Installing new tires
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  1. #1
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    Installing new tires

    Hello, I am hoping that some more experienced people can tell me their tricks-of-the-trade in installing brand new tires onto a road bike.

    I recently wanted to upgrade my tires as the tires that came with the bike were showing signs of wear. However, when I bought these new tires they came in a box all folded up. This made it extremely difficult for me to get them mounted on the rims since they were not in the shape of a tire.

    I ended up breaking a tire lever and pinching both of my inner tubes in the process. It was a horrible failure.

    What are the tricks you have for putting on new tires that come flattened in a box?

    This is an image that closely represents what the tires came to me like...

  2. #2
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    I unfold them and get them into a circular shape, then work one side of the bead around the rim to mount it, so the rim helps give it shape. It is pretty much the same exact process as mounting a wire bead tire, except you need to help give the tire a bit more shape. Some patience and determination helps as well at times, but almost all of them get there eventually.

    To be honest, I don't see how you snapped tire levers and pinched tubes, unless the tires you mounted were a very tight fit on that particular rim, which would have nothing to do with the shape the tire came to you in.

    If the tire is too tight, I've heard of folks setting the tires out in the sun or placing them in their dryer (for laundry) to heat them up a bit to make them a bit more flexible and compliant.
    Last edited by krisdrum; 01-13-2012 at 09:48 AM.

  3. #3
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    You don't need tire levers to mount tires. It just takes experience and practice, but you can use your thumbs and palms to mount pretty much any tire short of tubeless.

    The best way to mount a tire is do one bead of the tire first, and move it towards the center of the rim. Then lightly inflate your tube by breathing into the tube with your mouth, or just put a single pump of air from your floor pump.

    Install the tube and get it seated around the whole rim, and then starting from one side (I usually start by the valve stem, but some people start opposite the valve, work your way across the rim mounting the second bead by rolling the tire over the rim lip.

    The last section is always tough. You just need to take it slow and push more and more small sections over the rim. Eventually the tire will snap over. You can use your thumbs or a combo of your thumbs and palms to push the bead over the rim.

    After you get the tire on, check all the way around the bead of the tire you just put on and make sure you didn't trap any tube underneath the tire when you put it on. If you did, just lift the tire up and inward in that section a few times and the tube will eventually move out of the way.

    Above all it just takes practice.

  4. #4
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    The advice given so far is good, but there's one more important point not mentioned. As noted, getting the last section of the second bead on the rim is the hard part. To ease it, you need to obtain as much slack as possible. You do that by taking advantage of the rim shape, which you will note has a center channel that is deeper than the surrounding area. If you work as much of the bead as possible down into that channel, you're effectively wrapping the tire around a smaller diameter rim, which gives you some more slack for that last bit to work over.
    this may be helpful:
    What Every Cyclist Should Know About Flat Tires

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by krisdrum View Post
    To be honest, I don't see how you snapped tire levers and pinched tubes, unless the tires you mounted were a very tight fit on that particular rim, which would have nothing to do with the shape the tire came to you in.

    If the tire is too tight, I've heard of folks setting the tires out in the sun or placing them in their dryer (for laundry) to heat them up a bit to make them a bit more flexible and compliant.
    The tires were very tight. My first experience with new tires... by the time I broke my tire lever I was just super frustrated which led to the pinched tubes. Oh well, lesson learned. I will let the tires stretch out on the rims a bit before I go back and try to replace the tubes.

    Never thought of making sure tires were the 'right' temperature before trying to install them. I will warm up my next pair!

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by nightfend View Post
    You don't need tire levers to mount tires. It just takes experience and practice, but you can use your thumbs and palms to mount pretty much any tire short of tubeless.

    The best way to mount a tire is do one bead of the tire first, and move it towards the center of the rim. Then lightly inflate your tube by breathing into the tube with your mouth, or just put a single pump of air from your floor pump.

    Install the tube and get it seated around the whole rim, and then starting from one side (I usually start by the valve stem, but some people start opposite the valve, work your way across the rim mounting the second bead by rolling the tire over the rim lip.

    The last section is always tough. You just need to take it slow and push more and more small sections over the rim. Eventually the tire will snap over. You can use your thumbs or a combo of your thumbs and palms to push the bead over the rim.

    After you get the tire on, check all the way around the bead of the tire you just put on and make sure you didn't trap any tube underneath the tire when you put it on. If you did, just lift the tire up and inward in that section a few times and the tube will eventually move out of the way.

    Above all it just takes practice.
    This^^^^^^......I do exactly the same..... and repeat, never use tire levers to mount a tire...I'll use them to remove but never to mount..

    Another tip. When trying to get the bead on the rim, hold the wheel flat with the stem side of the wheel against your stomach...Use both hands to work the bead around the rim
    Dave Hickey/ Fort Worth

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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by nightfend View Post
    You don't need tire levers to mount tires. It just takes experience and practice, but you can use your thumbs and palms to mount pretty much any tire short of tubeless.
    Sounds good... at least I am hearing that there is some talent to this. I guess I should be lucky I need to install new tubes. Practice will (hopefully) make perfect!

  8. #8
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    The Pedro's tire irons are the bomb~

  9. #9
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    One more thing

    Quote Originally Posted by JCavilia View Post
    The advice given so far is good, but there's one more important point not mentioned. As noted, getting the last section of the second bead on the rim is the hard part. To ease it, you need to obtain as much slack as possible. You do that by taking advantage of the rim shape, which you will note has a center channel that is deeper than the surrounding area. If you work as much of the bead as possible down into that channel, you're effectively wrapping the tire around a smaller diameter rim, which gives you some more slack for that last bit to work over.
    It also helps to apply talcum powder to the tire bead. This makes it easier to slide the tire onto the rim. Talc on the inside of the tire presvents the tube from sticking as well.

  10. #10
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    I use tire levers on nearly all the tires I mount. I think I pinched a tube once in 1987.
    The way I look at it, tools are made for a reason. Rather than struggle trying to do it tool-less I'd rather make the tool work.

    The trick is when you get to the last bit of the second bead that won't go on easily by hand, to use the lever to stuff the tube up under the tire, so its not between the tire and outside of the rim. It takes just a poke or two. Then lever a couple inches of bead over the edge of the rim. Move the lever an inch or two and lever a little bit more over. Most people try to do too much at a time and that's where they pinch the tube or break the lever. It doesn't take much force on the lever if you only lever a small section of bead at one time. When there's only a little left it's easy to push the rest of the bead over with your thumbs.

    When you've done a few times it goes fast.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by ericm979 View Post
    I use tire levers on nearly all the tires I mount. I think I pinched a tube once in 1987.
    The way I look at it, tools are made for a reason. Rather than struggle trying to do it tool-less I'd rather make the tool work.

    The trick is when you get to the last bit of the second bead that won't go on easily by hand, to use the lever to stuff the tube up under the tire, so its not between the tire and outside of the rim. It takes just a poke or two. Then lever a couple inches of bead over the edge of the rim. Move the lever an inch or two and lever a little bit more over. Most people try to do too much at a time and that's where they pinch the tube or break the lever. It doesn't take much force on the lever if you only lever a small section of bead at one time. When there's only a little left it's easy to push the rest of the bead over with your thumbs.

    When you've done a few times it goes fast.
    On occasion I've employed this method as well, and (as long as what eric outlines is followed), IME it works without problems.

  12. #12
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    And FYI. After the tires are used for a while the bead will usually stretch a bit and be easier to mount.

  13. #13
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    Use a little soapy water to help the bead slide onto the rim. New folding tires are kind of a pita to install. I open mine up to a circle, place it on the ground, inflate the tube just enough to maintain a round shape. Then pick up the wheel/tire/tube & start working it onto the rim. Usually you can get one side on without too much trouble. The other side will go on too, except for the last 6-8". That's where the soapy water comes in. Dribble some on the edge of the rim & keep working the tire on with your hand. Try to do about 1/8" at a time. I almost never need a tool to install a tire, but when I do I reach for this: ++ speedlever :: crankbrothers.com ++ It telescopes out to fit from the hub to the rim & works the same way the tire changing machine at a car tire store does. It's very light & costs about 6-7 bucks.
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  14. #14
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    Did you get cyclocross tires like those in the picture, or is that just the first picture of folded tires you found?

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by JCavilia View Post
    The advice given so far is good, but there's one more important point not mentioned. As noted, getting the last section of the second bead on the rim is the hard part. To ease it, you need to obtain as much slack as possible. You do that by taking advantage of the rim shape, which you will note has a center channel that is deeper than the surrounding area. If you work as much of the bead as possible down into that channel, you're effectively wrapping the tire around a smaller diameter rim, which gives you some more slack for that last bit to work over.
    this may be helpful:
    What Every Cyclist Should Know About Flat Tires
    This IMHO is the key. It's also why I start putting the second tire bead on the rim opposite the tube valve. If you start at the valve, then when you're trying to finish opposite, the valve keeps the tire beads from sitting down into the deeper section of the rim shape, so the last part can be hard to get over the edge of the rim. If you start opposite the valve, there is nothing blocking the tire beads from sitting down in the rim valley, so it's a little easier.

    I always check the whole way around the tire to make sure the tube is not caught under the bead. It might take an extra minute, but it's a lot less time wasted than if you blow up your new tube and have to replace/patch it/make the call of shame out on the road!

  16. #16
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    I can mount some tires (especially MTB tires) without using levers, but I often have to resort to them for the road bike. Pedro's levers are far superior to the generic ones. If you break a Pedro's lever you are doing it wrong. I carry a set on each bike and in my larger bike tool box.

    Also - if you put a little air in to the tube to help get it in to the tire, make sure you let that air out once you are seating the last section of bead on to the rim otherwise it will be nearly impossible.
    "If we're to be honest with ourselves, achieving the end of the exercise was never the point of the exercise, was it?"
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  17. #17
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    I need some advice for a good brand tires.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by cristinapilar View Post
    I need some advice for a good brand tires.
    Continental, Michelin, Hutchinson (to name three).

    If you want more specific info as to models and sizes, the answer largely depends on your price range, the type of bike/ rim size, type of riding, road conditions and total rider weight.

  19. #19
    B42
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    I don't think it matter where you start to put the second bead in, what matters is where you finish. Like milkbaby said, finish at the stem. I do the stomach thing and start to the side if the stem and go all the way sound ending around the stem so I can stuff the tire on the other side all the way into the center of the rim. I find trying to do both sides at once more difficult depending on the tire.

    Putting a small amount of air in the tube before putting it on the rim is the best piece of advice I have ever received or given related to bike repair/riding. If you do use leavers, this will usually protect the tube. It also keeps the tube from sliding out when you trying to bead the tire.

    Oh, and if fixing a flat, don't remove the tire all the way from the wheel. Just take one bead off. Before you put the new or fixed tube back in, run you finger(s) around the inside of the tube gingerly looking for anything sharp that might have caused the puncture in the first place.

  20. #20
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    You can also take those tires and drop them in a pot of hot water for a quick soak. Note - from the tap, not boiling... They will become more compliant and the water will act as a lubricant to help the bead slide over the edge of the rim.
    Mike Morrill
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  21. #21
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    that's interesting :P

  22. #22
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    I wipe a small amount of WD40 on the rim / tire just in the area where it gets tight.

  23. #23
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    I bought brand new tires. They were both very tight (as expected of any brand new tire). I was able to mount the first tire, but the second was much too hard, even with the use of tire levers.

    I brought the wheel and tire to the local lbs and the mechanic got it installed in less than a minute with no tools. As he showed me how to do it, he explained to me about massaging to the bead to give more slack when finishing the installation.

    Thanks to him, I won't need to buy any other tools for tire installation/removal.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by jnbrown View Post
    I wipe a small amount of WD40 on the rim / tire just in the area where it gets tight.
    products containing petroleum distillates and rubber are usually a bad combo.

    just use a little baby powder or dishwashing soap.
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  25. #25
    B42
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    I just received and mounted some foldable tires that were very tight. Tried all my normal tricks like everyone has posted but i just couldn't get them on (probably could have with a lever but I'm not as good as you guys that can do it without pinching a tube).

    After a few minutes with the blow dryer they were no problem.

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