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The Impossible Tire Change

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The Impossible Tire Change

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Old 02-22-09, 04:27 PM
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ok_commuter
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The Impossible Tire Change

Has anyone here successfully installed a Conti Ultra Gator 700 x 25 onto a Mavic Open Sport w/o having to use levers to perform the final push onto the tire?

I am changing back to 25s from my Marathon Supreme 35s. I just flatted 2 tubes putting the tire back on.

Any idea what I'm doing wrong, other than not being the Incredible Hulk? (I've installed the Gators on my Salsa Delgado rims many times, so I'm not completely incompetent, just currently.)
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Old 02-22-09, 05:34 PM
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Forgive me for answering my own question, but after 2 successful attempts I've got it down. Not that knowing what to do helps that much...

1. Be VERY patient. Once it gets tough, you'll be pulling less than a mm at a time across the edge of the rim.
2. Be VERY strong. Your hands will hurt. It will take a long time. TIP: wear some full-finger gloves with little leather thumb protection tabs if you have them.
3. Go in ONE direction. With most tires, I work both sides at once, toward each other. With these, I'm having more luck starting at the valve stem and working all the way around clockwise.

YMMV. HTFU. All that.
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Old 02-22-09, 06:33 PM
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FYI I have a set of 27" rims from the early 70's that require *metal* tire levers and a *huge* amount of patience. Sometimes the stars align just wrong. Just be prepared for this before you find yourself by the side of the road
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Old 02-22-09, 06:38 PM
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What's wrong with levers? And i've found gatorskins to be tough to get on, as tires go.
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Old 02-22-09, 06:41 PM
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I have more than once pinched a hole in the tube using a lever to finish the job, even being careful.

EDIT: I do use lovely stainless steel levers.

I find it reasonaby easy (for gatorskins anyway) to do it hands-only with my Salsa rims. The Mavic Open Sport - Gator combo is a chore.

Anyway, done and done. Getting back to the high pressure tires is all part of an experiment to double-duty my commuter as my training and group ride bike until I buy a 2nd bike for racing. I'm also changing my morning commute to a much longer one in an attempt to double my weekly mileage. More on all that in a separate thread...
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Old 02-22-09, 08:00 PM
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Use plastic levers. I've had some tires that pretty much needed to be levered back on and the plastic spoons help. I've still torn tubes that way, but plastic cuts the risk.
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Old 02-23-09, 08:07 AM
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I assume that you're checking as you tighten the tire up on the rim on the side that you're trying to get on, that the bead on the opposite side is sitting in the center valley of the rim instead of near the edge? That gives more slack.
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Old 02-23-09, 08:10 AM
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Might want to try one of these:
http://aebike.com/page.cfm?PageID=30...ils&sku=TL4022
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Old 02-23-09, 08:31 AM
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Originally Posted by dynaryder View Post
I've always wanted to try one of those to see what they're like, but none of the distributors I deal with seem to carry these (Most of them carry kool stop as well!)
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Old 02-23-09, 08:38 AM
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Originally Posted by ok_commuter View Post
Be VERY patient. Once it gets tough, you'll be pulling less than a mm at a time across the edge of the rim.
Your hands will hurt.
I always try to push a reluctant tire onto the rim with my thumbs. My fingers aren't nearly as strong.
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Old 02-23-09, 10:08 AM
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Originally Posted by I_bRAD View Post
I've always wanted to try one of those to see what they're like, but none of the distributors I deal with seem to carry these (Most of them carry kool stop as well!)
They work pretty well with rim/tire combo that are a pain.

The Gatorskin/Open Sport combo is a pain. I run 25s on mine and each time it is tough. I need to have all the air out of the tube. Then I have to make sure the tube stays inside the tire. If it comes out at all, there is a good chance to pinch the tube. I also put these on a little different than other tires. Instead of having my thumbs where the tire is about to go on the rim, I place my left palm at the midway point and try to roll the tire onto the rim. Then with my right thumb I push the tire onto the rim.

This seems the easiest for me on this combination with the least amount of chance of pinching the tube.
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Old 02-23-09, 10:11 AM
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Get someone to help you. Get the tire started till you get to the last bit that is hard and then each of you work from opposite sides toward the center. Having an extra set of fingers pulling makes it go much easier.
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Old 02-23-09, 10:48 AM
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Make sure the tire is warm and there's no air in the tube. For especially tough tires I'll place the not yet mounted part of the tire on the ground with the wheel nearly touching the floor. I then step on the tire with the heel of my foot and lever the tire up and down with the hand opposite foot to seat the remaining, toughest part of the tire. Double check the tube that things are seated ok and inflate.
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Old 02-23-09, 10:23 PM
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when installing my Schwalbe Marathon Plus 700x25 tires i pinched two tubes spending 20 minutes wrestling to get the final edge of one tire on with plastic levers.

Someone here recommended using a some liquid dish soap to lubricate the final edge of the tire/tube/rim. (You can also buy special lube for this). Once I tried dish soap I had the tire on in 3 minutes. No more ruined tubes and not one flat since.
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Old 02-23-09, 10:40 PM
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glad you got the darned things on- they're worth it- they're a great tire.


You seem to have worked out your technique.

I use the palms of the hands to roll it up and onto the rim. Avoid using levers- plastic or otherwise for mounting tires- they will occasionally pinch your tubes. Tire bead jacks are a better solution if you need a tool. and yes, a touch of dish soap in the right spots can do the trick.

I put a touch of air in the tube when I put it into the tire casing. Once the tire is on the rim I add a few pounds of pressure and then check the seating (by spinning the wheel in my hands and watching carefully- on both sides of the rim the little line on the tire just above the rim). I roll the tire with my palms to seat it where necessary. Then I add more pressure- not full- then check again. Then I pump it to full pressure and check the seating one more time- up and down, side to side, both sides of the rim and especially around the valve. If you're using presta valves make sure the knurled metal fixing ring is screwed down firmly after pumping to full pressure.
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Old 02-24-09, 09:58 AM
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Originally Posted by DoB View Post
Use plastic levers. I've had some tires that pretty much needed to be levered back on and the plastic spoons help. I've still torn tubes that way, but plastic cuts the risk.
The first time I tried mounting a pair of Gatorskins, I broke 3 plastic levers, cut my finger and invented a new swear.
I carry 2 stainless steel levers in my kit now.
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Old 02-24-09, 10:43 AM
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I had a pair of forte 2k 700/28 on a sun cr18 rim......the only way I could get them on or off was to use steel levers. even after a couple of times on off.. I broke (or severly deformed to modern art) several plastic levers.

After having a flat on a commute and fighting the tire to fix the flat, I replaced the tires with panracer t-servs. No intall problem.

I guess that different tire/rim combos have issues

anyway IMHO no matter how "good" a tire is if it is a big pain to get off for flat fixes, you should question using it for commuting
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Old 02-24-09, 11:23 AM
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Originally Posted by Metzinger View Post
I always try to push a reluctant tire onto the rim with my thumbs. My fingers aren't nearly as strong.
Yes, pushing is what I meant.
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Old 02-24-09, 11:27 AM
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Originally Posted by mjw16 View Post
Make sure the tire is warm and there's no air in the tube. For especially tough tires I'll place the not yet mounted part of the tire on the ground with the wheel nearly touching the floor. I then step on the tire with the heel of my foot and lever the tire up and down with the hand opposite foot to seat the remaining, toughest part of the tire. Double check the tube that things are seated ok and inflate.
I did find that letting the last tiny bit of air out of the tube toward the end of the seating process made a difference, may have made *the* difference by giving just that tiny bit extra play. I generally prefer a slightly inflated tube when reinstalling a tire, but not these...
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Old 02-24-09, 11:29 AM
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Originally Posted by CliftonGK1 View Post
The first time I tried mounting a pair of Gatorskins, I broke 3 plastic levers, cut my finger and invented a new swear.
I carry 2 stainless steel levers in my kit now.
My hands still hurt.
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Old 02-24-09, 12:04 PM
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I use a bit of dish soap on the rim and bead...or spit to get the last part on. Works like a charm.
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Old 02-24-09, 02:21 PM
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Just use levers. My Vittoria Randonneurs were a pain to install on my Xero XR-3s. The first one took an hour and a half of fighting it with my bare fingers. For the second one I just poked around online for advice on using levers to install tires. Go slow, be patient, and it shouldn't be a problem.

Once you learn how to mount a tire with levers it makes any future stiff tire mounts way easier.

Oh, and use steel core levers. The "unbreakable" plastic ones don't take much, I've found.
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