Thread: Totally Tubular
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Old 11-21-05, 12:06 PM
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San Rensho 
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Originally Posted by USAZorro
Here are a few things I've learned about preparing tubulars for installation in the past 6-7 months.

When you get them, inflate them to about 40 psi - don't mount them on anything yet.

After a few days (maybe a week), deflate, and mount them on a rim (no glue), and inflate to about 40 psi again.

After another week (although it might be best to just leave them stretched over the rim until you want to glue them), they should be nicely stretched, and quite a bit easier to manage when you do go to glue them on.

Also, a few days before you want to glue them on, put a layer of adhesive onto the rim(s) you're going to mount the tire(s) to.

Unless you're dealing with really old tubulars, I suggest using 3-M Fast Tack for glue. I must say though that I've heard that Fast-Tack can cause the base tape on older tubulars to separate from the tires. I had a pair of old Wolbers that this happened with, but I haven't had it happen on any of the other tires I've used. Anyhow, here's a technique that I've used to mount tires with very little mess. I don't ride very aggressively, so I haven't ridden on any hairy, high-speed descents, so I can't vouch for how this holds under those conditions.

Before you start, have some mineral spirits and a clean cloth rag at hand. Sit in a plastic chair in a clean well ventilated space, and put on vinyl or latex gloves - the very thin ones. Deflate the tire, put the stem of the tire into the hole in the rim. Make sure you have the tire oriented the way you want it. Once the tire is on the rim, sit in the chair, hold the rim with the stem up. Grasp the tire about one spoke hole away from the stem and lift it up. Squeeze a bit of glue onto the exposed sections of the rim. Move the glue tube around to get a light coating on the entire surface. Release the tire, being certain that the base tape is centered, rotate the rim two spoke holes, and repeat the process. Do this until you make it back to the stem.

If you get any glue on the tire, rim, spokes or yourself, wipe it off immediately. Use mineral spirits as necessary to clean the glue from any metal that it gets on.

Once you've completed the gluing, inflate to about 25 psi. If any glue oozes onto the tire or rim, wipe it off immediately. Also make any manipulations you may want to center the tire if it hasn't gone on quite as straight as you want. You may need to decrease the pressure in the tire to do this. After 30 minutes, inflate the tire to about 40 psi and let the rim sit over night. I've had no problems riding on the tires the next day.
My technique.

1. Stretch the tire. Ideally, put it on the rim and inflate to max pressure and leave it for 1 week. If its 8pm and you need to race on it the next morning, try this. With no air in it, try to get the tire to stretch onto the rim without too much resitance. It should go on snug but easily by hand, you shouldn't need a pry bar/ tire remover to get it on. If it goes on, good, proceed to step 2. If not, sit in a chair grab one end of the tire with both hands, hook the other end under your feet and progressively apply pressure to stretch the tire. Go slowly but you will likely have to apply a lot of force to stretch, just don't go ape and rip the tire apart. Stretch until it goes on just snug, but easily.

2. Prepare the rim. Rough up the rim with a wire brush or coarse grit sandpaper. Clean meticulously with brake parts cleaner. Put masking tape on the side of the rim where the brakes pads make contact. This will save at least minutes, if not hours, of cleaning and recleaning to get glue off the sides of the rims.

3. Apply the glue. ****er up both the rim and the tire and don't skimp on the glue! Hang them both up to dry overnight.

4. Put the tire on the rim. The glue is contact cement, so remember, once you touch the parts together they STICK. Put just enough air in the tire so it barely holds its shape, put the valve in the rim. With the valve at 12 oclock, put the rim on the floor perpendicular to the floor. Grab the tire with both hands, each hand about 1 foot from the valve. Now pull the tire apart and simultaneously push down and place the tire on the rim. The idea is to stretch it is much as possible before you put it on the rim. Repeat until you get about 1/2 way around the tire, flip the tire over and continue on the other side, it gets easier now, because you can hold the wheel with your foot while you pull on the tire to stretch it as you put it on the rim. Quickly straighten the tire on the rim. There should be a bead of glue between the tape on the tire and the rim. Remove masking tape.

5. Test your handiwork. Inflate to max. pressure. Try as hard as you can to roll the tire off the rim with your thumbs. The tire should not move at all and the tire tape should not come even slightly unglued from the rim. If this is so, go out and ride/race! If not, let it dry some more overnight and check in the morning. Hey, the masking tape works, doesn't it? No grabby brakes, no squeal.
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