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tight fit with foldable tires?

Old 10-24-20, 07:06 AM
  #1  
John E
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tight fit with foldable tires?

Rim: Campag Omega 700C

Experience:

1) conventional non-folding Continental 700Cx28 do fit, but require more-than-average force on the tire levers. Slightly taller-than-average rim sidewalls, perhaps?

2) Michelin and Continental 700Cx28 foldables both require incredible amounts of force, even to put the first bead over the edge of the rim. I had to resort to my KoolStop tire jack for both beads.

Question:

Has anyone else found that foldable tires are extremely difficult to mount? This does not bode well for emergency on-road repairs, although I now plan to carry a tire jack with me at all times. Do they stretch out over time? When I rode tubulars, I do recall needing to pre-stretch new ones before using them for the first time.
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Old 10-24-20, 08:34 AM
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I had to exert lots of effort to mount 2 Continental GatorSkin 700x32 folding tires a couple of days ago. I was beginning to wonder if I could get them on. I don't know if it helped but I put some soapy water on the tire bead. The first bead went on easy but not the other one. Vision rims. The Kenda Valkyrie Elite tires I replaced were also tough to mount after a flat. I think the tolerances for the rims might be on the large end and the tires on the small side of the range.
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Old 10-24-20, 08:38 AM
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I have had trouble with Michelin and Gatorskin foldables. Wire bead ttires go on easy on the same rims. Good idea to carry a tire jack.
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Old 10-24-20, 09:05 AM
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The hours I spent a few years ago mounting 20c Veloflex foldables on Campy deep V rims just about made me cry.

Last edited by majmt; 10-24-20 at 09:18 AM.
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Old 10-24-20, 09:08 AM
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i got some panaracer gravelking sk's that were very difficult to mount and even worse to remove. i thought i'd never get the tire off the rim, at first. however, i learned from the web to just loop one end under a foot and stretch it. a bit of that and some trial and error mount/removals made them much much better. i would never ever want to get caught with a flat and a tire that hard to mount
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Old 10-24-20, 09:08 AM
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I don’t think that I could do it on the road....but I got ‘em on after warming and stretching and then much effort, broken levers, and very sore thumbs. The effort was worth it though.


Last edited by majmt; 10-24-20 at 09:15 AM.
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Old 10-24-20, 09:11 AM
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IME it's always hard to mount foldable tires when they're new. After that they stretch and it gets easier. To the point that you can even remove them without levers, as I found out recently with a pair of Challenge tires.
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Old 10-24-20, 09:38 AM
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Vittoria Corsa G on Campy Ypsilon rims was a painful experience.
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Old 10-24-20, 09:53 AM
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I have a pair of Ambrosio 19 Extra Elite Durex rims that are wire bead only, and even then they are a bear to mount tires onto. Tried some kevlar bead tires once and it was much too difficult - no way I was dealing with that miles from home. Those wheels serve as extras now.
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Old 10-24-20, 10:11 AM
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Thank you everyone for confirming it is not all in my head (or hands).

Yes, I now strongly recommend carrying a tire jack along with two or three tire levers. The Kool Stop jack works well on both road bike and mountain bike tires.
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Old 10-24-20, 12:13 PM
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I may be the unpopular opinion but I refuse to buy folding tires. I got some Gatorskins and one happened to be a fold and one a wire bead. All they had in stock, anyways the folding tire was damn near impossible and wire bead tires are IMO always easier to deal with. So from that point forward I don't care about the weight or whatever I just use wire bead tires. Even on my road bikes (gasps)
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Old 10-24-20, 12:46 PM
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It's not unusual for kevlar bead tires to be more difficult to mount than wire bead tires. It was really obvious in the early days of folding beads -- Turbos, etc. Depends on the tire and rim combination. Make sure it works and you can do it at home before you set out and have to fix a flat at the side of the road.

IMO using tire levers to mount a tire is a bad idea. Use a tire jack if you need a tool.
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Old 10-24-20, 12:50 PM
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In general folding tires are often more difficult to mount when new, but they do usually stretch a tiny bit enough to make subsequent removal/installation easier. There are known horrific rim/tire combos that are notorious, both vintage and modern rims. My bugaboo is any Challege "open tubular" clincher, always a nightmare for me, and a pair of vintage Mavic MA-4 rims I have, a minor night terror. MA-40 rims are not much better.

And if you're running neo/retro modern tubeless-compatible rims with tubeless-compatible tires I suppose you're in Schwarzenegger territory in terms of muscle requirements.

But I often find that even when installation is tough, removal somehow is usually easier, so I don't sweat too much about punctures on the road. I do always carry a spare tire, and usually an older/used tire that's been on/off a few times. Plastic tire irons with good, wide, quasi-sharp ends helps a lot; my current faves are Schwalbe, which are thin/light and nest together nicely. Usually two is all I need. And at home I always use a Quik Stick to help with removal---which may no longer be available?

Schwalbe levers:
https://www.schwalbetires.com/node/3686

Quick Stick:
https://www.amazon.com/Quik-Stik-Tir...dp/B0026LJTPI/

One thing to maybe mention is that I often read/hear about sore thumbs with tight tires, but I find that in getting that last stubborn section of bead to mount, rolling the bead upwards with my palm, together with pushing up with my thumb, is much more effective than just trying to push it up with my thumbs. Not so easy to explain, but you hold the unmounted bead section in place at one end with one hand, then roll the center of the unmounted bead section up the side of the rim with the other palm, while pushing up the bead with the thumb on the rolling hand. You're rolling the free hand over the top of the rim. I always talc/baby-powder my tubes, and the excess powder on the rim sides helps, too. I usually hold one edge from moving with my left hand/palm, and roll with my right, but you may roll differently. Heh-heh.

Sometimes the bead kinda rolls inside-out a bit, but it's easier to get the bead closer to the very top edge of the sidewalls that way, and as it snaps over the top, the inside-out part corrects itself.

That usually means sore palm meat, and one time I did scape off a full outer layer of palm skin on a Challenge open tubular, imagine a 2" square blister on your palm, but less thumb pain and less pain overall. I very rarely have to resort to the Tire Jack when I do this, usually only with Challenge tires, and even then usually only after I've mounted a couple/few and my mitts are screaming.

And though it's probably terrible for my aching back, I get the best leverage by putting the wheel against my stomach, bending over forward, then using my helpful excess belly girth to hold the wheel in place while I do the rolling/pushing/grunting/swearing exercise. It ain't pretty, but it works.
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Old 10-24-20, 12:57 PM
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Originally Posted by BFisher View Post
I have a pair of Ambrosio 19 Extra Elite Durex rims that are wire bead only, and even then they are a bear to mount tires onto. Tried some kevlar bead tires once and it was much too difficult - no way I was dealing with that miles from home. Those wheels serve as extras now.
I've had the same experience with the Ambrosio rims.
I've got some Torelli Master rims that are about the same... lovely to look at, but will make life difficult when it comes time to mount a folding tire.

The Koolstop tire jack is a great way to mount the tire at home, but it's a bit bulky for to stick in a little bag under the saddle.
For on the road use, I've got a little tire jack that I bought from Rose Bikes. It's compact, strong, and it works. A bit more clumsy to use than the Koolstop tire jack, but that's the price of being so compact.
Not sure if Rose Bikes still has it, but they used to sell it under a cryptic name...



the instructions are helpful....


The kevlar beads tend to stretch with age, but I've had to use this little tire jack at least a few times.

Steve in Peoria
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Old 10-24-20, 01:24 PM
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I stopped last summer to help someone one a roadbike who was walking. He had a flat, so I offered to help.I broke two normal plastic levers trying to get that tyre off. He did say that the bike was new (so the tyres probbly new and stiff too). I then rummaged around in my bags to find my favourite tyre lever: A single-handed thingy I just couldn't find at first.

It is this one - crankbrothers Speedier Lever:




I actually have two of them now. I thought I lost it somewhere, so I panicked and ordered one immediately, only to find the old one the very next morning.

Also, I may be telling you how to suck eggs, but with tight tyres, make sure the edge you do have over the rim is situated in the "bowl" of the rim. It gives you much more room to work the rest of the tyre over the rim. Of course, here it really helps having a one-handed lever.

Last edited by CargoDane; 10-24-20 at 01:28 PM.
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Old 10-24-20, 02:51 PM
  #16  
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I have a Pre-Trek Lemond with Campag Omega rim . It has 700x19 tires. Years ago I was going to loan it out to ride and tried to replace tires. At the time every tire I tried was too tight. Did all the tricks at the time but finally gave up.

Now I am using tubeless on my modern road bikes and they are very tight but I have been able to mount with just tire levers. Have a Koolstop tire jack now and it is no problem at all.

In the 80s I used Specialized folding on Weinmann concave rims and they were very tight when new but stretched and not bad if you had to fix flat on the road.
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Old 10-24-20, 05:31 PM
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Originally Posted by pcb View Post
In general folding tires are often more difficult to mount when new, but they do usually stretch a tiny bit enough to make subsequent removal/installation easier. There are known horrific rim/tire combos that are notorious, both vintage and modern rims. My bugaboo is any Challege "open tubular" clincher, always a nightmare for me, and a pair of vintage Mavic MA-4 rims I have, a minor night terror. MA-40 rims are not much better.

And if you're running neo/retro modern tubeless-compatible rims with tubeless-compatible tires I suppose you're in Schwarzenegger territory in terms of muscle requirements.

But I often find that even when installation is tough, removal somehow is usually easier, so I don't sweat too much about punctures on the road. I do always carry a spare tire, and usually an older/used tire that's been on/off a few times. Plastic tire irons with good, wide, quasi-sharp ends helps a lot; my current faves are Schwalbe, which are thin/light and nest together nicely. Usually two is all I need. And at home I always use a Quik Stick to help with removal---which may no longer be available?

Schwalbe levers:
https://www.schwalbetires.com/node/3686

Quick Stick:
https://www.amazon.com/Quik-Stik-Tir...dp/B0026LJTPI/

One thing to maybe mention is that I often read/hear about sore thumbs with tight tires, but I find that in getting that last stubborn section of bead to mount, rolling the bead upwards with my palm, together with pushing up with my thumb, is much more effective than just trying to push it up with my thumbs. Not so easy to explain, but you hold the unmounted bead section in place at one end with one hand, then roll the center of the unmounted bead section up the side of the rim with the other palm, while pushing up the bead with the thumb on the rolling hand. You're rolling the free hand over the top of the rim. I always talc/baby-powder my tubes, and the excess powder on the rim sides helps, too. I usually hold one edge from moving with my left hand/palm, and roll with my right, but you may roll differently. Heh-heh.
That's kind of how most mechanics install tires, using the palms for the last bit of bead. Usually I use just the palms, but I often mix it up. It's too hard on your thumbs to use them for this all day. Takes a little practice. Sometimes I find it works to pull it over with my palms from the other side, but usually I just use my palms only to push the bead over.

I fully admit it's a pride and vanity thing - me being an ex mechanic, but I've would never use a tire lever or jack to install a clincher. I have used a tire jack before once or twice just to know how to do it.
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Old 10-24-20, 06:24 PM
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Depends on the tire model.

With Conti Ultra Sport 2 folders I need a Kool Stop bead jack every time. Those things never get any easier to mount. Very common complaint from many users. The wire bead version is only slightly less difficult.

With Conti Grand Prix Classic skinwalls, I need a bead jack the first time or two but after awhile they loosen up just enough to mount with my hands. The rubber isn't excessively sticky/tacky, but the sidewalls and tread feel stiff at first. After a few rides it loosens up. These have been my favorite road bike tires for the past year or so.

Soma Supple Vitesse SL tires were hard to mount the first time, mostly because the rubber is very sticky and the friction really grabs the rims. After a little wear they were a bit easier to mount with my hands, but I'd still prefer a bead jack.
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Old 10-24-20, 06:31 PM
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Originally Posted by John E View Post
Thank you everyone for confirming it is not all in my head (or hands).

Yes, I now strongly recommend carrying a tire jack along with two or three tire levers. The Kool Stop jack works well on both road bike and mountain bike tires.
I just ordered a KoolStop jack. Thanks.
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Old 10-24-20, 08:20 PM
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Folding tires haven’t been the problem for me that certain rims can be.

I got rid of Torelli Master rims because they were so incredibly difficult with tire mounting/dismounting. Particularly so at that tourist overlook above Florence, Italy with many bus loads of people watching!

The Mavic Reflex/Open Pros, tb14’s and Pacenti Brevet (in 650B) have all allowed tool free dismounting after first installation of folding Grand Bois and Compass tires.

Then there were the Velocity rims that were so loose that I could never get GB tires to mount evenly.
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Old 10-24-20, 09:51 PM
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Originally Posted by BFisher View Post
I have a pair of Ambrosio 19 Extra Elite Durex rims that are wire bead only, and even then they are a bear to mount tires onto. Tried some kevlar bead tires once and it was much too difficult - no way I was dealing with that miles from home. Those wheels serve as extras now.
those rims have a well deserved reputation.
so much so, I was given a pair as they were used to protect a pair of tubular rims I bought.

kevlar stretches, “creep” is the term used in sailboat racing halyards.
i have had a few foldable bead tires where the way to go was install one side, let sit for a week, remove and mount provisionally the other side. Let that sit and then mount with a tube.
after a month of service and kept inflated- they get much easier to remove/ replace.
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Old 10-25-20, 12:11 AM
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I've heard disputes about whether the folding bead actually stretches.

When my folding tires get a bit easier to mount, it's because the rubber over the bead wears a bit, the rubber becomes a bit less sticky/tacky and the mold release goo wears off.

The tires themselves seem to stretch just a bit, so a folding tire is easier to remount after it's been used for awhile. That's why I'm waiting a week or so before switching my new pair of Conti GP Classics from butyl to latex tubes. I don't want to risk pinching a pricey latex tube. But after 100 miles or so, it'll be easier to mount. Ditto, Soma Supple Vitesse, Schwalbe One and other good folders. They get a little easier to work with after a little use.

But I'm not seeing any indication that the bead itself stretches. I suppose some clever engineer has done this -- stripping the bead out of new and worn tires to measure them. But I haven't read any reports on the results.
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Old 10-25-20, 10:17 AM
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@steelbikeguy, and @repechage, shame about the Ambrosios because I like them a lot otherwise. Wish I could find a loose fitting, light, supple folding tire for them.

The grand daddy of them all though was a pair of Sun CR18 wheels I got from Harris. They were 650A size, built for single speed/fixed with a flip-flop rear hub. I cannot do justice with words how difficult mounting ANY tires on these rims was. I broke levers. I bled. I used soap, powder. Tried Panaracer Col De La Vie and El Cheapo tires from Wally World. It was unreal. I ended up throwing them on a too small frame I had laying here, and donating the bike.
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Old 10-25-20, 10:28 AM
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Just put on a indoor trainer tire last night on one of my bikes, that was painful even with soapy water. Have to look into this tire jack tool!
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Old 10-25-20, 11:54 AM
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Originally Posted by BFisher View Post
[MENTION=113466].....
The grand daddy of them all though was a pair of Sun CR18 wheels I got from Harris. They were 650A size, built for single speed/fixed with a flip-flop rear hub. I cannot do justice with words how difficult mounting ANY tires on these rims was. I broke levers. I bled. I used soap, powder. Tried Panaracer Col De La Vie and El Cheapo tires from Wally World. It was unreal. I ended up throwing them on a too small frame I had laying here, and donating the bike.
yeah... I've got two bikes with CR18 rims, but normally use tires with wire beads. One of these bikes always has a big Carradice saddle bag, so the Koolstop tire jack stays in there.
Maybe this is why I still like steel tire levers? Plenty strong, and the thin lip can get under a really tight kevlar bead.

Steve in Peoria
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