Tubular Fitting

GSAstuto

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Oct 11, 2009
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tokyo
www.roadfixie.com
#1
Thought I would post this as quite a few of you are adding tubular tires back into your stable.

In the past, we had use really nasty 'gutta' glue which required multiple layers and a near voodoo art to get the tire fitted properly. Luckily technology has advanced somewhat.

Currently there are several manufacturer's of 'tape' glue. This is a double backed - actually its just a soft somewhat gooey tape all the way through, on a roll with a plastic or paper stripping. I suggest using the Miyata Brand of tape - mainly because it uses a plastic stripper and is very easy to fit and rip. Plus, you can easily remove the tire and cleanup on the rim (especially carbon) is quite smooth.

Hard vs Soft gluing. Some riders prefer a hard glue. This means you use shellac (or thin layered) gutta to create a very hard and thin bond between tire and rim. Hard glued tires are more responsive and faster rolling than soft gluing because the compliance is reduced. How much faster or responsive? Well, unless you're on a track - it may be hard to notice. So, I'd stay with soft gluing techniques whcih include tape.

If you're riding primarily long rides and normal recreational or club riding, then probably all you need to do is tape-only on your tire. If you are doing circuit racing or required very hard braking and cornering, then I'd combine a shellac rim AND tape.

For those of you with Carbon wheels - clean the rim with denatured alcohol or a carbon-safe thinner. Using acetone ( a favorite) can soften the resin. Not so recommended. If you are prepping for severe duty (circuit racing for example) then apply a thin coating of Panaracer or Soyo glue. This is very near shellac in consistency and will give you a very nice , tacky base coat. Let it dry thorooughly.

Then whether you are working from a raw, cleaned rim or a base layered rim, roll on your tape. Leave the stripping layer on the tape!

Put on your tire and pump it up to about 35 PSI or so - then adjust the tire so it's running true - and use this opportunity to check for any quality issues , leaks etc. Once you glue it on, you want it to be right.

I'll usually pump it right up to running pressure at this point and just double check everything. Then reduce pressure back down to around 25-35psi. The reduced rpessure makes it easier to pull off the stripping layer.

Then strip off the plastic layer using consistent smooth pulls. You don't want to break the stripping layer and also don't want to distort the glue layer.

After you have it fully stripped - the wheel on the floor and press hard all the way around. Firmly seating the tire. Then spin it an check for run out and truing. You can manipulate the tire at his point cause the tape is relatively soft and malleable. Once you are satisfied, pump it to full presuure and spin again. You may need some small tweaking to get it perfect. If the tire has some small run outs - don't worry. Most tubulars are handmade and will have a little variance in the casing.

Then let it sit for about 30min before you ride. This will let it cure a bit and ensure a good bonding to rim. After that, it's good to go!

I've never rolled a tape-glued tire. Yet I have rolled gutta glued tires on several occassions (and have scars to prove it). It's no fun, cause usually a tire will roll when you are at speed AND in a hard corner / braking situation - the result is you end up flying off the apex of the corner. So - always check your tires before you race or ride. Grasp them firmly and try to roll them off the rim in a couple places. As I said, the tape glued tires have never given me any issues - but that doesn't mean you shouldn't pre-flight your gear. It's a good habit. And the race scrutineers are going to be much harder on your tire test than you!

With the shellac or base layer version, the bond will be really tight. So, for remove of the tire, it's gonna be a little tough. Take your time to work it off slowly and use a plastic blade to gently lift the tire.

For carbon rims take care you don't peel the carbon fiber along with the glue! You can damage the rim this way. Again, work the tire slowly free. Once it starts to break away, you can easily work it off the rim.

I might do another post on reparing tubulars. It's quite easy, actually.
 

GSAstuto

Maximum Pace
Oct 11, 2009
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tokyo
www.roadfixie.com
#4
Thanks James - it really is amazing! I'm sure you remember the old gutta voodoo days. What a hassle - the Miyata Tape just changes the whole equation when it comes to using tubular tires.
 

FarEast

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May 25, 2009
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Yokohama
#7
Thanks James - it really is amazing! I'm sure you remember the old gutta voodoo days. What a hassle - the Miyata Tape just changes the whole equation when it comes to using tubular tires.
Actually both me and my dad had a conversation recently about accidently getting high on the fumes as lads..... purely accidental of course!
 

Pedro

Speeding Up
Mar 1, 2009
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18
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Kichijoji-Honcho
#10
If you use a hair dryer first it will make it easier to peel off the residue.

Also when I fit the tyre, I don't peel all the tap off, except for about 10mm. That way you can fit the tyre and then make adjustments. When I'm happy I peel off the rest of the tape.;)
 

GSAstuto

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Oct 11, 2009
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tokyo
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#14
Yes- whatever you do, please do not use nail polish remover on carbon rims! It generally contains acetone - and the same effect it has on nails (soften) it does to the finish resin. It's great for alloy rims, but not recommended for carbon. You can purchase carbon safe spirits at Y's or any other quality bike shop. Or use denatured alcohol. The Miyata tape can be removed from the rim easily by just rolling it with your thumb - it balls up and comes off nicely. Then a simple wipe with some alcohol and you're good to go for the next rim.

Pedro is correct. Strip back about 5cm of tape but not completely - otherwise you'd negate the whole concept of having a backing strip! Mount the tire, adjust it, then pull the 'rip strip'.

One trick - if you use Tufo or other paper stripped tapes - I generally put a pen or something similar between the tire and rim to lift it clear of the tape, then as I pull the rip strip, move then pen forward. This allows you to pull the tape without breaking it. And the tire will settle into the rim path perfectly vertical behind the pen resulting in a smooth, straight bond.
 

FarEast

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May 25, 2009
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#15
Just for the record I was racing on alloy rims not carbon so the acetone is safe to use - but as others have pointed out - DO NOT USE ON CARBON RIMS!
 

jdd

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Jul 26, 2008
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#18
(and I know it's not possible to say yes or no about every specific product out there)

...but, I use brake (and/or parts) cleaner quite a bit.

Does this stuff contain acetone (or other CF unfriendly stuff)? I've used it a lot to wipe a CF frame clean, I hope that is okay.

John D.
 

jdd

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#20
Well, anything that's referred to as "brake cleaner" as a start. Either kure, or any other copycat. Are these kinds of parts cleaners generally no-no's for carbon parts, or not?

Tho it's a pretty quick wipe, and the stuff does evaporate almost immediately (and there's a layer of paint), I was just kind of wondering.