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Home » Cycling » Some Venge Time and the Best Tip I’ve Seen For Installing a Difficult Tire on a Tight Rim

Some Venge Time and the Best Tip I’ve Seen For Installing a Difficult Tire on a Tight Rim

September 2020
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It just hit me last week that I’m spending WAY too much time on the Trek.  It’s difficult not to when the bike is performing so well – it’s a bit like driving a classic sports car.  Sure, it’s a not a McLaren, it’s more American muscle – a little more Caroll Shelby – only, in a bike.  Well, somebody just shut off summer, and it jarred me a little.  Pretty soon, all I’ll be riding is the Trek until next spring’s Venge Day so it’s high time I spent some miles on the good rig before having to put it up for the winter.

After arriving home on a perfectly sunny but yet another unseasonably cool afternoon (we’ve been several degrees – 6 to 10 – below normal for what seems like weeks), I set about cleaning up the Venge for duty.  Part of that prep was rotating the tires.  I like to rotate mine – some do, some don’t…

Now, installing the tires on these wheels the first time was not easy.  I needed mechanical help in the way of a KoolStop tire jack.  However, after a few weeks’ break-in time, I was hoping they’d go on relatively easily.  Then, just the other day, by chance, I happened on a GCN video tutorial on how to deal with installing a difficult tire on a rim.  My FL 50 Ican wheels all have a groove down the center (many tubeless and tubeless ready rims do):

Well, the tip is to work the beads down into that groove (it takes a little effort to do this, and you’ll feel one side, then the other, slip down into the channel).  So, you get the first bead all the way seated, then you start on the second until you get to that spot, about 80% done, where you can’t see how you’ll ever slip that last bit over the rim, and you work the beads into the channel starting opposite the part of tire overlapping the rim and working around, one side, then the other.  By the time you get both beads into the channel the entire 80-ish% around the rim, you’ll begin to feel a fair amount of slop that wasn’t there before pushing the beads to the center channel.  At this point, that last 80% of the tire should (shockingly) easily slip over the edge of the rim.

Before I centered the beads, I was going to need mechanical assistance.  After, it’s almost comically easy.  I’m still glad I’m using Specialized tires, though.  They’re better than most brands for seating on tight rims.

Now, there exist decent arguments for starting at the valve stem, finishing at the valve stem, add air to the tube, don’t add air…  I’ve tried them all.  My favorite is start with some air in the tube, start at the valve stem and finish opposite – and let the air out for the centering the bead in the grove and that last 20% of the second bead.  Starting with air makes it easier to get the tube inside the rim and it keeps it from getting pinched.  On the other hand, the added air makes it a little difficult to finish seating on a tough rim.

Anyway, after wiping the Venge down, I took her out for an evening spin with my regular weekday riding buddy and it was fantastic.  She’s also going out today (we’ve got big plans today).  We’re due a considerably nice stretch of weather over the next two weeks so I’m planning on making the most of it on the Venge.  I’ll have plenty of time on the Trek in the coming months.  As cold as it’s been this early, I don’t imagine it’s going to be a mild winter.


5 Comments

  1. The Omil says:

    I don’t take tyre levers with me as the reverse process also makes removal reasonably easy. Mind you, the thumbs got a bit tired the day I punctured three times in an hour.

  2. Next time I change a tyre at home I will try this. I’ve never been able to get a road tyre on or off without levers, even with fairly easy tyre/rim combos such as Conto GP4000’s. Once I had such a stubborn non-folding tyre that I just couldn’t get even the slightest bit of bead off the rim – in the end I actually took a hacksaw to it to get it off (not my proudest moment).

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