VIDEO: Changing a Tubular Tire

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Did you flat training or racing on your tubular tire? This video will show you everything you need to do to change your tubular tire.

In addition to consistent, arduous training, quality cycling gear can set you apart from your competitors. Whether your mission is to become more aerodynamic on a tri bike or you want to find lighter, yet stronger, components, there is a multitude of gear available to competitive triathletes. Over the past several years, there has been much debate over tubular (glue-on tires) versus clinchers (tube inside a tube) for triathlon and road bikes. Although both tires come with benefits, a flat tubular can be repaired more quickly than a clincher tire once you learn the tricks to installing a new tubular tire.

Tools needed:

  • Glue (optional Tufo tape)

  • Tubular tire

  • Tire levels

  • Wheel

  • Plastic bag

  • Acetone

Proper storage of a tubular tire:

  1. Remove tire from the bag and pump a little air into the tire.

  2. Hang tire.

  3. For best results, let the tire hang for several weeks to months before using.
    *Professional team mechanics “age” their tires for several weeks to several months before using.

Installing a new tubular tire:

1. Remove the flat tire by hand or with tire levels. Because the tape on the tubular tires can come loose or the tread can be torn, be sure to only change your tubular when necessary.

2. Remove the valve last when removing the flat tire.

3. A new tubular can be difficult to stretch around a wheel. Stretch the tire prior to installing by pulling on the top of the tire while stepping on the bottom of the tire. Rotate the tire while stretching so that all threads of the tire will be ready for the glue upon installing.

4. If using a new tire, apply one coat of glue on the tire and let dry for 20-30 minutes before starting the process of changing a tubular tire.

5. Be sure the rim is smooth and clean of debris or clumpy dried glue. A simple way of cleaning the rim’s surface is to rub the rim with acetone.

6. Take your new tubular tire and run glue around the center of the inside tape. Use a plastic bag as a glove and use your pointer finger to spread the glue evenly around the tire. Be sure not to use too much or too little glue. The glue should cover the entire base tape around the tube.


7. Using the same plastic bag, spread an even coat of glue around the rim. Try to avoid filling the holes with glue.

8. If using a brand new tire, this will be the second coat of glue on the tire after waiting 20-30 min. for the first coat to dry. If reusing a tire which has already been installed, only use one coat of glue and check the instructions on the glue bottle for drying times (approximately 2-5 minutes, although glue will never completely dry).

9. After applying a coat of glue along the tire and the rim, position the wheel so that the valve opening is closest to your body. Insert the tube valve into the wheel.

10. Simultaneously work both sides of the tire into the rim, moving from the top of the rim (valve) to the bottom. Once you reach the floor, the entire tire should be in the rim.

11. Pump up the tire with a little pressure on the tube. Spin the wheel to be sure the tire is straight on the rim.

12. If there appears to be glue on the rim or outside of the tire, use acetone to clean the tire.

13. Once the tube is straight on the rim, pump up the tubular tire to the pressure listed on the tire (tubular tires will vary) and be sure to check the pressure which the rim can withstand.

14. Let the tire sit on the rim for at least 12 hours prior to using (recommended 24 hours). *Plan ahead to change tubulars prior to a race!

*Replacing a tubular tire during training or racing.
When racing, carry and old tubular tire that already has glue on it. If you flat, just take the flat tubular off and put on the older tubular. There should be enough glue on both the rim and the old tubular that it will get you home or to the finishline. Be careful in the turns as the tire can slip off the rim.

*Special thanks to Karel Sumbal for his expert skills on changing a tubular tire. As an experienced bike mechanic, Karel competitively races on the Linder Capital cycling team based out of Jacksonville, Florida. Karel has raced since the age of 12, beginning his career on the European Junior Cycling team.


Among his accomplishments, he won the Florida Point Series and Florida Cup in 2006 as a category 3 rider, placed 4th at the 2006 Road Atlanta Georgia Cup race (Pro 1,2 category), finished 2nd among Category 2 riders at the US 100K cycling classic in Atlanta, Georgia and recently finished 8th at the Georgia Cup Series race in Albany, GA. Visit to follow the Linder Capital cycling team and email mrakes1 [at] hotmail [dot] com with any questions.

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date: May 5, 2008