, a Dutch tool imported and sold by Kool Stop. It is a wonderful invention that helps with even the most difficult tire.
    Does it help to get the tires back on? Once I got the hang of it taking them off isn't so bad....it's putting them back on that's near impossible (especially without damaging the tube).

  4. #4
    Part-time epistemologist invisiblehand's Avatar
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    I found that the Marathon Racers are difficult to mount correctly on the Bike Friday with Alex Rims. I broke two Park Tool/Performance plastic tire rods while mounting the tires.

    I found that Pedro's tire levers work better since they are wider, a little less deep, and apparently somewhat stronger than the alternatives above. After one year, one of the levers is developing a weak spot in the plastic. However, it just flexes a bit more instead of actually breaking.

    Regarding technique, I put on as much of the tire as possible. I then use one tire lever to flip a little more tire onto the rim while using the other tire lever to hold the other side in place. I do this in tiny increments until the tire mounts.

    -G

  5. #5
    Senior Member jnb-rare's Avatar
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    Acck! If I'd gone through what you did, I think I'd pitch the tires and buy some folding tires with Kevlar bead (Schwalbe Marathon Racer or something).

    The folding Stelvios on my bike come off with a quick lever flip and hand action, and back on with hands only (and I'm a relative weakling).

  6. #6
    Shoot the moon! CodenameHardHat's Avatar
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    Try dusting the inside of your tires with some baby powder. Works for me!

  7. #7
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    Geez I feel for you . I also have one or two hard to use tires in my workshop. I fear they will never find use except in a real pinch (no pun intended).

  8. #8
    Senior Member stevegor's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=jnb-rare;5594411]Acck! If I'd gone through what you did, I think I'd pitch the tires and buy some folding tires with Kevlar bead (Schwalbe Marathon Racer or something).

    The folding Stelvios on my bike come off with a quick lever flip and hand action, and back on with hands only (and I'm a relative weakling).[/QUOTE]

    I found getting the 451mm Stelvio rear tyre on the Wasp was a major traumatic experience, I was beside myself with rage and self loathing, and I've change more tyres than some people have had breakfasts. So far I've had no punctures, but I'm dreading the thought of trying to get it off....that's why I bought the folding version from Bike Friday.

  9. #9
    Senior Member cyclezealot's Avatar
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    I think you might have the same problem I have always had with Specialized 'Armadillos.' The sidewall is so riigid. Its a b**** to remove and often it result in the loss of skin near the knuckles. Particularily if the Armadillo is new and not broken in. Other models are tires are easier, without those rigid side walls. I have bought Armadillos, because; in spite of the pain of changing them, they are so effectively flat resistant. / I find the use of 'speed levers,' ( an edge is inserted between the tire and the rim and rotate the lever about the axle) it's easier to get them off/on. BUt, the downside often when repacking the tube, the tube gets caught on the edge of the lever and the force of that causes a pinch flat.. / Maybe less flat resistant tires are worth the difficulity of changing tires such as Armadillos. ?

  10. #10
    The Legitimiser Sammyboy's Avatar
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    Also good are Surly's tire levers. Steel core, rubberised outer.

  11. #11
    Bicycling Gnome
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    Tyres come on and off the Merc like a breeze (chen shin - great and realy cheap little tyres). Not that I've had a puncture, but I broke a few spokes in the rear wheel which meant the tyre coming off a few times. On the Pashley Moulton I had the misfortune to get some punctures in the 406 Stelvios I had. It was hard to get off and even harder to get back on. I empathise with Stevegor's fury and self loathing. When I changed to marathons in disgust at the stelvios, I pathetically paid the bike shop man to do it for me.
    “Get a bicycle. You will not regret it, if you live." - Mark Twain

  12. #12
    Junior Member Cascade's Avatar
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    A Crank Brothers Speed Lever works wonders :

    http://www.kk.org/cooltools/archives/001005.php


  13. #13
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    The bead jack tool is made to put the tire back on the rim. They cost all of about $12. Check the kool stop webpage to see what it looks like. IMHO, it is the most overlooked bike tool.

  14. #14
    Bicycling Gnome
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    Oh - I forgot. Soap or washing up liquid can help a hell of a lot to slide a tight tyre on to the rim.
    “Get a bicycle. You will not regret it, if you live." - Mark Twain

  15. #15
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    Thanks guys. You'd think the bike coop would be able to give me these kinds of tips, but I guess not.

  16. #16
    Senior Member jnb-rare's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stevegor View Post
    I found getting the 451mm Stelvio rear tyre on the Wasp was a major traumatic experience, I was beside myself with rage and self loathing, and I've change more tyres than some people have had breakfasts. So far I've had no punctures, but I'm dreading the thought of trying to get it off....that's why I bought the folding version from Bike Friday.
    Wow. perhaps individual rim/tire combinations are making the difference. I have the Mu SL with the Kinetix Pro wheels (very narrow rim) and 28-406 tires. I had assumed the kevlar bead was making the tire change relatively easy (this is my first bike with 20" wheels). Obviously, that's not the only factor.

  17. #17
    Señor Mambo
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    Quote Originally Posted by makeinu View Post
    Thanks guys. You'd think the bike coop would be able to give me these kinds of tips, but I guess not.
    If you paid them, yeah.

    If you just broke their tire lever and left, what were you expecting?

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by spambait11 View Post
    If you paid them, yeah.

    If you just broke their tire lever and left, what were you expecting?
    I was going to pay, but no one seemed to care, neither to show me how to properly handle my tire nor to ask for payment.

  19. #19
    Señor Mambo
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    These directions are generally good. To get the very last section of tire over, I also recommend either a Speed Lever or Quick Stick to finish the rest. Both tools can be used to install/uninstall a tire. I like the Quick Stick over all, but for skinny tires, it's head is too thick to fit under the tire beads. The Speed Lever has a skinnier head, but I'm skeptical of its long term durability (haven't broken one yet though). In any case, with using either tool, I found it best to hold the wheel up vertically while removing/installing the tire as opposed to trying to install/uninstall the tire while the wheel is laying on its side. However once one side of the tire is removed, installing a tube, for me, is much more easily done when the wheel is laying on its side.

    If you have too many small, unidentifiable leaks, you're better off replacing the whole tube.

    Before pumping (or after pumping a little), check to make sure the tube is not being pinched between the tire bead and rim.

    Lastly, the maunakea inflation method is good. He pumps his tires up to 200psi to make sure the bead properly seats against the rim. I've found that at about 140psi (using a floor pump) the bead seats properly against the rim - you can hear it; the sound is similar to one made when opening a can with a can opener. For a new tire, I keep pumping until I hear that sound. So far, I have not had to get close to 200psi inflating either 700c or ETRTO 406 tubes.

  20. #20
    Old enough to know better Spudmeister's Avatar
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    I've found the source of tire mounting problems often lie with the rims. Cheaper rims aren'y always sized with enough precision.

  21. #21
    Part-time epistemologist invisiblehand's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EvilV View Post
    Oh - I forgot. Soap or washing up liquid can help a hell of a lot to slide a tight tyre on to the rim.
    Just be careful to avoid getting soap on the rim tape. I have had the rim tape slide as a consequence and suffer a flat.

  22. #22
    Part-time epistemologist invisiblehand's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spudmeister View Post
    I've found the source of tire mounting problems often lie with the rims. Cheaper rims aren'y always sized with enough precision.
    Definitely true ... although more expensive rims are also subject to variation (there was a discussion on some Velocity rims on the Bike Friday Yak).

    -G

  23. #23
    Part-time epistemologist invisiblehand's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spambait11 View Post
    I like the Quick Stick over all, but for skinny tires, it's head is too thick to fit under the tire beads.
    You have that right.

    And yes, I have inflated the Marathon Racers to 150-160 to get the bead on correctly.

  24. #24
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    Schwalbe sell a tire lubrication fluid that allows you to slip your tires on more easily. It does evaporate after a little while and presumably its not going to damage your tires/tubes/liners compared to some DIY solutions like say soap.

    EasyFit Tire Mounting Fluid
    http://www.schwalbetires.com/accessories/helpful_tools

    I have some and I would recommend it.

  25. #25
    jur
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    Quote Originally Posted by makeinu View Post
    I've spent about 10 hours over the last three days trying to change the tube on my Downtube VIIIH and I've just about had it.
    Are you taking care that the bead after fully deflating the tube lies in the center well of the rim Push it into that well all round before trying to take it off. Last week I was able to remove and replace my DT Mini tyres using no tools at all.
    My folding bike photo essays www.dekter.net/

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