Ask a Mechanic

Published on August 1st, 2014 | by Daniel

Ask a Mechanic | Mounting Open Tubulars

Question: I ride open tubular clincher tires and I’ve a had a few that were really hard to get onto the rim. What makes certain tires so difficult to mount? Is it the casing and if so what casings are the easiest to mount on the rim? From: Ron

Challenge Open Tubular

The tendency of open tubulars to lay flat is what makes them difficult to mount.

Answer: Open tubular clinchers are tough because the tire is not formed with a pre-curved tread. The flat tread makes the open tubular casing lay flat and get in the way of the beads as you are trying to mount them, unlike a standard clincher tire that is pre-curved. Working the open tubular with your hands to pre-curve the tread by pinching the beads together and squeezing the tread before mounting it will help.

The other tricky part is the that the beads are not rubber coated, so they don’t want to slide over the edge of the rim as easily. Using a tire bead lube like Schwalbe Easy Fit can help with the process. It is easy to use and doesn’t make a mess. Just be sure to clean your rim afterwards so that the bead lube will not affect your braking performance.

Welcome to our Ask a Mechanic column where our expert mechanics Daniel Slusser and Greg O’Keeffe answer your bike maintenance questions. If you have a question for us, please post it on the Art’s Cyclery Facebook Wall or e-mail Daniel directly at To see more great how to videos click on the highlighted link to subscribe to our YouTube channel and stay up to date on each episode of the Art’s Cyclery/VeloNews Ask a Mechanic Series.

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About the Author


Slusser is a professional bicycle mechanic with over ten years of experience. He holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from HSU and a master’s degree in history from Cal Poly. When he is not riding, wrenching, or writing he enjoys spending time with his wife and two children.

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