Don't leave your tires or tubes to chance
on race-day! When in doubt, replace in advance and test if
necessary. Your time and money spent getting to the finish
line is an important investment.
A) Types of tires: Sew-ups vs. clincher?
B) Types of tubes: Butyl vs. Latex?
C) Valve Extender preparation
D) Repairing punctures
E) Installation of tubes and tires
A) Types of tires: -Standard with steel wire bead, not foldable,
heavy, affordable, can be used as primarily training tires.
-Kevlar-foldable, lighter, more expensive and good as training
or racing tire. -Poly cotton kevlar-faster, lightest, most
expensive, normally racing only. Wears out faster. Width:
20mm vs. 23mm? 20mm is normally a little faster due to less
surface area friction, less in weight and wind resistance,
usually a stiffer riding feel ..23mm is normally a preferred
size to use when training. It also has a smoother feeling
ride and requires less air pressure to run. Dual compound-tires
offer better performance. They provide a harder center compound
for less rolling resistance and a softer/sticky side compound
for increased traction while cornering for maximum speed and
efficiency. Size-650c1s are generally used for time trial/triathlon
type bikes, they accelerate faster, but don1t roll as smoothly
at a faster top-out speed like 700c1s. Sometimes size indeed
matters, given there is a more efficient size for every type
of bike and its rider. Distances will vary, as will race conditions
that better determine your optimal wheel size and or geometry
for particular types and lengths of various triathlons. Here
are some brief explanations-to help decide which type of tire
that is best for you. Sew ups- are ideal for race-day. They
are the most expensive combination to use. But offer the least
amount of rolling resistance and are effectively the most
comfortable riding tire for speed. However, these are not
the most durable and more costly to repair professionally:
about $20.00/tire not including S&H. (Average cost per tire
is approx. $50.00-70.00) Cinchers-are somewhat more affordable.
Replacement tubes for these can also inexpensive. If you will
only be using this type of tire combination, try using a better
quality set of tires. Perhaps using a lighter Latex tube for
your preferred racing set-up; reserving the standard set with
heavier butyl tubes for your training needs only.
B) Butyl tubes vs. latex tubes: Most people use butyl tubes
because they are more affordable to replace and easier to
repair. However, besides being a lot lighter, Latex tubes
offer significant less rolling friction inside your tires;
which means a faster, smoother ride. And over a 112.5-mile
race that can make a big difference. Don1t choose Latex if
you will be riding on cross-country training rides or races
with less than desirable street surface conditions. Choose
your proper valve type: Presta or Schraeder?
C) Valve extenders-Choose by length and type required. Your
rim and or wheel choice will determine this for you. Shallow
aluminum rims, carbon or deep section carbon wheels will require
longer types. -Standard length valve extender sizes are: 30mm,
50mm, 60mm or 80mm -Extender with removable inner valve core.
-Extender with adjustable inner barrel. Usually made of brass.
Does not Oxidize due to salt air exposure. Note: Always use
Teflon tape when using valve extenders of any type. Tape should
be *2 wide and 1-1/22 in length and cover the threads of the
tubes valve. Secure valve ext. with pliers if possible and
check for inflation leaks. Let the air back out, fold and
store properly. Never store tubes using only velcro straps
behind seat. Instead, secure with electrical tape and place
inside plastic bag and put inside saddle bag or jersey pocket
to prevent premature punctures. Always use caution when securing
spare folding clincher or sew-up tire using velcro straps.
Fasten under seat or to a rear hydration system. (i.e.: Xlab
D) Repairing punctures-Begin with carefully removing tube
using tire lever. Inspect tube for holes or cuts by putting
a little more air in tube. If location of puncture is not
obvious, then carefully use your fingers to inspect the inside
area of your tire for any remaining glass, thorns or nails.
If you just hit a bump and the tire has gone instantly flat,
the tube probably has been pinched by the wheel rim. If time
permits, save money by repairing the puncture instead of just
replacing the tube. Dip the valve and entire tube in a sink
or bucket full of water and check for bubbles. Repair the
hole using a standard repair kit. Tube repair-First; clean
the surface around the puncture using the provided sandpaper
or scraper. Then apply an even layer of glue, allow drying
about 3-5 min. Apply the second layer and allow to air dry
until tacky. Then remove the foil side of the patch and press
face down firmly. Smoothing it out to remove any trapped air.
Use tire lever to feather the edges of the patch into the
tube. Note: the patches vulcanizing side is usually orange
in color. Do not remove clear tape on back of patch until
patch is dry and firmly in place. Apply chalk or baby powder
if desired, it provides needed lubrication between the sticky
surfaces to remove rolling friction and innerwear. (Note:
Careful not to damage tube when using tire lever and make
sure tire beads drop evenly into the well of the rim before
inflating the tire fully again.)
E) Installing sew-up tires: If it is at all possible these
should be installed by a professional at you local bike shop!
Proper installation normally requires about 2 days for the
glue to adequately dry and the tire seat itself safely. Most
new sew-up tires should be pre-stretched before mounting,
including the spare tire whether or not it is being stored
at home or on the bike itself. Ideally the spare tire should
have about 25 miles or a few days of riding on it before use.
Therefore by allowing time to stretch, this will make it extremely
easier to remount in the unfortunate event your get a flat
on race day. First step, remove the complete wheel. You will
definitely need to use your tire lever and or allen key wrench
(lengthwise) to begin the removal of your sew-up tire. (Keep
in mind your tire was mounted using 2 layers of glue, so this
won1t be an easy task.) In most cases, find the area opposite
of the valve. (For leverage, positioning wheel between your
legs and lower abdomen) Insert lever and begin peeling back
tire off as much as possible; then by hand, firmly grip the
tire with one hand while using the other hand to hold the
rim in place and push down to further separate, then with
both hands finish ripping off the tire by firmly pushing and
pulling the tire away from the rim. Remember, leverage is
key here! -The next step is to reinstall your pre-stretched
tire making certain the valve already has the correct length
and prepped extender in place. Place the wheel upright on
the ground or on the top of your foot and start by inserting
valve first, pulling and pushing the rest of the tire on using
both hands again while firmly pressing down along the wheels
edges. Once it is on, use your pump or Co2 cartridge adapter
to inflate the new tire. Preferably select an adapter with
an airflow regulator. This will allow you to start out slowly
while at the same time checking for any leaks and a proper
fit. (Note: Make sure the adapter is firmly secured to the
tire valve before engaging the Co2 cartridge!) Using tire
mounting glue is not recommended during this procedure as
it will not have the proper amount of time to dry and will
therefore only be pushed out to each side of the rim as you
begin refill with air pressure. Very Messy! Use paint thinner
or Acetate to remove any access from tires, rim and hands.
Finish by pressing down on tire checking to see for enough
air pressure. Remount the wheel to the bike facing in the
right direction and properly tightening the quick release.
(Note: For the remainder of your race, proceed with caution
when approaching high speed turns and when braking at all
times.) Good Luck!