as the mechanic for the women’s professional cycling squad team colavita, andrea smith spends a lot of time gluing tubulars—tires that consist of an inner tube enclosed in a casing, which is then glued or taped onto the rim. home mechanics are often reluctant to install the tires themselves, she says, but these six tips will go a long way toward demystifying the process. (take your home mechanic skills to the next level with the bicycling quick & easy bike maintenance course!)
related: a beginner’s guide to tubular tires
You're reading: 6 Do’s and Don’ts of Gluing Tubulars
• prestretch the tubular prior to applying glue: put the tire on the rim, inflate to 120 psi, and wait 24 hours. this will make it easier to install.
Read more: To The Point – UST Rims and Tires – Pinkbike
• wear gloves when working with acetone or other rim cleaners, and make sure the area is well ventilated. “once i was doing it for eight hours and woke up the next morning with a headache,” smith says. “i thought, i shouldn’t have drunk so much…wait! i wasn’t drinking—i was breathing glue fumes.”
• be patient. let the tubular adhesive cure as long as you can—smith waits 24 hours—so you get a strong bond. don’t rush a process that you’re relying on to keep you upright.
related: a step-by-step plan for installing tubulars
• apply too much glue. use a thin layer on the rim and base tape of the tire. don’t goop it on or let it ball up.
• store extra tubulars in the garage. they’re sensitive to temperature changes. choose a storage area that’s cool, dry, and dark.
• be intimidated! “it’s really a fairly easy step-by-step process—just give yourself time,” smith says.
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