My thumbs have survived today’s task: fitting Marathon Plus tyres onto Ralph, my Brompton Alfine 11-speed. No big deal, you might say? I’m sure some would understand the struggle & pain that can accompany M+ fitment but I’m also sure not many would recognise the significance of my achievement; my Alfine hub is laced to one of those wonderful Sun rims – that have virtually no well, or valley, to the rim profile! Boy, can they be tough for fitting any tyres, let alone the rugged M+ tyres?
I recall the pain when I fitted a new Kojak to the rear wheel. I have never damaged my thumbs as much with a tyre fitting! At the time I hoped never to have to go through that again but now Ralph needs to be readied for an all-terrain trip (& I’d been getting nervous about retaining the Kojaks for it). However, I was confident (or maybe just hopeful?) that I had the answer? You see, some time back I came across some much thinner rim tape – & promptly squirreled it away for future use. Fingers crossed today!
I can’t say that it ALL went well; just the fitting! When I had trouble fitting the Kojak, I never expected to have trouble getting it off! So it was: I actually failed (initially) to get the tyre off with tyre levers! My usual practice is to use a pair of Michelin plastic tyre levers – but no luck! I thought a third lever may do & I then proceeded to destroy a few non-Michelin levers before turning to another Michelin set. Ouch, a Michelin bent & ruined?! At this point I stopped to rest & think. Of course, get rid of the rim tape! A slash & tug of the Velox rim tape & I soon had most of it out – & then had no trouble removing the tyre with my remaining Michelin levers!
From this point it was all straight-forward; first rummage into my squirreled bits box & extract my expected salvation – some BBB 16mm rim tape! (16mm width to suit the flat profile Sun rim, as compared to the 13mm I use on the Brompton rims). On went the tape, hey presto with the tyre (well, a teeny bit of a struggle – after all, we’re talking about M+ tyres!). The front wheel was next & here there’s nothing much to say – easy enough & the thumbs were holding up fine!
The important stats: (rim tape thickness)
Velox – 0.60mm
Zefal – 0.60mm
BBB – 0.35mm
– it made all the difference!
Updated: 29/6/13 – pic of Sun rim profile –