Mounting and Unmounting tires on carbon rims- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Mounting and Unmounting tires on carbon rims

    I'm in the process of lacing up my first set of carbon fat hoops (actually 1st carbon wheelset skinny or fat). I got to thinking about mounting and unmounting tires. On my current mulfuts and borealis wheels I need to use park tool plastic tire levers to get the last couple inches of bead onto the rim as well as when removing tires I need to use a lever to get the first part over the rim.

    Are plastic tire levers a no go on carbon rims? I asked 2 guys at work (one molds carbon including bikes and the other does carbon repair and both have been into bikes forever) and they both said tire levers shouldn't be used. They're also both much bigger and stronger than I so I'm guessing they have more hand strength to muscle things off and on.

    So can I safely use tire levers on carbon rims? If I can, are there some things I shouldn't do with the levers? If I can't use levers, what is the trick to getting tires off and on.

  2. #2
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    I have used a plastic lever on my Whisky rims. Generally it is just for the last little bit. As such, can it be done, yes. I would suggest moderation. If the bead of the tire is 2" from the lip of the rim, do not try and lever that large gap on. Work it from the edges until there is only about a 1/2" to push over the edge. I also use the wider mountain bike style lever vs the narrow road bike type lever.

  3. #3
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    A little soap and warm water go a long way.
    My name is Chris and I ride a Ripmo now.

  4. #4
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    Plastic wide levers do the trick. Depending on the rim, there is no way Iím getting a new tire on the rim with just my hands. My Nox rimsí tolerance is so tight that I need to have first bead centered in the channel in order to get the second one on even with levers if itís new.

    Soap and water helps too if needed, but Iíve used that more to get the bead to seat on tubeless.

  5. #5
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    Hold the tire in one hand and the rim/wheel in the other. Set the middle of the rim onto the closest tire bead (6 oclock position). Using your hands work that first side of the tire onto the rim, keeping the bead down in the lowest part of the center of the rim. This will give you slack in the bead to get it up over the rim as move around both sides heading up to 12 oclock. Keep alternating a little bit on each side until one bead is on. If 90% of that bead is in the lowest part of the rim channel then you should be able to wrestle that last 10% on. Roll it on like you're kneading bread, grab it in both hands and push/roll it over with the heels of your hand putting your body weight behind it.

    Repeat for 2nd side. At that point both beads should be dangling loose down in the center channel. Then the fight comes to get them back out to the bead seats as you inflate.

  6. #6
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    Mounting and Unmounting tires on carbon rims

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  7. #7
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    IIRC only Whisky and HED void warranties for tire lever use.

    Good technique goes a long way. I haven't needed levers to install fat tires on any carbon rims to date, and I can't remember the last time I needed one to remove a bead, although I'm sure it has happened.

    Be prudent. And use *one* wide plastic lever if you must.

  8. #8
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    To tack onto what has been said (I found the center-of-the-rim-for-the-first-bead-inserted technique extremely useful, it's a geometry thing), one thing you could do is put a tough rubber condom-like thing on your lever. It's just easier to scuff carbon compared to metal. One example could be thick gauge vinyl/electrical tape. The tape won't last past one or two uses.

    And again... technique. A little patience and taking advantage of the center of the rim shape -- that combo goes a long way.
    Disclaimer: I run Regular Cycles (officialy in 2016, functionally in 2020).

  9. #9
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    Thanks for all the info. Sounds like I need to work on my technique and pick up a wide plastic lever just in case. I never took the time to think about the center "well" in the rim and why it would work. I'll give it a shot.

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