It was time for a new set of tires on the commuter bike and after some research on the web I ordered a set of the Schwalbe Marathon Plus in 700x28. Well they arrived yesterday so last night I decided to put them on the rims (Ambrosio Balance). After about a half hour's struggle on the first rim I decided that I needed one more hand than what I had available and threw in the white towel. I figured I would go to the LBS and pay them to install the tires (and hopefully learn a few new tricks). The problem wasn't a tight fit (bead over rim), but just the stiffness of the sidewalls. I couldn't even get the bead set on enough of the circumference to get the levers started.
So at lunch today I stopped by the LBS. It was pretty humorus. When I first walked up to the counter and set the tires and wheels on the counter I would slide them towards the mechanic and say something like "do you think you guys can install these" and he would slide accross the counter back towards me and say something like "I've installed these before and that's just the way they are". I would then slide them back towards the mechanic say something like "I think it's just going to take more hands than I have available" and he would slide them back accross the counter towards me and say something else that meant "you bought 'em deal with it". Finally in the midst of our friendly exchange, while the conversation was still bouncing back and forth, another mechanic without saying anything picked up one of the tires and a wheel and just started trying to install them.
Now the real fun had commenced. Soon there were four hands and six (yes six) clamps in action trying to keep the bead set over enough of the circumference just so they could put the lever(s) into action. I wish I had a video of the process. Once they got enough of the bead set so they could lever the rest over there was no problem at all. It didn't require a lot of prying like some tire/rim combos do. Eventually both tires were installed. I bought four tubes, two Soma tire levers and a $25 Planet Bike tail light (LBS prices) and the bill with tax came to $64. I didn't even ask how much the install cost.
When I researched tires I had heard that these were difficult to install, but I had also heard that once they had been on the rims for a bit there was no problem in taking them on and off. In fact when a third mechanic was amused enough to comment about not being able to fix a flat in the field one of the first mechanics said the same thing about once they're on for a bit there's no problem. Even hearing the mechanics concurrence I have to admit that I'm worried that a flat could present a problem. Has any one else had similar experience and can you provide any insight as to what I should anticipate?
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Thread: Schwalbe Marathon Plus Tires