Thumbs up

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 –



2 thoughts on “Thumbs up

  1. The Brompton Diarist 01/07/2013 at 01:23 Reply

    Kudos to you and your thumbs — this project sounds like plenty big deal enough! I’m terrified at the thought of having to change a rear tire on my Brompton’s conventional rims — I’d be frozen if facing the task of dealing with that Sun profile as well. (Never fear, though, I’m studying videos, and reading the tech sheet so I’ll be ready when the time comes.)

    Lucky Ralph to have such an enterprising and capable rider!

  2. Aussie on a Brompton 01/07/2013 at 19:48 Reply

    Ta Brommie. I’m sure you’ll be fine – & Basil too.

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