Wednesday, July 8, 2009

How to install a tubular tire

Tools of the trade: Two glue options in this photo:
1 - Can of Conti glue on the left, with disposable acid brushes for application. This is what I've used for the last few installs due to hearing stories about the Tufo tape on Conti Tires mentioned below.
2 - Tufo glue tape in the orange box on the other left. Used this the first time I put tubies on, and it's dramatically easier, faster, and cleaner - and worked just fine during the rides/races I did on it. But, had a few guys tell me that the Tufo glue compound eventually eats at the Conti tires, could very likely just be a rumor Conti put out there to up sales on cans of glue. But, being a newbie to the tubie (forgive me, feeling a little inspired from Dug's poem today) this year, I still have images of rolling a tire and am playing it safe by following Conti's recommend install instructions. Not unlikely I'll revert back to the Tufo tape at some point though, it really is much simpler and you can ride on it an hour later vs. 12-24 hours.
3 - Yellow box is Tufo's sealant - same function as Stans, meant to plug up the small punctures on the fly. The TT puncture that brought on this install was a small one and the stuff didn't seal before I was flat. Reinflated the tire later that morning and it held until half way through the afternoon race, then lost half my pressure before it sealed back up. Verdict still out, put a little more in on this install, if it fails on this one I'll look for alternatives.

Here's the wheel after removing the old tire. Pulling off the old tire is no more fun than installing the new one, should have taken a photo of raw thumbs as the visual for that process. I left the glue that remained on the wheel there, counting it as layer one of anywhere from 2-4 layers that I've read of being the recommended dose. I put a fresh layer on top of this one, then let it dry for 16-24 hours.
Cool action shot of the glue drying... Major, major key in this photo - While the glue is drying on the tubular wheel, it's a good, check that, really good idea to inflate the new tire on a rim to stretch it. The ensuing wrestling match, the crux move of the whole process, will go much better if you don't skip this step. I put it on a normal clincher rim, just because I don't have spare tubular wheels lying around, and inflate it to 100+ psi and give it a full day ticket to watch the glue dry.
One photo of glue drying is one to many already, so no photo of putting a layer of glue on the tire and letting that dry for another 12-24 hours, but you need to put a layer of glue on the tire and let it dry for 12-24 hours before the next step.
After the glue on the wheel and tire have dried, it's time for one more fresh layer of glue on the wheel. Immediately after gluing up, you start the wrestling match. The 6 year old has seen this drill before, and is already laughing in anticipation, well ahead of any grunting, panting, or thrown wheels. I use the one foot brace to get it started...

Starting to strain just a little, grimaced lip and a little moisture/glare action going on with the forehead.... getting everything into position....
Then the full court press... move to the two foot brace, put the back into it, and pull and hope like hell you can get it on before having to stop and unglue fingers and/or clothing from an unseated tire.
Once on, get some air in it, make sure it's centered by giving the wheel a spin and making any adjustments to get it aligned, and then I like to put some weight on it and roll it around on the floor a few times to make sure it gets compressed well all the way around. Am sure the air pressure does this just fine, but I'm still a little paranoid, and it's an easy extra step for peace of mind if nothing else.
Other notes:
  • if installing on an aero wheel, I like to put the sealant in the tire before putting on the valve extenders, seems to be a little less mess/leaking while squeezing it in.
  • if I suffer a crash due to this tire rolling, I will make it public here, and change the post title to how not to put on a tubie.


Ski Bike Junkie said...

Nice photos, Annie. Had to have been hard to hold the camera still through the laughter.

J, you've just confirmed (again) that my decision not to go tubies was a good one.

vh1 said...

Just got mine glued today. Perfect timing on the post

evilbanks said...

all I can really say is "damn"......

You definitely have more patience than me.

Hey man, are you in for Sunday or what?

eber said...

I don't get it.

Like Mark - if I ever get an inkling to go tubeless...I'll read this post and then...not.

Seriously...isn't there a better way to spend time? Maybe like scrubbing the street in front of your house with a toothbrush.

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