/ Impossible to remove MTB tyre

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Martin W on 06 Jan 2018
My bike has tubeless ready rims (WTB STP i29) and tyres (Schwalbe Hans Dampf on the front, Rapid Rob at the back). However, it has tubes fitted. It came like this from new.

I seem to have picked up a slow puncture in the front tyre so I thought I'd have the wheel off and check it out. Which is where I ran in to a problem: for the life of me I can't get the tyre off the rim bead. It feels like it's welded in place. On my CX bike I can usually just roll the tyre off using my thumbs but there's no chance of that working in this case. The tips of my Pedros tyre levers are far too thick to go between the tyre and the rim. I have tried using a hard plastic ice scraper blade, which has a much finer edge to it, to separate tyre from rim but that also got me nowhere. Using a metal tool would be likely to damage either the rim or the tyre so I've steered clear of trying that.

I've looked online and tried some of the suggestions I found there such standing on the tyre, hitting it with a hammer using a block of wood for protection, and using a clamp to squeeze the beads together. Nothing seems to work. Part of the problem seems to be that the tyre sidewall is quite thin, so nothing you do to it exerts any useful force on the bead. In fact it looks like, if you heave on it too hard, you'd be as likely to tear the sidewall as shift the bead from the rim.

Apart from the fact that this is highly frustrating, it also strikes me as utterly stupid. If I'd got a proper flat while out riding there's no way I'd have been able to get the tube out to repair it. (And I shudder to think what's happening to the tube while I've been trying all this.)

Before I give up and take it to the LBS and watch them either get it off in seconds, or else wrestle with it for hours and eventually destroy the tyre (which is what I believe I would end up doing anyway), does anyone have any suggestions that might enable me to achieve a non-destructive disassembly?
Ex Poster 666 - on 06 Jan 2018
In reply to Martin W:

I'd get the hot air gun on the job.
abr1966 - on 06 Jan 2018
In reply to Martin W:

MFB - on 06 Jan 2018
In reply to Martin W:

Two spoons
malk - on 06 Jan 2018
In reply to Martin W:

hot water bath?
Cheese Monkey - on 06 Jan 2018
In reply to Martin W:
Pump it up to 100psi (maybe more). It will either pop off the rim violently or explode violently
Post edited at 18:51
balmybaldwin - on 06 Jan 2018
In reply to Martin W:
Are they UST Rims and Tyres? They certainly lock very solid generally I find if you get the tyre completely flat, then it will come off, just requires a lot more force than you expect.

Also try some washing up liquid around the rim

Edit: they get much easier with age as muck gets in
Post edited at 20:04
Monk - on 06 Jan 2018
In reply to Martin W:
These rims are a complete bugger to get off sometimes. Make sure the tube is completely flat and pull sideways way harder and further than you think the tyre can take. With enough force it should come off eventually (both times I had to do this was out on a ride, which was extremely frustrating). Try to really dig your fingers close to the bead. With climber's fingers you should be able to do this ok. I found it was only the first time that it was really tricky and is easier but still hard after that. The rims have an internal ledge of about 3 mm. Once you get the bead into the central groove they can be removed quite easily.
Post edited at 21:42
Phil Tucker - on 07 Jan 2018
In reply to Martin W:

I had a similar problem with my with rims and tyres. Got a flat part way round the Marin, 3 of us tried but failed to get the tyre off so had to walk it back.

Eventually got it off at home with much perseverance. I dont remember any magic technique in particular just more force than expected and keep trying. Good luck!

Decided to go tubeless after that.
Martin W on 07 Jan 2018
Thanks everyone for you suggestions. I managed to pop the bead in the end, after leaning the wheel up against a warm radiator for an hour or so and then using the ratchet clamp again, but this time clamping it tight around the tyre and using it to lever the tyre off. When it eventually came free, of course, it did it with no drama, as if to say: "Oh, is that what you wanted me to do? Why didn't you say so!"

I only got the one bead free, on the basis that all I was doing was investigating a slow puncture (which has now been fixed). When putting it all back together I brushed some diluted washing up liquid around the bead in the hope that it will make removal easier next time.

I'm in two minds about going tubeless. From what I've read, you're supposed to check the sealant every six months or so and replace it/top it up as necessary. That sounds like it means you have to pop the tyre every so often as part of basic maintenance, and potentially scrub out the congealed old stuff. At least with a tube you can leave it in peace until you get a puncture. Plus, I don't think that I ride anywhere near hard enough to make the marginal performance benefits of the weight saving worth the extra maintenance effort. The bike is far more capable than I am as it is anyway! I'm more of a pootler: if it looks a bit hairy up ahead I prefer to slow down a bit and take it carefully, rather than go full steam ahead and rely on my supreme athletic ability (ha!) to get me through.
MonkeyPuzzle - on 07 Jan 2018
In reply to Martin W:

Don't go tubeless for weight saving, go tubeless for lower tyre pressures and more grip.
andyr - on 07 Jan 2018
In reply to Martin W:

Three of these and a bit of lubrication to start the process.

A quick tip if you're out on the mountain. Very occasionally, damage to a tubless tyre means you'll need to stick a tube in to get home. These levers have quite a pointy tip which can damage the tube as you wrestle the tyre back on. I've filed the tips to a rounder profile. Doesn't affect performance but stops them perforating the tube.
thepodge on 07 Jan 2018
Tubeless let's you do your tyre maintenance at home instead of the cold, dark, wet outside.

Check the sealant level by wafting your wheel around, if you can hear sloshing it's probably fine. If you need to top it up just make sure you have a valve with a removable core and use a syringe through the valve.
ChrisJD on 07 Jan 2018
In reply to Martin W:

If you are currently happy with your set up and you're not getting snakebite pinch flats or flats in general then stick with inner tubes.

Getting used to tubeless and finding the right tyre combo for your rims can be tricky at the start, and you may need to invest in a compressor or airshot (or homemade equiv) to make things easier. Certainly not faff free. My rim/tyre combo now only needs a track pump after first put-on (new tyres can be tricky).

Also tubeless would self-seal a slow (and often not so slow!) puncture.

I'd never go back to tubes, but not everyone needs to convert.

Baz P - on 07 Jan 2018
In reply to ChrisJD:

I have run slime tubes for at least 10 years now and have found them to be 95% effective (almost always with thorns) but have been getting badgered recently by mates to go tubeless.
My only concern is the odd time when the tyre may go flat. Is it easy to remove the tubeless valve to fit a tube? Also I suppose that this is going to be a messy business.
I can confirm that it is not always an easy job as a friend who owns a bike shop told me that recently it took him almost an hour to seal a new tubeless.
To the poster who mentioned lower tyre pressures, for a while have been running 30lbs in 2.6in Nobby Nics and slime tubes with no problems.
ChrisJD on 07 Jan 2018
In reply to Baz P:
If you have system you are happy with, I'd say stick with it.

However, once you've sorted it, tubeless is very reliable, but it can be painful path.

Last few years, it's been around one/two flats a year for me (really rare and I'm super pissed when it happens). I did 7 enduro races last year, no flats. (nb - some self-seal without you noticing)

I carry a spare tube taped to frame. Small pump and C02 canister. I tried the plugs things, but simpler to just bung a tube in on the rare occasion of a full flat. And yes no real hassle to stick tube in, especially fast with a CO2. Liquid sealant can be messy, but no big deal.

But you've got to want to change to tubeless. If you are being pressured (see what I did there, lol), you'll just resent the bit of faff as you get used to tubeless.

30 is high pressure to me. With tubeless and right tyre combo I can run 16-18 on front and 24-26 on back on 2.4 tyres. And not be afraid of flatting.
Post edited at 16:48
ChrisJD on 07 Jan 2018
In reply to Baz P:
> 2.6in Nobby Nics and slime tubes with no problems.

I will add the caveat that I had a mid-fat hardtail for a while and had a right nightmare with splitting tyre sidewalls on these larger 2.6-2.8 casings on big rims. Almost a tyre a ride. I gave up and when back to 2.4-2.5 on 'normal' rims.
Post edited at 16:58
Baz P - on 07 Jan 2018
In reply to ChrisJD:

Wow, with those pressures they should call you snakebite.
Brass Nipples on 07 Jan 2018
In reply to Martin W:

UST tubeless you do not need a track pump or air shot. Normal pump will do the job out in the wilds. Get the Panracer rubber strips and you can fix the puncture without removing the tyre.
ChrisJD on 08 Jan 2018
Chris the Tall - on 08 Jan 2018
In reply to thepodge:

> Tubeless let's you do your tyre maintenance at home instead of the cold, dark, wet outside.

And having spent a very cold half an hour at Houndkirk yesterday whilst my mate faffed around fixing a puncture, this is no bad thing

If people who are still riding with tubes wonder why tubeless folks are so evangelical - there is a reason !

(Admittedly a fair bit of this time was due to sheer incompetence on his part - e.g. his spare tube was a schrader that didn't fit his rim - but the thorn that caused the problem wouldn't have been an issue with tubeless tyres)
balmybaldwin - on 08 Jan 2018
In reply to Baz P:

Perfectly normal for Tubeless... which is why thy give up so much more grip... most I run at is 22 and only if I'm expecting some big hits
MonkeyPuzzle - on 08 Jan 2018
In reply to balmybaldwin:

Same. Running 23 front and 25 rear on a hardtail with 2.4 tyres at each end.
Trangia on 08 Jan 2018
In reply to Martin W:

Sounds just like trying to get those Yeti gaiter rands onto your boots....
Chris the Tall - on 08 Jan 2018
In reply to Baz P:

Not sure if you're aware of this, but snakebites are something you can say goodbye to when you switch to tubeless

I have fond memories of a trip to Afan a few years back, and standing at the bottom of a black section whilst all three of my mates changed tubes having had snakebites. And whilst we were there, two other riders also punctured. I reckon you could set up a business there !
Baz P - on 08 Jan 2018
In reply to Chris the Tall:

Not so I'm afraid, the friend telling me how good tubeless were admitted that he had a snakebite puncture and a pal of his had a 1" split in his tyre that had to be patched. In this case it would be a lot less faf to put in a tube.
Although they are not fool proof, I once removed 5 thorns from a slime tube with only a slight loss in pressure.
However, I am still considering going tubeless but would always carry a spare tube.
ChrisJD on 08 Jan 2018
In reply to Baz P:

Just think of tubeless as a slime filled inner tube, without the inner tube.

Henry Iddon - on 08 Jan 2018
In reply to Martin W:
Thoughts on tyre pressures -

The point about what gauge you use is important.

All pumps / gauges aren't made equally - stick with a track pump / gauge you use regularly then you know you're getting a standard even if the numbers may not be accurate.

FWIW at the moment I'm running 19psi front and back in Maxxis Rekon 2.80 x 27.5 with tubes.
Post edited at 23:03
ChrisJD on 09 Jan 2018
In reply to Henry Iddon:

I do it by feel nowadays as I know my tyre set up well.

(proof is in the pudding, don't get punctures/burps, get loads of grip and small bump comfort)
Chris the Tall - on 09 Jan 2018
In reply to Baz P:

> However, I am still considering going tubeless but would always carry a spare tube.

Agreed - still always carry an inner as you are unlikely to fix a sidewall rips or a big hole. But I've only had to put in a tube twice in 8 years. Though the second occasion (this year) was due to a lack of worms to put in the hole.
Casa Alfredino - on 09 Jan 2018
In reply to Martin W:

This is really simple. WTB rims have a seat which matches closely the bead diamter. This helps the seal. To get it of, you hav to push the bead inwards so that the bead drops into the area of the rim between the bead seats. Then you can get your levers in. I though the same the first time I have tubless rims and beads...
Cloverleaf - on 09 Jan 2018
In reply to Chris the Tall:

It depends on your rim, tyre and style combo. With soft and malleable rims then pinch flats (where you slice the tyre at the bead) are minimal, although still possible if you punch a rock or root hard enough. With the newer trend for wider rims that are hard as nails you can get a lot. Mavic EX830's seem particularly prone to this, even with Continental Protection Baron's, although since switching to Super Gravity Schwalbe casings this does seem better. WTB and Sun rims are both quite soft, which I prefer - in 12 months I never pinched the Contis on WTB rims, yet did 4 tyres in as many weeks with the Mavics. Wider and harder rims are not the be all and end all. That said, a good tubeless set up is generally more reliable than tubes, albeit marginally more inconvenient when you do inevitably pick up a flat. Tyre pressures are also so dependant on weight, terrain and riding style that there's no point in discussing them online really - I could say that I run 28f/32r but unless I also tell you that I ride rock gardens, am aggressive and also bordering on 80kg all kitted then what use is it? And even then it's still not going to be that much help. Tyres, rims, bike, style, speed and terrain all have a major influence on what's right for you.
Chris the Tall - on 09 Jan 2018
In reply to Cloverleaf:

OK, that's news to me. I have managed to destroy an old tyre by over inflating it - it exploded leaving the bead still on the rim - but generally speaking punctures are a very rare occurrence for me these days (tempting fate !!)

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