Arghhh ...having a hard time removing old layers of tubular glue

Hi there,

I’m going bonkers over here trying to remove ancient tubular glue from 2nd hand of carbon rims, where apparently glue was never removed, only applied onto old layers.

so far I’ve used twice to remove the big chunks, after that I tried to use Acetone with a rug, but it only makes it totally guey and pretty much impossible to wipe off

has anyone ideas, tipps & tricks? thanks & cheers, j

Don’t bother. Splodge some new glue on top. The longer you use tubulars for the less you care about the details


:thinking: you are probably right …still OCDing over this mess tho

Whatever solvent you are using - soak it into strips of rags the width of the rim and lay them on the rim surface, then cover the rag and rim with clingfilm to hold it all on and keep it wet.

I do this with aluminium rims, so have no worries about the solvent affecting carbon with a long contact period.

I usually use white spirits, leave the wheel wrapped up and outside and the glue will just rub off the next day when the solvent has worked through it all.


thanks, I will try this! any white spirit you can recommend, or can I try Acetone?

Acetone, scotchbrite pad, and a heat gun. Get rid of the excess glue but don’t worry about getting it fully clean.

Use the same kind of glue. If you’re switching glues you might be better off completely cleaning gvd the rim.

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Assuming it is Vittoria Mastic 1 you’ll either need long soaks in a solvent or elbow grease and scape it off. I do the latter.

For old crusty glue - remove tire, put the wheel in a stand, work around the rim with a flat blade scraping off the glue. Takes about an hour per wheel. Have a couple screwdrivers for this. Get the big chunks first then be as picky as you want about the rest but don’t worry about leaving some residue. To prep the rims for new glue, add a bit of texture to the rim bed with some wet sand paper or scotchbrite then clean well with acetone and let them dry out.

For relatively new glue, assuming the rim bed is still coated well, knock down and clumps, give the wheel a quick coat or two of new glue (I use very thin coats) and then mount the new tire.

Scotchbrite pads are better than rags and carpet scraps for working glue off when using solvent. GooGone or something that doesn’t flash as quickly as acetone is where folks using that method seem to gravitate toward.

Been doing glue job on tubulars since roughly 1978. It is a bit of work but sounds much more involved than it really is. Folks often make gluing tires sound like they are building spacecraft or something.



Acetone is fine for carbon rims. Many manufacturers even note it in their own information.

The heat gun is used to soften the glue, not cook it off, the glue will soften well before anything dmagaing will happen to carbon fibre. A quick pass in a concentrated area. Caution and common sense goes a long way here. If you’ve never used a heat gun to clean something like glue off before maybe just don’t start with your carbon rims.

Start with a hairdryer if you’re concerned.

Anecdotal; but I’ve been doing this for years at home and in shops with no issues.


Second (third? fourth?) on the heat gun.

Also second on the 'don’t worry about it’s bandwagon. Ake sure there aren’t any giant chunks, apply a fresh layer, and go.

I used to struggle with this until a mate said “GT85”. I tried everything else, neat acetone, all sorts.

So what you do is spray it on, and leave for 20-30 mins. Give it a rub in and do it again.

Then come back respray it and with a towel, work away from you, pushing the glue along teh wheel rim. (Don’t waste time going back and forth, it does not work). Add some more GT 85 over the next 6", work in with a brush, and continue. (It sis worth working in earlier dose with a brush as well.

Frankly wheels that have taken several hours to clean are done in around 15-20 mins.

Take your time. Keep pushing the glue away from you and changing the towel around as it wil get clogged up.

Now, GT85 contains ptfe and I am always concerned this might stop teh next layer of glue sticking, so i always clean teh rim with neat acetone. (By the way the cheapest way to get this is a plumbers’ merchants - ask for plastic pipe cleaner. I don’t use nail varnish because you have other contaminants in there as well).

A couple of things:

  1. Do it in the open, these things stink and are not necessarily good for you.
  2. I put te hwheel in an old dumb trainer, which I place on a workmate. Works great for me (Just use a rear skewer with the front wheel)
  3. Wear some gloves.

Also I found tape glue much harder to get off than proper tubular tyre glue. I help this helps. The GT85 has made riding tubulars and changing them bearable.

Good luck.

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Just a note of caution. I would not be using a heat gun or anythging like it if I had acetone open and in the atmosphere. certainly not in an enclosed space.

Maybe I am being over-cautious, but heat source (especially the hot element itself rather than the air temp coming out) and volatile organic vapour…

Better safe that sorry. :slight_smile:


thanks everyone, I’ll check in later (currently at work)

I just use petrol and a rag. Easy. I am not super OCD about it but most comes off easy.

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thing is, I bought these wheels used and I have no clue what the previous owner used to glue them (he used a lot and it was solid like a brick)

heat gun is a no go, because I got none (also no hair dryer) :slight_smile: but I’ll try some of your suggestions, especially the rag/clingfilm sounds appealing

cheers :v: j

Not sure if you care, but be careful with acetone because it may affect any decals/logos on the rim sidewalls. This is especially true if the logos are screen printed on. Even if you are not directly applying to the sidewalls, vapors under cling wrap might still cause harm. Other solvents (e.g. naphtha) may be “safer” in this regard.

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thanks! :+1:

Some time ago a saw a video of someone with a fine brush on a drill and polish it of a tire and rim. It are items like this:

I have been looking for the video but I can not find it anymore.
It did look very efficient and fast.

It looks like an easy, safe and fast solution.

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Vm&p naphtha. Also take an old plastic tire lever and push into it once it’s more gummy. Took me probably 5 hours to clean off my rims down to new since they had glue on there for probably 2 to 3 years. Just take your time, stay in a ventilated area, itll get done.

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Go to YouTube. Look up psimet how to remove tubular glue. Rob runs a wheel company and does HUNDREDS a year.

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seen pretty much all of his videos :slight_smile: