Conti Gatorskin tyres - are some rims easier than others?

robjh

Legendary Member
I've used Gatorskin 700x23 tyres for years on Mavic Open Pro rims without any great problem, but now have another bike with Shimano RS61 wheels, and find that fitting a new Gatorskin on the rear wheel is a nightmare (the front was far easier).
I won't bore you with all the details - suffice to say a good many hours wasted, inner tubes pierced, blisters on hands, and I've tried all the youtube techniques I can find.

My real question is this : the wheel (or at least rim) will need replacing soon, and I don't want to go through this again.
Is there a suitable wheel/rim - 700c, fairly lightweight, 20-spoke - where a Gatorskin is sure to be easyish to fit? Anyone got road wheels where they can get these tyres on without too much problem?
 

andrew_s

Guru
Location
Gloucester
Both rims and tyres vary from spec, so it could be the tyre rather than the rim.

"Easy" rims usually have a comparatively deep channel in the centre, where the spokes go. That allows you to get the rest of the bead you are trying to get over the rim wall closer to the centre of the wheel, giving a bit extra slack. There can be a bit of an art to getting the bead down to the bottom and keeping it there.

The tightest tyre I ever had was a Conti GP 4 Seasons 28, with which I had similar struggles. I knew it was the tyre and not the rim because it was replacing a worn out GP4S 28 that had always been an easy fit on the same rim.
I eventually gave up, and succeeded in getting it onto a spare wheel which had very thin rim tape, and left it pumped up to 160 psi (or at least pumped it back to 160 every time I remembered it) until the alternative replacement tyre wore out. By that time, it was merely "normal tight", so I used it, carrying steel levers and a Var tool.
The tyre had come from the bargain basket at the LBS, so, in retrospect, I suspected that someone else had previously returned it as too tight to use.
 
OP
robjh

robjh

Legendary Member
Both rims and tyres vary from spec, so it could be the tyre rather than the rim.

"Easy" rims usually have a comparatively deep channel in the centre, where the spokes go. That allows you to get the rest of the bead you are trying to get over the rim wall closer to the centre of the wheel, giving a bit extra slack. There can be a bit of an art to getting the bead down to the bottom and keeping it there.

The tightest tyre I ever had was a Conti GP 4 Seasons 28, with which I had similar struggles. I knew it was the tyre and not the rim because it was replacing a worn out GP4S 28 that had always been an easy fit on the same rim.
I eventually gave up, and succeeded in getting it onto a spare wheel which had very thin rim tape, and left it pumped up to 160 psi (or at least pumped it back to 160 every time I remembered it) until the alternative replacement tyre wore out. By that time, it was merely "normal tight", so I used it, carrying steel levers and a Var tool.
The tyre had come from the bargain basket at the LBS, so, in retrospect, I suspected that someone else had previously returned it as too tight to use.
Thanks, I like the idea of 'stretching' the tyre over an old rim before applying it to the tricky one. I have an old Open Pro in the shed that would be ideal for this in future.
Anyway, a good sleep, a new morning and a fresh head - no more swearing this time - and I've got the bugger on and pumped up at last.
 

12boy

Veteran
Location
Casper WY USA
The worst tires I have mounted were Schwalbe Marathon Plus on Brompton wheels. Like you I would damage the sidewalls and tubes and break plastic tire irons too. I then found out that by putting the tire on with the valve stem area last it was far easier. As noted by Andrew S, keeping the beads in the the deep center of the rim gives a little slack, and doing the stem area first doesn't work well for that. I still use a tire iron to get my Schwalbe Marathons off, but I put them back on with my thumbs. Using the tire irons stresses the bead more and I have sake bit the tubes as well.
 
OP
robjh

robjh

Legendary Member
Rims do vary, sometimes by quite a lot! However so do tyres. So get a 'big' rim and a 'small' tyre and you are stuffed.
Well yes, but how do I tell which rims are likely to prove too big? The manufacturers' specs don't give much to go on.

My problem rim is 'tubeless ready'. Is that likely to be a warning sign?
 

bikingdad90

Veteran
I’ve found with conti tyres that you should always buy the Kevlar folding tyre bead version. Much easier to get on and off the rim either at the roadside or in the workshop and lighter too.
 

curzons246

Über Member
Location
derbyshire
gator skins, work of the devil.
Hard to get on, pish poor protection and slippery when wet ride .
Sorry cant agree on any point.
 

cyberknight

As long as I breathe, I attack.
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