embarrassing tyre problem

tigerben Posts: 233
edited January 2011 in Road beginners
At the weekend I deceided to treat myself and upgrade my old tyres to Continental GP 4 seasons.... front tyre went on fine... but on my rear wheel I went through about 6 inner tubes trying to get the buger on (including tubes I had patched up). Each time just as I was trying to get the final bit of the first bead into the rim (using an tyre lever) I would hear the hiss of air as the inner tube gave way.

Each of the punctures are a pair of holes - so i am assuming its a pinch puncture resulting from using the tyre lever ( I have checked rim / tyre for anything sharp and nothing noted). I have tried just using my thumbs - but I just cannot get enough leverage.

My wheels are Fulcrums - which are supposedly have a reputation for being tricky to put a tyre on - although I have not previously found it a problem.

This has never happened to me before... and I am a little embarressed to go to my LBS as a) i bought the tyres online (my bad) and b) I thought I knew how to change a tyre. :(

Going to get some tougher tubes this weekend and have another go.


  • craker
    craker Posts: 1,739
    I'm sure you know how to put a tyre on... but

    Make sure there's some air in the tube
    Don't use tyre levers
    Go round the wheel pinching the tyre into the central channel of the rim.

    Some folks advocate soapy water, may make a difference?

    (PS I use levers on my Kyrlions but have got away with it... :twisted: )
  • CiB
    CiB Posts: 6,098
    I've had similar issues with Mich Pro 3s. The only reliable method is the thumbs & palms technique. It hurts, and it takes a while but just a bit at a time gets you there. Best to do it indoors in a warm environment, and after cleaning the wheel to remove road dirt.

    +1 on the bit about pushing the opposing side of the tye well into the rim; it gives the last bit of the tyre a bit more to slip over.
  • Try the VAR tyre lever (http://www.gbcycles.co.uk/product/34518/Var_Tyre_Lever) recommended 10/10 in C+ this month. Bought one, just not needed to try in yet (this weekend most likely!!) It hooks onto the rim & tyre bead & supposedly you can just lever the tyre on without using a normal tyre lever & risking a pinch puncture
  • Erudin
    Erudin Posts: 136
    This video shows how to get a tight tyre on:

    Youtube: How to fit a Marathon Plus Tyre
  • I can remember in the good old days going around one of those really heavy tyres, pushing it into the centre of the rim and tapping it around over and over again until it just popped on opposite the valve. It still works - obviously the diameter in the middle of the rim is quite a bit less than on the edge and that's what does the trick, plus you need just enough air in the tube to push it up away from the bead, but not so much that the bead won't push into the middle of the rim.

    Just on the off chance though - have you checked the rear tyre for any bead defects - a tiny one might cause a big problem - we had one 2 years ago that had a nasty rough bit of rubber sticking inwards.

    I should add that you've got to squeeze the tyre a bit to get it into the centre of the rim and its easier if its on the bike, (eg stick it back on when you've got the last bit of the tyre to do), because then you can go around with your palms, from the valve side, 'knocking' the tyre downwards towards the area that is still to go on. This may make the tyre just pop-on almost of its own accord.
  • cyco2
    cyco2 Posts: 593
    I've always done it like the video. Also, with a new tyre I put some talcum powder inside it before putting it on. I think this helps it to slide in place.

    If you want to be a strong rider you have to do strong things.
    However if you train like a cart horse you'll race like one.
  • andrew_s
    andrew_s Posts: 2,511
    Some tyres are just plain tight.
    If you need tyre levers to get the first side of the tyre on, whilst the inner tube is still in its box, no amount of technique will help.
    When I had a very tight tyre (also Conti GP4S), I gave up after about 45 mins, got a spare wheel with the thinnest available rim tape on, and spent another hour getting it on with the use of a Var lever. I kept in pumped up to 160psi for the best part of a year before it had stretched enough to risk using out on the road.
  • andrew_s

    Do you think that is, how shall I say it, a result of the general quality of tyres not exactly being high ? Only I've had 2 Schwalbes now that got rubber fatigue cracking after 6 months of mild intermittent use. One had a wobbly tread that made the wheel look buckled. Also had cracked inner tubes a couple of times, which were obviously rubber problems as they only bought a year ago from local shop.

    Neither tyres nor tubes seem to have date stamps on them. That could be an issue if they are old and/or storage was a bit iffy.
  • Lubricate with washing up liquid. Schwalbe actually do a special lubricant to help get tyres on - see their website.
  • MRadd
    MRadd Posts: 205
    +1 for everything said previously...


    Try resting the tyres against a warm radiator before trying to put them on. Its a technique I use in the workshop at work everyday.

    And just because I'm a mechanic, doesn't mean I don't use tyre levers. When you change as many tyres as I do supporting at events, you can use them to great effect.
    : "Why don't i remember breaking my face?" :

    : Semi Professional Grease Monkey, Full time Tea boy... :
  • With either plastic or steel levers have you checked that the edges are not sharp, as if they are, under pressure they can cut into the tube, i always smooth and radius the edges with some fine wet and dry emery cloth,some tyre and rim combo,s are impossible to fit without levers unless youve got hands like a gorilla.
  • I don't usually use levers but some combinations are just too difficult. In that case I use one of these that I bought from dotbike. It is now known as a Simson Tyre Mate. A VAR lever is in my spare bidon but I've not had to use it yet.


    Saves a lot of time, blisters and tubes
    Basso Astra
    Principia Ellipse SX
    Kinesis Racelight 4S
    Kinesis Crosslight Pro Disc
  • tigerben
    tigerben Posts: 233
    Thanks for response & tips... will defn try the radiator & lubrication tips now that I have restocked on inner tubes... and if all else fails I willl take the cowards way out and send the wife to the LBS instead :oops:

    Hopefully once on & streched it will be alot easier for next time....
  • I took a tyre to the LBS yesterday after a fruitless two hours trying to do it myself. 3 mechanics couldn't get it on which made me feel a bit better.

    It was a new Conti Gatorskin Hardshell wire bead tyre going on to an old mavic wheel. They reckoned the tolerances of the wheel were the problem - i'm sure that aint your problem I'm just sharing my pain!!

    Anyway, I ended up putting the new tyre on the good bike, and using the folding Gatorskin off her on the old wheel. Folding tyres are so much easier to fit. I aint buying a wire bead again...
  • Just out of interest and a bit off-topic, but was wondering whether it would be useful to collect snippets of all this really useful information onto one website ?

    Its just that there is a mine of information across quite a few forums, but its a bit lost if you're newish and struggling. Depends on the search working, knowing the right forum or starting a new topic on a forum you do know.

    We've considered putting some sort of section on our site, but its not really the right place. Perhaps a separate site ?

    Got a feeling it could be a life's work though !
  • derosa
    derosa Posts: 2,819
    I find a Crank Bros Speed Lever solves the problem (most of the time).

    Big H

    May the road rise up to meet you.
    May the wind always be at your back.
  • bompington
    bompington Posts: 7,674
    Tightest tyres I've ever had to deal with... 12" wheels on Bompette II's pram. And they're always puncturing, goodness only knows why. Speed lever too long to fit!
  • derosa
    derosa Posts: 2,819
    bompington wrote:
    Tightest tyres I've ever had to deal with... 12" wheels on Bompette II's pram. And they're always puncturing, goodness only knows why. Speed lever too long to fit!

    Well the speed lever was really designed for bicycle wheels :wink:

    Big H

    May the road rise up to meet you.
    May the wind always be at your back.
  • rick_chasey
    rick_chasey Posts: 74,624