Q&A – Wheely tight

Q. Are wheel tolerances wrong or are manufacturers making tyres too small?


Q. When you test wheels, you don’t say how easy it’ll be to remove or replace tyres, or what tyres fit each wheel. I’ll explain… I had Vento wheels for years, and had no problems getting Gatorskins on or off them.


The wheels gave up the ghost so I bought more Ventos but could barely get the tyres on. I couldn’t risk being out on the road with them, so exchanged them for Aksiums. On my other bike I have 105 wheels, and tyres are a pig to fit. I had to use metal tyre levers – and I’m sorry to say I lost it – after pinching the innertube three times I jumped up and down on them like Basil Fawlty…

So, are wheel tolerances wrong or are manufacturers making tyres too small?

Ian, email

A. There are always combinations of wheels and tyres that are tight, but there are a few things you can do to make things a lot easier. The first thing is to make sure you have good quality, thin rim tape on your rims.

This will allow the bead of the tyre to drop down properly into the bottom of the valley in the middle of the rim, thus allowing the tyre to deform a little more and’pull’around the rim when fitting and removing. Secondly, a little bit of talcum powder inside the tyre prevents it from gripping the rim so tightly, and prevents the tube from gripping the tyre, both of which add up to give you lessslack when fitting/removing tyres.

Finally, when you’re fitting tyres the trick is to get the first tyre bead to drop into the middle of the rim and then slowly work your way around to push the other bead on to the rim. Lightly inflate the inner tube, and make sure it stays pushed up inside the tyre at all times to prevent the bead from pinching it.


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