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Worst tire to install?

Old 08-10-12, 08:37 PM
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WestMass
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Worst tire to install?

Like most of you, I've been changing flat tires on my bikes for many years.

Based on a lot of recommendations (and the vocal haters) I figured I'd give schwalbe marathon plus's a try when they were the only reflective sidewall 700x25 at my LBS. Shop gave me $10 off because the guy said I'm in there a lot - so that was nice but unexpected.

I got home and pulled off my old, beat up tire, and threw on the marathon. Except it wasn't that easy. I spent about 35-40 minutes trying to get both beads hooked in before giving up. I went online and looked up the tire to make sure it didn't need some super deep rim or something - but by the numbers it was the correct tire for the rim.

Later in the evening I spent another 25 minutes and finally got the bead caught, but pinched my tube and popped it. I don't want to take the tire off and swap the tube because I'm terrified to put all that work in again. Do these get easier after already being on the rim??!

Yikes.

I can't imagine having to change a flat on the road with this beast.
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Old 08-10-12, 08:48 PM
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Vittoria Randonneur Cross. Spent about a half hour trying to just get it onto the rim, but ultimately failed. The last 6 inches or so broke my (admittedly cheap nylon) tire levers!

I took it to the shop to put it on. Good thing, too, because I didn't have a flat for about 800 miles. I finally had to replace the tube after getting a quasi snakebite - I hit something so hard, from the full 70lb pressure, that the inside of the tube (facing the rim) was punctured, but the outside wasn't. Glad the flat was slow enough to limp home (I was doing some city-biking, so I had access to air at bike shops every few miles) - it took 30 minutes and a couple of nice gouges on my knuckles to get the tire off. I wouldn't want to do that when I was out.

Replaced it with a Conti SportContact. Didn't come in my preferred size (35mm, had to go 37mm, not a huge difference I know) but I'm liking the almost totally slick tread.
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Old 08-10-12, 09:05 PM
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Try installing a marathon on a 16" rim :-(

It is easier after they've been on the rim, though. But I carry a "bead jack" with me just in case.

This one is the easiest to find:


It's the Koolstop bead jack from Amazon.

The VAR tire lever is a bead jack that is more portable than the Koolstop one, but it can be harder find in the US:

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Old 08-10-12, 09:22 PM
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Michelin Pilot City, it may not be the worst of all time, but it was the worst tire that I ever had to install.
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Old 08-10-12, 09:25 PM
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My choice isn't based on difficulty to install, but on general crappiness.

The cheapest Bontrager Eco tire. Pure junk. Two in a row came unwound on me. One tore out on the sidewall, the other developed a huge bulge (broken belt) and let go before I could make it to the bike shop for another tire.

Junk.
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Old 08-10-12, 10:00 PM
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Worst combo of rim and tire I know of is Veloflex and Campagnolo. I used to love Veloflex Pave tires, but it would almost take two people to get them on.

I have three suggestions to make tire installation easier:

1 - Always completely deflate your tubes. Sometimes this is the only difference between breaking tire levers and being able to put a tire on with your bare hands.

2 - Install the tire so you finish at the valve stem (i.e. start at side of the rim opposite from the valve stem). This means you can pull the bead of the tire all the way to the full depth of the rim.

3. Slide your tire lever along the inside of the brake track rather than trying to lift the tire from under the bead.

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Old 08-10-12, 10:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Cogsby11 View Post
Slide your tire lever along the inside of the brake track rather than trying to lift the tire from under the bead.
That is pure genius.

I too had a wrestling match when I got my first 23 tire, and it blew up in my face because of pinching. Two things: One, have your LBS install them the first time. Most tires are really tight before their initial stretching (that's what she said). They are really good at it and if it pinches, it's not your fault.

Two, once it is in position, before inflating, you need to take both sides of the wheel and roll the tire over a bit all the way around so you can see the rim tape and make sure there is no tube visible under that and the tire.
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Old 08-10-12, 10:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Cogsby11 View Post
Worst combo of rim and tire I know of is Veloflex and Campagnolo.
Anything on a Campagnolo rim is a pain.
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Old 08-10-12, 10:29 PM
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Some basic tips that work for me:

* Steel core tire levers. Definitely worth the money;

* Talcum powder on the inner tube. Makes everything slide easier, and makes it harder for the bead to catch and pinch before inflation;

* Try installing the tires outside, in the sun. Lay the tires in the sun for about 20 minutes before mounting. I've found this helps make them pliable;

* And yes, the tires are always easier to mount the second time around.
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Old 08-10-12, 10:51 PM
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Originally Posted by umazuki View Post
Vittoria Randonneur Cross. . .
OMG these are a pain, as in painful. I don't think they get easier.
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Old 08-10-12, 10:56 PM
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Buy tires with a (folding) Kevlar bead,not a wire bead.
Can get ours on our tandem on/off without the use of any tire tools.
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Old 08-11-12, 12:17 AM
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Marathon Plus's on Sun RhynoLites and Sun CR-18 rims are tight.
I change mine out to the Marathon Winters every winter just to remind me. I've broken a couple of sets of cheap plastic levers, I now use the Lezyne Aluminum ones from VO. They are a bit short (you might want to wear gloves, but you can put as much pressure as you want on them without worrying about breakage - the downside, is that they scratch up the rim edge. I suspect the big steel lever from ParK would be easier, but still scratch up the rim.
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Old 08-11-12, 12:52 AM
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I keep this in my flat repair pouch:



It has a steel core and is wrapped/coated in hard black plastic. It doubles as both a 15mm wrench for rear axle nuts and a nice tire lever. It is wider than my cheapie plastic tire levers and performs basically the same function, but it is unbreakable. The one thing it won't do is hook onto a spoke for the first step in tire removal (I keep 2 cheapie plastic levers with spoke hook ends too, for performing the first part of removing the tire). The plastic coating means no scratches on rim. As a wrench, it is shorter than my 15mm regular steel wrenches, but I like the angle when wrenching - it seems designed just for this task. So, it serves two purposes in the flat kit.

I've only had to use it once, but I like it and consider it a lifetime tool, like my Ortlieb panniers. It's one of those tools that is expensive, but perfect for my use and durable.


PDW 3wrencho: https://www.ridepdw.com/goods/tools/3...2%84%A2-coated
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Old 08-11-12, 01:10 AM
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I found my Marathon Pluses way easier to install than Specialized Armadillos. The thing that made it work was really pushing the bead "down" onto the rim, not just pushing it in and thinking it will catch. I also use steel tire levers, the "blade" seems sharper and thinner, easier to get under the tire.
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Old 08-11-12, 07:38 AM
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Believe it or not, some Schwalbe cruiser tires! 26x2.125! Shove the tire all the way down into the center & two tire levers! They were actually undersized in every dimension.
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Old 08-11-12, 07:55 AM
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I had a tough time with a Continental Gator Skin a few weeks ago. In the end, I had a blister on my finger. I, amazingly, didn't pop the tube though I was sure that I had. I just hope the tube holds up for a while.
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Old 08-11-12, 08:21 AM
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Vittoria Randonneur was my worst.
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Old 08-11-12, 11:21 AM
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I had the toughest time installing Continental Traffic 26 x 1.9 tires. The wire bead on those was impossibly tight. Takes me 5 minutes to change a tire, but took an hour to install just one of those.
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Old 08-11-12, 03:21 PM
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The Schwalbe Marathons have a reputation. They inspired this video, if that tells you anything: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-XUFVrl0UT4

Originally Posted by Face Palm View Post
* And yes, the tires are always easier to mount the second time around.
For that reason, I've heard that some folks will mount the tire without a tube first, just to stretch out the bead slightly, before installing it "for real."
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Old 08-11-12, 08:05 PM
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Dig this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-XUFVrl0UT4
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Old 08-11-12, 08:37 PM
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^^^ah ha I knew it! @ 2:12 he says it doesn't matter where you start the second bead on the tyre. and he's got a British accent so you have to believe him. . .

. . .thx for that it was good to know.
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Old 08-12-12, 09:27 PM
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The reality is that not all tires fit all rims even if they are "supposed to fit".

You can try soaping your tire and rim to get the tire on - with levers, of course. I use metal tire irons instead of plastic when the going gets tough.

Changing a tire isn't rocket science. Either it fits or it doesn't. If it takes you 25 minutes to get the tire on, then bring the tire to the LBS where you bought the tire and see if they can get it on for you. If not - pass and get a different tire. Ask yourself how would you like to do a flat repair on the road with that tire?" Bad enough when you are at the comforts of your home and well tooled shop.
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Old 08-12-12, 09:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Rx Rider View Post
^^^ah ha I knew it! @ 2:12 he says it doesn't matter where you start the second bead on the tyre. and he's got a British accent so you have to believe him. . .

. . .thx for that it was good to know.
Well, I thought the old-timer had some good advice. His use of toe straps to hold the seated part of the tire onto the rim was clever. Also he seated the bead into the rim as he was putting the tire on so that he could get some extra slack and then convince the tire to go onto the rim completely by hand without the use of a tire lever. That is pretty good. No soap, no tire levers - just patience and technique. Not bad.

Also worthy of note is that the British "Bicycle Repair Man" in the video also mentioned that the Marathon is a difficult IS A DIFFICULT tire to put onto the wheel. He explains why as well - because of the extra thick, wide, and non-flexible bead area on the tire.

The dude made sure to seat the valve stem to the back of the tire which is a detail I have seen others forget to do.

I didn't see him go around again and make sure the bead was seated into the rim flange. but I will assume that he was confident from doing it as he went along.

I dunno. You can Pooo Pooooo it, but I think the old school dude had some worthy technique and he obviously got the tire onto the rim!

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Old 08-12-12, 10:42 PM
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Originally Posted by WestMass View Post
Like most of you, I've been changing flat tires on my bikes for many years.

Based on a lot of recommendations (and the vocal haters) I figured I'd give schwalbe marathon plus's a try when they were the only reflective sidewall 700x25 at my LBS. Shop gave me $10 off because the guy said I'm in there a lot - so that was nice but unexpected.

I got home and pulled off my old, beat up tire, and threw on the marathon. Except it wasn't that easy. I spent about 35-40 minutes trying to get both beads hooked in before giving up. I went online and looked up the tire to make sure it didn't need some super deep rim or something - but by the numbers it was the correct tire for the rim.

Later in the evening I spent another 25 minutes and finally got the bead caught, but pinched my tube and popped it. I don't want to take the tire off and swap the tube because I'm terrified to put all that work in again. Do these get easier after already being on the rim??!

Yikes.

I can't imagine having to change a flat on the road with this beast.
The Marathons are indeed hard to put on, but it gets easier with practice. When I originally put the tires on, it took me over an hour to do it. Now, on the rare occasions that I get a flat, it's pretty easy. Just make sure you use two tire levers instead of only one.
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Old 08-13-12, 12:55 PM
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Someone suggested soaping up the tire before installing. When I have a bead that I know should sit, but doesn't, I let a little air out of the tube, squirt some liquid hand soap between the rim and tire of the problem area and reinflate to the maximum recommended pressure. Nine times out of ten, the bead sits right away, the other one time out of ten, after a couple days of routine cycling, the bead eventually moves into place.
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