I set a record the other night. It took me a full hour to get a tire mounted on a wheel.
I bought a new tire to replace one that had some severe cuts on the tread. Since I had a 52-mile ride coming up Saturday, I didn’t want to risk anything — even though the cut tire had seen a good 200 miles on area roads since getting cut in two places by broken glass three weeks ago.
New tires are not as elastic as they get to be with some riding. This one was right out of the mail order box. I put one foot inside the tire, and tried to pull up on it like a rubber band. No give at all. I turned the tire several times, and pulled each time, to try to add a little bit of stretch to it.
Then, on the wheel. Getting one side into the wheel wasn’t too much of a problem, although even here, I had to patiently work the remaining three inches over the rim. I got the deflated tube inside the tire, then started stretching the other side over the rim.
It was fine for about half the tire’s circumference. Then, it didn’t want to cooperate. Again very patiently (a rarity for me) I worked the bead over the rim bit by bit, and popped it into place. Finally, I had five inches to go. It wouldn’t go. It was as though the tire had reached the limit of any stretch built into it. Whenever I managed to get a small section of bead to pop over the rim, the bead at the other end popped out. It seemed I would be unable to get the tire seated properly.
I know you’re not supposed to use tire levers to mount a tire. There’s some danger they might puncture the tube. I yielded to temptation. The levers worked — sort of. I now had only a three-inch section that refused to mount.
I worked it, and worked it, and worked it. And finally, it happened. The remaining part of the bead popped into the rim. I carefully checked to make sure the tire was seated properly all around, inflated the tire and put it on the bike. Elapsed time: one hour.
I change tires when they flat from time to time, but I haven’t had a lot of experience putting new tires on. They’re very different from changing flats, when the same tire that has miles on it is put back on the wheel. I’ve never had a lot of trouble with those, because use has stretched them out. It’s the brand new tire that was the troublemaker.
These are kevlar tires — I don’t know if that would make any difference or not. But I do remember that the only other time I mounted a brand new tire — one that was not kevlar — I didn’t have anywhere near the trouble.
Any suggestions for making the mounting of a new tire any easier?
P.S.: I was glad today that I did get the tire mounted. I did a hilly 52-mile route from Dripping Springs to Johnson City, Texas, and back again. It was a training ride organized by the Hill Country Ride for AIDS, but I used it as my last hurrah before the MS 150 next weekend.
I just hope the weather next weekend is better than we had today. It was forecast to get to 80F, but never got above 60, with a chilly northeast wind blowing all morning.