Trouble removing tyres explained

In this video tutorial, we look into whether it is the case that tyres are harder to take off and put back on than they used to be or whether it’s just a question of learning a slightly new technique. The good news is that it’s just technique and in this easy to follow video, Paul completely demystifies the process.

Video Transcript

Trouble removing tyres explained

Hello, and welcome to this tutorial where we’re going to be talking about how wheels and tyres have evolved. And is it true that tyres are actually harder than they used to be to take off and put back on or not? Or is it just a technique that we need to learn? So let’s explore


Firstly, to understand the technique of removing a tyre and to answer the question, have tyres become more difficult to remove or not or is it just a technique that we need to learn, I think it’s worth just stepping back in time and looking at how bike wheels themselves have evolved. Not only on the outside but on the inside where the actual tyre itself sits onto the onto the wheel rim


In the old days, probably sort of 20 / 30 years ago there was no such thing as tubeless systems. Everything had a tube, an actual inner tube, on what we classify as a modern clincher wheel. Now a clincher wheel is where you’ve got the rim bowl, and then two vertical sides, where an open tyre gets inserted onto the inside, and the inner tube pushes against those vertical walls of the rim and clinches against the inside of that wheel rim. That’s what we refer to as a clincher wheel.


There is another system which is what we call a tubular and a tubular is where the rim itself is just a hollow bowl. And the tyre is a complete circle that sits on top of that rim, gets glued into position and then inflated and it’s the glue and the friction of the tyre that holds it onto the rim. Now, we at Criterium Cycles, we don’t get involved with tubulars as they tend to be used more for racing at a very high level, whereas we focus on still high end bicycles more but for the amateur and the enthusiastic cyclist where a clincher system is much easier to use at home.


So, again, going back in the old days, your clincher system didn’t have a tubeless tyre to have to worry about. So that hollow bowl with the vertical sides – effectively what happened when you got a deflation – so you got a puncture or you were wanting to change your tyre because the tyre was worn out – the moment that you deflated that tyre, the tyre bead itself would automatically fall into the centre channel of the tyre, making it all floppy and easy to take off.


Now I’ve got an example of this here. This particular wheel itself, it’s not that old, and it’s sort of 2005 / 2006 wheel. And it’s, but it’s still an older system that was never intended, never designed to be tubeless. So I can demonstrate here what we mean. First of all, we deflate the tyre. So at the moment the tyre is being kept up into position by the sheer force of the energy pushing the tyre and hooking it into the vertical wall.


When we deflate that tyre – is going down just now – as the air pressure starts to reduce, what’s happening is, is that there’s no force holding the tyre up onto this vertical wall. So the tyre itself is automatically falling into the centre channel of the wheel rim. We will just completely deflate that.


Okay, so that’s now fully deflated so we don’t have to do anything now. That tyre is already folded into the centre of the wheel rim so we can now just put our tyre lever underneath, we then get our first section unseated from the side of the rim. And now we can just push all the way forward.

And hey presto, that’s our tyre taken off, and to completely remove it, we can literally take that side and without a tyre lever, push over, and that is now the tyre released from the heel itself. And that is because as you can see here, that the wheel the inside of the wheel rim, and I’ll get a close up of this – basically whilst there are flats for the tyre bead to sit on, there’s nothing holding the tyre bead on the inside, up on that tyre wall so it’s allowed to drop into the centre channel and that’s what makes it easy. So that is why “old day” wheels and tyre seem to be much easier to remove compared to today. And what are going to do is we’re going to compare what happens when we deflate a tyre that’s mounted on to  tubeless rim compared to what we’ve just seen on our non tubeless ready older system when we deflate the tyre, so that’s what we’re going to do just now.


Okay, so let’s now have a look at a tubeless ready modern wheel mounted with a non-tubeless ready tyre, so there’s a tube inside here, but it wouldn’t matter whether it was a tubeless tyre or whether it’s a tubed tyre. The most important thing is understanding the new rim types that is what makes it appear to be harder to remove the tyre.


So here we’ve got a rather lovely Campagnola Bora WTO which is a windtunnel optimised full carbon wheel, a bit of a plug – absolutely stunning wheel. I love it. And this is mounted with a non tubeless tire, which is a Vittoria Corsa control 25 millimetre, so there tube inside here, but this wheel is a tubeless ready wheel, and we’re going to demonstrate what happens when we deflate this tyre.


So we’ll take the dust cap off, open the Presta valve up there, and again, we’re going to deflate (I’d already deflated quite a lot). So we can see here that this tyre is now fully deflated. However, whereas before when we tried to pull the tyre over, it would drop inside the wheel rim, what’s happening is that the tyre bead is still locked on to the tubeless hook on the inside of the wheel rim.


So it’s got a number of safety features to this. Whereas before when we just had a system where if you’ve got a puncture the tyre would just roll into the centre of the wheel, that’s when the tyre could also easily come off the wheel rim itself. And, and you know, cause quite a bad accident. Modern tyres on modern wheel rims, because you’ve got that internal hook not only on the outside of the rim, but also on the inside of the rim. If you get a rapid deflation of your tyre, the tyre is more likely to stay on the wheel rim itself and just compress down as opposed to move side to side and off the wheel rim.


So it does give you more time to come to a complete stop in the event of a deflation. However, it does require a technique to remove the tyre if you do need to take it off either (a) to replace the tyre or (b) if you’ve got a roadside puncture.


So fully deflated tyre now, so what we need to do, and I’ll just come around this way to demonstrate. So I always like to go from the opposite side of the of the valve and what we need to do is we need to push the tyre off the tyre seat itself and we now pushing the tyre into the centre channel. Okay, so we’re actually unhooking the tyre off the inside. And now you can see that the tyre looks almost as floppy as the old system. What we’re also going to do and this is why you don’t stop you do the other side. So again, push that tyre into the centre channel and you can hear it hopefully clicking off.

And now hey presto, we’ve got a tyre that is as loose – a modern tyre that is as loose as the old system. So again, if we take our tyre lever, really important if you’ve got a carbon fibre wheel, even a modern alloy wheel, do not use anything that is metal only use a plastic tyre lever. But again, making sure away from the valve itself, we can now can see here get on the underside of the tyre bead. And then again just by pushing forward we can release the tyre and over and above that as we demonstrated earlier, we can even just take off without use of a tyre lever on the other side.


So that is a modern wheel rim with a modern tyre that you’ve just witnessed is as easy to remove as the older tyre system. It’s purely technique, not the fact that tyres are getting harder to remove and put back on. And likewise, when we’re putting the tyre back on again, what we’re going to do another video of changing a wheel and a tyre so that’s going to cover that aspect. But again, when you put the tyre back on, just make sure as you as you put in the tyre bead back into the rim, that you’re trying to put the tyre bead into the centre channel, as opposed to letting it sit in the outer hook. And again, it’s just going to give you a few more millimetres to be able to click that tyre over at the end.


So there was a lot to take in there but hopefully that just gives you a really good sense of how modern wheel and tyre systems aren’t necessarily harder to remove. We just need to have the right technique to be able to do it. So hopefully that’s demystified modern wheel and tyre systems and made it much easier for you to do roadside repairs from now on.


So again, thanks ever so much indeed for watching.