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Permanent "Display" Bike - Keeping Tires "inflated"

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Permanent "Display" Bike - Keeping Tires "inflated"

Old 03-05-20, 03:33 PM
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Permanent "Display" Bike - Keeping Tires "inflated"

All, I have been tasked with prepping an old Maxwell tandem to be used as the "mascot" in a very hard to reach spot in a French Cafe. My question is, how would one keep an appearance of "inflated" tires on something that is going to be hard to access. I was thinking possibly inflatable foam? Thanks.

.
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Old 03-05-20, 05:11 PM
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The foam sounds like a good idea to me and is what I thought of as soon as I read your subject title. Fill from the top so it makes it's way all around? It's been a long time since I've used the canned stuff...
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Old 03-05-20, 05:25 PM
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Airless 'tubes' are one option. They are like a big rubber donut. A bit of a pain to install, but unlike spray foam, it'd be reversible.

I guess if you can figure out how to spray foam into the tubes through the valve without making a giant mess, that would work.

If all that's needed is to keep the tire looking inflated, I would cut some strips of foam or similar and stuff them in there in place of the tube. You could cut off and tape in the valves to make it look real. If you wanted to be C&V you could use excelsior stuffed into socks instead...
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Old 03-05-20, 05:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Salamandrine View Post
Airless 'tubes' are one option. They are like a big rubber donut. A bit of a pain to install, but unlike spray foam, it'd be reversible.

I guess if you can figure out how to spray foam into the tubes through the valve without making a giant mess, that would work.

If all that's needed is to keep the tire looking inflated, I would cut some strips of foam or similar and stuff them in there in place of the tube. You could cut off and tape in the valves to make it look real. If you wanted to be C&V you could use excelsior stuffed into socks instead...
I was thinking rolled bubble wrap to keep it from the landfill...
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Old 03-05-20, 05:47 PM
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If you hang the bike, then it won't matter. Just put in good tubes and pump up the tires before hanging it, and as the pressure drops, even 1 PSI should be enough to keep them round.

Many tire shops fill industrial tires with a solid rubber stuff. You can ask around locally. Tell them you have some bike wheels/tires to bring in and ask them if they'll fill 'em up when they do the next batch. Do it on their schedule, and it shouldn't cost much.
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Old 03-05-20, 06:45 PM
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The US Air Force Museum uses foam in the tires of display aircraft. A 50,000-pound plane needs to keep it's tires inflated, too. Your tandem should be just fine with the same...
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Old 03-05-20, 06:45 PM
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Tire slime.
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Old 03-05-20, 07:10 PM
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Whatever you end up deciding to do, I hope that "institutional knowledge" is somehow preserved so that some bloke doesn't take the bike down from the rafters years from now and try to ride it with foam-filled tires.
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Old 03-05-20, 07:12 PM
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Use mortar mix. Then when someone says their wheels are boat anchors, you can say, "hold my beer".
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Old 03-05-20, 07:15 PM
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I have some thorn-proof tubes that hold their shape so well they are tough to fold up unless they've been completely emptied of air. Something to consider.
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Old 03-06-20, 04:52 AM
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Airless tubes would be my go-to, but only if the size is easily available. What is that tandem running?

ThermionicScott's idea may be a good fallback if it is an unusual size.

Would experiment with foam filled tubes last, but at least you could try it on an existing tube and tire to see if it works.

-Kurt
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Old 03-06-20, 06:16 AM
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Solid, airless tires?
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Old 03-06-20, 09:15 AM
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I use that foam pretty often as a contractor; itís really hard to control the volume, and when it gets away from you, it makes a giant mess. If it oozes onto the white tires it might stain them. I would resist that temptation.
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Old 03-06-20, 10:17 AM
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Reminds me of what used to happen when one rider in our group lunch rides at work was a little too full of himself. Someone would wisk his bike away when he was otherwise occupied. His tires were deflated, a Silca pump filled with water, and the water put into the tires. Not much water went in, then the tires will filled with air up to proper pressure.
Usually the rider would not notice. Until he encountered a hill. The change in mass made the climb difficult and the descent tested the limits of the brakes. Once water was removed from the tires, and humility restored, rides went back to normal. .

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Old 03-06-20, 10:53 AM
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Just stuff the tires with news paper, or rags, or what ever. The tires will look inflated. That said, I have no permanent wall hangers but I have ridden home, with a front tire stuffed with leaves and grass.

Anyway, permanent wall hangers? Who'd a thunk it!
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Old 03-06-20, 10:56 AM
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Pipe insulation foam of the right diameter
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Old 03-06-20, 12:20 PM
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If you're going to use spray foam, I guess the way I would do it is take the Schrader valve cores out of some tubes, squish all the air out so they're flat, then mount them inside the tires. THEN spray the spray foam inside. I'm thinking you could duck-tape the straw that comes out of the spray foam can so that it makes an ok seal to the valve. Put the cap on after filling, and leave it. That would be easy and reversible.
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Old 03-06-20, 02:25 PM
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Thanks for the tips guys! After discussion of these options, the owner has decided to mount it a bit lower . I was actually glad, because I was really dreading the prospect of pulling that drive cover (horse hide?) off to get the rear wheel off. Things that vintage seem to never be the same after I get done with them.
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Old 03-06-20, 05:14 PM
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I'd suggest foam backer rod. It is used to fill gaps for caulking but I've seen diameters that are probably large enough to fill a tire.
Cheers, Steve
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Old 03-06-20, 05:20 PM
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Talk to your local tire shop. If they can schedule filling the tires, they may be able to take the bike whole, assuming the tires/tubes still hold air.

You could probably use a vacuum pump to empty the tubes if you desire.
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Old 03-06-20, 10:31 PM
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Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
You could probably use a vacuum pump to empty the tubes if you desire.
Just roll 'em up like an old Therm-a-rest! T'air squishes right out.
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Old 03-06-20, 11:25 PM
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Originally Posted by scarlson View Post
Just roll 'em up like an old Therm-a-rest! T'air squishes right out.
My Thermarest from Boy Scouts is going on 30 years old and it still works. How the **** did that happen?
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Old 03-07-20, 12:20 AM
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Originally Posted by ThermionicScott View Post
My Thermarest from Boy Scouts is going on 30 years old and it still works. How the **** did that happen?
It's not much out of the ordinary. Two of mine are old enough to drink, and have been slept on for roughly a year and a half in total, each. They made 'em too good! Of course, they are pretty heavy compared to the modern stuff that probably doesn't last a month of rough touring.
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Old 03-07-20, 03:03 AM
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Originally Posted by scarlson View Post
Just roll 'em up like an old Therm-a-rest! T'air squishes right out.
The OP didn't want to mess with the chain guard to remove at least the rear wheel. While one can partly remove a tire on the bike it may be easiest to simply remove the valve then vacuum the air out, no need to mess with really old tires. Of course, there might be issues with the tube collapsing, so perhaps go slow, and massage the tire a bit.
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Old 03-07-20, 10:32 AM
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Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
The OP didn't want to mess with the chain guard to remove at least the rear wheel. While one can partly remove a tire on the bike it may be easiest to simply remove the valve then vacuum the air out, no need to mess with really old tires. Of course, there might be issues with the tube collapsing, so perhaps go slow, and massage the tire a bit.
Ah woops, I guess I didn't get it. I'd still just dismount the tire on one side with the wheel still in the frame, then roll the tube up. That's how I normally go about fixing easy flats on Dutch bikes. I even have a vacuum pump, it's just that would be easier than getting it out and plugging it in and plumbing it to a Schrader valve stem!
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