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How to: Tight fitting tire - easy mounting

Old 05-21-10, 09:56 PM
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How to: Tight fitting tire - easy mounting

I've never had trouble mounting tires before, and usually only needed a little boost with a tire lever to get the last section of bead onto the rim.

Then I got some new wheels with Kinlin XR-300 rims. These have shallow wells in between the rim edges, so there's not much slack when the bead is down in the center while mounting the tire.

After struggling to get the tire on, I thought I might need to get some of those big specialty levers and carry them on rides. I really didn't know if I could change a tire out on the road. It was tight, really tight.

I made sure the bead was pushed to the center of the rim and tried pulling the slack in the tire toward the remaining bead. Nothing helped.

But now, with the right levers and a good technique, it's actually pretty easy and fast.

I'm changing my old front tire, GP4000S to a new one. New tires are even more difficult to mount.

Removing the old tire

The old tire. I use Michelin AirComp ultra light tubes, 700x18-23 60mm smooth valve tubes. I think these are smaller than the usual tubes, so they are easier to tuck up into the tires when mounting.
EDIT--they seem to be a similar diameter to a regular tube for a 23c tire, not any smaller.




UPDATE 2016-- I've used other rider's levers with this method, and some of them just don't work at all. The bead won't slide down the back of the lever very easily, and the end of the lever keeps popping off the rim. Very frustrating.

Continental tire levers. I don't use the hook end--if I hook it on a spoke, the bead is so tight I can't get the second lever under the bead. (I cut off the hooks on the pair that go in my saddle bag). The pry end is rounded, and has a flat back side so the bead can easily slide toward the end of the lever. There are other brands of tire levers that have a similar shape.


EDIT--now in 2016, I still have the same Continental levers, with just some scuffs on the curve. The low amount of force on the levers keeps them in good condition.
EDIT--I helped another rider that used Park TL-1 levers, and they didn't work very well. Those Park levers are the type with a thin, sharply curved hook at the tire end of the lever.


I haven't tried these Pedro levers. They have a similar shape, and should work the same way.
EDIT 2018 -- I have a pair of these Pedro levers at home, they work great. The Continental are narrower, easier to fit in my small saddlebag.





First, push the bead into the center of the rim, all the way around.

Hook the bead of the old tire.




Yes, it's really tight!



Two levers are needed. I'm trying to lift enough bead at once with two levers. Both levers are hooked under the tire bead, then levered at the same time. Here, they are still too close together.


Let the bead fall back into the rim, move the levers, and try again. This is pretty close. One more try.


Now, this is wide enough to lift a section of bead over the rim, and have enough slack to now push one lever sideways to get the rest of the bead off.


All the way around.


This is one reason the tire is hard to mount. The center well is quite shallow, even with this thin plastic tape.


I carefully removed the inner tube, then I needed a lever to help get the final bead off the rim.

Next: Mounting the new tire.

Last edited by rm -rf; 06-02-18 at 05:54 PM.
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Old 05-21-10, 10:01 PM
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Too much of a hassle..I'd rather have a set of wheels that are closer to "industry standard". My current set of Rol dHuez wheels are a snap to change tires.
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Old 05-21-10, 10:14 PM
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Mounting the new tire

Now I'm mounting the brand new tire, another GP4000S. There's no tube in the tire yet.

Even the first bead needs a tire lever! And once it's on, it can't be slid around on the rim to align the tire label with the valve. That's really tight.

This is as far as I can go by hand.


Pop the first bead onto the rim. I start near one side, not the middle. It's not difficult with the lever to help out.


The first bead is on. Next, the tube valve is inserted in the rim, and the tube tucked into the tire. Some of the tube won't stay in place, that's OK for now. (Often, a small amount of air in the tube will give it some shape and make it easier to install. It helps to keep it from being caught under a tire bead, too)

EDIT-- I put enough air in the tube so it holds it's shape, hold the valve next to the valve hole on the rim, and guide the opposite side of the tube into the open tire, so that the tube doesn't have excess slack anywhere around the rim. The air helps keep the tube up in the tire as I push on the beads by hand. Once I'm down to the last section of bead, I let the air out.

Start at the valve and hand load the second bead. Make sure to press the valve back in as far as it will go toward the tire tread, so the tube doesn't get pinched under the rim there.


This is as far as I can get without tire levers. The tube is up inside the tire, away from the rim edge.


Only one lever is needed now.

I get as close to the left end of the remaining bead as possible. If I try to lift in the middle, I'll just break the tire lever.

It doesn't take much force to lift less than an inch more of the bead over the edge.


An easy lift over, then slide the lever sideways just a short distance, less than an inch, and repeat the lift. It goes fast.


Not much force is needed.


Getting close now.


One more lift.


The last section pops over all at once.


Done!

Now go around the bead on both sides and push it toward the center of the rim. Look in the gap to make sure there's no tube pinched under the bead. (Why do they make black rim tape! Any other color would be better for spotting pinched tubes under the bead!)

I was rushed one time, skipped this step, and the tube slowly pushed the bead off the rim after about 30 minutes. Then the tube expands like a balloon and blows up with a BANG! It was really loud indoors! Glad I wasn't riding it!

Last edited by rm -rf; 06-02-18 at 06:08 PM.
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Old 05-22-10, 12:01 AM
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Some people recommend finishing at the valve when mounting the tire. The valve helps to keep the tube away from being pinched between the tire and rim.

For this kind of job, you might want to use the toughest tire levers you can find so that they don't snap on you. Park Tool make the best plastic levers I've ever used, they are indestructible, I now don't bother with any other brands.
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Old 05-22-10, 12:38 AM
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nice how-to job and pictures rm -rf! fwiw, i encounter the same problem with my Conti (4-Seasons) on my rims as well (one Mavic rim, and one Salsa rim). my procedures are identical, and i've had to field-change a couple of time with simple levers (like yours), some patience, and a little elbow grease.

as Chris_W pointed out above, i've found it's slightly easier to start opposite the valve hole, and then finish at the valve, which also makes sense on my rims since the valve hole is the point farthest from the (stiff) rim weld. even so, i've done it both ways successfully. for me, the Conti tires are worth the minor aggravation; the rubber runs fast *and* sticky, which is a mythical balance to achieve.
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Old 05-22-10, 12:41 AM
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Originally Posted by Chris_W
Some people recommend finishing at the valve when mounting the tire. The valve helps to keep the tube away from being pinched between the tire and rim.

For this kind of job, you might want to use the toughest tire levers you can find so that they don't snap on you. Park Tool make the best plastic levers I've ever used, they are indestructible, I now don't bother with any other brands.
IMO, it's easier to mess up the valve stem than anywhere else on the tube, so always start at the valve.

And I've busted a pair of park levers on schwalbe marathon plus in 28mm.
currently I'm using some cheap WTB levers that came with a patch kit.
It's almost all in the technique used, not the quality of the tire levers.
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Old 05-22-10, 01:50 AM
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Nice write-up!
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Old 05-22-10, 06:02 AM
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sorry, duplicate
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Old 05-22-10, 06:03 AM
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Originally Posted by AEO
IMO, it's easier to mess up the valve stem than anywhere else on the tube, so always start at the valve.

And I've busted a pair of park levers on schwalbe marathon plus in 28mm.
currently I'm using some cheap WTB levers that came with a patch kit.
It's almost all in the technique used, not the quality of the tire levers.
The reason for finishing at the valve is primarily because it makes the entire mount easier. Early in my career I started at the valve as well, but then I learned the advantages of doing the opposite. If you mount at the valve first it prevents the tire bead from going to the smallest radius of the rim in the center, so the tire will be tighter you are near the end. By finishing slightly to one side of the valve one can more often mount the tire without levers. After mounting thousands of tires this way I would estimate that I have had to use levers on perhaps a half-dozen.

Here's one more mounting technique not covered above. After most of the tire is mounted and it is becoming difficult go back to the starting point and "scrub" your hands over the tire, pushing it around and back into the center of the rim again, creating some more slack. You can also use that technique, starting opposite the valve, to make removal easier. Yes, I begin near the valve for removal as well. In fact with looser tires I can often use that technique to remove the tire with no levers at all - there's enough slack to simply push the 1st bead over the edge of the rim.

Also, many others have noted before that using talc can help both with mounting and with proper seating of the tire as it is inflated.

Last edited by cny-bikeman; 05-22-10 at 06:11 AM.
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Old 05-22-10, 06:33 AM
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Originally Posted by cny-bikeman
The reason for finishing at the valve is primarily because it makes the entire mount easier. Early in my career I started at the valve as well, but then I learned the advantages of doing the opposite. If you mount at the valve first it prevents the tire bead from going to the smallest radius of the rim in the center, so the tire will be tighter you are near the end. By finishing slightly to one side of the valve one can more often mount the tire without levers. After mounting thousands of tires this way I would estimate that I have had to use levers on perhaps a half-dozen.

Here's one more mounting technique not covered above. After most of the tire is mounted and it is becoming difficult go back to the starting point and "scrub" your hands over the tire, pushing it around and back into the center of the rim again, creating some more slack. You can also use that technique, starting opposite the valve, to make removal easier. Yes, I begin near the valve for removal as well. In fact with looser tires I can often use that technique to remove the tire with no levers at all - there's enough slack to simply push the 1st bead over the edge of the rim.

Also, many others have noted before that using talc can help both with mounting and with proper seating of the tire as it is inflated.
Those techniques make sense, allowing full use of the low center of the rim to create slack. But, originally I even tried removing the tube and mounting the tire with no tube. I carefully pushed the beads to the center, and tried stretching the tire toward the remaining bead section, to get more slack there. It still was too tight.

I've never had problems with any other rim. These Kinlim rims are just very difficult. Even with only one bead mounted (and sitting down in the center) and no tube yet, I can't slide the tire around the circumference to line up the tire label with the valve hole. That's tight! I guess I don't need to worry about a flat tire coming off the rim by itself.

Anyway, now I don't have any trouble changing tires on the Kinlins. I only need a small force to move the lever, and it doesn't need strong fingers either.
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Old 05-22-10, 07:11 AM
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No problem - I have no doubt that those rims would be difficult no matter what. I added my comments for other situations where the valve last technique could make things easier.
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Old 05-22-10, 07:45 AM
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If you really need something stronger than hands and fingers, then the Var #425 https://www.sheldonbrown.com/var/pages/var0051.html is what's needed and not a tire lever.
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Old 05-22-10, 02:35 PM
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When removing a tire, at the point where you first get the lever to pop the bead over the rim, if you apply direct pressure with your hand to the tire at that spot, it increases slack and makes it easier to continue sliding the lever under the bead. I rarely need more than one lever to get a tire off (only if the rubber's really old and got a bit "glued" into place at the bead seat). Also, always pump a small amount of air into the tube before seating the second bead on the tire; failure to do so can cause the bead on the new tire to snakebite the tube after the tire's completely installed.

Nicely done series of photos and instructions.
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Old 04-19-11, 07:02 AM
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You should not use tire levers to mount a tire. This is the best way to pinch a tube.

Turn the last section of tire to mount away from you and use your hands to roll it onto the rim.

Finishing at the valve is incorrect. You start at the valve and then push it in so you can be certain that the tube is not pinched between the tire and the rim.
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Old 04-19-11, 08:45 AM
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Originally Posted by SBinNYC
If you really need something stronger than hands and fingers, then the Var #425 https://www.sheldonbrown.com/var/pages/var0051.html is what's needed and not a tire lever.
Did not work for me.
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Old 04-19-11, 03:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Bob Dopolina
You should not use tire levers to mount a tire. This is the best way to pinch a tube.

Turn the last section of tire to mount away from you and use your hands to roll it onto the rim.

Finishing at the valve is incorrect. You start at the valve and then push it in so you can be certain that the tube is not pinched between the tire and the rim.
finishing at the valve gives you the most slack
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Old 04-19-11, 03:48 PM
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VAR tire Jack/Levers are in my tire tool kit I use 2 on tight tires.
they are a better pry on tool..

In the shop, hands work well on customer's tires ..
with not too tight tires, no tools needed.
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Old 04-20-11, 09:53 AM
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you used a tool to install

After a couple of exploding inner tubes i stopped doing that

its all in the palm rolling technique.
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Old 04-20-11, 11:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Tom Pedale
Too much of a hassle..I'd rather have a set of wheels that are closer to "industry standard". My current set of Rol dHuez wheels are a snap to change tires.
i used to think the same but then i read someones reasoning for wanting to have tight fitting tires should you ever get a flat, you want a tire that isn't gonna come off the rim if your flat happens at speed
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Old 04-20-11, 12:08 PM
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NICE!!!

For stubborn or tight fitting tires I use a Koolstop Tire Jack.
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Old 04-20-11, 05:51 PM
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Originally Posted by kmv2
you used a tool to install

After a couple of exploding inner tubes i stopped doing that

its all in the palm rolling technique.
Have you done that with Continental tires on Kinlin XR-300 rims?

I can install and remove Continentals from Mavic and Alex rims without tools, but they're just too tight on the Kinlins.
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Old 04-20-11, 06:06 PM
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My friend told me he needed to use a tire lever to get his tires on all the time he came over one day and when I got it on with out anything he was really surprised and was wondering how I actually did it so fast also so I once again removed it and showed him how I do it, He a few days later tried at home to practice and now says he can do it also so. Maybe I'll do a video some day many people do it the same way but for some seeing it done is much better way of learning as he did. Or better yet somone else make a video
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Old 04-20-11, 06:09 PM
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Some rims / tyres present more problems than others but there are very few tyres I cannot mount by hand without tools and if I do need to use a tool to assist in mounting I have rarely had an issue with tube damage.

I most often use talc and insert the tube into the tyre first before mounting and sometimes I start at the valve and sometimes I don't as very few tyres give me any grief.

Of course... I change more tyres than most and find that Park levers are made of cheese and are pretty much useless... pedros steel core levers are awesome and Schwalbe makes an excellent lever that is also virtually unbreakable and very resistant to bending.

And when it gets really tough I have a set of Park professional levers which, unlike their plastic counterparts, will not break or bend as they are steel.

You have to be careful using these... not because they are steel buy because of how much extra leverage you can get with these much longer levers.

Besides talc... which acts like thouands of little ball bearings you can also make a little mounting fluid with a few drops of dish soap in a spray bottle and this will also help things glide a little more smoothly and will help stubborn tyres seat properly.

When all else fails, you can take a boot to them.
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Old 04-20-11, 06:15 PM
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i like the pedros plastic levers in the pink color so no one steals them
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Old 04-27-17, 11:01 AM
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Thank you very much

These tips are a saving grace for us noobs.I have changed dozens of tires of varying width down to 700x28. No problemo. However, I was getting wholey exacirbated,and absolutely nowhere installing my 650c23mm front tire on the 570x13 rim...The bike had 650c20mm tires, but I couldn't find any that narrow. After sitting down to contemplate, I called upon my resource of guidance from
Bikeforums.net..and violla...done....Now the rear one........

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