Tight Fitting Tire Application Technique (No Tire Iron)

Ever get a new or different tire and have one hell of a time getting it installed on the wheel and don’t like to use tire irons? Try this:

  • Get the first bead in the center of the rim. It’s usually lower (less diameter) than closer to the brake track.
  • Install tube as usual.
  • Start getting the second bead over the lip near valve and move it as close to the center of the rim as possible.
  • Now position the wheel so it’s resting on your feet the same as installing a tubular tire. With one hand on either side of the valve stretch the tire and roll the bead on as you work your way to the opposite end of the wheel. If you stretch (pull) the tire as you work your way around, by the time you have that last couple inches to get over the lip of the brake track you should have “extra” tire to do so much more easily.

Hope this makes sense and if you’ve ever done your own tubular tire mounting picture the same technique. I was murdering my thumbs trying to get a new tire on recently and my mechanic buddy showed me this technique and with very little effort was able to get the last little bit of tire over the brake track with no tire iron. Cheers!

  • How about a more direct instruction for those of us who have never touched a tubular tire?

I will add, if possible, warm up the tire in the sun on concrete (if possible) as this makes the rubber more pliable and seems to lengthen the bead just enough to help installs.

  • A hair drier, heat gun or even an oven can be used in colder or darker times. Just be SUPER CAREFUL to not melt the tire or burn down the place :stuck_out_tongue:
1 Like

A video on this would greatly help. :slight_smile:

1 Like

I hesitate because this may mess people up. I’m not a great writer and there are several techniques to gluing. This is sort of adapted to a clincher…

Stand with the wheel resting on feet and top of rim/wheel resting against shines. As you’re standing over the wheel with the valve side nearest your shines…start with both hands pulling down (stretching) the tire on either side of the valve as much as possible prior to letting the tire touch the rim. Remember both the tire and rim are glued so once the tire touches the wheel it’s stuck (more or less). As you work down the sides of the tire you keep stretching the tire with either hand via the weight of you body and strength. Ever few inches (after stretching) you let the glued tire contact the glued rim…repeat all the way to the opposite side of the rim.

Same concept with a clincher in that you’re applying pressure (stretching) the tire you work towards the opposite side of the tire/wheel. Similar to this video starting at 1:55


Got it, that is similar to my method already in place, I try to pull down on both sides and flip the tire when I get low enough, then work to finish the last section of bead.

Great tips and thread. Thanks for the work :smiley:

1 Like

Hey @Landis luckily when I got back into cycling someone showed me this technique. You know those pieces of paper that come with new tires, and you immediately throw away without looking at it? They often have pics showing proper technique. For example here is a pic from Schwalbe website:

The key is putting the first bead into the center of the rim, because that makes it easier to roll the other side onto the rim. Even more important with tubeless ready rims that have a diameter that is to spec.

Another great read if you are technically inclined is a Mavic article (link below), as it talks about actual measured rim and tire diameters and how that impacts putting a tire on. For example in “7. WHAT IS THE ISSUE WITH CURRENT ROAD TUBELESS?” it speaks to the issue:

rim diameter is suppose to be 621.95mm +/- 0.4mm. Some rim diameters can be out of spec and too large, which is going to make putting a tire on harder.

Another problem is tire bead diameter, combining the two they show how this impacts things:

A regular tubetype tyre has a nominal diameter of 620,3mm +/-0.5, where most tubeless tyres are 1 to 2mm smaller, which makes them harder to install.

When combining rim with a bigger diameter with tyre with a smaller diameter, it easy to understand why current road tubeless can be such a hassle to use.

Great stuff in the article for the technically inclined:

1 Like

Thx. That was my first bullet. Very key on certain tire/wheel combos for sure.

For example here is a pic from Schwalbe website:

I thought this was a handy tool for grabbing the tyre with force to get it on the rim at first glance. Now THAT would be useful

Finishing the second bead install at the valve helps as you can have both beads in the center of the rim, giving you additional room to thumb the final part of the bead on.


Maybe not for high profile or carbon rims (or be careful with carbon) but for the rest I like this concept of the “tyre setter” which helps a lot:

And this is really the point of the thread…Levers/irons on really tight fitting tires just snakebite too easily. They are helpful for getting a tire off after a flat though.

1 Like

yup. Get the bead into the center of the rim, so you have more room to thumb the tire on. And for the same reason, start the second bead opposite the valve so you can get both beads in the center of the rim. End at the valve. :+1:

1 Like

Pinching a tube during install is not an issue for tubeless applications.

  • Sometimes, those can be the tightest to fit setups that cause issues.
  • So it’s good to recognize the potential use, or issues with levers, depending on the particular case (tubed or tubeless).
1 Like

Honestly I hadn’t even considered tubeless. Iron away on those if it helps for sure.

1 Like

You’re right I overlooked the tire iron part (no native speaker here) but nevertheless the concept of that lever seemed so new to me that I wanted to mention it. And I had better experience using it with regard to snakebites.

1 Like

I almost never use irons, even for removing tires. One thing I would disagree with the OP is that there is more room for the bead if the area near the valve stem is last. I know it’s natural to mount the bead at the valve stem first, but if the tire is tight, you need all the room you can get. Work the second bead into the center channel in the rim and then work all the slack towards the valve stem.

Boyd wheels has a video on how to do this, but they leave out some details

1 Like

Thanks @eekeller and @bbarrera I’ll try ending at the valve next time.

1 Like

Some rims (my current ones, Dura Ace WH-7850-C24-CL, for example) have an almost flat rim inside - no nice center channel like in that Schwalbe image - so no matter where you place the bead, it’s the same battle. You couldn’t get those tires off without tire levers, and I can put one on without a lever only after after it has been stretched by a few install/remove cycles. It works anyway. You have to make sure the tube is placed correctly before using the tire lever, and then the risk of pinching the tube is very low.

Hah, I swapped tires last night while watching TV in my basement. Came down in the morning, and the front tire was flat. Must have nipped the tube with the lever getting the tire off the rim. First time I’ve done that :frowning:

1 Like